Tag Archives: Punjabiyat

Bringing Punjabiyat Back

BY: SCHONA JOLLY

“PUNJABI IS MY MOTHER TONGUE, my blood, my soul, my language. I think, dream and feel in it. I will also die in it,” proclaims Amarjit Chandan, an acclaimed poet born in Kenya. “In pardes (abroad),” he explains of his adult life spent in London, “I invented the Punjabiland.”

For a land that has been home to some of the world’s richest civilisations, modern Punjabi culture remains remarkably little known outside the noisy clichés of Bollywood and music videos. As the Indian state of Punjab grapples with complex social and economic issues, the Pakistani province of Punjab collapses due to political woes, and a large diaspora stays settled all over the globe, Punjabi poets and storytellers of old seem to be disappearing along with the water levels in the land of the five rivers. But Punjabis are nothing if not adept at handling change—it is the legacy of their own turbulent history, after all—and there are small but significant signs, that this vibrant melting-pot culture is on the verge of reemergence.

History has not been kind to the people of Punjab. The brutal division of the state during Partition led to both carnage and to one of the biggest mass population movements during the 20th century. Amidst the riots, butchery, rape and devastation, Punjabis of all religious persuasions suddenly found that they had to create new identities. In Pakistan, those identities had to be established through a new, Urdu-speaking nationalist ethos that sought to reimagine the country’s history and culture by severing ties with its neighbour. In India, those identities had to be reshaped by millions of refugees whose culture, possessions, love and longing belonged to another place. In the decades after Partition, hundreds of thousands of Punjabis from both East Punjab, in India, and West Punjab, in Pakistan, left their homelands to seek sanctuary and a new life abroad. For all of these people, the historical and cultural ties to their motherland had to be reforged. The multi-hued complexion of both states had become altered radically overnight.

Lahore, the united Punjab’s former capital, had long been considered the jewel in the crown of North India and had been developed as a cultural capital under both the Mughals and Maharaja Ranjit singh. “Jisne Lahore nahi dekhya, woh janmia nahi (Those who have not seen Lahore, have not lived),” proclaimed popular lore at the time. …

Read more : Wichaar

Bringing Punjabiyat Back

By Omar Ali

Excerpt:

…. 1. In the near future, the decline of Punjabi in Pakistan will continue since the state ideology is biased in favor of Urdu (vehicle of Islamism and the “two-nation theory”, as well as the first or second language of the educated elite), mainly since Punjabi is not taught in schools. Schools are the brain-washing institution of choice in modern society, so no surprises here.

2. But in the long run, it is Urdu which is in serious trouble in Pakistan. Its native speakers are a minority and have not been able to enlarge and grow a living breathing literary and musical culture…this is a controversial statement, but I have anecdotal evidence: The older generation of the Pakistani elite actually read Urdu poetry, knew hundreds of verses by heart, even read a few novels and many excellent short stories. The new generation is reading English or reading nothing. There are exceptions, but in the long run, the culture of Urdu is dying in Pakistan (i have no idea of its health in India). …

To read full article : Brownpundits