Punjabiyat


v  People
v  Language  
v  Music, song & Dance












Punjabiyat is a way of life….  It covers language food, dress, festivals, music, dance, humour, and celebratory ceremony and rituals to lament.

Three aspects of Punjabi life – music , language and script –understandably played the most significant role in shaping of Punjabi identity….in spite of diversity of religion and dichotomy in scripts.
                                             




There is no denying the fact that Punjabi as a common language serves as an unbreakable yet hard to define bond between Punjabis, where ever in the world they may be dispersed.                                                                 

The desire on the part of the Punjabis to safeguard and develop their language must not therefore be taken as something subversive. Punjab has a rich literary tradition and a vibrant language and the concern to transfer this heritage to the coming generations therefore is quite understandable. This dream brings together Punjabis, not only from India and Pakistan but also from other countries.




On the other hand, this reinvented global Punjabi identity has to vie with global Hinduism, global Sikhism, global Islam and global Christianity...etc.

The match between Punjabi identity and globalised religion, is the oft replay of the contest between language and culture on one side and the religion on the other.

Religion could cannibalise language and culture...
Let us hope not!!!


Saving grace is that people’s linguistic affinities and cultural ties are so enduring that they can overcome the challenge of divisive religious dogma.As long as Punjabi language is alive and kicking, however, there would always be hope for some form of shared Punjabiyat.

We cannot hope to turn back the irreversible wheels of history nor can the sanctity of national borders be disregarded. All the same it is a genuine concern of any Punjabi, living any where in the world about perpetuation of the Punjabi language and cultural heritage

This Punjabi identity that came to be known as punjabiyat, continues to be reflected in Punjabi writing both in the West and East Punjab. It has refused to be overwhelmed or repressed.

 But, can Punjabiyat become a socio-political reality?



The Language

Punjabi is the most commonly spoken language in Punjab.It is the mother-tongue of the vast majority of its people whether they are Sikhs, or Hindus, or Muslims and even Christians on both sides of the border.

The emergence of India and Pakistan relocated the two Punjabis in two very differing states and affairs.

Although Punjabi is a language with a rich oral cadence  by way of musical and literary tradition spanning many centuries, tragically it has suffered apathy from amongst its own ruling class and elite and has rarely in its history enjoyed state patronage or promotion.
Despite being the mother-tongue of the masses Punjabi has no official status in the Punjab province of Pakistan...

In the Indian state of Punjab, Punjabi became the official language of the Punjab state (India) in 1966. …. but at a price.

An intelligent estimate suggest that there are close to 100 million Punjabi speaking people in the World, perhaps even more.

Among the modern Indo-Aryan languages Punjabi is perhaps the oldest spoken language. It is widely believed that Punjabi evolved from the original Vedic Sanskrit but as it developed was enriched by languages such as Persian and Arabic which have greatly influenced modern Punjabi vocabulary.

Another distinct feature of Punjabi is that it is written in two different scripts, Gurumukhi and Shahmukhi. Gurumukhi is the script used in India and Shahmukhi in Pakistan.





Gurumukhi: The pattern of the script was introduced by Guru Nanak and later finalized by the second Sikh Guru, Guru Angad. It was at first created in order to compose the hymns and sacred writings of the Sikhs but later became used for general use for writing Punjabi.

 Shahmukhi is a slightly modified Persian script used for writing Punjabi primarily used in the West Punjab. The term 'Shahmukhi' is relatively recent but the script itself is very old and predates Gurumukhi by many centuries. Shahmukhi is written from right-to-left like all other Arabic derived scripts.

Unlike Gurmukhi which is written from left-to-right.



Script-wall: The Differing scripts created a script-wall between the two sides of the Punjab, which prevented cultural and literary exchanges.











The Music, Song and Dance

The Punjab has a rich tradition of song, music and folk dance. And Bollywood has played a significant role in celebrating this spirit of Punjabi culture all the way through the popular medium and appeal of cinema.
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Bhangra: Bhangra is a lively form of music and dance that originated in the. As many Bhangra lyrics reflect the long and often tumultuous history of the Punjab, knowledge of Punjabi history offers important insights into the meaning of the music. While Bhangra began as a part of harvest festival celebrations, it eventually became a part of such diverse occasions as weddings and New Year celebrations.









Giddha: Giddha is Punjab's most famous folk dance for women. In Giddha, the women enact verses called bolis, folk poetry, and dance.


Luddi: Luddi is a victory dance with a drummer in the center of the dance.
Dankara: Also called the Gaatka dance, this is a dance of celebration. This dance is often part of marriage celebrations.

Julli: Muslim holymen, called pirs, perform this dance.

Jaago: Literally Jaago means wake up! When there is a marriage in the house, girls dance through the village streets carrying a pot (gaggar) decorated with lightened candles and sing Jaago songs. The themes of the songs are social and usually a bit of teasing, often aimed at elders, goes with the song.

KikIi: Women perform this dance in pairs. They cross their arms, hold each others hands and whirl around singing folk songs. Sometimes four girls join hands to perform this dance.