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Punjabi Hindus

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Punjabi Hindus are a group of people that adhere to Hinduism and have their roots in the Punjab region that is now split between India and Pakistan.

Punjabi Hindus
Punjabi, Hindi, and English
Related ethnic groups
Punjabi people

Influential Sikh figures such as Guru Nanak and Banda Singh Bahadur were originally Punjabi Hindus.[1]

Punjabi Hindu sectsEdit

Arya samajEdit

Prominent Indian nationalists from Punjab, such as Lala Lajpat Rai, belonged to the Arya Samaj sect and were active in propagating its message,[2] and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a Hindu nationalist group, found enthusiastic support from Punjabi Samajists when it began expanding in Northern India in the 1930s.[3]

During the early part of the 20th century, the Samaj and organisations inspired by it, such as Jat Pat Todak Mandal, were active in campaigning against caste discrimination.[4] Other activities in which the Samaj engaged included campaigning for the acceptance of widow remarriage and women's education.[5]

Sanatana DharmaEdit

Most Hindus in Punjab follow Sanatana Dharma, a term originating in Sanskrit for the eternal path. Hinduism in Punjab, as in many other parts of India, has adapted over time and has become a synthesis of culture and history. It centres on using Dharma to purify the soul (Atma) and to connect with ones own greater "eternal self energy" (Paramātmā). Hindus do this while acknowledging the concept of Brahman or "external energy", which is metaphysically is believed to be the single binding energy behind the diversity that exists in the universe. In Punjab, like in many other regions of Northern India, Hindus revere ancient texts that narrate stories of deities (Devas and Devis) that had reached their highest Paramātmā. Deities in Hinduism are honoured for their roles in ancient Indian history, as they were the upholders of the principles of Dharma in the past. Hindus believe that a supreme Bhagavan (God) manifests itself through these Devas and Devis. Major deities worshiped include Rama and Sita from the Ramayana, Krishna and Radha from the Mahabharata, as well as the Trimurti and Tridevi of Shiva and Parvati, Vishnu and Lakshmi, and Brahma and Sarasvati, along with other prominent deities such as Durga Mataji, Ganesha and Hanuman.

As Hindus believe that Dharma is universal and evolves with time, many Hindus also value other spiritual paths and religious traditions. They believe that any traditions that are equally able to nurture one's Atma should be accepted and taught. Hinduism itself encourages any being to reach their own self realization in their own unique way either through Bhagavan or through devotion to their own personal Ishvara Bhagavan. Punjabi Hindus routinely also pay respects to Sikh Gurus and their dharmic teachings.

1947 PartitionEdit

Punjabi Hindus suffered a great deal due to the Partition of India in 1947. This split the former British province of Punjab between the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan. The mostly Muslim western part of the province became Pakistan's Punjab province; the mostly Sikh and Hindu eastern part became India's East Punjab state (later divided into the new states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh). Many Hindus and Sikhs lived in the west, and many Muslims lived in the east, and the fears of all such minorities were so great that the Partition saw many people displaced and much intercommunal violence. Some have described the violence in Punjab as a retributive genocide.[6]

The newly formed governments had not anticipated, and were completely unequipped for, a two-way migration of such staggering magnitude, and massive violence and slaughter occurred on both sides of the new India-Pakistan border. Estimates of the number of deaths vary, with low estimates at 200,000 and high estimates at 2,000,000. The worst case of violence among all regions is concluded to have taken place in Punjab.[7][8][9][10] Virtually no Muslim survived in East Punjab (except in Malerkotla) and virtually no Hindu or Sikh survived in West Punjab.[11]

Punjabi Suba and trifurcation of PunjabEdit

After Partition, Sikh leaders and political parties demanded a "Punjabi Suba"(Punjabi Province) where Punjabi language written in the Gurumukhi script would be the language of the North India.

Although Punjabi Hindus speak Punjabi as their first language, at the instigation of the Arya Samaj they stated Hindi as their mother tongue in the censuses of 1951 and 1961. As a result, areas of the erstwhile East Punjab state where Punjabi Hindus formed the majority became part of the newly created states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. This made Punjab a Sikh-majority state in India.[12][13][14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Syan, Hardip Singh (2013). Sikh Militancy in the Seventeenth Century: Religious Violence in Mughal and Early Modern India. I. B. Tauris. pp. 34, 240. ISBN 978-1-78076-250-0.
  2. ^ Raj Kumar (2004). Essays on Social Reform Movements. Discovery Publishing House. pp. 3–5. ISBN 978-81-7141-792-6.
  3. ^ Jaffrelot, Christophe (1999). The Hindu nationalist movement and Indian politics : 1925 to the 1990s ; strategies of identity-building, implantation and mobilisation (with special reference to Central India). New Delhi: Penguin Books. pp. 67–68. ISBN 9780140246025.
  4. ^ Rajivlochan, M.; Rajivlochan, M. (2014). Coping with Exclusions the Non-Political Way. Mapping Social Exclusion in India: Caste, Religion and Borderlands. pp. 82–83.
  5. ^ Kishwar, Madhu (26 April 1986). "Arya Samaj and Women's Education: Kanya Mahavidyalaya, Jalandhar". Economic and Political Weekly. 21 (17): WS9–WS24. JSTOR 4375593.
  6. ^ "The partition of India and retributive genocide in the Punjab, 1946–47: means, methods, and purposes" (PDF). Retrieved 19 December 2006.
  7. ^ Talbot, Ian (2009). "Partition of India: The Human Dimension". Cultural and Social History. 6 (4): 403–410. doi:10.2752/147800409X466254. The number of casualties remains a matter of dispute, with figures being claimed that range from 200,000 to 2 million victims.
  8. ^ D'Costa, Bina (2011). Nationbuilding, Gender and War Crimes in South Asia. Routledge. p. 53. ISBN 9780415565660.
  9. ^ Butalia, Urvashi (2000). The Other Side of Silence: Voices From the Partition of India. Duke University Press.
  10. ^ Sikand, Yoginder (2004). Muslims in India Since 1947: Islamic Perspectives on Inter-Faith Relations. Routledge. p. 5. ISBN 9781134378258.
  11. ^ "A heritage all but erased". The Friday Times. 25 December 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  12. ^ Lamba K. G. Dynamics of Punjabi Suba Movement Deep and Deep 1999. p. 90 ISBN 9788176291293 Accessed 3 February 2017.
  13. ^ Chopra R. Love Is The Ultimate Winner Partridge, India 2013. p. 9072. ISBN 9781482800050 Accessed 3 February 2017.
  14. ^ Grewal J. S. The Sikhs of the Punjab Cambridge University Press 1998. p. 187 ISBN 9780521637640 Accessed 3 February 2017.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit