Punjabi people

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Punjabi people
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ /پنجابی / पंजाबी
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Total population
120 million (estimated)
Regions with significant populations
 Pakistan 81,379,6151
 India 33,102,4772
 United Kingdom 2,300,0003
 United Arab Emirates 720,000
 Canada 500,0004
 United States 350,0005
Languages
Religion
Related ethnic groups

Punjabi people (Punjabi: پنجابی (Shahmukhi), ਪੰਜਾਬੀ (Gurmukhi), पंजाबी (Devnagri)), also spelled Panjabi people; are a sub-group of Indo-Aryan peoples, originating from the Punjab region, found between eastern Pakistan and northern India. Punjab literally means the land of five-rivers (Persian:پنج آب panj ("five") āb ("waters")). Punjab is often referred to as the breadbasket in both Pakistan and India.78 The pinnacle of the power for any local Punjabi population came in the later part of the 18th century when Sikh Empire was established by the Ranjit Singh who conquered almost whole of Kashmir along with modern day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and annexed it into greater Punjab region.910

The coalescence of the various tribes, castes and the inhabitants of the Punjab into a broader common "Punjabi" identity initiated from the onset of the 18th century CE. Prior to that the sense and perception of a common "Punjabi" ethno-cultural identity and community did not exist, even though the majority of the various communities of the Punjab had long shared linguistic, cultural and racial commonalities.111213

Traditionally, Punjabi identity is primarily linguistic, geographical and cultural. Its identity is independent of Race, Color, Creed or Religion. Referring to those for whom the Punjabi language(s) is the first language or recognizable language and those who reside in the Punjab region and associate with its population.14 Also Integration and assimilation is a part of Punjabi culture since there is no specific Punjabi tribe or a certain race. More or less all Punjabis share the same cultural background.1516

The Punjabi people were a heterogeneous group in the past and they were subdivided into a number of clans called biradari (literally meaning "brotherhood") or tribes each traditionally more bound to their own clans than others. But since Punjabi identity is more diverse so people who dont belong from any tribe are also considered a part of the Punjabi people. With the passage of time tribal structures are coming to an end and is replaced with more cohesive17 and holistic society. That is why Community building along with Group cohesiveness1819 forms the new pillars in the Punjabi society.20

Geographic distribution

The Punjab region, with its rivers. The land of the Punjabi People

In Pakistan, Punjabis constitute the largest ethnic group, comprising more than 45% of the total population of the country. They reside predominantly in the province of Punjab, neighbouring Azad Kashmir in the region of Jammu and Kashmir and in Islamabad Capital Territory. Punjabis are also found in large communities in the largest city of Pakistan, Karachi.

In India, Punjabis represent 2.85% of the population. The majority of Punjabi-speaking people in India, can be found in the Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, as well as in Delhi and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. Large communities of Punjabis are also found in the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir and the states of Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

History of Punjab

One of the first known kings of ancient Punjab, King Porus who fought with alexander

Indigenous peoples flourished in this region, near the gateways to other continents, leading to a developed civilisation in 5th to 4th millennium BC,21 the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. Also Buddhism remnants have been found like Mankiala which corroborate the Buddhist background of this region as well.

The remains of the ancient Indo-Aryan city of Taxila,22 and many ornaments that have been found in this region,suggests that,23 one of the centers of Indus Valley Civilization was established at many parts of Punjab most notably were Taxila and Harappa,24 Punjab became a center of early civilisation from around 3300 BC. According to Historians this region was ruled by many small kingdoms and tribes around 4th and 5th BC. The earliest known notable local king of this region was known as King Porus2526 and he fought a famous Battle of the Hydaspes2728 against Alexander, but later surrendered. His kingdom, known as Pauravas, was situated between Hydaspes (modern Jhelum and Acesines (modern day Chenab).25 These kings fought local battles to gain more ground.Taxiles or Omphis another local North Indian king, wanted to defeat his eastern adversary Porus in a turf war and he invited Alexander the great to defeat Porus. This marked the first intrusion of the West in the Indian subcontinent and North India in general. But such was the valor of Porus and his kingdom forces in Punjab, that despite being defeated, he was appreciated by Alexander the Great for his skill and valor and he was granted further territories in the North.29 The other Indian kings did not like the fact that Porus was now an ally of Western forces. In less than ten years another Indian king Chandragupta Maurya30 defeated the forces and conquered the Northern Indian regions up to the Kabul river (in modern day Afghanistan). Alexander mostly ruled this land with the help of local allies like Porus.31

Centuries later, areas of the Punjab region were ruled by local kings followed by the Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Mughals and others. Islam arrived in Punjab when the Muslim Umayyad army led by Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh in 711 AD, by defeating Raja Dahir. Some of the Muslims are said to have settled in the region and adopted the local culture. Centuries later, the Ghaznavids introduced Persian and Turkish culture in Punjab. The Ghorids and others spread the Persian culture to Northern India.

Harappa was the center of one of the Oldest Civilizations Indus Valley Civilization located in central Punjab. The Harappan architecture and Harrapan Civilization was one of the most developed in the old Bronze Age.

The earliest written Punjabi dates back to the writing of Sufi Muslim poets of the 11th Century. Its literature spread Punjab's unique voice of peace and spirituality to the entire civilization of the region.

After the Mughals were weakened, under the command of Nader Shah of Persia and his humiliating sack of Delhi, the seat of Mughal power, regions of North India and Punjab, were annexed into the Durrani Empire later on in 1747. But Afghan rule in Punjab was very short lived as many local tribal people like Gakhars fought against Afghan rule and took the lands back. The grandson of Ahmed Shah Durrani ,(Zaman Shah Durrani) lost it to Ranjit Singh, a Punjabi Sikh. He was born in 1780 to Maha Singh and Raj Kaur in Gujranwala, Punjab. Ranjit took a leading role in organising a Sikh militia and got control of the Punjab region from Zaman Shah Durrani. Ranjit started a Punjabi military expedition to expand his territory.32 Under his command the Sikh army began invading neighboring territories outside of Punjab. The Jamrud Fort at the entry of Khyber Pass was built by Ranjit Singh.33 The Sikh Empire slowly began to weaken after the death of Hari Singh Nalwa at the Battle of Jamrud in 1837. Two years later, in 1839, Ranjit Singh died and his son took over control of the empire. By 1850 the British took over control of the Punjab region after defeating the Sikhs in the Anglo-Sikh wars.3435

Sikh Empire under Ranjit Singh spanning Kashmir up to Khyber Pass and Peshawar region. It was the first time when a local Punjabi established the rule on other regions.

Punjab ( The birthplace of the Sikh religion and many Sufi mystics )

People of Punjab remained tolerant throughout the history and that is why many different religious ideologies were tolerated there despite some uproar by some religious extremists. The region of Punjab is the birthplace of one monolithic religion that is known as Sikhism.3637 Also many well known followers of Sufism38 were born in Punjab.39

Religious demographics of the contemporary Punjab

Due to religious tensions, emigration between Punjabi people started far before the partition and dependable records.4041 Slightly prior to the Partition of British India, Punjab had a slightly majority Muslim population at about 53.2% in 1941, which was an increase from the previous years.42 With the division of Punjab and the subsequent independence of Pakistan and later India, mass migrations of Muslims from Indian Punjab to Pakistan, and those of Sikhs and Hindus from Pakistan to Indian Punjab occurred. Today, the majority of Pakistani Punjabis follow Islam with a small Christian minority, while the majority of Indian Punjabis are either Sikhs or Hindus with a Muslim minority. Punjab is also the birthplace of Sikhism and the Islamic reform movement Ahmadiyya.6

Following the independence of Pakistan and the subsequent partition of British India, a process of population exchange took place in 1947 as Muslims began to leave India and headed to the newly created Pakistan and Hindus and Sikhs left Pakistan43 for the newly created state of India.44 As a result of these population exchanges, both parts are now relatively homogeneous, where religion is concerned.

Punjabi Hindus

See Also: List of Punjabi Hindus

In the pre-Islamic era, the population of Punjab mainly followed Hinduism. Today Punjabi Hindus are mostly found in Indian Punjab and in neighbouring states like Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi, which together forms a part of the historical greater Punjab region. Many of the Hindu Punjabis from the Indian capital Delhi are immigrants and their descendants, from various parts of Western Pakistani Punjab. Some Punjabi Hindus can also be found in the surrounding areas as well as the recent cosmopolitan migrants in other big cities like Mumbai. There has also been continuous migration of Punjabi Hindus to western countries like USA, Canada and UK.

The Hindu Punjabis speak different dialects including Lahnda, as well as Majhi (Standard Punjabi) and others like Doabi and Malwi. Some still have managed to retain the Punjabi dialects spoken in Western Punjab, but many have also adopted Hindi. The population of Hindu Punjabis is approximately 12 million in India.

Punjabi Muslims

Badshahi Masjid - The largest mosque of the Mughal Empire built by emperor Aurangzeb.

The people of Punjab were mainly Hindus with a Buddhist minority, when the Umayyad Muslim army led by Muhammad bin Qasim from Syria, conquered Punjab and Sindh in 711 AD.

During the reign of Mahmud of Ghazni, non-Muslims paid the jaziya tax, according to Islamic law.454647 The province became an important centre and Lahore was made into a second capital of the Turk Ghaznavid Empire based out of Ghazni. The Delhi Sultanate and later Mughal Empire ruled the region. The Punjab region became predominantly Muslim due to missionary Sufi saints whose dargahs dot the landscape of Punjab region. The Mughals controlled the region from 1524 until 1739 and would also lavish some parts of the province with building projects such as the Shalimar Gardens and the Badshahi Mosque, both situated in Lahore. The Muslim establishment in the Punjab occurred over a period of several centuries lasting until towards the end of the British Raj and the division of the Punjab province between Pakistan and India in August, 1947. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the minority Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India while the Muslim refugees from India settled in the Pakistan.4849 Today Muslims constitute only 1.53% Eastern Punjab in India as now the Muslims live in Western Punjab in Pakistan.

Punjabi Sikhs

Portrait of Maharaja Ranjit Singh

At the beginning of the fifteenth century, the religion of Sikhism was born, and during the Mughal period its Misls gradually emerged as a formidable military force until assimilated under the expanding Sikh Empire. After fighting Ahmad Shah Durrani, the Sikhs wrested control of the Punjab from his descendants and ruled in a confederacy, which later became the Sikh Empire of the Punjab under Maharaja Ranjit Singh. A denizen of the city of Gujranwala, the capital of Ranjit Singh's empire was Lahore.50 The Sikhs made architectural contributions to the city and the Lahore Fort. The Sikh empire was the first local power to rule the region since Muhammed Ghori's defeat of Prithvi Raj Chauhan in 1192

Punjabi Christians

Sadhu Sundar Singh, an influential Punjabi Christian missionary from Ludhiana (1889–1929)
Bishop Alexander John Malik,51 Influential Bishop of Lahore Punjab Pakistan

The death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the summer of 1839 brought political chaos and the subsequent battles of succession and the bloody infighting between the factions at court weakened the state. Relationships with neighboring British territories then broke down, starting the First Anglo-Sikh War; this led to a British official being resident in Lahore and the annexation of territory south of the Sutlej to British India.

In 1877, on St. Thomas' Day at Westminster Abbey, London, Rev Thomas Valpy French was appointed the first Anglican Bishop of Lahore, a large diocese which included all of the Punjab, then under British colonial rule, and remained so until 1887, during this period he also opened the Divinity College, Lahore in 1870.525354 Rev Thomas Patrick Hughes served as a Church Missionary Society missionary at Peshawar (1864–84), and became an oriental scholar, and compiled a 'Dictionary of Islam' (1885).55

Missionaries accompanied the colonising forces from Portugal, France, United States and Great Britain. Christianity was mainly brought by the British rulers of India in the later 18th and 19th century. This is evidenced in cities established by the British, such as the port city of Karachi, where the majestic St. Patrick's Cathedral, Pakistan's largest church stands, and the churches in the city of Rawalpindi, where the British established a major military cantonment.

The total number of Punjabi Christians in Pakistan is approximately 2,800,000 and 300,000 in Indian Punjab. Of these, approximately half are Roman Catholic and half Protestant. Many of the modern Punjabi Christians are descended from converts during British rule, however, other modern Punjabi Christians have converted from Churas. The Churas were largely converted to Christianity in North India during the British raj. The vast majority were converted from the Mazhabi Sikh communities of Punjab, and to a lesser extent Hindu Churas; under the influence of enthusiastic British army officers and Christian missionaries. Consequently, since the independence they are now divided between Pakistani Punjab and Indian Punjab. Large numbers of Mazhabi Sikhs were also converted in the Moradabad district and the Bijnor district56 of Uttar Pradesh. Rohilkhand saw a mass conversion of its entire population of 4500 Mazhabi Sikhs into the Methodist Church.57 Sikh organisations became alarmed at the rate of conversions among the Mazhabi Sikhs and responded by immediately dispatching Sikh missionaries to counteract the conversions..

Independence and its aftermath

Until 1947, the province of Punjab was ruled by a coalition constituting of the Indian National Congress, the Sikh-led Shiromani Akali Dal and the Unionist Muslim League. However, the growth of Muslim nationalism led to the All India Muslim League becoming the dominant party in the 1946 elections. As Muslim separatism increased, the opposition from Punjabi Hindus and Sikhs increased substantially. Communal violence on the eve of Indian independence led to the dismissal of the coalition government, although the succeeding League ministry was unable to form a majority. Along with the province of Bengal, Punjab was partitioned on religious lines – the Muslim-majority West becoming part of the new Muslim state of Pakistan, and the Hindu and Sikh East remaining in India. Partition was accompanied by massive violence on both sides, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.58 West Punjab was virtually cleansed of its Hindu and Sikh populations, who were forced to leave for India, while Punjabi Muslims in the East and Delhi was virtually cleansed of Muslims.

By the 1960s, Indian Punjab underwent reorganisation as Sikh demands for an autonomous state increased. The Hindu-majority areas were formed into the states of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana respectively, making Sikhs the majority in the state of Punjab itself. In the 1980s, Sikh separatism combined with popular anger against the Indian Army's counter-insurgency operations (especially Operation Bluestar) led to violence and disorder in Indian Punjab, which only subsided in the 1990s. Political power in Indian Punjab is contested between the secular Congress party and the Sikh religious Akali Dal and its allies, the Bharatiya Janata Party. Indian Punjab remains one of the most prosperous of India's states and is considered the "breadbasket of India."

Pakistani Punjabis made up a majority of the West Pakistani population, and Punjab constituted 40% of West Pakistan's total area.

Emigration

The Punjabi diaspora from both India and Pakistan is substantial. Emigration from the Punjab began in the 19th century, with many Punjabis settling in Britain and Canada, where a large Punjabi population remains in the province of British Columbia. In the early 20th century, many Punjabis began settling in the United States, including independence activists who formed the Ghadar Party. A new wave of emigration began in the 1970s to Middle Eastern states such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and onwards Britain and other European countries, Canada and the US

Geographic distribution

Pakistani Punjabis

Punjabis make up about 40% of the population of Pakistan. The Punjabis found in Pakistan belong to groups known as biradaris, which descend from a common male ancestor. In addition, Punjabi society is divided into two divisions, the zamindar groups or qoums, traditionally associated with farming and the moeens, who are traditionally artisans. Some zamindars are further divided into groups such as the Rajputs, Jats, Shaikhs or (Muslim Khatri), Gujjars, Gakhars, Dogars and Rahmani (Muslim Labana). Zamindar groups who claim Turko-Persian or Arab ancestry include the Mughal, Awan and Arain, comprising the main tribes in the north of the province, while Khagga, Bodla, Jhandir, Daudpota, Gardezi, Syed and Quraishi are found in the south, all of whom claim Arab ancestry. People from neighbouring regions, such as Kashmiris, Pashtun and Baluch, also form important element in the Punjabi population. The Niazi and Khakwani Pashtun tribes are integrated into village life. They are usually referred to as Punjabis by other Pashtuns. They have big communities in Mianwali, Bakkar, Lahore, Faisalabad, Sahiwal and Toba Tek Singh. Major Moeen groups include the Lohar, Khateek, Rawal, Chhimba Darzi, Teli, Julaha, Mallaah, Mirasi, who are associated with a particular crafts or occupation.59

Punjabi people have traditionally and historically been farmers and soldiers,citation needed which has transferred into modern times with their dominance of agriculture and military fields in Pakistan. In addition, Punjabis in Pakistan have been quite prominent politically, having had many elected members of parliament. As the most ardent supporters of a Pakistani state, the Punjabis in Pakistan have shown a strong predilection towards the adoption of the Urdu language but nearly all speak Punjabi, and still identify themselves as ethnic Punjabis. Religious homogeneity remains elusive as a predominant Islamic Sunni-Shia population with Ahmadiyya and Christian minority. A variety of related sub-groups exist in Pakistan and are often considered by many Pakistani Punjabis to be simply regional Punjabis including the Seraikis (who overlap and are often considered transitional with the Sindhis).

The recent definition of Punjabi people, in Pakistani Punjab, is not based on racial classification, common ansectory or endogamy,60 but based on geographical and cultural basis and thus makes it a unique definition. In Pakistani Punjab, there is not a great emphasis on a single dialect of the language and Pakistani Punjabis speak many distinct dialects,6162 which include Hindko, Seraiki, Potohari or Pahari and still identify themselves as Punjabis. People from a few provinces of Pakistan have made Punjab their home in recent times and now their consecutive generations identify themselves as Punjabis. The largest community to assimilate in Punjabi culture and now identify themselves as Punjabis are Kashmiris which include noted personalities like Nawaz Sharif, Sheikh Rasheed, Hamid Mir and the most noted poet Muhammad Iqbal, to name a few. The second largest community after Kashmiris are people of India, who identify themselves as Punjabis.' The other communities to assimilate in Punjabis include Baloch who can be found throughout Punjab, and Baltis. The welcoming nature of Punjab have led to successful integration of almost all ethnic groups in Punjab over time. The Urdu, Punjabi and other language speakers who arrived in Punjab in 19476364 have now assimilated and their second and third generations identify themselves as Punjabis even though it is not the same in Sindh Pakistan where they form distinct ethnic groups.

Rank State Punjabi speakers Percentage
Pakistan 76,335,300 44.15
1 Punjab 70,671,704 75.23
2 Sindh 3,592,261 6.99
3 Islamabad 1,343,625 71.62
5 Balochistan 318,745 2.52

Indian Punjabis

Indian Punjabi farmer.

The population of Indian Punjab is divided into two major religious groups, the Sikhs and Hindus.Punjabis make around 2.85% of the population of India.

Like the Punjabi Muslim society, these various castes are associated with particular occupations or crafts.

Indian Punjab is also home to small groups of Muslims and Christian. Most of the East Punjab's Muslims (in today's states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Chandigarh) left for West Punjab in 1947. However, a small community still exists today, mainly in Malerkotla and Qadian which was spared during partition, the only Muslim princely state among the seven that formed the erstwhile Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU). The other six (mostly Sikh) states were: Patiala, Nabha, Jind, Faridkot, Kapurthala and Kalsia.

The Punjab region within India maintains a strong influence on the perceived culture of India towards the rest of the world. Numerous Bollywood film productions use the Punjabi language in their songs and dialogue as well as traditional dances such as bhangra. Bollywood has been dominated by Punjabi artists including Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Vinod Khanna, Dharmendra, Shammi Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Lara Dutta, Navalpreet Rangi, Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor. Prime Ministers of India including Gulzarilal Nanda and Inder Kumar Gujral in the past, and Dr. Manmohan Singh at present, are Punjabis, as are numerous players in the Indian cricket team both past and present including Bishen Singh Bedi, Kapil Dev, Mohinder Amarnath, Navjot Sidhu, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Yograj Singh.

The Punjabi diaspora

Punjabis around the world

The Punjabi people have emigrated in large numbers to many parts of the world. The United Kingdom has a significant number of Punjabis from both Pakistan and India as does Canada (specifically Vancouver and Toronto) and the United States, (specifically California's Central Valley). The Middle East has a large immigrant community of Punjabis, in places such as the UAE and Kuwait. There are large communities in East Africa including the countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Punjabis have also emigrated to Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia including Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Punjabis by country

Rank Country Population
1  Pakistan 88,109,600
2  India 33,102,477
3  United Kingdom 2,300,000
4  United Arab Emirates 720,000
5  Canada 500,000
6  United States 350,000
7  Malaysia 120,000
8  Australia 72,000
9  Italy 70,000

Genetics of Indian Punjabis

The majority of Indian Punjabi population share similar genes with other north Indian populations including those from Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir, but also show a significant relationship with west Eurasian groups. In a 2004 Stanford study conducted with a wide sampling from India, including 112 Punjabis, and selected other countries, displayed the following:

Results show that Indian tribal and caste populations derive largely from the same genetic heritage of Pleistocene southern and western Asians and have received limited gene flow from external regions since the Holocene.65

This study also found that roughly 42% of genetic markers in the Punjab were of West Asian origin, the highest amongst the sampled group of South Asians.dubious citation needed Another study also showed that there has been limited gene flow in and out of north India, but the highest amount of genetic inflow from the west showed up in the Punjab region:

Broadly, the average proportion of mtDNAs from West Eurasia among Indian caste populations is 17% (Table 2). In the northern States of India their share is greater, reaching over 30% in Kashmir and Gujarat, nearly 43% in Indian Punjab.6667

Some preliminary conclusions from these varying tests support a largely north Indian genetic base for most Punjabis accompanied by some of the highest degrees of west Asian admixturecitation needed found in north India.

Culture

The evening flag lowering ceremony at the India-Pakistan International Border near Wagah in Punjab.

Punjabi culture is the culture of the Punjab region. It is one of the oldest and richest cultures in world history, dating from ancient antiquity to the modern era. The Punjabi culture is the culture of the Punjabi people, who are now distributed throughout the world. The scope, history, sophistication and complexity of the culture are vast. Some of the main areas include Punjabi poetry, philosophy, spirituality, artistry, dance, music, cuisine, military weaponry, architecture, languages, traditions, values and history. Historically, the Punjab/Punjabis, in addition to their rural-agrarian lands and culture, have also enjoyed a unique urban cultural development in two great cities, Lahore68 and Amritsar.69

Role of Women in Punjabi culture

In the traditional Punjabi culture women do wear traditional dresses but work side by side with men in all the fields. Also women in general manage the finances of the household mostly earned by men. Moreover Punjabi women fought in the past with the men when the time arose. Mai Bhago is a good example in this regard. Punjabi women also have the strong literary tradition. Peero Preman was the first Punjabi poetess of the mid 18th century [1].70 She was followed by many other women of repute.

Language

Punjabi is the most spoken language in Pakistan and 11th spoken language in India. According to the Ethnologue 2005 estimate,71 there are 88 million native speakers of the Punjabi language, which makes it the twelfth most widely spoken language in the world. According to the 2008 Census of Pakistan,72 there are approximately 76,335,300 native speakers of Punjabi in Pakistan, and according to the Census of India, there are over 29,102,477 Punjabi speakers in India.73 Punjabi is also spoken as a minority language in several other countries where Punjabis have emigrated in large numbers, such as the United Kingdom (where it is the second most commonly used language74) and Canada, in which Punjabi has now become the fourth most spoken language after English, French and Chinese, due to the rapid growth of immigrants from Pakistan and India.75 There are also sizeable communities in the United States, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Persian Gulf countries, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

Punjabis are linguistically and culturally related to the other Indo-Aryan peoples of South Asia. There are an estimated 120 million Punjabis around the world. If regarded as an ethnic group, they are among the world's largest. In South Asia, they are the second largest ethnic group after the Bengali People.

The main language of the Punjabi people is Punjabi and its associated dialects, which differ depending on the region of Punjab the speaker is from; there are notable differences in the Lahnda languages, spoken in the Pakistani Punjab. In the Pakistani Punjab Urdu is spoken by nearly all, and the vast majority still speak Punjabi, even though the language have no governmental support. In the Indian Punjab, most people speak Punjabi. English is sometimes used, and people may also speak Hindi and older people who lived in the undivided Punjab may be able to speak and write in Urdu. There is a significant hindi and other Indian languages influence in Punjabi. In India Sanskrit vocabulary have been adopted, due to the national status of Hindi language. The Punjabi languages have always absorbed numerous loanwords from surrounding areas and provinces (and from English).

Cuisine

Punjabi cuisine has an immense range of dishes and has become world-leader in the field; so much so that many entrepreneurs that have invested in the sector have built large personal fortunes due to the popularity of Punjabi cuisine throughout the world. Punjabi cuisine uses very unique spices.7677

Music of Punjab

Bhangra describes dance-oriented popular music with Punjabi rhythms, developed since the 1980s. The name refers to one of the traditional and folkloric Punjabi dances. Thus in bhangra music the emphasis is usually on the music (i.e. rhythm for dancing) and less on the singer and the lyrics. Bhangra music is appreciated all over the globe. Sufi music and Qawali are other important genres in Punjab.7879

Punjabi dances

Owing to the long history of the Punjabi culture and of the Punjabi people, there are a large number of dances normally performed at times of celebration, the time of festivals known as Melas and the most prominent dances are at Punjabi weddings, where the elation is usually particularly intense. Punjabi dances are performed either by men or by women. The dances range from solo to group dances and also sometimes dances are done along with musical instruments like Dhol, Flute, Supp, Dhumri, Chimta etc. "Bhangra" dance is the most famous aspect of Punjabi dance tradition.Its popularity has attained a level where a music is produced with the intent of aiding people to carry out this form of dancing.

Punjabi wedding traditions

Indian Punjabis at a wedding
Musarrat Nazir The famous Pakistani singer for Punjabi folk and Wedding Songs.

Punjabi wedding traditions and ceremonies are conducted in Punjabi, and are a strong reflection of Punjabi culture. Many local songs are a part of the wedding and are known as boliyan.80 Musarrat Nazir wedding songs are especially famous among all the wedding songs. While the actual religious marriage ceremony among Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, and Jains may be conducted in Arabic, Punjabi, Sanskrit, by the Kazi, Pandit or Granthi, there are also many commonalities in ritual, song, dance, food, make-up and dress.

The Punjabi wedding has many rituals and ceremonies that have evolved since traditional times. Punjabi receptions of all sorts are known to be very energetic, filled with loud Bhangra music, people dancing,and a wide variety of Punjabi food. Alcohol consumption by the menfolk is part of the tradition amongst Hindu and some Sikh communities that allow it.

Punjabi folk tales

The folk tales of Punjab include many stories81 which are passing through generations and includes folk stories like Heer Ranjha, Mirza Sahiban,82 Sohni Mahiwal etc. to name a few.

Village life in Punjab

The village life of land of five rivers is as entrancing as any other thing of this region. The village life is simple and people usually live in small communities and they live in peace and harmony with each other.8384

Festivals in Punjab

Jashan-e-Baharan, Basant, Kanak katai da mela ( Wheat cutting celebrations ) and many more.

Traditional dresses worn in Punjab

The Punjabi traditional clothing is very diverse and for various occasions various clothing is chosen. It includes Shalwar Kameez, Kurta, Achkan and Dhoti in men while in women there is wide range of clothing but mainly it comprises Shalwar Kameez, Churidars with Dupatta with traditional Paranda Ghari wore on the hair. Khaddi topi (Embroidered cap) is also wore by some women with dupatta on special occasions. Shalwar Kameez and Sherwani are for formal occasions and office work while Dhoti is mostly wore by people who are involved in farming throughout Punjab. The shorter version of Dhoti that is unique to Punjab is known as Chatki with close resemblance to Kilt but use of Chatki for formal occasions is very very rare and not many people are familiar with Chatkis. Punjabi Jutti and Tillay wali Jutti is a very famous footwear for both men and women in Punjab. In men Pagri (turban) is also worn as a traditional cap in many occasions. Dupatta with embroidery of different styles with Matthay da Tikka is also very famous in Punjabi culture.

Sports in Punjab

In Punjab various types of sports are famous. They are basically divided into outdoor and indoor sports. Special emphasis is put to develop both the mental and physical capacity while playing sports. That is why recently sports like Speed reading, Mental abacus, historical and IQ tests are arranged as well. Indoor sports are specially famous during the long summer season in Punjab. Also indoor sports are played by children in homes and in schools. Gilli-danda is vary famous indigenous sports among children along with Parcheesi. Pittu Garam is also famous among children. Stapu is famous among young girls of Punjab. Also many new games are included with the passage of time. The most notable are Carrom, Ludo (board game), Scrabble, Chess, Draughts,Go (game) Monopoly (game). The Tabletop games games include billiards and snooker. Backgammon locally known as Dimaagi Baazi( Mental game) is famous in some regions as well.

The outdoor sports include Kusti (a wrestling sport), Kabaddi, Rasa Kashi (a rope pulling game), Patang (Kite Flying) and Naiza Baazi or Tent pegging (a cavalry sport).Gatka, is also taken as a form of sports. Punjab being part of South Asia, the sport of cricket is very popular. New forms of sports are also being introduced and adopted in particular by the large overseas Punjabis, such as Ice hockey, Soccer, Boxing, Mixed martial arts as part of the globalization of sports.

Prominent Punjabis

See also

References

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References and further reading

External links








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