Posted by: Singh Is King | Thursday, December 6, 2007

Punjabi taking roots abroad: Rakkar

Amritsar: Gurcharn Singh Rakkar, who owns 1,100 acres of farmland in the USA, has said after attracting people in Canada and England, Punjabi language is becoming popular in some parts of the USA.

Talking to The Tribune here yesterday, Rakkar said a Mexican girl, studying in Unified School, Kerman City, near California, topped in the optional subject of Punjabi language this year. It was a great achievement on the part of the NRIs that they succeeded in introducing Punjabi language at the high school-level in many schools of the USA.Giving details of the goodwill gesture of the American police and local administration, he said nobody enforced wearing of helmets for pillion Sikh riders when they take out nagar kirtan to mark the Gurpurbs. He said the classes to give lessons in Punjabi and kirtan (singing of hymns) were being organised in newly opened Gurdwara Anandgarh in Kerman City. The gurdwara, constructed at a cost of about Rs 8 crore, was recently inaugurated by the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti.

The Sikhs have been living in the USA for almost 100 years, and because of their multifarious qualities and open-mindedness, they have earned recognition at their work places. Despite their long and significant stay in that country and the fact that the Sikhs have served the allied forces during World Wars I and II, many people still mistake a Sikh for a person from the Middle-East. However, nagar kirtans help in creating awareness among Americans about the distinct identity of the Sikhs, he said.

While Sikhs have suffered due to many cases of ‘mistaken identity’ after the 9/11 attack on twin towers, the scene of turban-tying session by Englishmen in America definitely came as a pleasant surprise to the community. American girls did not lag behind. They also evinced keen interest in wearing turbans.

However, Rakkar lamented that the Punjab government was not helping NRIs to serve their native country in a big way. He alleged that hurdles were being created by bureaucrats to clear projects of NRIs in Punjab. His family had opened a big college for women in his native village Mazari, Nawanshahr.

However, despite a number of visits to Chandigarh, senior leaders of the ruling party and top officials showed indifference in granting affiliation.

Rakkar said the UC University of California in Davis City was ready to invite students of Mazri village under an exchange programme, but for the formalities of the education department.


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