Old Nabhaite makes History
(Saying It in Punjabi)
Punjab Congress MP Jagmeet Singh Brar (J-116) made history of sorts in the Lok Sabha last week (December, 2002) when he spoke in Punjabi during a debate on the plight of farmers. Apparently, it was the first time that an MP from Punjab (Akali or Congress) had addressed the House in the language (though Punjabi is amongst the top seven spoken languages in the world).
Of course, Brar speaks perfectly good Hindi and English, but in a fit of parochial pride, he seems to have decided to make a point on behalf of his Punjabi brethren. It took him several months of lobbying with late Lok Sabha Speaker G M C Balalyogi to get Parliament to employ a Punjabi interpreter. The idea got fellow Congress MP Rama Pilot so excited that after Brar finished his speech, she stood up and asked to be allowed to speak in Punjabi too. Unfortunately, it was an impromptu request and the interpreter had already gone off for a tea break. According to Mr Jagmeet Brar, Punjabi is the language of more than 11 crore people spread out all over the globe and must get its due in the Indian Parliament.