Punjabi Hindus
Total population
c. 18,000,000
Regions with significant populations
Punjab, India10,678,138 (2011)[1]
Delhi4,029,106 - 5,875,779 (2011 est.)[2][3][a][4]: 54 [b][c]
Haryana2,028,117 (2011 est.) [5][d][6][e][f]
Himachal Pradesh222,413 (2011 est.)[7][8]
Punjab, Pakistan211,641 (2017)[9]
Chandigarh73,881 - 84,436 (2011 est.)[10]
Sacred language

Ethnic language
Punjabi and Punjabi dialects

Other languages
Hindi, English
(incld. Udasi syncretic sect)
Related ethnic groups
Punjabi Sikhs, Punjabi Muslims, Punjabi Christians

Punjabi Hindus are an Indo-Aryan group who are adherents of Hinduism and identify linguistically, culturally, and genealogically as Punjabis. While Punjabi Hindus are mostly found in the Indian state of Punjab today, many have ancestry from the entire Punjab region, an area that was partitioned between India and Pakistan.


Ancient and Medieval

Map showing the sites and extent of the Indus Valley Civilisation.  Punjab was the center of one of the core regions of the Indus Valley Civilization, located in Northern Indian subcontinent.
Map showing the sites and extent of the Indus Valley Civilisation. Punjab was the center of one of the core regions of the Indus Valley Civilization, located in Northern Indian subcontinent.
Punjab was part of the Vedic Civilization.
Punjab was part of the Vedic Civilization.

Punjab during Mahabharata times was known as Panchanada.[11][12] Punjab was part of the Indus Valley Civilization, a culture which is more than 5000 years old.[13] The main site in Punjab was the city of Harappa. The Indus Valley Civilization spanned much of what is today India and Pakistan and eventually evolved into the Indo-Aryan civilization. The arrival of the Indo-Aryans led to the flourishing of the Vedic civilization along the length of the Indus River. This civilization shaped subsequent cultures in South Asia and Afghanistan. Punjab was part of the great ancient empires including the Gandhara Mahajanapadas, Achaemenids, Macedonians, Mauryas, Kushans, Guptas, Hindu Shahi, Gurjara-Pratihara and old Rajputana.[14][15][16] Agriculture flourished and trading cities (such as Multan, Lahore, Jalandhar, and Rupnagar) grew in wealth.

Due to its location, the Punjab region came under constant attack and influence from the west and witnessed centuries of foreign invasions by the Greeks, Kushans, Scythians, Turks, Arabs, and Afghans. The city of Taxila, claimed to have been founded by Taksh the son of Bharat who was the brother of Ram. It was reputed to house the oldest university in the world,[17] Takshashila University. One of the teachers was the great Vedic thinker and politician Chanakya. Taxila was a great centre of learning and intellectual discussion during the Maurya Empire. It is a UN World Heritage Site, valued for its archaeological and religious history.[18]

British colonial era

Prominent Indian nationalists from Punjab, such as Lala Lajpat Rai, belonged to the Arya Samaj. The Arya Samaj, a Hindu reformist sect was active in propagating their message in Punjab.[19] In 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.[20] Other activities in which the Samaj engaged included campaigning for the acceptance of widow remarriage and women's education.[21]

1947 Partition

Approximately 3 million Punjabi Hindus migrated from West Punjab and North-West Frontier Province (present-day Pakistan) to East Punjab and Delhi (present-day India) during the Partition.[22][23][24]

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.[25]

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.[26][27][28][29]

Punjabi Suba and trifurcation of Punjab

Main article: Punjabi Suba movement

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

At the instigation of the Arya Samaj, many Punjabi Hindus in present-day Ambala, Una, and Sirsa stated Hindi as their mother tongue in the censuses of 1951 and 1961. Some areas of the erstwhile East Punjab state where Hindi, Haryanvi and Western Pahari speaking Hindus formed the majority became part of the newly created states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh where Hindi was declared the state language. This was in contrast with the primarily Punjabi-speaking locals in some regions of the newly created states.[30] A direct result of the trifurcation of East Punjab into three states made Punjab a Sikh-majority state in India. Today, Punjabi Hindus make up approximately 38.5% population of present Punjab State of India.[31][32]



Devi Talab Mandir in Jalandar, Punjab, India.
Devi Talab Mandir in Jalandar, Punjab, India.

In the Indian state of Punjab, Punjabi Hindus make up approximately 38.5% of the state's population and are a majority in the Doaba region. Punjabi Hindus forms majority in five districts of Punjab, namely, Pathankot, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Fazilka and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar districts.[33]

During the 1947 partition, many Hindus from West Punjab and North-West Frontier Province settled in Delhi. Determined from 1991 and 2015 estimates, Punjabi Hindus form approximately 24 to 35 per cent of Delhi's population;[g][h] based on 2011 official census counts, this amounts to between 4,029,106 and 5,875,779 people.[2]


Main article: Hinduism in Punjab, Pakistan

Following the large scale exodus that took place during the 1947 partition, there remains a small Punjabi Hindu community in Pakistan today. According to the 2017 Census, there are about 200,000 Hindus in Punjab province, forming approximately 0.2% of the total population.[9] Much of the community resides in the primarily rural South Punjab districts of Rahim Yar Khan and Bahawalpur where they form 3.12% and 1.12% of the population respectively, [34][35]while the rest are concentrated in urban centres such as Lahore.[36][37]


Large diaspora communities exist in many countries including in Canada, Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

Culture and Religion

Durgiana Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, India.
Durgiana Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, India.

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 (Atman) and to connect with a greater "eternal energy" (Paramātmā).[citation needed]

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 Atman 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 other means of devotion and meditation.[38]

The Punjabi Hindus continue heterogeneous religious practices in spiritual kinship with Sikhism. This not only includes veneration of the Sikh Gurus in private practice, but also visits to Sikh Gurdwaras in addition to Hindu temples.[39]


Udasi is a religious sect of ascetic sadhus centered in Punjab Region. The Udasis were key interpreters of the Sikh philosophy and the custodians of important Sikh shrines until the Akali movement. They brought many converts into the Sikh fold during the 18th and the early 19th centuries.[40] However, their religious practices border on a syncretism of Sikhism and Hinduism. When the Singh Sabha, dominated by Khalsa Sikhs, redefined the Sikh identity in the early 20th century, the Udasi mahants were expelled from the Sikh shrines. Since then, the Udasis have increasingly regarded themselves as Hindus rather than Sikhs.[41]

See also


  1. ^ “The most important section among settlers is the Punjabis who are estimated to constitute around 35 percent of the population."[3]
  2. ^ “Though Punjabis constitute a mere twenty-four per cent of so of the capital city's population, on average they hold fifty-three per cent of the available managerial positions."[4]
  3. ^ Punjabi Hindus represent between 24 and 35 per cent of Delhi's population, determined from 1991 and 2015 estimates. Based on the 2011 official census counts, this amounts to between 4,029,106 and 5,875,779.
  4. ^ “Punjabis constitute about eight per cent of the state’s population, they are a can’t-be-ignored political constituency."[5]
  5. ^ “Political experts attribute the rise of the BJP in the region to sustained consolidation among certain communities, especially the Punjabis who account for 8% of the state’s estimated population of around 28 million."[6]
  6. ^ Punjabi Hindus represent approximately eight per cent of Haryana's population, determined from 2014 and 2019 estimates. Based on the 2011 official census counts, this amounts to 2,028,117.
  7. ^ “The most important section among settlers is the Punjabis who are estimated to constitute around 35 percent of the population."[3]
  8. ^ “Though Punjabis constitute a mere twenty-four per cent of so of the capital city's population, on average they hold fifty-three per cent of the available managerial positions."[4]


  1. ^ "Population by religion community – 2011". The Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Delhi (India): Union Territory, Major Agglomerations & Towns – Population Statistics in Maps and Charts". City Population. Archived from the original on 2 March 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Singh, Raj (6 February 2015). "Delhi Assembly elections 2015: Important facts and major stakeholders". India TV. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Sanjay Yadav (2008). The Invasion of Delhi. Worldwide Books. ISBN 978-81-88054-00-8.
  5. ^ a b Kumar, Virender (28 October 2014). "The 'vulnerable Punjabi' in an unthinkable post in Haryana". Indian Express. Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  6. ^ a b Naqshbandi, Aurangzeb (23 October 2019). "The 'vulnerable Punjabi' in an unthinkable post in Haryana". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  7. ^ "Una, amalgam of Punjabi and Pahari cultures".
  8. ^ "Himachal Pradesh Youth status report: Sex ratio up but total fertility rate declining". The Indian Express. Shimla. Express News Service. 5 January 2018. Archived from the original on 18 April 2018. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  9. ^ a b "SALIENT FEATURES OF FINAL RESULTS CENSUS-2017" (PDF). Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  10. ^ "Language – India, States and Union Territories" (PDF). Census of India 2011. Office of the Registrar General. pp. 13–14. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  11. ^ Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency ... – Google Books
  12. ^ Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency ..., Volume 1, Part 1-page-11
  13. ^ Punjab History – history of Punjab
  14. ^ McGregor, Ronald Stuart (1984). Hindi Literature from Its Beginnings to the Nineteenth Century. Harrassowitz. ISBN 978-3-447-02413-6.
  15. ^ Gokhale, Balkrishna Govind (1995). Ancient India: History and Culture. Popular Prakashan. ISBN 978-81-7154-694-7.
  16. ^ Bharadwaj. Study Package For Clat. Tata McGraw-Hill Education. ISBN 978-0-07-069937-3.
  17. ^ Raman, J. Sri (19 July 2011). "Punjabi Hindus and Partition". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  18. ^ Jalal 1998, p. 34.
  19. ^ Raj Kumar (2004). Essays on Social Reform Movements. Discovery Publishing House. pp. 3–5. ISBN 978-81-7141-792-6.
  20. ^ Rajivlochan, M. (2014). Coping with Exclusions the Non-Political Way. Mapping Social Exclusion in India: Caste, Religion and Borderlands. pp. 82–83.
  21. ^ Kishwar, Madhu (26 April 1986). "Arya Samaj and Women's Education: Kanya Mahavidyalaya, Jalandhar". Economic and Political Weekly. 21 (17): WS9–WS24. JSTOR 4375593.
  22. ^ Salamat, Zarina (1997). The Punjab in 1920's: a case study of Muslims. Karachi: Royal Book Company. p. 145. ISBN 978-969-407-230-2. OCLC 40480171.
  23. ^ Banerjee-Dube, Ishita; Dube, Saurabh (2009). Ancient to modern: religion, power, and community in India. New Delhi; Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-569662-2. OCLC 302183130.
  24. ^ "The partition of India and retributive genocide in the Punjab, 1946–47: means, methods, and purposes" (PDF). Retrieved 19 December 2006.
  25. ^ Brass 1974, p. 326.
  26. ^ Talbot, Ian (2009). "Partition of India: The Human Dimension". Cultural and Social History. 6 (4): 403–410. doi:10.2752/147800409X466254. S2CID 147110854. The number of casualties remains a matter of dispute, with figures being claimed that range from 200,000 to 2 million victims.
  27. ^ D'Costa, Bina (2011). Nationbuilding, Gender and War Crimes in South Asia. Routledge. p. 53. ISBN 9780415565660.
  28. ^ Butalia, Urvashi (2000). The Other Side of Silence: Voices From the Partition of India. Duke University Press.
  29. ^ Sikand, Yoginder (2004). Muslims in India Since 1947: Islamic Perspectives on Inter-Faith Relations. Routledge. p. 5. ISBN 9781134378258.
  30. ^ Chopra R. Love Is The Ultimate Winner Partridge, India 2013. p. 9072. ISBN 9781482800050 Accessed 3 February 2017.
  31. ^ Lamba K. G. Dynamics of Punjabi Suba Movement Deep and Deep 1999. p. 90 ISBN 9788176291293 Accessed 3 February 2017.
  32. ^ Grewal J. S. The Sikhs of the Punjab Cambridge University Press 1998. p. 187 ISBN 9780521637640 Accessed 3 February 2017.
  33. ^ "Religion by districts - Punjab". census.gov.in. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  34. ^ "District wise census". Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  35. ^ Dharmindar Balach (17 August 2017). "Pakistani Hindus celebrate Janmashtami with fervour". Daily Times. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  36. ^ "Hindu community celebrates Diwali across Punjab". The Express Tribune. 8 November 2018. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  37. ^ "Dussehra celebrated at Krishna Mandir". The Express Tribune. 23 October 2015. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  38. ^ "Sikhism | History, Doctrines, Practice, & Literature". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  39. ^ Raj, Dhooleka Sarhadi (2003). Where Are You From? Middle-Class Migrants in the Modern World. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 80. ISBN 9780520233836.
  40. ^ Pashaura Singh. Fenech, Louis E. (March 2014). The Oxford handbook of Sikh studies. ISBN 978-0-19-969930-8. OCLC 874522334.
  41. ^ Oberoi, Harjot. (1997). The Construction of religious boundaries : culture, identity, and diversity in the Sikh tradition. Delhi: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-563780-1. OCLC 39001441.

Further reading