Home to over 50,000 of 750,000 Punjabi speaking Americans, Illinois plans to celebrate with a Rangila Punjab event
From talking about Punjabi valor during the World Wars to the immense contribution of Punjabi cuisine in bringing the world together, it’s time for Punjabis in the mid-western state of Illinois to talk about every contribution their community may have made to America and also to the world.
Illinois Governor J B Pritzker has proclaimed February 2023 as “Punjabi Language Month” in the state which is home to over 50,000 of more than 750,000 Punjabi speaking Americans.
Read: Punjabi Mela in Washington draws thousands (May 30, 2017)
Not many may know that Punjabi is the ninth most widely spoken language in the world. It originated around the 7th century in the Punjab region of the undivided India and Pakistan in South Asia and is spoken by more than 113 million people worldwide with roots in the region.
It is recognized as one of the official languages in India, Pakistan, United Kingdom, and Canada. There is also a significant presence of Punjabis in Malaysia, East African countries, UAE, New Zealand, and Australia.
Bhupinder Singh Dhaliwal, president of Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago says, “Several activities and events to celebrate the Punjabi Language Month have been planned for the Metro Chicago area. Rangila Punjab event on March 25 at College of DuPage is one of them.”
Rajinder Singh Mago, Board of Governors, Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago, says Punjabis have received accolades for their valor in World Wars I & II. As a matter of fact they are the only non-British community to receive the highest number of top medals for their bravery in the battlefield fighting for the allies.
The proclamation of the Punjabi language comes in accordance with the United Nations International Mother Language Day observed worldwide on Feb 21 every year to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and to promote preservation and protection of all languages.
Punjabis continue to make strides in both the social and political structure of the United States. Dalip Singh Saund, the first Asian American US Congressman from California was a Punjabi.
Read: Illinois governor proclaims February ‘Punjabi Language Month’ (January 30, 2023)
Other well-known Punjabi Americans include Nobel Prize winner in medicine Har Gobind Khorana, former governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal, former governor of South Carolina Nicky Haley, US Congressman Ro Khanna, astronaut Kalpana Chawla, ‘father of fiber-optics,’ Narinder Singh Kapani, ‘Pentium Chip inventor,’ Vinod Dham, and MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga.
Southern California, the region known for its finest almonds, raisins, peaches and many other crops is also dominated by Punjabi farmers who have been practicing farming for generations.