|Regions with significant populations|
|Punjab, India||10,678,138 (2011)|
|Delhi||4,029,106 - 5,875,779 (2011 est.)[a]: 54 [b][c]|
|Haryana||2,028,117 (2011 est.) [d][e][f]|
|Himachal Pradesh||222,413 (2011 est.)|
|Punjab, Pakistan||211,641 (2017)|
|Chandigarh||73,881 - 84,436 (2011 est.)|
(incld. Udasi syncretic sect)
|Related ethnic groups|
|Punjabi Sikhs, Punjabi Muslims, Punjabi Christians|
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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.
Punjab during Mahabharata times was known as Panchanada. Punjab was part of the Indus Valley Civilization, a culture which is more than 5000 years old. 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. 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, 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.
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. 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. Other activities in which the Samaj engaged included campaigning for the acceptance of widow remarriage and women's education.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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. 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, while the rest are concentrated in urban centres such as Lahore.
Large diaspora communities exist in many countries including in Canada, Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
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).
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.
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.
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. 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.
The number of casualties remains a matter of dispute, with figures being claimed that range from 200,000 to 2 million victims.