To save the most precious wealth of our nation, we must teach out children, our ancestral language and language of our holy scripture, Guru Granth Sahib.
Punjabi is an ancient language of Indo-Pakistan sub-continent of Punjab and is spoken by all inhabitants of that era irrespective of their ethno religious affiliation. Punjabis of Indian side write it in Persian script. Nowadays some Punjabis settled in western countries use Roman script for Punjabi language too for their convenience. But it is an established fact that Gurmukhi is linguistically the most scientific and suitable script for scribing the Punjabi language. Guru Angad Dev Ji, second Guru of the Sikhs introduced Gurmukhi script and our holy scripture Guru Granth Sahib, though comprising of many languages, is written in Gurmukhi script.
By teaching our children Gurmukhi we will enable them to read Guru Granth Sahib and other literature about Sikh theology and our(Sikh) faith. By doing so we will give them the greates gift - THEIR HERITAGE. Since Punjabi in Gurmukhi scrit is the language of our holy scripture, it is essential that our children know this.
The need for teaching Gurmukhi to Sikh children is being realized and modest efforts are being made by concerned parents and community leaders to start the process by organizing Sunday schools in Gurdwaras with the help of volunteer teachers. To do so we are bringing books and other material from India, themes and contents of which are neither suitable nor appealing to children born and brought up in this part of the world (USA and Canada). Efforts of volunteer teachers who devote their precious time to teach are appreciable but forty minutes to one hour classes once a week are not enough. It is suggested that Gurdwara Management Committees and volunteer teachers should plan to have at least two to three hour classes once a week, where children may be able to mingle and learn the language. We must keep in mind that typically language is best learnt in its own environment, where it is the medium of everyday speech and is difficult to learn it outside its natural venue.
We, here at Academy of Sikh Studies Inc. with Satguru's blessings and ability and strength given by HIM to all those who worked on this project have compiled a Punjabi Primer, which I hope will serve the purpose. This has been divided in four parts beginning from alphabet (Painti Akhri) and ending with reading practices which will enable the learner to react our religious literature in Gurmukhi script.
My special thanks to Dr. Gurinderpal Singh and Sardarni Pushpinder Kaur for their guidance and allowing us to use graphics and material produced by them. I am grateful to Dr. Gurvinder Singh Rekhi, Kamaljeet Rekhi and S. Rajinder Singh Dhada for reviewing the whole work and their suggestions for its improvements.
My sincere thanks to S. Amrik Singh Bhandari, S. Rajpal Singh Kochar of New Delhi and S. Manmohan Singh Puri of North Carolina and all others whose financial support made this publication possible.
S. Gursagar Singh and S. Kuljeet Singh Ji of Singh Brothers, Amritsar deserve special mention for the hard work they have put in to print and publish this work.
- Shamsher Singh Puri
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