Connecting Communities - The Punjab in India and Pakistan


Punjab comes from the word Punj (five) - Ab (River). Known to be the land of five rivers, Pakistan's Punjab is the biggest land area of Pakistan, housing 56% of the total population and contributing 50-60% of the economy. With one of the oldest cultures dating from ancient antiquity to the modern era, Pakistan Punjab shares most of its cultural values with that of India's Punjabi culture.

Pakistani Punjabi culture includes cuisine, philosophy, poetry, artistry, music, architecture, traditions, values and history, and goes so far beyond in definition, as to holding great amount of importance for the Sikh community from India. The founder of the Sikh religion was born in Nankana Sahib, a district of Pakistan's Punjab, where Sikhs from different parts of world come and visit.

What often binds communities together and allows individuals to form relationships is the language that is spoken, and being spoken almost identically in both provinces; Punjabi is one of the many factors that lets the two countries, in a way, be one. Punjabi is the language of over 120 million people in Pakistan, and it is a language that may have different dialects and accents in different regions of the two provinces, but amongst the millions speaking this language, the oral communicability is one hundred percent. The only difference, in language, amongst the two is that of the script; residents of Punjab in India read and write using Gurmukhi script whereas the residents of Punjab in Pakistan read and write using Shahmukhi (Perso-Arabic) script. Another difference, yet having similarities, is the way individuals from both provinces dress; the traditional attire is similar in ways and different, too. In Pakistan's Punjab, fashion is easily influenced by Pakistan entirely.

Living in harmony and peace in Canada, as is the scenario around the world, the two Punjabi cultures from Pakistan and India have come together to relive the importance of brotherhood and unity in various aspects of life. Realizing and acknowledging the scope, history, complexity and density of the two cultures to be so vast, yet so similar, Pakistani Canadian Cultural Association of BC joins hands with VIBC in hope to open doors to the Punjabi youth; not as Pakistanis or Indians, but simply as Punjabi's.

By Saeda (Ammara) Khan - Pakistani Canadian Cultural Association
Photo credit: Photo Courtesy Flickr

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