By Justice Markandey Katju
Tomorrow, 14th March is being celebrated as Punjab Culture Day
The demand of treating Punjabi as equal to Urdu is wholly justified.
Our subcontinent is a land of great diversity, and all its peoples, languages, and cultures should be given equal respect.
In India, and there should be a Tamil Day, Bengali Day, Gujarati Day, Odiya Day, Marathi Day, Telugu Day, Malayalam Day, Kannada Day, Kashmiri Day, Assamese Day, etc which should be celebrated by all Indians.
Failure to do so only leads to unnecessary strife, which harms us.
Apart from the well-known languages, there is also a need to encourage and promote lesser-known languages and dialects, e.g. those in the hill areas like in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, North Western states, etc, some of which are under threat of extinction ( such as the languages/dialects of tribal people like those of Gonds, Bhils, Santhals, Todas, etc ). A National Day should be celebrated for these too.
Similarly, the languages in Pakistan e.g. Pashto, Baloch, Sindhi, and those spoken in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, etc should also be celebrated.
Culture usually revolves around a language, and we should give equal respect to all our cultures.
(Justice Markandey Katju is former Chairman, Press Council of India and former Judge, Supreme Court of India.)