The world’s first and largest dictionary in the Punjabi language was formally launched by the Punjab Institute of Language, Arts & Culture (PILAC) in an event held at Governor House on Tuesday.Compiled by the institute in a period of over two years, the seven-volume dictionary can be considered as the mother of all Punjabi dictionaries in the world due to the content and variety of words used in it. The dictionary was formally launched by Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar in a ceremony attended by leading poets, intellectuals and singers of Punjabi language. PILAC Director General (DG) Dr Sughra Sadaf said on the occasion, “The compilation of the dictionary was undoubtedly a daunting task for us as you cannot see such a rigorous research work in the Punjabi dictionaries in the whole subcontinent.”She further added that the dictionary had all diversified words used by our Punjabi poets, classical and modern, including Bulleh Shah, Baba Farid, Waris Shah, Khawaja Ghulam Farid, Shah Hussain, Baba Guru Nanak and Sultan Bahu. While it was a Punjabi-to-Punjabi dictionary, PILAC was also planning to compile another Punjabi-to-English edition for our young generation that wants to read our Punjabi legends and Sufi poets, she maintained. Dr Sadaf asserted that a team of 10 well-known researchers and volunteers had contributed for this uphill task and now our future generations would be grateful to PILAC.Project Director and a retired professor of the Punjabi language, Dr Shahid Kashmiri, remarked that nothing was impossible in this world and his team proved it today by compiling this dictionary in such a short span of two years. He hailed the dictionary as a gift for the people of Punjab from the PILAC. Senior journalist, Sohail Warraich, lamented that we were lagging behind the modern world because of not focusing on research and reference, considered as most important by the West.He further added that both the research and reference were the path, walking on which a nation could tread along the journey of truth. “We should celebrate Punjabi Day here at Governor House in which people would participate with the attire presenting a true glimpse of this soil wearing the Punjabi turban and singing the poetry of Bullahy Shah and Waris Shah,” Warraich added.He was of the view that this Punjabi Day would be celebrated only for the love of Punjab and not in the hatred of any other province. Legendary folk singer, Arif Lohar, said that if someone was not loyal to his mother language, he could not be loyal to his own mother. Therefore we all should love our Punjabi language and culture, he added.“I was offered the immigration of a country when I went there to perform but I flatly refused while saying that I am here just because of my country and will die while serving it,” Lohar continued, who has sung Punjabi folk songs worldwide.Punjab Governor, Chaudhry Sarwar, said that it was not the largest dictionary of the subcontinent but of the whole world and PILAC should be appreciated on this milestone.He said that he had secured a budget of 0.3 million UK pounds for a cultural Asian Mela during his tenure as the councillor of Glasgow City Council while adding that such cultural activities would also be held here. He also announced that Punjabi Day would soon be celebrated at Lahore’s Governor House as a depiction of true culture and heritage of this rich soil.“My children still speak Punjabi in the home despite the fact that they lived in Europe all the time and it is the beauty of this language,” he concluded.The event was marked by the presence of renowned folk singer, Ustaad Shaukat Ali Khan, Punjabi film actor, Rashid Mehmood, Punjabi poet Baba Najmi, Lahore Press Club President, Arshad Ansari, columnists Sajjad Mir, Ajmal Niazi, Zia Shahid and a large number of Punjabi academicians.Published in Daily Times, March 20th 2019.