Critical Language Scholarship Program | Adam Matvya
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Adam Matvya

Adam Matvya is an alum­nus of the 2017 CLS Pun­jabi pro­gram in Chandi­garh, India. In 2018, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Eng­lish Lit­er­a­ture from San Fran­cis­co State Uni­ver­si­ty. He loves 19th Cen­tu­ry Russ­ian and Amer­i­can lit­er­a­ture, as well as post­colo­nial and con­tem­po­rary South Asian works. Adam will start a master’s degree pro­gram in Mid­dle East­ern Stud­ies this fall at Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go. Adam is also an avid fol­low­er of Span­ish foot­ball and a com­mit­ted FC Barcelona fan.

Miri Piri, the Pow­er of the Pun­jabi Lan­guage 
Pun­jabi is wide­ly spo­ken on the Indi­an Sub­con­ti­nent and by dias­po­ra pop­u­la­tions in the West and in the Per­sian Gulf. While Pun­jabi is close­ly iden­ti­fied with Sikhi, it is a lan­guage that tran­scends reli­gion and has a rich lit­er­ary his­to­ry. A par­tic­u­lar phrase and con­cept that I am fond of in the Sikh tra­di­tion is Miri Piri. It sym­bol­izes tem­po­ral and divine inter­con­nect­ed­ness. Miri Piri illus­trates the exter­nal cul­tur­al influ­ences on Pun­abi, which shares roots with both Ara­bic and Per­sian, and sets a prece­dent for inner devo­tion and world­ly activism. 

Bond­ing Moments
I had a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to bond with my host fam­i­ly over the sum­mer while dis­cussing the con­cept of fam­i­ly. While the idea of fam­i­ly is uni­ver­sal, there are dif­fer­ences in social­ly accept­ed norms and cus­toms sur­round­ing it in every cul­ture. My host fam­i­ly and I learned a lot from each oth­er, both cul­tur­al­ly and lin­guis­ti­cal­ly in our con­ver­sa­tions about fam­i­ly. These are lessons that I car­ried back home to share with my local com­mu­ni­ty and family.

A Hid­den Gem
One expe­ri­ence that I par­tic­u­lar­ly val­ued dur­ing my pro­gram was the vis­it to a local vil­lage out­side Chandi­garh named Man­akpur Sharif. It is tru­ly a hid­den gem of Pun­jab. I gained valu­able insights into state and nation­al agri­cul­tur­al poli­cies and how they affect local farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties. I also learned about the Sikh family’s role in main­tain­ing a his­tor­i­cal Sufi Dar­gah. Giv­en that the lega­cy of par­ti­tion in Pun­jab is a vio­lent one, it was inspir­ing to see this cross-reli­gious cor­dial­i­ty and pil­grim­age accommodation.

Inspi­ra­tion to Con­tin­ue Study­ing
Sikh tra­di­tions and prac­tices inspire me to study Pun­jabi fur­ther. I hope that some­day I will under­stand Gur­bani, the com­po­si­tions of the Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh holy text). More­over, I hope to use the Pun­jabi lan­guage in a pro­fes­sion­al capac­i­ty as it relates to local pol­i­tics in India and Pakistan.


Alumni Profiles

Adam Matvya
Adam Matvya
Punjabi 2017
Chandigarh, India

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Posted Date

July 23, 2018