Punjabi: One Language, Multiple Spoken Forms and Dialects
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Punjabi can be heard largely in Punjab, Delhi and Haryana in India. As many as 2.85% Indians speak Punjabi language and the most common communities and social groups that speak Punjabi include Ahirs, Bania, Arora, Bhatia, Chamar, Kambojs, Brahmin, Gujjar, Khatris, Ahluwalias, Jats, Lobanas, Kambojs, Saini, Rajput, Tarkhan and Soods. It is the official language in Punjab and Haryana has Punjabi as its second language.
The Same language can be heard spoken on the other side of Indian border as well, i.e., Pakistan. In fact it is their first language and be heard spoken the most in the country. Whether it is government, business, industry, defense services, agriculture or any other institution, Punjabi is the language that people speak. As many as 70% Pakistanis can understand, write and speak the language.
People of East Punjab, who dominate the Punjabi speaking clan, left India during the 1947 partition of the country. They went from Punjab, Delhi, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, which are considered to be Punjabi speaking states.
The various social groups that speak Punjabi in Pakistan include Jat, Dogras, Muslim Rajputs, Gujjars, Khatri, Gakhars, Kambohs, Punjabi Shaikhs, Tarkhans and Arains. In Southern Pakistan, mainly Gilanis, Quraishis, Awans, Gardezis andSyeds speak Punjabi. In the villages of Pakistan, the language is spoken by Lodhis, Niazis and Pashtuns. However, in urban Pakistan, people live as a cosmopolitan world and Punjabi can be found with different dialects.
It is interesting to note that while 70% people know Punjabi in Pakistan and it is their first language, the official status of the language is none in the country.
When we talk about the difference in Punjabi language spoken in India and Pakistan, they lie in the words or terms. While India has taken words from Sanskrit language, Persian language and Arabic language have given away words to Pakistani Punjabi vocabulary. The examples and instances are many, like Itihaas and Tarik have same meaning “history” in India and Pakistan respectively.
Punjabi dialects thus have some difference in both the countries. These dialects are spoken in different parts and can be distinguished as:
- Majhi: It is the real Punjabi language that is found in Amritsar, Sialkot, Gurdaspur etc in India and Sialkot, Gujrat, Lahore, Gujranwala, Sheikhupura in Pakistan. These places are where Punjabi speaking population in both the countries stay.
- Malwi: The dialect changes as you enter the eastern part of Punjab in India like Ambala, Ganganagar, Ludhiana, Bathinda, Fazilka, Malerkotla and Ferozpur. Even in central and southern Punjab, Malwi dialect is predominant like in Malwa. In north, places like Sirsa, Hissar, Kurukshetra have the dialect spoken.
- Rachnavi (also known as Jhangochi and Jhangvi at different place): This dialect is common in central Punjab of Pakistan like in Faisalabad, Jhang, Khanewal, Chiniot and Sahiwal. The same dialect is known as Lookal in states like Okara and Sahiwal and also in districts like Bahauddin, Khushab, Sargodha and Mianwali.
- Doabi: More common in Indian Punjab districts, Doabi is basically a regional dialect one can hear in places like Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar or between Sutlej and Beas rivers.
- Hindko: Common in Pakistan Punjab, Attock, Peshawar, Mansehra, Nowshera, Balakot, Murree, Muzafarabad and Neelum district have this dialect.