International Mother Language Day 2023 Celebrated In Leicester First Ever Punjabi Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire Was Guest of Honour

Punjabi Listeners Club, formed on the 3rd anniversary of BBC Radio Leicester’s Punjabi Programme on 9th September 1995, organised this year’s International Mother Language Day Celebrations at Gurdwara Sri Guru HarKrishan Sahib, Oadby, Leicestershire on Sunday 26th February where the Guest of Honour was Mr. Mike Kapur OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire.  The other guests included Frann Wills, Head of Communities and Well-being Service, Adults and Communities Directorate; Tarlochan Singh ‘ Chan Jandalvi ‘… Harbans Singh ‘Jandu Littranwalay’ , both pillars of Pubjabi song writing in this country, and attended by Punjabi language lovers from Woolich, Slough, Preston and Wolverhampton.

Mr. Mike Kapur OBE Lord -Lieutenant of Leicestershire spoke from the stage and emphasized the importance of mother tongue in our great multi cultural City of Leicester and County of Leicestershire and said “ I am proud to represent His Majesty The King in such a diverse part of the country.  Leicester and Leicestershire have residents from 40 different nationalities, speaking 70 different languages living side by side.  It is so important that the mother languages across the City and County are treasured and celebrated to maintain deep rooted connections to one’s heritage.  It is only with these connections that we achieve a true sense of who we are, our story, and how we can pass that on to future generations.  Before I leave you, I would like to share with you some words from His Majesty The King, which I feel is deeply relevant to our celebrations today and something that I would like to us all to carry with us after the event is over.

‘ I have always thought of Britain as a community of communities.’ That has led me to understand that the sovereign has an additional duty-less formally recognized but to be no less diligently discharged.  It is the duty to protect the diversity of our country’.  By celebrating and nurturing our mother languages, we can feel assured that the diversity of our great communities here in Leicestershire, and beyond, are being protected for the generations to come.” 

The Lord-Lieutenant  also read a letter dated 15 February 2023 from Buckingham Palace which was received by Punjabi Listeners Club which stated that His Majesty The King was interested to learn of the activities and initiatives of the Club since its formation in 1995 and was most grateful for your thoughtfulness in writing and the King sent his warmest good wishes to those gathered together for a most memorable and successful event.

Mr Mike Kapur OBE was presented with a Saropa {Garland of Honour}from the Gurdwara and A3 size laminated colour poster of ‘Welcome’ in all the languages of the world from Punjabi Listeners Club. 

The Lord-Lieutenant presented beautiful glass trophies to Chan Jandalvi and Jandu Littaranwaly for Service to Punjabi Language.  He also presented trophies to Shingara Singh, Gurpreet Kaur and Kuldip Singh Bhamrah QAM for Service to Punjabi Language; Dr. Sujjan Singh, Sulakhan Singh BEM,Indy Samra, Jaspal Singh, Sarabjit Singh Virk for Service to the Sikh Community.

Franne Wills, Head of Communities and Wellbeing Service, Adults and Communities Directorate was grateful to be invited to the celebrations and was presented with A3 size laminated colour poster of ‘Welcome’ in all the languages of the world.  She presented Certificate of Appreciations from Punjabi Listeners Club to Harjeeve Singh Bath of FC Khalsa Leicester, Harpal Singh Virk, Jagdeep Singh Jandu, Aman Singh,  Blinder Singh Samra, Sukhjinder Singh Dhadda { Ajit Jallandar }, Rajwant Singh Dard, Indy Samra, Gurpreet Kaur and Shangara Singh . Punjabi Listeners Club also gave ‘ Punjabi Goody Bags ‘ to the guests and others who attended the mother language celebrations.

The programme raised £201 for UK registered charity Khalsa Aid.

Tanmanjit Singh Dhesi…. MP for Slough, Rosemarie Adams…. Mayor of Oadby and Wigston, Sukhdev Singh Atwal ‘Sokha Udopuria’, Ajmer Singh Basra… President Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Baljit Singh Brar…editor Daily Punjab Times{India and Canada} were unable to attend for unforeseen circumstances and sent their good wishes for the Mother language day celebrations to everyone.

Tarlochan Singh Virk, Co-ordinator of Punjabi Listeners club who organized the event said that he was really pleased that Gujrati, Hindi,Urdu , English and Punjabi language speaking people attended the celebrations; and would like to thank Mr. Mike Kapur OBE   Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Management Committee of the Gurdwara, Franne Wills, Jandu Littaranwalay, Chan Jandalvi, SS Dhadda all the guests and those contributed to the Khalsa Aid donation who made the International Mother Language Day celebrations very memorable and the most successful ever.

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