Bill boards and hoardings in local language to benefit public

Sher Alam Shinwari

PESHAWAR: A handful of Pashto writers and artists had launched a campaign asking shopkeepers, business firms, retailers, fruit sellers, cloth merchants, bookshops, restaurants and owners of general stores to turn their billboards and hoardings into Pashto with an objective to benefit general public to raise awareness about the significance of mother tongue.

Kingar village in district Buner became first to have had changed their business boards and the trend spread to other KP districts and still continued as local residents showed increasing interest in displaying their advertisements and publicity messages in Pashto, said Amjad Shehzad, head of the campaign.

Market owners and business firms in several KP districts have displayed billboards, panaflexes, charts and standees both computerized and handwritten to attract buyers’ attention and local residents have appreciated to see and read the contents in their mother tongue, said Naseeb Tanha, a volunteer of the campaign.

Amjad Shehzad, a noted Pashto poet and artist along with his colleagues had launched a campaign two months ago from Malakand, Hunar Kore (Arts House) advising various markets to display their billboards, hoardings and ads in Pashto to popularize communication in mother tongue and take steps towards making Pashto a market language.

Mr Shehzad told this scribe that so far that the campaign had been converted into a fully-fledged movement because hundreds of volunteers had participated in raising awareness among masses and visiting local market places and even shopping malls to contribute to the social service.

“The basic aim behind the campaign was to sensitize general public about the purposeful usage of mother tongue and learn how to make Pashto a market language so our people from all walks of life could understand to communicate in their own language instead of English or any other lingo. The idea soon became a success story across KP, including the merged tribal districts where well off volunteers sponsored billboards and hoardings on the tops of their stores and business firms and even medical doctors and other professionals began displaying ads in Pashto in front of their workplaces,” he elaborated.

He added that the day was not far off when the entire KP province would be flooded with billboards and hoardings in local languages that would help general sellers and buyers taking a step towards make mother tongue medium of instruction as no nation could make progress without getting education in mother tongue. Once business owners understand its significance, education policy makers, teachers and academia would also be forced to own ingenious cultural values, including mother tongue, Mr Shehzad observed.

Amjad Shehzad further said that he designed and translated billboards for the business firms and market places while his volunteer team members were busy in helping out people how to get it done in easy way to read the language for the masses.

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