Dr. Tariq Rahman's Profile

Tariq Rahman received his first doctorate in English literature from the University of Sheffield in 1985. Subsequently he became interested in language politics in Pakistan and completed a degree in linguistics from the University of Strathclyde in 1989. After this, he wrote several books which have made him an authority on the linguistic history of the Muslims of South Asia namely Language and Politics in Pakistan (1996); Language, Ideology and Power: language-learning among the Muslims of Pakistan and North India (2002) and From Hindi to Urdu: A Social and Political History (2011). Besides these and other books, he has published about 100 articles in scholarly journals and contributed to encyclopedias and edited books. On examination of his published work, the University of Sheffield conferred a higher doctorate (D.Litt) on him in 2014. He was the first Pakistani to be honored by one of Germany’s highest awards for academic research called the Humboldt Research Award. The National Institute of Pakistan Studies at Quaid-i-Azam University, where he served most of his life and of which he was director (2007-11), made him a professor emeritus in 2010 and the Higher Education Commission (Islamabad) conferred upon him the title of Distinguished National Professor in 2004 and gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. The President of Pakistan conferred upon him the Pride of Performance in 2004 and the Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 2013. He was a Senior Fulbright Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin (1995-96) and the first incumbent of the Pakistan Chair at the University of California, Berkeley (2004-05). He was also a research fellow at the Oxford Centre of Islamic Studies (2010) and a fellow at the University of Heidelberg several times from 2010 till 2012. He has been a visiting professor in Denmark and Spain and has lectured or delivered papers at conferences in Korea, Nepal, China, the U.S., Singapore, Thailand, India, Denmark, France, Germany, the UK, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Switzerland. He is a Visiting Fellow of Wolfson College, University of Oxford and is presently working as Dean, School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and Acting Dean, School of Education, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore.


The Soft Power of Punjabi: Language in the Domain of Pleasure

Punjabi is the language of the powerful Punjabi majority community in Pakistan and a small but very active minority in India. The argument of this paper is that, though not used in the domains of power, Punjabi possesses soft power. It is used in the private domains of pleasure for expressing solidarity, intimacy, bonhomie, fellow feeling and to represent the Punjabi community in a good light. Because of its use in songs, jokes, movies and witty repartee the language creates and sustains the image of the carefree, happy-go-lucky, fun loving, generous, brave and magnanimous Punjabi in both Pakistan and India. This soft power is the main value of the language for the Punjabi community not only in Pakistan but also in India where the language gives access to the lower domains of power but only on a limited scale.

Dr. Tariq Rahman
Distinguished National Professor
Dean, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore

Fulbright Scholar
University of Texas, Austin




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