The Anglish Moot
Untranslated Page This article has not yet been translated into Anglish. Please translate it as soon as possible.

Punjabi (English/pʌnˈdʒɑːbi/;[5] Punjabi: [pənˈdʒaːbːi], ਪੰਜਾਬੀ, پن٘جابی) is an Indo-Aryan tung with more than 125 million native speakers in the Indish subcontinent and around the world. It is the mothertung of the Punjabi people, an ethnolinguistic group of the cultural region of Punjab, which encompasses northwest India and eastern Pakistan.

Punjabi is the most widely spoken tung in Pakistan,[2] the 11th most widely spoken tung in Indland and the third most-spoken mothertung in the Indish subcontinent. It is also the fifth most-spoken mothertung in Canada after EnglishFrenchMandarin and Cantonish.

Punjabi is unusual among Indo-European tungs in its use of lexical tone;[6][7][8] see § Tone below for forebisens. Gurmukhi is the official script for the tung in Punjab, India while Shahmukhi is used in Punjab, Pakistan; other national and local scripts have also been in use historically and currently, as discussed in § Writing way.



The word Punjabi (sometimes spelled Panjabi) has been derived from the word Panj-āb, Persish for "Five Waters", referring to the five major eastern tributaries of the Indus River. The name of the region was introduced by the Turko-Persish conquerors[9] of South Asey and was a translation of the Sanskrit name for the region, Panchanada, which means "Land of the Five Rivers".[10][11] Panj is a sibword of Sanskrit पञ्च ('pañca') and Greekish πέντε (pénte) and Lithuish Penki - "five", and "āb" is a sibword of Sanskrit अप् (áp) and with the Av- of Avon. The historical Punjab region, now divided between India and Pakistan, is defined physiographically by the Indus River and these five tributaries. One of the five, the Beas River, is a tributary of another, the Sutlej.


Tilla Jogian, district Jehlum, Punjab, Pakistan a hilltop associated with many Nath jogis (considered among compilers of earlier Punjabi works)

Punjabi developed from Sanskrit through Prakrit tungs and later Apabhraṃśa (Sanskrit: अपभ्रंश; corruption or corrupted speech)[12] From 600 BC Sanskrit gave birth to many regional tungs in different parts of India. All these tungs are called Prakrit (Sanskrit: प्राकृत prākṛta) collectively. Shauraseni Prakrit was one of these Prakrit tungs, which was spoken in north and north-western India and Punjabi and western dialects of Hindi developed from this Prakrit. Later in northern India Shauraseni Prakrit gave rise to Shauraseni Aparbhsha, a descendant of Prakrit. Punjabi emerged as an Apabhramsha, a degenerated form of Prakrit, in the 7th yearhundred A.D. and became stable by the 10th yearhundred.[13][14][14][15][15] By the 10th yearhundred, many Nath shops were associated with earlier Punjabi works.[citation needed]

Arabish and Persish influence on Punjabi[]

Arabish and Persish influence in the historical Punjab region began with the late first millennium Muslim conquests on the Indish subcontinent.[16] The Persish tung was introduced in the subcontinent a few centuries later by various Turko-Persish dynasties. Many Persish and Arabish words were incorporated in Punjabi.[17][18] It is noteworthy that the Hindustani tung is divided into Hindi, with more Sanskritisation, and Urdu, with more Persishening, but in Punjabi both Sanskrit and Persish words are used with a liberal approach to speech. Later, it was lexically influenced by Portuguese and English, though these influences have been minor in comparison to Persish and Arabish.[19]

English Gurmukhi-based (Punjab, India) Shahmukhi-based (Punjab, Pakistan)
President ਰਾਸ਼ਟਰਪਤੀ (rāshtarpatī) صدرمملکت (sadar-e mumlikat)
Article ਲੇਖ (lēkh) مضمون (mazmūn)
Prime Minister ਪਰਧਾਨ ਮੰਤਰੀ (pardhān mantarī)* وزیراعظم (wazīr-e aʿzam)
Family ਪਰਵਾਰ (parvār)*

ਟੱਬਰ (ṭabbar)
ਲਾਣਾ (lāṇā)

خاندان (kḥāndān)

ٹبّر (ṭabbar)

Philosophy ਫ਼ਲਸਫ਼ਾ (falsafā)

ਦਰਸ਼ਨ (darshan)

فلسفہ (falsafā)
Capital ਰਾਜਧਾਨੀ (rājdhānī) دارالحکومت (dārul hakūmat)
Viewer ਦਰਸ਼ਕ (darshak) ناظرین (nāzarīn)
Listener ਸਰੋਤਾ (sarotā) سامع (sāma')
  • Note: In more formal contexts, hypercorrect Sanskritized versions of these words (ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ pradhān for ਪਰਧਾਨ pardhān and ਪਰਿਵਾਰ parivār for ਪਰਵਾਰ parvār) may be used.

Modern times[]

  • Punjabi is spoken in many dialects in an area from Islamabad to Delhi. The Majhi dialect has been adopted as standard Punjabi in Pakistan and India for education, media etc. The Majhi dialect originated in the Majha region of the Punjab. The Majha region consists of several eastern districts of Pakistani Punjab and in India around Amritsar, Gurdaspur, and surrounding districts. The two most important cities in this area are Lahore and Amritsar.
  • In India technical words in Standard Punjabi are loaned from Sanskrit similarly to other major Indish tungs, but it generously uses Arabish, Persish, and English words also in the official tung. In India, Punjabi is written in the Gurmukhī script in offices, schools, and media. Gurmukhi is the official standard script for Punjabi, though it is often unofficially written in the Devanagari or Leeden scripts due to influence from Hindi and English, India's two primary official tungs at the Union-level.
  • In Pakistan, Punjabi is generally written using the Shahmukhī script, created from a modification of the Persish Nastaʿlīq script. In Pakistan, Punjabi loans technical words from the Persish and Arabish tungs, just like Urdu does.

Geographic distribution[]

Punjabi is the most widely spoken tung in Pakistan, the eleventh most widely spoken in India and spoken by Punjabi diaspora in various countries.


Punjabi is the most widely spoken tung in Pakistan, being the mothertung of 44% of its population. It is the provincial tung in the Punjab Province.

Census history of Punjabi speakers in Pakistan[20]
Year Population of Pakistan Percentage Punjabi speakers
1951 33,740,167 57.08% 22,632,905
1961 42,880,378 56.39% 28,468,282
1972 65,309,340 56.11% 43,176,004
1981 84,253,644 48.17% 40,584,980
1998 132,352,279 44.15% 58,433,431

Beginning with the 1981 census, speakers of Saraiki and Hindko were no longer included in the total numbers for Punjabi, which could explain the apparent decrease.


See also: States of India by Punjabi speakers

"Jallianwala Bagh" written in Hindi, Punjabi, and English in Amritsar, India.

Punjabi is spoken as a mothertung, second tung, or third tung by about 30 million people in India. Punjabi is the official tung of the Indish state of Punjab. It is additional official in Haryana and Delhi. Some of its major urban centres in northern India are Ambala, Ludhiana, Patiala, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Bathinda and Delhi.

Census history of Punjabi speakers in India[21]
Year Population of India Punjabi speakers in India Percentage
1971 548,159,652 14,108,443 2.57%
1981 665,287,849 19,611,199 2.95%
1991 838,583,988 23,378,744 2.79%
2001 1,028,610,328 29,102,477 2.83%

Punjabi diaspora[]

Signs in Punjabi (along with English and Chinese) of New Democratic Party of British Columbia, Canada during 2009 elections

Punjabi is also spoken as a minority tung in several other countries where Punjabi people have emigrated in large numbers, such as the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada, where it is the fourth-most-commonly used tung.[22] There were 76 million Punjabi speakers in Pakistan in 2008,[23] 33 million in India in 2011,[24] 368,000 in Canada in 2006,[25] and smaller numbers in other countries.

Major dialects[]

Majhi (Standard Punjabi)[]

The Majhi dialect spoken around Amritsar and Lahore is Punjabi's prestige dialect. Majhi is spoken in the heart of Punjab in the region of Majha, which spans Lahore, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Kasur, Tarn Taran, Faisalabad, Nankana Sahib, Pathankot, Okara, Pakpattan, Sahiwal, Narowal, Sheikhupura, Sialkot, Chiniot, Gujranwala and Gujrat districts. The standard Punjabi tung is based on Majhi.

Majhi retains the nasal consonants /ŋ/ and /ɲ/, which have been superseded elsewhere by non-nasals /ɡ/ and /d͡ʒ/ respectively.[citation needed]


Shahpuri dialect (also known as Sargodha dialect) is mostly spoken in Pakistani Punjab. Its name is derived from former Shahpur District (now Shahpur Tehsil, being part of Sargodha District). It is spoken throughout a widespread area, spoken in Sargodha and Khushab Districts and also spoken in neighbouring Mianwali and Bhakkar Districts. It is mainly spoken on western end of Indus River to Chenab river crossing Jhelum river.[26]


Malwai is spoken in the southern part of Indish Punjab and also in Bahawalnagar and Vehari districts of Pakistan. Main areas are faridkot, Barnala, Ludhiana, Patiala, Ambala, Bathinda, Mansa, Sangrur, Malerkotla, Fazilka, Ferozepur, Moga. Malwa is the southern and central part of present-day Indish Punjab. It also includes the Punjabi speaking northern areas of Haryana, viz. Ambala, |Hissar], Narnaul etc. Not to be confused with the Malvi tung, which shares its name.


Doabi is spoken in both the Indish Punjab as well as parts of Pakistan Punjab owing to post-1947 migration of Muslim populace from East Punjab. The word "Do Aabi" means "the land between two rivers" and this dialect was historically spoken between the rivers of the Beas and the Sutlej in the region called Doaba. Regions it is presently spoken in include the Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala districts in Indish Punjab, specifically in the areas known as the Dona and Manjki, as well as the Toba Tek Singh and Faisalabad districts in Pakistan Punjab where the dialect is known as Faisalabadi Punjabi.


Puadh is a region of Punjab and parts of Haryana between the Satluj and Ghaggar rivers. The part lying south, south-east and east of Rupnagar adjacent to Ambala District (Haryana) is Puadhi. The Puadh extends from that part of the Rupnagar District which lies near Satluj to beyond the Ghaggar river in the east up to Kala Amb, which is at the border of the states of Himachal pradesh and Haryana. Parts of Fatehgarh Sahib district, and parts of Patiala districts like Rajpura are also part of Puadh. The Puadhi dialect is spoken over a large area in present Punjab as well as Haryana. In Punjab, Kharar, Kurali, Ropar, Nurpurbedi, Morinda, Pail, Rajpura and Samrala are areas where Puadhi is spoken and the dialect area also includes Pinjore, Kalka, Ismailabad, Pehowa to Bangar area in Fatehabad district.


Jhangochi spoken in Khanewal and Jhang districts is actually subdialect of Jatki[disambiguation needed]/Jangli. 'Jhangochi' word has limitations as it doesn't represent whole bar region of Punjab.


Jatki or Jangli is a dialect of native tribes of areas whose names are often suffixed with 'Bar' derived from jungle bar before irrigation system arrived in the start of the 20th yearhundred, as a forebisen, Sandal Bar, Kirana Bar, Neeli Bar, Ganji Bar. Native people called their dialect as Jatki instead of Jangli. Jatki dialect is mostly spoken by Indigenous peoples of Faisalabad, Jhang, Toba Tek Singh, Chiniot, Nankana Sahib, Hafizabad, Mandi Bahauddin, Sargodha, Sahiwal, Okara, Pakpattan, Bahawalnagar, Vehari and Khanewal districts of Pakistani Punjab. It is also spoken in few areas of Sheikhupura, Muzaffargarh, Lodhran' Bahawalpur districts and Fazilka district of Indish Punjab.


West of Chenaab river in Jhang district of Pakistani Punjab the dialect of Jhangochi merges with Thalochi and resultant dialect is Chenavari. Name is derived from Chenaab river.


While a vowel length distinction between short and long vowels exists, reflected in modern Gurmukhi orthographical conventions, it is secondary to the vowel quality contrast between centralised vowels /ɪ ə ʊ/ and peripheral vowels /iː eː ɛː aː ɔː oː uː/ in terms of phonetic significance.[27]

Front Near-front Central Near-back Back
Close iː ਈ اِی uː ਊ اُو
Near-close ɪ ਇ اِ ʊ ਉ اُ
Close-mid eː ਏ اے oː ਓ او
Mid ə ਅ اَ
Open-mid ɛː ਐ اَے ɔː ਔ اَو
Open aː ਆ آ

The peripheral vowels have nasal analogues.[28]

Labial Dental/


Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m ਮ م n̪ ਨ ن ɳ ਣ (ڻ/ݨ) ɲ ਞ ں ŋ ਙ ں


tenuis p ਪ پ t̪ ਤ ت ʈ ਟ ٹ t͡ʃ ਚ چ k ਕ ک
aspirated pʰ ਫ پھ t̪ʰ ਥ تھ ʈʰ ਠ ٹھ t͡ʃʰ ਛ چھ kʰ ਖ کھ
voiced b ਬ ب d̪ ਦ د ɖ ਡ ڈ d͡ʒ ਜ ج ɡ ਗ گ
Fricative voiceless (f ਫ਼ ف) s ਸ (س/ص/ث) ʃ ਸ਼ ش (x ਖ਼ خ)
voiced (z ਜ਼ ز) (ɣ ਗ਼ غ) ɦ ਹ (ح/ہ)
Rhotic ɾ~r ਰ ر ɽ ੜ ڑ
Approximant ʋ ਵ و l ਲ ل ɭ ਲ਼ ݪ j ਯ ی

The three retroflex consonants /ɳ ɽ ɭ/ do not occur initially, and the nasals /ŋ ɲ/ occur only as allophones of /n/ in clusters with velars and palatals. The well-established phoneme /ʃ/ may be realised allophonically as the voiceless retroflex fricative /ʂ/ in learned clusters with retroflexes. The phonemic status of the fricatives /f z x ɣ/ varies with familiarity with Hindustani norms, with the pairs /f pʰ/, /z d͡ʒ/, /x kʰ/, and /ɣ g/ systematically distinguished in educated speech.[29] The retroflex lateral is most commonly analysed as an approximant as opposed to a flap.[30][31][32]


Punjabi is a tonal tung and in many words there is a choice of up to three tones, high-falling, low-rising, and level (neutral):[33][34][35]

Gurmukhi Shahmukhi Transliteration Tone Meaning
ਘਰ گھر kàr high-falling house
ਕਰ੍ਹ کرھ kár low-rising dandruff
ਕਰ کر kar level do
ਘੋੜਾ گوڑا kòṛā high-falling horse
ਕੋੜ੍ਹਾ کوڑھا kóṛā low-rising leper
ਕੋੜਾ کوڑا koṛā level whip

Level tone is found in about 75% of words and is described by some as absence of tone.[33] There are also some words which are said to have rising tone in the first syllable and falling in the second. (Some writers describe this as a fourth tone.)[33] However, a recent acoustic study of six Punjabi speakers in America found no evidence of a separate falling tone following a medial consonant.[36]

  • ਮੋਢਾ موڈھا móḍà (rising-falling) "shoulder"



Some Punjabi distinct tones for gh, jh, ḍh, dh, bh

It is considered that these tones arose when voiced aspirated consonants (gh, jh, ḍh, dh, bh) lost their aspiration. At the beginning of a word they became voiceless unaspirated consonants (k, c, ṭ, t, p) followed by a high-falling tone; medially or finally they became voiced unaspirated consonants (g, j, ḍ, d, b), preceded by a low-rising tone. (The development of a high-falling tone apparently did not take place in every word, but only in those which historically had a long vowel.)[35]

The presence of an [h] (although the [h] is now silent or very weakly pronounced except word-initially) word-finally (and sometimes medially) also often causes a rising tone before it, as a forebisen cá(h) "tea".[37]

The Gurmukhi script which was developed in the 16th yearhundred has separate letters for voiced aspirated sounds, so it is thought that the change in pronunciation of the consonants and development of tones may have taken place since that time.[35]

Some other tungs in Pakistan have also been found to have tonal distinctions, including Burushaski, Gujari, Hindko, Kalami, Shina, and Torwali.[38]


Punjabi has a canonical word order of SOV (subject–object–tideword).[39] It has postpositions rather than foresettings.[40]

Punjabi distinguishes two kins, two atells, and five abyings of direct, oblique, chyingly, atbraidingly, and findingly/toolfall. The atbraidingly abying occurs only in the singular, in free variation with oblique abying plus atbraidingly postposition, and the findingly/toolfall is usually confined to set adverbial expressions.[41]

Ekends, when declinable, are marked for the kin, atell, and abying of the names they qualify.[42] There is also a T-V distinction. Upon the inflectional abying is built a system of particles known as postpositions, which parallel English's foresettings. It is their use with a name or tideword that is what necessitates the name or tideword taking the oblique abying, and it is with them that the locus of grammatical function or "abying-marking" then lies. The Punjabi tideword system is largely structured around a combination of aspect and tide/mood. Like the nominal system, the Punjabi tideword takes a single inflectional suffix, and is often followed by successive layers of elements like auxiliary tidewords and postpositions to the right of the lexical base.[43]

The grammar of the Punjabi tung concerns the word order, abying marking, tideword theedness, and other morphological and syntactic structures of the Punjabi tung.

Writing systems[]

The Punjabi tung is written in multiple scripts (a phenomenon known as synchronic digraphia). Each of the major scripts currently in use is typically associated with a particular religious group,[44][45] although the association is not absolute or exclusive.[46] In India, Punjabi Sikhs use Gurmukhi, a script of the Brahmic family, which has official status in the state of Punjab. In Pakistan, Punjabi Muslims use Shahmukhi, a variant of the Perse-Arabish script and closely related to the Urdu staffrow. The Punjabi Hindus in India had a preference for Devanagari, another Brahmic script also used for Hindi, and in the first decades since independence raised objections to the uniform adoption of Gurmukhi in the state of Punjab,[47] but most have now switched to Gurmukhi[48] and so the use of Devanagari is rare.[49]

Historically, various local Brahmic scripts including Laṇḍā and its descendants were also in use.[49][50]

The Punjabi Braille is used by the visually impaired.

Sample text[]

This sample text was taken from the Punjabi Wikipedia article on Lahore.

Gurmukhi: ਲਹੌਰ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨੀ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਦੀ ਰਾਜਧਾਨੀ ਹੈ । ਲੋਕ ਗਿਣਤੀ ਦੇ ਨਾਲ ਕਰਾਚੀ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਅਦ ਲਹੌਰ ਦੂਜਾ ਸਭ ਤੋਂ ਵੱਡਾ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਹੈ । ਲਹੌਰ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਦਾ ਸਿਆਸੀ, ਰਹਤਲੀ ਅਤੇ ਪੜ੍ਹਾਈ ਦਾ ਗੜ੍ਹ ਹੈ ਅਤੇ ਇਸੇ ਲਈ ਇਹਨੂੰ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਦਾ ਦਿਲ ਵੀ ਕਿਹਾ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ । ਲਹੌਰ ਰਾਵੀ ਦਰਿਆ ਦੇ ਕੰਢੇ 'ਤੇ ਵਸਦਾ ਹੈ । ਇਸਦੀ ਲੋਕ ਗਿਣਤੀ ਇੱਕ ਕਰੋੜ ਦੇ ਨੇੜੇ ਹੈ |


لہور پاکستانی پنجاب دا دارالحکومت اے۔ لوک گݨتی دے نال کراچی توں بعد لہور دوجا سبھ توں وڈا شہر اے۔ لہور پاکستان دا سیاسی، رہتلی اتے پڑھائی دا گڑھ اے اتے، اسے لئی ایھنوں پاکستان دا دل وی کیھا جاندا اے۔ لہور راوی دریا دے کنڈھے تے وسدا اے۔ اسدی لوک گݨتی اک کروڑ دے نیڑے اے۔

Transliteration: lahaur pākistānī panjāb dī rājtā̀ni/dārul hakūmat ài. lok giṇtī de nāḷ karācī tõ bāad lahaur dūjā sáb tõ vaḍḍā šáir ài. lahaur pākistān dā siāsī, rátalī ate paṛā̀ī dā gáṛ ài te ise laī ínū̃ pākistān dā dil vī kihā jāndā ài. lahaur rāvī dariā de káṇḍè te vasdā ài. isdī lok giṇtī ikk karoṛ de neṛe ài.

IPA: [ləɦɔːɾᵊ paːkɪst̪aːniː pənd͡ʒaːbᵊ d̪iː ɾaːd͡ʒᵊt̪àːni: / d̪aːɾəl hʊkuːmət̪ ɦɛ̀ː ‖ lo:kᵊ ɡɪɳᵊt̪iː d̪e naːlᵊ kəɾaːt͡ʃiː t̪õ: baːəd̪ᵊ ləɦɔːɾᵊ d̪uːd͡ʒaː sə́bᵊ t̪õ: ʋəɖːaː ʃəɦɪɾ ɦɛ̀ː ‖ ləɦɔːɾᵊ paːkɪst̪aːnᵊ d̪aː sɪaːsiː | ɾə́ɦt̪əliː ət̪e: pəɽàːiː d̪aː ɡə́ɽ ɦɛ̀ː ət̪e: ɪse: ləiː ɪ́ɦnū̃ paːkɪst̪aːnᵊ d̪aː d̪ɪlᵊ ʋiː kɪɦaː d͡ʒa:nd̪aː ɛ̀ː ‖ ləɦɔːɾᵊ ɾaːʋiː d̪əɾɪa: d̪e: kə́ɳɖe: t̪e: ʋəsᵊd̪aː ɛ̀ː ‖ ɪsᵊd̪iː lo:kᵊ ɡɪɳᵊt̪iː ɪkːᵊ kəɾo:ɽᵊ d̪e: ne:ɽe: ɛ̀ː ‖]

Translation: Lahore is the capital city of Pakistani Punjab. After Karachi, Lahore is the second largest city. Lahore is Pakistan's political, cultural, and educational hub, and so it is also said to be the heart of Pakistan. Lahore lies on the bank of the Ravi River. Its population is close to ten million people.

Literature development[]

Medieval era, Mughal and Sikh period[]

  • The earliest Punjabi literature is found in the fragments of writings of the 11th yearhundred Nath yogis Gorakshanath and Charpatnah which is primarily spiritual and mystical in tone.[citation needed]
  • Fariduddin Ganjshakar (1179-1266) is generally recognised as the first major shop of the Punjabi tung.[51] Roughly from the 12th yearhundred to the 19th yearhundred, many great Sufi hallows and shops preached in the Punjabi tung, the most prominent being Bulleh Shah. Punjabi Sufi leethcraft also developed under Shah Hussain (1538–1599), Sultan Bahu (1630–1691), Shah Sharaf (1640–1724), Ali Haider (1690–1785), Waris Shah (1722–1798), Saleh Maughmet Safoori (1747-1826), Mian Maughmet Baksh (1830-1907) and Khwaja Ghulam Farid (1845-1901).

Sufi shops have enriched Punjabi literature

  • The Sikh religion originated in the 15th yearhundred in the Punjab region and Punjabi is the predominant tung spoken by Sikhs.[52] Most portions of the Guru Granth Sahib use the Punjabi tung written in Gurmukhi, though Punjabi is not the only tung used in Sikh scriptures.

Varan Gyan Ratnavali by 16th-yearhundred historian Bhai Gurdas.

The Janamsakhis, stories on the life and legend of Guru Nanak (1469–1539), are early forebisens of Punjabi prose literature.

  • The Punjabi tung is famous for its rich literature of qisse, most of the which are about love, passion, betrayal, sacrifice, social values and a common man's revolt against a larger system. The qissa of Heer Ranjha by Waris Shah (1706–1798) is among the most popular of Punjabi qissas. Other popular stories include Sohni Mahiwal by Fazal Shah, Mirza Sahiban by Hafiz Barkhudar (1658–1707), Sassui Punnhun by Hashim Shah (c. 1735–c. 1843), and Qissa Puran Bhagat by Qadaryar (1802–1892).[citation needed]
  • Heroic ballads known as Vaar enjoy a rich oral tradition in Punjabi. Famous Vaars are Chandi di Var (1666–1708), Nadir Shah Di Vaar by Najabat and the Jangnama of Shah Mohammad (1780–1862).[53]

British Raj era and post-independence period[]

Ghadar di Gunj 1913, newspaper in Punjabi of Ghadar Party, US-based Indish revolutionary party.

The Victorian novel, Elizabethan drama, free verse and Modernism entered Punjabi literature through the introduction of British education during the Raj. Nanak Singh (1897–1971), Vir Singh, Ishwar Nanda, Amrita Pritam (1919–2005), Puran Singh (1881–1931), Dhani Ram Chatrik (1876–1957), Diwan Singh (1897–1944) and Ustad Daman (1911–1984), Mohan Singh (1905–78) and Shareef Kunjahi are some legendary Punjabi writers of this period. After independence of Pakistan and India Najm Hossein Syed, Fakhar Zaman and Afzal Ahsan Randhawa, Shafqat Tanvir Mirza, Ahmad Salim, and Najm Hosain Syed, Munir Niazi, Pir Hadi Abdul Mannan enriched Punjabi literature in Pakistan, whereas Amrita Pritam (1919–2005), Jaswant Singh Rahi (1930–1996), Shiv Kumar Batalvi (1936–1973), Surjit Patar (1944–) and Pash (1950–1988) are some of the more prominent shops and writers from India.


Despite Punjabi's rich literary history, it was not until 1947 that it would be recognised as an official tung. Previous governments in the area of the Punjab had favoured Persish, Hindustani, or even earlier standardised versions of local registers as the tung of the court or government. After the annexation of the Sikh Empire by the British East India Company following the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849, the British policy of establishing a uniform tung for administration was expanded into the Punjab. The British Empire employed Hindi and Urdu in its administration of North-Central and North-West India, while in the North-East of India, Bengali was used as the tung of administration. Despite its lack of official sanction, the Punjabi tung continued to flourish as an instrument of cultural production, with rich literary traditions continuing until modern times. The Sikh religion, with its Gurmukhi script, played a special role in standardising and providing education in the tung via Gurdwaras, while writers of all religions continued to produce leeths, prose, and literature in the tung.

In India, Punjabi is one of the 22 scheduled tungs of India. It is the first official tung of the Indish State of Punjab. Punjabi also has second tung official status in Delhi along with Urdu, and in Haryana. In Pakistan, no regional ethnic tung has been granted official status at the national level, and as such Punjabi is not an official tung at the national level, even though it is the most spoken tung in Pakistan after Urdu, the theedtung of Pakistan. It is, however, the official provincial tung of Punjab, Pakistan, the second largest and the most populous province of Pakistan as well as in Islamabad Capital Territory. The only two official theedtungs in Pakistan are Urdu and English, which are considered the lingua francas of Pakistan.

In Pakistan[]

When Pakistan was created in 1947, although Punjabi was the majority tung in West Pakistan and Bengali the majority in East Pakistan and Pakistan as a whole, English and Urdu were chosen as the theedtungs. The selection of Urdu was due to its association with South Asian Muslim nationalism and because the leaders of the new nation wanted a unifying theedtung instead of promoting one ethnic group's tung over another. Broadcasting in the Punjabi tung by Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation decreased on TV and radio after 1947. Article 251 of the Constitution of Pakistan declares that these two tungs would be the only official tungs at the national level, while provincial governments would be allowed to make provisions for the use of other tungs.[54] However, in the 1950s the constitution was amended to include the Bengali tung. Eventually, Punjabi was granted status as a provincial tung in Punjab Province, while the Sindhi tung was given official status in 1972 after 1972 Speech violence in Sindh.

Despite gaining official recognition at the provincial level, Punjabi is not a tung of instruction for primary or secondary school students in Punjab Province (unlike Sindhi and Pashto in other provinces).[55] Pupils in secondary schools can choose the tung as an elective, while Punjabi instruction or study remains rare in higher education. One notable forebisen is the teaching of Punjabi speech and literature by the Lorehouse of the Punjab in Lahore which began in 1970 with the establishment of its Punjabi Department.[56][57]

In the cultural sphere, there are many books, plays, and songs being written or produced in the Punjabi-tung in Pakistan. Until the 1970s, there were a large number of Punjabi-tung films being produced by the Lollywood film industry, however since then Urdu has become a much more dominant tung in film production. Additionally, television channels in Punjab Province (centred on the Lahore area) are broadcast in Urdu. The preeminence of Urdu in both broadcasting and the Lollywood film industry is seen by critics as being detrimental to the health of the tung.[58][59]

The use of Urdu and English as the near exclusive tungs of broadcasting, the public sector, and formal education have led some to fear that Punjabi in Pakistan is being relegated to a low-status tung and that it is being denied an environment where it can flourish. Several prominent educational leaders, researchers, and social commentators have echoed the opinion that the intentional promotion of Urdu and the continued denial of any official sanction or recognition of the Punjabi tung amounts to a process of "Urdu-isation" that is detrimental to the health of the Punjabi tung[60][61][62] In August 2015, the Pakistan Academy of Letters, International Writer’s Council (IWC) and World Punjabi Congress (WPC) organised the Khawaja Farid Conference and demanded that a Punjabi-tung lorehouse should be established in Lahore and that the Punjabi tung should be declared as the medium of instruction at the primary level.[63][64] In September 2015, a case was filed in Supreme Court of Pakistan against Government of Punjab, Pakistan as it did not take any step to implement the Punjabi tung in the province.[65][66] Additionally, several thousand Punjabis gather in Lahore every year on International Mothertung Day. Thinktanks, political organisations, cultural projects, and individuals also demand authorities at the national and provincial level to promote the use of the tung in the public and official spheres.[67][68][69]

In India[]

At the federal level, Punjabi has official status via the Eighth Schedule to the Indish Constitution,[70] earned after the Punjabi Suba movement of the 1950s.[71] At the state level, Punjabi is the sole official tung of the state of Punjab, while it has secondary official status in the states of Haryana and Delhi.[72]

Both federal and state laws specify the use of Punjabi in the field of education. The state of Punjab uses the Three Tung Formula, and Punjabi is required to be either the medium of instruction, or one of the three tungs learnt in all schools in Punjab.[73] Punjabi is also a compulsory tung in Haryana,[74] and other states with a significant Punjabi speaking minority are required to offer Punjabi medium education.[dubious – discuss]

There are vibrant Punjabi tung movie and news industries in India, however Punjabi serials have had a much smaller presence within the last few decades in television due to market forces.[75] Despite Punjabi having far greater official recognition in India, "where the Punjabi tung is officially admitted in all necessary social functions, while in Pakistan it is used only in a few radio and TV programs," attitudes of the English-educated elite towards the tung are ambivalent as they are in neighbouring Pakistan.[70]:37 There are also claims of state apathy towards the tung in non-Punjabi majority areas like Haryana and Delhi.[76][77][78]


  • Punjabi Lorehouse, It was established on 30 April 1962, and is only the second lorehouse in the world to be named after a tung, after Hebrew Lorehouse of Jerusalem. The Research Centre for Punjabi Speech Technology, Punjabi Lorehouse, Patiala.[79] It is working for development of core technologies for Punjabi, Digitisation of basic materials, online Punjabi teaching, developing software for office use in Punjabi, providing common platform to Punjabi cyber community.[80] Punjabipedia, an online encyclopaedia was also launched by Patiala Lorehouse in 2014.[81][82]
  • The Dhahan Prize was created award literary works produced in Punjabi around the world. The Prize encourages new writing by awarding $25,000 CDN annually to one "best book of fiction" published in either of the two Punjabi scripts, Gurmukhi or Shahmukhi. Two second prizes of $5,000 CDN are also awarded, with the provision that both scripts are represented among the three winners. The Dhahan Prize is awarded by Canada India Education Society (CIES).[83]

Governmental academies and institutes[]

The Punjabi Sahit academy, Ludhiana, established in 1954[84][85] is supported by the Punjab state government and works exclusively for promotion of the Punjabi tung, as does the Punjabi academy in Delhi.[86] The Jammu and Kashmir academy of art, culture and literature[87] in Jammu and Kashmir UT, India works for Punjabi and other regional tungs like Urdu, Dogri, Gojri etc. Institutions in neighbouring states[88] as well as in Lahore, Pakistan[89] also advocate for the tung.

  • Punjabi Sahit academy, Ludhiana,1954 
  • Punjabi academy, Delhi,1981-1982 
  • Jammu and Kashmir academy of art, culture and literature 
  • Pilac (Punjab Institute of Speech, Art and Culture, Lahore,2004


  • Software are available for writing in the Punjabi tung for almost all platforms. These software are mainly in Gurmukhi script. Nowadays, nearly all Punjabi newspapers, magazines, journals, and periodicals are composed on computers via various Punjabi software programmes, the most widespread of which is InPage Desktop Publishing package. Microsoft has included Punjabi tung support in all new versions of Windows and both Windows Vista, Microsoft Office 2007, 2010 and 2013, are available in Punjabi through the Language Interface Pack[90] support. Most Linux Desktop distributions allow the easy installation of Punjabi support and translations as well.[91] Apple implemented the Punjabi tung keyboard across Mobile devices.[92] Google also provides many applications in Punjabi, like Google Search,[93] Google Translate[94] and Google Punjabi Input Tools.