LAHORE - What it could be more pitiable that Punjabi, the language of 19 million people of Punjab and equal number of population abroad, is grossly neglected in our educational institutions. Punjabi language and literature is taught only in 40 out of 450 colleges in the province at graduate level and at postgraduate level only at Punjab University. No other public or private university cater the classes in Punjabi language at any level. What is more surprising is the fact that there is no Punjabi teacher in number of colleges as there is only one teacher in 40 colleges where the discipline is taught. There is no research journal in Punjabi literature except 'The Lekh, a biennial literary journal in the private sector. It is edited and published by a renowned Punjabi scholar Prof Dr Nasir Rana of Govt MAO College. 'The Lekh is tri-lingual journal carrying literary articles in Punjabi, Urdu and English. The first issue of 'The Lekh was brought out in June 2005 and since then it is published regularly without any editorial and financial support from anywhere. Mir Ali Nawaz Talpurs Punjabi poetry (kafees) and Baqi Siddiquis popular Punjabi plays aired on Radio Pakistan are published by 'Lekh besides a number of hitherto unpublished and hidden treasures of Punjab literature which are published by Lekh magazine off and on for the benefit of scholars. Though 'The Lekh journal is of international standard but unfortunately it neither recognised by the government nor by the HEC although its research work is better than the existing source material available here. It has a circulation of over 500 copies at home as well as abroad and is circulated in universities in UK, Canada and America. It is full of much-needed Punjabi literary critics and research for scholars. Moreover the only journal in public sector the biennial 'Khoj of Punjab University is also victim of general apathy and it is seldom published due to non-cooperation of scholars and shortage of funds. Editor The Lekh Dr Nasir Rana told this correspondent that the plight of learning Punjabi literature was miserable. Once it was major subject in the faculty of Arts where 8,000 students applied for admission in the year 1997. Gradually the students lost interest in Punjabi perhaps due to rising importance of job-oriented higher education in science and commerce. Today MA Punjabi seats remain vacant and admissions remain unfulfilled. The regular and private candidates who appear in Punjabi at Punjab University MA exams are not more than 250. Even the PhD allowance to Punjabi PhD degree holder is half than the science and arts due to criminal negligence of the authorities. Dr Rana said it is wholly untrue that the job opportunities to Masters in Punjabi is restricted, although it is minimum as compared to science and commerce and other subjects of arts. The Punjabi laureates are much needed in Radio, Television and newspapers. Punjabi language programmes must be 25pc of all programmes in radio and television according to the regulations of electronic media but this is grossly violated. Dr Rana said Punjabi literature is vast in magnitude after Arabic while English literature is stands at No 3. According to a Russian Orientalist Ms I Serebravakove who in her book, History of Punjabi literature said that Punjabi was biggest literature after Arabic particularly its folk literature. Waris Shah is Punjabi Shakespeare- rather greatest dramatist than Shakespeare. After Quran, the 'Hafiz (learning by heart) of Heer Warish Shah was highest. Shah Hussain, Bulleh Shah, Hafiz Barkhurdar and Pilu are legendary Punjabi poets and laureates known world wide and second to none.