Punjabis are the largest ethnic population in
. Punjabi nation is the 3rd
biggest nation of Pakistan South Asia. Punjabi Muslims are the 3rd
largest ethnic community in the Muslim Ummah. Punjabi is the 9th biggest nation
and Punjabi Speaking population of the World.
The act of uniting by natural affinity and attraction of the various tribes, castes and the inhabitants of the Punjab into a broader common "Punjabi" identity with grooming of "Punjabi nationalism" started from the onset of the 18th century, when the Sikh Empire with Secular Punjabi Rule was established by the Maharaja Ranjit Singh. 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
During the late 18th century, due to lacking in unity by the natural affinity of the various tribes, castes and the inhabitants of the
Punjab into a broader common
"Punjabi" identity, after the decline of the Mughal Empire, led the Punjab region into a lack of
governance. In 1747, the Durrani Empire was established by the Ahmad Shah
Abdali in Afghanistan, therefore, Punjab saw frequent invasions by the Ahmad
Shah Abdali, The great Punjabi poet Baba Waris Shah said of the barbaric and
brutal situation that; "Khada Peeta Lahy Da, Baqi Ahmad Shahy Da"
("We Have Nothing With Us Except What We Eat And Wear, All Other Things
Are For Ahmad Shah").
Actually, after capturing and conquering the
Punjab by the Mahmud Ghaznavi in
1022 after defeating the Raja Tarnochalpal, from centuries, Punjab was under the continuous attack of foreign Muslim invaders. Before invasions of Ahmad
Shah Abdali, the Mughals were the invaders of Punjab. Punjabi tribes, castes and the
inhabitants of Punjab revolted against them, but in a personal
capacity and without uniting by the natural affinity of Punjabi people.
However, Punjabi Sufi Saints were in a struggle to awaken the consciousness of the people of
Punjab. Before Baba Waris Shah, Shah Hussain approved
Dulla Bhatti’s revolt against Akbar as; Kahay Hussain Faqeer Sain Da -
Takht Na Milday Mungay.
In the result of spiritual grooming and moral character building of Punjabi people by the Punjabi Saints and Punjabi poets like; Baba Farid - 12th-13th century, Damodar - 15th century, Guru Nanak Dev -15th - 16th century, Guru Angad - 16th century, Guru Amar Das - 15th - 16th century, Guru Ram Das - 16th century, Shah Hussain - 16th century, Guru Arjun Dev - 16th - 17th century, Bhai Gurdas - 16th - 17th century, Sultan Bahu - 16th-17th century, Guru Tegh Bahadur - 17th century, Guru Gobind Singh - 17th century, Saleh Muhammad Safoori - 17th century, Bulleh Shah - 17th-18th century, Waris Shah - 18th century and Frequent invasions by the foreign invaders. At last, by the Ahmad Shah Abdali, stimulated the natural affinity of Punjabi people, taught the lesson to the various tribes, castes and the inhabitants of the Punjab and forced them to unite into a broader common "Punjabi" identity. Therefore, Punjabi nationalism started to initiate in the people of the land of five rivers to defend their land, to protect their wealth, to save their culture and retain their respect by ruling their land and governing the people of their nation by their own self.
In the late 18th century, during frequent invasions of the Durrani Empire, the Sikh Misls were in close combat with the Durrani Empire, but they began to gain territory and eventually the Bhangi Misl captured the
. When Zaman Shah invaded Lahore Punjab again in 1799, Maharaja
Ranjit Singh was able to make gains in the chaos. He defeated Zaman Shah in a
battle between and Lahore . The citizens of Amritsar , encouraged by Sada Kaur, offered
him the city and Maharaja Ranjit Singh was able to take control of it in a
series of battles with the Bhangi Misl and their allies. Later Maharaja Ranjit
Singh conquered the Lahore Kashmir valley, Ladakh, along with modern day
Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and annexed it into greater Punjab region by establishing Sikh
Empire with Secular Punjabi Rule which provided the boost to the already initiated
Traditionally, from the initiation of Punjabi nationalism, Punjabi identity is primarily linguistic, geographical and cultural. Punjabi identity is independent of race, color, creed or religion, and refers to those for whom the Punjabi language is the first language, those who reside in the
Punjab region and associate
themselves with Punjabi Nation.
Integration and assimilation are important parts of Punjabi culture, since Punjabi identity is not based on tribal connections, race, color, creed or religion. More or less all Punjabis share the same cultural background.
Historically, the Punjabi people were a heterogeneous group and were subdivided into a number of clans called Biradari (literally meaning "Brotherhood") or Tribes, with each person bound to a clan. However, Punjabi identity also included those who did not belong to any of the historical tribes of the
Punjab. With the passage of time tribal
structures are coming to an end and are being replaced with more cohesion and
holistic society. That is because of community building and group cohesiveness
form the new pillars of Punjabi society due to initiation of Punjabi
The recent definition of Punjabi people, in Pakistani
Punjab, is not based on racial
classification, common ancestry or endogamy, but based on geographical and
cultural basis and thus makes it a unique definition. Religious homogeneity
remains elusive as a predominantly Islamic Sunni-Shia population with Ahmadiyya
and Christian minority. A variety of related sub-groups exist in and is often considered by
many Pakistani Punjabis to be simply regional Punjabis. Pakistan
People from a few provinces of
have made Pakistan 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 is Kashmiris. The second largest community after Kashmiris is the
people of , who identify themselves as
Punjabis. The other communities to assimilate in Punjabis include the Arabic
background Abbasi, Ansari, Gillani, Jillani, Makhdom, Qureshi, Syed
etc., the Kurdish background Baloch and Afghan background Pathan, who can
be found throughout India Punjab.
The welcoming nature of
Punjab has led to successful integration of almost
all ethnic groups in Punjab over time. The Urdu Speakers who arrived in Punjab in 1947 have now assimilated
and their second and third generations identify themselves as Punjabis even
though it is not the same in Sindh where they form distinct
ethnic groups. Pakistan