The Western Punjabi of Afghanistan
Punjabi is an Indo-European language having six main dialects. It is closely related to the surrounding languages, particularly Pahari. The Western Punjabi of Afghanistan speak the dialect known as Lahnda or Western Panjabi.
The Punjab region is an ancient center of civilization that has been the main route of invasion and migration into India. Its chief historic cities are Lahore, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, and Patiala. There are significant communities of Punjabi in approximately 28 countries. Although their living conditions vary, the Punjabi have retained much of their traditional culture and lifestyle.
What are their lives like?
The Punjab region has long been one of the world's most important agricultural areas. The Punjabi are primarily farmers, hired laborers, and specialized craftsmen. Their villages consist of houses that are built close together along narrow lanes. In the older villages, the outer walls of the houses are joined together as a means of protecting them from outsiders. Occupations in the larger rural villages include shopkeepers, teachers, tailors, postmen, clergy, and doctors.
The household, or ghar, is the center of social life for the Punjabi, whether they are rich or poor. The ghar is made up of those who contribute to and eat from a single hearth. All members of the ghar pool their earnings and make joint decisions regarding their savings, investments, and any major transactions. Families are formed and developed within the ghar. The staple diet of the Punjabi consists of bread and vegetables.
The Punjabi are also a part of the "caste" (social class) system. They are divided into castes called jati. Castes generally have origin stories that explain how they came into an area, and/or their present occupational position. Caste divisions vary according to region, but they generally range from the upper castes of Brahmans (priests, scholars, and landowners) to the lowest caste of laborers and servants. Various artisan castes include carpenters, masons, blacksmiths, barbers, and weavers. The jati are further divided into clans, villages, and families.
Marriage is considered universal and necessary among all Punjabi. Residences are generally patrilocal, which means that young couples live in the husband's village near his parents. Marriages can still be arranged by parents, but this is rarely done without extensive discussions. The bride's parents usually pay for the wedding and a dowry (the property that a wife or a wife's family gives to her husband upon marriage) is still a part of Punjabi tradition.
Among the Punjabi, there is no overall system of social control. Instead, each social institution (such as homes, businesses, religious and political organizations) has its own set of laws and disciplinary measures.
What are their beliefs?
What are their needs?
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
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Bethany World Prayer Center
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