Creative Punjabi writing contest for B.C. youth launches in Surrey
Province-wide Punjabi short story contest is considered to be the first of its kind in Canada
A new creative writing contest launching in Surrey, B.C. this week is considered the first of its kind for youth studying Punjabi in Canada.
The Dhahan Youth Prize will award $500 prizes to eight B.C. Grade 11 and 12 students in a short story contest.
"Each language carries its own knowledge, its own spirituality, and its own cultural and intellectual richness," said prize founder Barj S. Dhahan.
"I've seen how the loss of language can be devastating to a person, family,and community. I am committed to preserving our mother tongue and the wealth of history and stories embedded in Punjabi."
The submissions must be between 800 and 1000 words and be written in Punjabi and English.
"For South Asian students, it's not only the language learning, it's basically connecting to your heritage," said Gurpreet Kaur Bains, a teacher and head of L.A. Matheson Secondary school's language department.
Bains hopes the prize will encourage students to explore their cultural identity.
"I live here and our social setting is a bit different so we don't have short stories available to us that speaks from the point of view of our youth," said Bains. "I think this is a great initiative to get the youth involved."
Punjabi is the third most spoken language in Canada behind English and French.