|c. 150 million|
|Regions with significant populations|
|United Kingdom||700,000 (2006)|
|New Zealand||34,227 (2018)|
|Others||See Punjabi diaspora|
|Majority: Punjabi and its dialects|
Minority: Urdu (in Pakistan) and Hindi and other Indian languages (in India)
Sikhism • Hinduism (incl. Nanakpanthis) • Christianity
Christianity (2%) • Hinduism • Sikhism
Hinduism (38.5%) • Islam • Christianity
|Related ethnic groups|
|Other Indo-Aryan peoples|
|Part of a series on|
The Punjabis (Punjabi: پنجابی (Shahmukhi); ਪੰਜਾਬੀ (Gurmukhi); romanised as Panjābī), are an Indo-Aryan ethnolinguistic group associated with the Punjab region, comprising areas of eastern Pakistan and northwestern India. They generally speak Standard Punjabi or various Punjabi dialects on both sides.
The ethnonym is derived from the term Punjab (Five rivers) in Persian to describe the geographic region of the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent, where five rivers Beas, Chenab, Jhelum, Ravi, and Sutlej merge into the Indus River, in addition of the now-vanished Ghaggar.
The coalescence of the various tribes, castes and the inhabitants of the Punjab region into a broader common "Punjabi" identity initiated from the onset of the 18th century CE. Historically, the Punjabi people were a heterogeneous group and were subdivided into a number of clans called biradari (literally meaning "brotherhood") or tribes, with each person bound to a clan. With the passage of time, tribal structures became replaced with a more cohesive and holistic society, as community building and group cohesiveness form the new pillars of Punjabi society.
Traditionally, the Punjabi identity is primarily linguistic, geographical and cultural. Its identity is independent of historical origin or religion and refers to those who reside in the Punjab region or associate with its population and those who consider the Punjabi language their mother tongue. Integration and assimilation are important parts of Punjabi culture, since Punjabi identity is not based solely on tribal connections. While Punjabis share a common territory, ethnicity and language, they are likely to be followers of one of several religions, most often Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism or Christianity.
The term "Punjab" came into currency during the reign of Akbar in the late sixteenth century. Though the name Punjab is of Persian origin, its two parts (پنج, panj, 'five' and آب, āb, 'water') are cognates of the Sanskrit words, पञ्च, pañca, 'five' and अप्, áp, 'water', of the same meaning. The word pañjāb thus means 'The Land of Five Waters', referring to the rivers Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej, and Beas. All are tributaries of the Indus River, the Sutlej being the largest. References to a land of five rivers may be found in the Mahabharata, which calls one of the regions in ancient Bharat Panchanada (Sanskrit: पञ्चनद, romanized: pañca-nada, lit. 'five rivers'). The ancient Greeks referred to the region as Pentapotamía (Greek: Πενταποταμία), which has the same meaning as the Persian word.
Main article: Punjab region
Punjab is a geopolitical, cultural, and historical region in South Asia, specifically in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, comprising areas of eastern Pakistan and northwestern India. The boundaries of the region are ill-defined and focus on historical accounts. The geographical definition of the term "Punjab" has changed over time. In the 16th century Mughal Empire it referred to a relatively smaller area between the Indus and the Sutlej rivers.
While the total population of Punjab is 110 million as noted in the 2017 Pakistan census, ethnic Punjabis comprise approximately 44.7% of the national population. With an estimated national population of 243 million in 2022, ethnic Punjabis thus number approximately 108.5 million in Pakistan;[a] this makes Punjabis the largest ethnic group in Pakistan by population.
Religious homogeneity remains elusive as a predominant Sunni population with Shia, Ahmadiyya and Christian minorities.
The Punjabi-speaking people make up 2.74% of India's population as of 2011. The total number of Indian Punjabis is unknown due to the fact that ethnicity is not recorded in the Census of India. Sikhs are largely concentrated in the modern-day state of Punjab forming 57.7% of the population with Hindus forming 38.5%. Ethnic Punjabis are believed to account for at least 40% of Delhi's total population and are predominantly Hindi-speaking Punjabi Hindus. The Indian censuses record the native languages, but not the descent of the citizens. Thus, there is no concrete official data on the ethnic makeup of Delhi and other Indian states.: 8–10
Indian Punjab is also home to small groups of Muslims and Christians. Most of the East Punjab's Muslims left for West Punjab in 1947. However, a small community still exists today, mainly in Qadian, and Malerkotla.
Main article: Punjabi diaspora
The Punjabi people have emigrated in large numbers to many parts of the world. In the early 20th century, many Punjabis began settling in the United States, including independence activists who formed the Ghadar Party. The United Kingdom has a significant number of Punjabis from both Pakistan and India. The most populous areas being London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow. In Canada (specifically Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary) and the United States, (specifically California's Central Valley as well as the New York and New Jersey region). In the 1970s, a large wave of emigration of Punjabis (predominately from Pakistan) began to the Middle East, in places such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. There are also large communities in East Africa including the countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Punjabis have also emigrated to Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia including Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong. Of recent times many Punjabis have also moved to Italy.
Main article: List of Punjabi tribes
See also: Punjab § Castes and tribes
The major tribes of West Punjab (Pakistan) are the Jats, Rajputs, Arains, Gujjars and Awans. Prior to the partition in 1947, major tribes of West Punjab also included the Khatris, Aroras and Brahmins.
While in East Punjab (India), Jats are almost 20 per cent of East Punjab's population. The Scheduled Castes constitute almost 32 per cent of its total population and 4.3 per cent of the SCs nationally, official data show. Of more than 35 designated Scheduled Castes in the state, the Mazhabis, the Ravidasias/Ramdasias, the Ad Dharmis, the Valmikis, and the Bazigars together make up around 87 per cent of East Punjab's total Scheduled Caste population. The Ravidasia Hindus and the Ramdasia Sikhs together constitute 26.2 per cent of East Punjab's total Scheduled Caste population. Both Ramdasias and Ravidasias are subgroups of the Chamar and are traditionally linked to leather-related occupations.
Main article: Religion in the Punjab
The Punjabi people first practiced proto-Hinduism, the oldest recorded religion in the Punjab region. The historical Vedic religion constituted the religious ideas and practices in the Punjab during the Vedic period (1500–500 BCE), centered primarily in the worship of Indra.[note 1] The bulk of the Rigveda was composed in the Punjab region between circa 1500 and 1200 BC, while later Vedic scriptures were composed more eastwards, between the Yamuna and Ganges rivers. An ancient Indian law book called the Manusmriti, developed by Brahmin Hindu priests, shaped Punjabi religious life from 200 BC onward.
Later, the spread of Buddhisim and Jainism in the Indian subcontinent saw the growth of Buddhism and Jainism in the Punjab. Islam was introduced via southern Punjab in the 8th century, becoming the majority by the 16th century, via local conversion. There was a small Jain community left in Punjab by the 16th century, while the Buddhist community had largely disappeared by the turn of the 10th century. The region became predominantly Muslim due to missionary Sufi saints whose dargahs dot the landscape of the Punjab region.
The rise of Sikhism in the 1700s saw some Punjabis, both Hindu and Muslim, accepting the new Sikh faith. A number of Punjabis during the colonial period of India became Christians, with all of these religions characterizing the religious diversity now found in the Punjab region.
Due to religious tensions, emigration between Punjabi people started far before the partition and dependable records. Shortly prior to the Partition of India, Punjab Province (British India) had a slight majority Muslim population at about 53.2% in 1941, which was an increase from the previous years.
Due to the partition of 1947, a rapid shift towards religious homogeneity occurred in all districts across the Punjab region owing to the new international border that cut through the province. This rapid demographic shift was primarily due to mass migration and population exchange but also caused by large-scale religious cleansing riots that occurred across the region at the time. According to historical demographer Tim Dyson, in the eastern regions of Punjab that ultimately became Indian Punjab following independence, districts that were 66% Hindu in 1941 became 80% Hindu in 1951; those that were 20% Sikh became 50% Sikh in 1951. Conversely, in the western regions of Punjab that ultimately became Pakistani Punjab, all districts became almost exclusively Muslim by 1951.
As a result of the population exchanges during partition, both parts of Punjab are now relatively homogeneous, as far as religion is concerned. Today the majority of Pakistani Punjabis follow Islam with a small Christian minority, and less Sikh and Hindu populations, while the majority of Indian Punjabis are either Sikhs or Hindus with a Muslim minority. Punjab is also the birthplace of Sikhism and the movement Ahmadiyya.
See also: Punjabi Muslims
Punjabi Muslims are found almost exclusively in Pakistan with 97% of Punjabis who live in Pakistan following Islam, in contrast to Punjabi Sikhs and Punjabi Hindus who predominantly live in India.
Forming the majority of the Punjabi ethnicity in the greater Punjab region, Punjabi Muslims write the Punjabi language under the Perso-Arabic script known as Shahmukhi. With a population of more than 80 million, they are the largest ethnic group in Pakistan and the world's third-largest Islam-adhering ethnicity after Arabs and Bengalis. The majority of Punjabi Muslims are adherents of Sunni Islam, while a minority adhere to Shia Islam and other sects, including the Ahmadiyya community which originated in Punjab during the British Raj.
A Punjabi Muslim of the Ghakkar tribe
Punjabi Muslim of the Tanoli tribe
Punjabi Muslim of Multan
Punjabi Muslim, Firuzpur
See also: Punjabi Hindus
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, millions of Punjabi Hindus (including Hindkowan Hindus and Saraiki Hindus) migrated from West Punjab and North-West Frontier Province, of which many ultimately settled in Delhi. Determined from 1991 and 2015 estimates, Punjabi Hindus form approximately 24 to 35 per cent of Delhi's population;[e][f] based on 2011 official census counts, this amounts to between 4,029,106 and 5,875,779 people.
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. Punjabi Hindus in India use Nāgarī script to write the Hindi and Punjabi languages.
A Hindu Trader of Hazara, ca. 1868-1872
Hindu Carpenters of Lahore, ca.1862-72
Hindus of Multan, ca.1862-72
A Hindu Trader of Lahore, ca.1862-72
A Hindu Kalal of Lahore, ca.1862-72
See also: Punjabi Sikhs
Sikhism from Sikh, meaning a "disciple", or a "learner", is a monotheistic religion originated in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent during the 15th century. The fundamental beliefs of Sikhism, articulated in the sacred scripture Guru Granth Sahib, include faith and meditation on the name of the one creator, unity and equality of all humankind, engaging in selfless service, striving for social justice for the benefit and prosperity of all, and honest conduct and livelihood while living a householder's life. Being one of the youngest amongst the major world religions, with 25-28 million adherents worldwide, Sikhism is the fifth- largest religion in the world.
The Sikhs form a majority of close to 58% in the modern day Punjab, India.
Gurmukhi is the writing script used by Sikhs and for scriptures of Sikhism. It is used in official documents in parts of India and elsewhere. The tenth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh (1666 – 1708) established the Khalsa Brotherhood, and set for them a code of conduct.
See also: Punjabi Christians
Most of the modern Punjabi Christians are descended from converts during British rule; initially, conversions to Christianity came from the "upper levels of Punjab society, from the privileged and prestigious", including "high caste" Hindu families, as well as Muslim families. However, other modern Punjabi Christians have converted from the Chuhra group. The Churas were largely converted to Christianity in North India during the British Raj. The vast majority were converted from the Hindu Chura communities of Punjab, and to a lesser extent Mazhabi Sikhs; under the influence of enthusiastic army officers and Christian missionaries. Large numbers of Mazhabi Sikhs were also converted in the Moradabad district and the Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh. Rohilkhand saw a mass conversion of its entire population of 4500 Mazhabi Sikhs into the Methodist Church. Sikh organisations became alarmed at the rate of conversions among high caste Sikh families, and as a result, they responded by immediately dispatching Sikh missionaries to counteract the conversions.
Main article: History of Punjab
Punjabi culture grew out of the settlements along the five rivers, which served as an important route to the Near East as early as the ancient Indus Valley civilization, dating back to 3000 BCE. Agriculture has been the major economic feature of the Punjab and has therefore formed the foundation of Punjabi culture, with one's social status being determined by landownership. The Punjab emerged as an important agricultural region, especially following the Green Revolution during the mid-1960's to the mid-1970's, has been described as the "breadbasket of both India and Pakistan". Besides being known for agriculture and trade, the Punjab is also a region that over the centuries has experienced many foreign invasions and consequently has a long-standing history of warfare, as the Punjab is situated on the principal route of invasions through the northwestern frontier of the Indian subcontinent, which promoted to adopt a lifestyle that entailed engaging in warfare to protect the land. Warrior culture typically elevates the value of the community's honour (izzat), which is highly esteemed by Punjabis.
Main article: Punjabi language
Punjabi, sometimes spelled Panjabi,[g] is an Indo-Aryan language natively spoken by the Punjabi people.
Punjabi is the most popular first language in Pakistan, with 80.5 million native speakers as per the 2017 census, and the 11th most popular in India, with 31.1 million native speakers, as per the 2011 census.
The language is spoken among a significant overseas diaspora, particularly in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
In Pakistan, Punjabi is written using the Shahmukhi alphabet, based on the Perso-Arabic script; in India, it is written using the Gurmukhi alphabet, based on the Indic scripts. Punjabi is unusual among the Indo-Aryan languages and the broader Indo-European language family in its usage of lexical tone.
Punjabi developed from Prakrit languages and later Apabhraṃśa (Sanskrit: अपभ्रंश, 'deviated' or 'non-grammatical speech') From 600 BCE, Sanskrit was advocated as official language and Prakrit gave birth to many regional languages in different parts of India. All these languages are called Prakrit (Sanskrit: प्राकृत, prākṛta) collectively. Paishachi, Shauraseni and Gandhari were Prakrit languages, which were spoken in north and north-western India and Punjabi developed from one of these Prakrits. Later in northern India, these Prakrits gave rise to their own Apabhraṃśa, a descendant of Prakrit. Punjabi emerged as an Apabhraṃśa, a degenerated form of Prakrit, in the 7th century CE and became stable by the 10th century. The earliest writings in Punjabi belong to Nath Yogi era from 9th to 14th century CE. The language of these compositions is morphologically closer to Shauraseni Apbhramsa, though vocabulary and rhythm is surcharged with extreme colloquialism and folklore. The Arabic and modern Persian influence in the historical Punjab region began with the late first millennium Muslim conquests on the Indian subcontinent. Many Persian and Arabic words were incorporated in Punjabi. So Punjabi relies heavily on Persian and Arabic words which are used with a liberal approach to language. After the fall of the Sikh empire, Urdu was made the official language of Punjab (in Pakistani Punjab, it is still the primary official language), and influenced the language as well.
Punjabis also speak several languages and dialects related to Punjabi, such as the Pothwari spoken in the Pothohar region of Northern Pakistani Punjab
Main article: Punjabi clothing
Main article: Dastar
A Dastar is an item of headgear associated with Sikhism and is an important part of the Punjabi and Sikh culture. Among the Sikhs, the dastār is an article of faith that represents equality, honour, self-respect, courage, spirituality, and piety. The Khalsa Sikh men and women, who keep the Five Ks, wear the turban to cover their long, uncut hair (kesh). The Sikhs regard the dastār as an important part of the unique Sikh identity. After the ninth Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadur, was sentenced to death by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru created the Khalsa and gave five articles of faith, one of which is unshorn hair, which the dastār covers. Prior to Sikhi, only kings, royalty, and those of high stature wore turbans, but Sikh Gurus adopted the practice to assert equality and sovereignty among people.
Main article: Shalwar kameez
A Punjabi suit that features two items - a qameez (top), salwar (bottom) is the traditional attire of the Punjabi people. Shalwars are trousers which are atypically wide at the waist but which narrow to a cuffed bottom. They are held up by a drawstring or elastic belt, which causes them to become pleated around the waist. The trousers can be wide and baggy, or they can be cut quite narrow, on the bias. The kameez is a long shirt or tunic. The side seams are left open below the waist-line (the opening known as the chaak[note 2]), which gives the wearer greater freedom of movement. The kameez is usually cut straight and flat; older kameez use traditional cuts; modern kameez are more likely to have European-inspired set-in sleeves. The combination garment is sometimes called salwar kurta, salwar suit, or Punjabi suit. The shalwar-kameez is a widely-worn, and national dress, of Pakistan. When women wear the shalwar-kameez in some regions, they usually wear a long scarf or shawl called a dupatta around the head or neck. The dupatta is also employed as a form of modesty—although it is made of delicate material, it obscures the upper body's contours by passing over the shoulders. For Muslim women, the dupatta is a less stringent alternative to the chador or burqa (see hijab and purdah); for Sikh and Hindu women, the dupatta is useful when the head must be covered, as in a temple or the presence of elders. Everywhere in South Asia, modern versions of the attire have evolved; the shalwars are worn lower down on the waist, the kameez have shorter length, with higher splits, lower necklines and backlines, and with cropped sleeves or without sleeves.
Bhangra describes dance-oriented popular music with Punjabi rhythms, developed since the 1980s. Sufi music and Qawali, commonly practiced in Punjab, Pakistan; are other important genres in the Punjab region.
Main article: Punjabi dance
Punjabi dances are performed either by men or by women. The dances range from solo to group dances and also sometimes dances are done along with traditional musical instruments. Bhangra is one of the most famous dances originating in the Punjab by farmers during the harvesting season. It was mainly performed while farmers did agricultural chores. As they did each farming activity they would perform bhangra moves on the spot. This allowed them to finish their job in a pleasurable way. For many years, farmers performed bhangra to showcase a sense of accomplishment and to welcome the new harvesting season. Traditional bhangra is performed in a circle and is performed using traditional dance steps. Traditional bhangra is now also performed on occasions other than during the harvest season.
Main article: Punjabi folklore
The folk tales of Punjab include Heer Ranjha, Mirza Sahiban, Sohni Mahiwal.
The Punjabi Muslims typically observe the Islamic festivals. The Punjabi Sikhs and Hindus typically do not observe these, and instead observe Lohri, Basant and Vaisakhi as seasonal festivals. The Punjabi Muslim festivals are set according to the lunar Islamic calendar (Hijri), and the date falls earlier by 10 to 13 days from year to year. The Hindu and Sikh Punjabi seasonal festivals are set on specific dates of the luni-solar Bikrami calendar or Punjabi calendar and the date of the festival also typically varies in the Gregorian calendar but stays within the same two Gregorian months.
Some Punjabi Muslims participate in the traditional, seasonal festivals of the Punjab region: Baisakhi, Basant and to a minor scale Lohri, but this is controversial. Islamic clerics and some politicians have attempted to ban this participation because of the religious basis of the Punjabi festivals, and they being declared haram (forbidden in Islam).
According to Pippa Virdee, the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan has shadowed the sense of loss of what used to be a homeland nation for the Punjabi people in the Indian subcontinent and its diaspora. Since the mid-1980s, there has been a drive for Punjabi cultural revival, consolidation of Punjabi ethnicity and a virtual Punjabi nation. According to Giorgio Shani, this is predominantly a Sikh ethno-nationalism movement led by some Sikh organizations, and a view that is not shared by Punjabi people organizations belonging to other religions.
Punjabi people are the ethnic majority in the Punjab region of Pakistan and Northern India accounting for 44.7% of the population in Pakistan.
We now estimate the Punjabi community at about 700,000, with Punjabi established as the second language certainly in London and possibly within the United Kingdom.
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The word's origin can perhaps be traced to panca nada, Sanskrit for "five rivers" and the name of a region mentioned in the ancient epic the Mahabharata.
The word Punjab is a compound of two words-Panj (Five) and aab (Water), thus signifying the land of five waters or rivers. This origin can perhaps be traced to panch nada, Sanskrit for 'Five rivers' the word used before the advent of Muslims with a knowledge of Persian to describe the meeting point of the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej rivers, before they joined the Indus.
The Panjáb, the Pentapotamia of the Greek historians, the north-western region of the empire of Hindostán, derives its name from two Persian words, panj (five), an áb (water, having reference to the five rivers which confer on the country its distinguishing features."
The earliest mention of five rivers in the collective sense was found in Yajurveda and a word Panchananda was used, which is a Sanskrit word to describe a land where five rivers meet. [...] In the later period the word Pentapotamia was used by the Greeks to identify this land. (Penta means 5 and potamia, water ___ the land of five rivers) Muslim Historians implied the word "Punjab " for this region. Again it was not a new word because in Persian-speaking areas, there are references of this name given to any particular place where five rivers or lakes meet.
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The Punjab, to say the least, was less Brahmanical. It was an ancient centre of the worship of Indra, who was always regarded as an enemy by the Bráhmans; and it was also a stronghold of Buddhism.
In the settlements of the Punjab, Indra thus advanced to the first place among the Vedic divinities.
The Rig Veda and the Upanishads, which belonged to the Vedic religion, were a precursor of Hinduism, both of which were composed in Punjab.
Thapar said Buddhism was very popular in Punjab during the Mauryan and post-Mauryan period. Bookended between Gandhara in Taxila on the one side where Buddhism was practised on a large scale and Mathura on another side where Buddhism, Jainism and Puranic religions were practised, this religion flourished in the state. But after the Gupta period, Buddhism began to decline.
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First, Islam was introduced into the southern Punjab in the opening decades of the eighth century. By the sixteenth century, Muslims were the majority in the region and an elaborate network of mosques and mausoleums marked the landscape. Local converts constituted the majority of this Muslim community, and as far for the mechanisms of conversion, the sources of the period emphasize the recitation of the Islamic confession of faith (shahada), the performance of the circumsicion (indri vaddani), and the ingestion of cow-meat (bhas khana).
While Punjabi Hindu society was relatively well established, there was also a small but vibrant Jain community in the Punjab. Buddhist communities, however, had largely disappeared by the turn of the tenth century.
With the Muslim conquest of Punjab there was a flow of Sufis and other preachers who came to spread Islam. Much of the advance of Islam was due to these preachers.
Started in 1978, Derawal Nagar was a colony of those who had migrated from Dera Ismile Khan in Northwest Frontier provinces.
Christian conversion followed patterns of previous religious inroads, striking at the two sections of the social structure. Initial conversions came from the upper levels of Punjab society, from the privileged and prestigious. Few in number and won individually, high caste converts accounted for far more public attention and reaction to Christian conversion than the numerically superior successes among the depressed. Repeatedly, conversion or the threat of conversion among students at mission schools, or members of the literate castes, produced a public uproar.
The Anglican mission work in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent was primarily carried out by CMS and USPG in the Punjab Province (Gabriel 2007, 10), which covered most parts of the present state of Pakistan, particularly Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi (Gibbs 1984, 178-203). A native subcontinental church began to take shape with people from humbler backgrounds, while converts from high social caste preferred to attend the worship with the English (Gibbs 1984, 284).
Those Christians who were converted from the "high caste" families both Hindus and Muslims look down upon those Christians who were converted from the low caste, specially from the untouchables.
'In 1881 there were 3,976 Christians in the Punjab. By 1891 their number had increased to 19,547, by 1901 to 37,980, by 1911 to 163,994 and by 1921 to 315,931 persons' (see Figure 8.1). However, the Sikhs were more alarmed when some of the high caste families starting converting.
The shalwar kamiz was worn traditionally by Muslim women and gradually adopted by many Hindu women following the Muslim conquest of northern India. Eventually, it became the regional style for parts of northern India, as in Punjab where it has been worn for centuries.
Even highly educated women pursuing careers continue to wear traditional dress in urban India, although men of similar status long ago adopted Western attire. The forms of dress most popular with urban Indian women are the sari, the long wrapped and draped dress-like garment, worn throughout India, and the salwar-kameez or kurta-pyjama, a two-piece suit garment, sometimes also called Punjabi because of its region of origin. Whereas the sari can be considered the national dress of Indian women, the salwar-kameez, though originally from the north, has been adopted all over India as more comfortable attire than the sari.
Salwar/Shalwar: A pair of light, loose, pleated trousers, usually tapering to a tight fit around the ankles, worn by women from South Asia typically with a kameez (the two together being a salwar kameez). Origin From Persian and Urdu šalwār.
Kameez: A long tunic worn by many people from South Asia, typically with a salwar or churidars. Origin: From Arabic qamīṣ, perhaps from late Latin camisia (see chemise).
You can buy an entire three-piece salwar suit, or a two-piece suit that consists of either a readymade kurta or a kurta cloth piece, each with a matching dupatta. For these, you must have the salwar pants stitched from cloth you buy separately. A third option would be to buy a two-piece ensemble, consisting of the top and pants, leaving you the task of buying an appropriate dupatta, or using one you already own, or buying a strip of cloth and having it dyed to your desire. The end result will always be a three-piece ensemble, but a customer may start with one piece (only the kurta) or two pieces (kurta and pants, or kurta and dupatta), and exercise her creativity and fashion sense to end up with the complete salwar kurta outfit.
The salwar-kameez is a form of dress that has been adopted widely in Punjab and is now known in English as the Punjabi suit; J. P. S. Uberoi suggests that the salwar-kameez is an Afghani import to Punjab (1998 personal communication). Punjabi forms of dress are therefore constructs or inventions of tradition rather than having historical veracity.
The village's men and boys largely dress in sombre colours in the loose trousers and long shirt (shalwar kameez) worn across Pakistan. Older men often wear woollen Chitrali caps (pakol), waistcoats and long coats (chugha), made by Chitrali tailors (darzi) who skills are renowned across Pakistan.
the shalwar kameez happens to be worn by just about everyone in Pakistan, including in all of Gilgit-Baltistan.
What is common in all the cases is the wearing of shalwar, kameez, and dupatta, the national dress of Pakistan.
Muslim and Punjabi women—whether Muslim, Sikh, or Hindu—often wear the dupatta over the head to create a modest look while framing the face with color. When entering a temple, Hindu women might comparably use their dupattas to cover their heads. Though the dupatta is often made of flimsy cloth and does not actually cover the body, its presence implies modesty, like many of the outer garments worn by Muslim women that do not cover much but do provide a symbolic extra layer, ...
The Pakistani National dress worn by women is Shalwar Kameez. This consists of a long tunic (Kameez) teamed with a wide legged trouser (Shalwar) that skims in at the bottom accompanied by a duppata, which is a less stringent alternative to the burqa. Modern versions of this National dress have evolved into less modest versions. Shalwar have become more low cut so that the hips are visible and are worn with a shorter length of Kameez which has high splits and may have a lowcut neckline and backline as well as being sleeveless or having cropped sleeves.