Banke to have Nepal’s first Punjabi school

- RAJENDRA NATH, Nepalgunj
Banke to have Nepal’s first Punjabi school

Oct 30, 2014-

In a bid to preserve language and culture of the Sikhs, the community in Banke has joined hands to establish the country’s first school that offers classes in Punjabi language. Foundation stone of the school named Maharani Jind Kaur Khalsa has been laid at Hiriminiya VDC-6.

United States-based Shri Guru Nanak Dev Sewa Society International, a non-profit organisation providing religious awareness to promote peace and save environment, has funded the project.

Uttam Singh Sodi, central member of the organisation, said the motive behind establishment of the school is to preserve language and culture of the Sikh community. He expressed concerns over disappearing language and culture of the community of late.

According to locals, people from the community started living there after Punjabi Sikh King Ranjit Singh and his wife Maharani Jind Kaur fled to Nepal along with some soldiers following British take-over of the Sikh empire in India. The then Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana had given them asylum.

The US-based organisation said the school will offer classes in Nepali and English languages as well. It said the school will also provide classes, school uniforms and ration to children from various communities living under poverty line. “A health post will also be operated to provide health service to people,” Sodi said.

The Shikh population in the country is estimated to be around 13,000 and 3000 of them are in Banke alone. Sodi, however, said only three percent of total Sikh population in the country can read and write Punjabi and only two percent can speak the language. “The population of Sikh community has increased as compared to previous years. However, youths are slowly forgetting their history, culture and language. They do not know even to speak their own language,” Sikh Society Chairman Rajendra Singh said. He said that establishment of the school will help preserve their culture.

Meanwhile, the community has urged the government to take initiatives to preserve their culture and language. Singh complained that they do not have any representative in the Parliament to raise their concerns. They have also demanded public holidays during their festivals.

Published: 31-10-2014 09:13

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