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29 October 2014
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Panjabi today
The history of Panjabi
Names and writing system

The history of Panjabi

Panjabi is a member of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Panjabi speakers came originally from the Panjab - or land of five rivers. The same geographical area was traditionally occupied by Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims. However, following partition in 1947, the Panjab was divided between India and Pakistan. It is estimated that 70 per cent of Panjabi speakers are currently resident in Pakistan; the remaining 30 per cent live in India.

The overwhelming majority of Panjabi speakers in Pakistan are Muslim and look to Urdu as the language of religion and high culture. The Hindu majority in the south of the region looks, in turn, to Hindi. The new state of Harayana was formed in 1966 and most Hindus are concentrated in this area. Most Sikhs live in India and owe their main loyalty to Panjabi, which is the main language of their holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib.

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