Why have we forgotten the long lost glory of the Punjabi language?

Published: January 12, 2017
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The other provinces gritted their teeth, hissed and spat venom about Punjab and Punjabis.

The thorny issue of “Pakistan’s regional languages face looming extinction” has been projected to the forefront in an AFP report carried, among others, by The Express Tribune and Dawn.

‘“There is not a single newspaper or magazine published in Punjabi for the 60 million-plus Punjabi speakers,” wrote journalist Abbas Zaidi in an essay, despite it being the language of the nationally revered Sufi poet Bulleh Shah and the native-tongue of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.’

The historical relegation of the Punjabi language comes from the cloud overshadowing the Punjabi stance in the 1857 War of Independence, paving the way for Urdu’s ascendance. The Punjabis meekly ceded the high ground moving house to a lower cultural altitude. Urdu–indexed Punjabi is considered more refined, especially when it is adequately sprinkled with brain -twisting Urdu plurals.

If Punjabi is doing better in India, the credit goes to Sikhs. It also flourishes through Europe to North America, thanks to the Punjabi–specific Sikh liturgy and the Guru Granth Sahib Jee’s Sant Bhasha language being mainly Punjabi. Indeed, it is recognised as the third most common language in Canada. Yet, hearsay has reduced Punjabi to a crude, expletive-rich derivative of Hindi and/or Urdu and the Punjabi people as collaborators in the 1857 revolt against the British Raj. As such, defining Punjab and a Punjabi are prerequisites to setting the record straight.

So first the language, and then the 1857 blister on the reputation of Punjabis. On the eve of the 1947 partition of India, Punjab encompassed present-day southeastern Pakistan plus now gerrymandered Himachal, Haryana and Punjab of contemporary India. The inhabitants of this area are Punjabis by jus soli, or birthright.

Punjabi is a tonal Indo-Aryan language of the Indo-European group, written in the Gurmukhi, Shahmukhi and Devanagri scripts. The choice of script is usually determined by the user’s belief system.

It is the first language of almost half the population of Pakistan, and can be traced to medieval India’s Sauraseni, descended from Sanskirit and Prakrit. Its flourishing literary tradition dates from the writings of Baba Farid and Guru Nanak Dev Jee. And Punjabi is certainly not deformed Hindi or Urdu spoken by peasants getting high on black carrot kaanjee.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the meta-language emerging from the polyglot Mughal army eventually synthesised as Urdu, a camp language. Its rise as the dominant language of north Indian Muslim culture was proportionate to the decline of Mughal power. The cultural sophistication of the 19th century, Urdu culture has been amply acknowledged by William Dalrymple in The Last Mughal.

Subsequently, the choice of Urdu as a national language completed the Muslims’ demand for Pakistan. Mr Jinnah, a consummate lawyer, prepared a very strong case. A nation means “a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular state or territory.” Urdu was inserted as the second last component.

So Urdu, the default choice for a national language, was effectively transplanted from Uttar Pradesh to unite Balochis, Bengalis, Pakhtuns, Punjabis and Sindhis, discounting the living case–study of Switzerland’s unity overcoming its four coexisting languages.

Now to the Punjabi role in the 1857 War of Independence, resistance to foreign incursion started long before 1857. The Punjabis tackled Alexander the Macedonian’s invasion attempt in two ways. Raja Ambhi capitulated and saved Taxila University, one of the world’s greatest academic institutions that left Alexander’s soldier’s awestruck.

Around two thousand years later, Maréchal Pétain, too, saved Paris from Nazi depredations by establishing the Vichy government. Porus resisted Alexander valiantly though, unallied, he lost. Like him, but unlike Pétain, De Gaulle also fought the Germans, though he only won with allied help. Centuries later, Maharajah Ranjit Singh kept the British at bay whereas rulers east of the Sutlej had started becoming their willing pawns.

So much for precedent. Events closer to 1857, clarify the Punjabi attitude towards The War of Independence.

In 1758, Maratha General Raghunath Rao invaded Punjab, conquered Lahore and Attock and for three months let his troops violate Lahore.

By 1857, the memory of this outrage was only in its third generation of granddad stories, stoking bitterness. Then came the perfidy during the Anglo–Sikh Wars of 1845 – 1849 when two-thirds of the regiments fighting Punjabis were composed of Avadhi warriors. In the Battle of Gujrat on February 21, 1849, warriors remained loyal to their British masters to snuff out the Punjabis. The stalwart Avadhi lathaas fought well and were lucratively rewarded, inspiring Punjabis in their turn to flock to the British colours even before the Annexation of the Punjab.

So, by 1857, this Anglo–Punjabi relationship was stronger than the parochialism, repulsion or blandness of the revolt’s eastern leaders. The Maulvi of Faizabad only attracted his jihadi co-religionists. Nana Sahib evoked memories of the Maratha invasion of the Punjab. Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi and Rai Ahmed Nawaz Khan Kharal of Sandal Bar raised single, local and clan issues. Bahadur Shah Zafar the titular King of Delhi, was only a fine poet, not a political or military leader.

No military rebel of the British Army was above the rank of Subedar/Jemadar. They had no training or experience as such. They were unable to manoeuvre large bodies of infantry and cavalry.

William Dalrymple, in The Last Mughal, on pp 170–71 informs us that at the beginning of the revolt, after tethering their mounts in the royal private garden, rebellious Sipahis (soldiers) had sacrilegiously burst through the Red Curtain into the Diwan-e-Khas (hall of private audiences) with their shoes on and pressured the king to bless their venture. Towards the end of the uprising they were addressing him as ‘Aré badshah/Aré Budha’ — pp 212-13.

In view of Raja Porus and Maharajah Ranjit Singh’s valor, Maratha aggression, Avadhi collaboration, absent leadership and single issue agenda, in 1857 Punjabi warriors opted for the 1845-49 Avadhi precedent. At the time of independence, Punjabi soldiers had received rewards of hundreds of thousands of acres of prime farmland opened up by the canal irrigation network.

The resulting change in social mobility also affected the power structure in Punjab and beyond. The other provinces gritted their teeth, hissed and spat venom about Punjab and Punjabis.

Yet, if truth be told, even Punjabis are not perfect. The fratricidal slaughter of 1947 is a dark shadow of self-righteousness in sword-lock, but life has to go on. As Khalil Gibran says in ‘The Visit of Wisdom’:

“… Advance and do not fear the thorns in the path, for they draw only corrupt blood.”

Azam Gill

Azam Gill

The author is a novelist, analyst and retired Lecturer from Toulouse University. He served in the French Foreign Legion, French Navy and the Punjab Regiment. He has authored nine books. He blogs at writegill.com/

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • akhil g

    Pakistanis are the best real actors,when you see them cry for an issue you would think that they are serious about the issue but when you look into what they are doing they would be killing the same thing which they were crying for.Recommend

  • Rahul

    The Muslims of India created Pakistan so rightly their language became the language of Pakistan. Punjabis never supported Jinnah’s Muslim League. To the victor go the spoil of victory. Also, the lack of language barrier has let India dominate Pakistan through Bollywood and culture.Recommend

  • stevenson

    I don’t know what you mean about actors but I always take any comment from our Indian neighbours with a grain of salt. As it is, the world is changing and English is supplanting Hindi and Urdu as the preferred language of communication for educated people the same way Hindi / Urdu supplanted Punjabi and other regional languages. Some poorer and uneducated people in Pakistan have fooled themselves into thinking Urdu / Hindi is somehow more educated or fancy than their native language but educated families continue to speak their native languages. I speak fluent Punjabi and my children are also fluent in Punjabi irrespective of whether we know English or Hindi / Urdu. As long as there is a committed educated class of Punjabis who continue to value the rich history and tradition of Punjabi, there will always be a future for Punjabi in Pakistan. All of the great poets and writers of Punjabi have their roots in the soil of Pakistan – not just Bulleh Shah. It is inconceivable that the timeless wisdom of Punjabi poetry and literature would be lost in its place of origin. I am sure that in time, the value of Punjabi as a language will witness an upsurge of interest and we will see a rebirth of Punjabi in Pakistan. Not just publishing Punjabi language journals in Shahnahme script or TV shows or movies but a true renaissance of an important language that has no peer in music and poetry.Recommend

  • Patwari

    1857? War of Independence?…Sikhs, Urdu laced Punjabi? ..60 million Punjabis?
    [more like 118 million, not 60 million, no census has been taken in decades]
    Third language of Canada? Punjabi script? Is there one?
    Sudday da bud-dey,…that means no newspaper needed. Just add a ‘ d ‘ at the end
    of each word of Urdu and there….you have your Punjabi language, not much is it?
    Spare us the ruminations. Ain’t needed.Recommend

  • Anon

    Lol the guy served in Punjab Regiment not Pakistan Army. Seems like he is vying for Punjabistan after serving in the foreign legionRecommend

  • Jamil M Chaudri

    Mr Gill, so nice to read heartfelt perspective from a fellow Punjabi. But I see the language problem in Pakistan in another way.
    The state language of Muslim states covering the lands of the present day Islamic Republic of Pakistan for over a thousand years was Persian. Even the Sikh state maintained its archives in Farsi.
    Farsi should have been selected as the State Language in 1947. Urdu was chosen to accommodate the Eastern Wing (now Bengalistan). By converting, nay REVERTING, to Farsi we return to our historic roots, as well as join Iran and Afghanistan to form a larger unit able to compete with Hind, America, and Russia. Other countries are joining to form larger “markets”, Pakistan should do the same.
    You and I will still be able to speak in Punjabi, but the national language should be Farsi.Recommend

  • Jamil M Chaudri

    Mr Gill you not correct in defining the ranks of Indian soldiers in the British Indian Army. The British occupiers of India with the purpose of INSULTING Indians created the ranks labelled “Junior Commissioned Officers”, who were responsible for the native solders. Remember, in Muslim India a Subedar was a GOVERNOR OF A PROVINCE.
    Through pure devilishness the Brootish created the rank of Subedar, so that a Muslim soldier having this rank would have to salute the callow second lieutenant (from the slums of Manchester). This was meant to REFLECT THE POWER of the WHITE races to make a SUBEDAR subservient to European solder of the LOWEST Rank. When the rank of subedar was created, Indians were not given the Kings (or Queens) COMMISSION: the highest rank an Indian soldier, in the service of the Crown of England, could aspire far was Subedar Major. My Grandfather, on my mother’s side was a Subedar Major.Recommend

  • Jamil M Chaudri

    Mr Gill, may I suggest that you re-read History of German occupation of France and in Particular of Paris.
    The Patain was a capitalist! Vichy was the seat of Government of his (German controlled) Government; Paris was governed by German Military and by French officials approved by the Germans. Paris was not in French control until August 1944.
    How could Patain have SAVED Paris, I ask you? The Germans had a free hand over/in Paris.
    Maybe reading revisionist History written by the French make Patain the Savior of ParisRecommend

  • nadeem ansari

    Pakistani Punjabi middle class and upper classes care nothing for Punjabi. They speak and write Urdu and yet few have real grip over Urdu. They demand that other provinces too should give up their languages to adopt Urdu. The lower classes have their languages and dialects. Cut off from masses , Pakistani art is absent or meager. No wonder religion and Bollywood fills the gap.Recommend

  • Gautam

    What a mesmerising piece of work! Take a bow Mr. Azam Gill. I read it twice. Thank you for the enlightenment.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Make no mistake. Urdu is a far superior language. And is the
    lingua franca of the sub continent. It is spoken from Afghanistan
    all the way to Bangladesh and Myanmar. Include Nepal, Bhutan
    and Sri Lanka. They speak it in parts of South Africa, Kenya and
    Uganda and of course Rhodesia, now known as Zimbabwe. Have
    seen it spoken in Maldives and, believe it or not, in Hong Kong !
    All the great poets of the Mughal Era wrote in Urdu. It is a flowery,
    beautiful language. The language of emperors, sultans and courts.
    Unfortunately, Punjabi comes nowhere near. It is a coarse.dialect.
    And is basically unheard of, outside Punjab…..and parts Canada?
    ……ghettos of England?…Fiji Islands?…..Nagasaki? Siberia?
    Oh! Forgot! All the taxi drivers in Manhattan speak Punjabi.Recommend

  • M. S. Chaudhry

    Pakistani Punjabis are the only race on this planet who have banned their own language and culture over themselves. Pakistani Punjabi elite and middle classes discourage and sometimes beat their children if they ever dare to speak Punjabi. We will never see this type of hate against own mother tongue anywhere in the world. Really we Punjabis should be ashamed of ourselves.Recommend

  • M. S. Chaudhry

    You are right that it was difficult to become commissioned officer in British Indian Army in the beginning of the British Raj but after world war one and particularly during second world war many Indians were granted commission. Most of the army Generals of India and Pakistan till early eighties were commissioned before partition. General Ayub, Yahya, Zia were all commissioned before partition.Recommend

  • M. S. Chaudhry

    Urdu speaking minority’s hate regarding local languages has destroyed unity of Pakistan. Insha-Allah one day Pakistani Punjabis will come to their senses and adopt their mother tongue and culture.Recommend

  • M. S. Chaudhry

    Excellent reply sir…Recommend

  • Fahim

    If author is so much in love with Punjabi language, Why this article is not written in Punjabi language ? Why author website is in english even its name is in englishRecommend

  • tatvavetta

    Yes . You must have Punjabi speaking heroes to preserve your language and culture. Abdali,Babur, Qaid-E-Azam , which hero spoke Punjabi?Bengalies realised this early and separated themselves.Todays Pakistan is synthesised and not naturally evoluted. Everyone will feel the brunt in such situation.Even the Mohajirs.Recommend

  • Azam Gill

    Thank you for your gracious comment, Gautam Jee!Recommend

  • Azam Gill

    The Germans had threatened to reduce Paris to rubble. Pétain, the Hero of WW I, capitulated and formed the Vichy government. The Germans, in return, spared Paris.Recommend

  • Azam Gill

    Chaudri Saab, the term was Viceroy’s Commissioned Officer, or VCO.
    JCO is a post Independence rank structure.
    The equivalent of a JCO / VCO is a Queen’s Warrant Officer – a gora who salutes another gora much younger to him!
    My uncle (taia jee) was a VCO, cited for gallantry and killed in WW I in Mesopotamia/ Iraq.Recommend

  • Azam Gill

    The guy served in the Punjab Regiment first. It is customary for soldiers to refer to their regiments!Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Urdu was chosen to accommodate the Eastern Wing (now Bengal).

    Punjabi was declared a foreign language and punjabi speaking himdus and sikhs were politely asked to leave for their motherland allowing space for urdu speaking elite refugees-

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Guy

    I loved this article. And let me put it. This is the first time I have ever witnessed any Pakistani origin addressing our Gurus as “Jee”. I salute Mr Azam Gill for the respect he has shown. Further I fully agree with the author & we have a similar problem on the Indian side where most Hindu Punjabis don’t treat their mother tongue with due respect & this is quite evident from the Demographic Survey of India. When it comes to official Hindi becomes the choice & in their marriages it’s Punjabi music & bhangra. When we ourselves are suffering from inferiority complex then everything ends. I’m surprised why religion comes in defining “mother tongue”…..Recommend

  • Azam Gill
  • Jamil M Chaudri

    Mr Gill, some people are not as gullible as you make then out to be.
    Regarding Petain, here is a quote from a POPULAR history source: “After the war, Pétain was tried and convicted for treason. He was originally sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison. Pétain died in 1951”.
    —-
    Since you have a revisionist inclinations, here is a rather longer description of the traitor’s sad demise:
    “Over the following years Petain’s lawyers and many foreign governments and dignitaries, including Queen Mary and the Duke of Windsor, appealed to successive French governments for Petain’s release, but given the unstable state of Fourth Republic politics no government was willing to risk unpopularity by releasing him. As early as June 1946 President Truman interceded in vain for his release, even offering to provide political asylum in the U.S.[46] A similar offer was later made by the Spanish dictator General Franco.[46]

    Although Petain had still been in good health for his age at the time of his imprisonment, by late 1947 his memory lapses were worsening and he was beginning to suffer from incontinence, sometimes soiling himself in front of visitors.[5] By January 1949 his lucid intervals were becoming fewer and fewer. On 3 March 1949 a meeting of the Council of Ministers (many of them “self-proclaimed heroes of the Resistance” in the words of biographer Charles Williams) had a fierce argument about a medical report recommending that he be moved to Val-de-Grâce (a military hospital in Paris), a measure to which Prime Minister Henri Queuille had previously been sympathetic. By May Petain required constant nursing care, and he was often suffering from hallucinations, e.g. that he was commanding armies in battle, or that naked women were dancing around his room.[47] By the end of 1949 Petain was completely senile, with only occasional moments of lucidity. He was also beginning to suffer from heart problems and was no longer able to walk without assistance. Plans were made for his death and funeral.[48]

    On 8 June 1951 President Auriol, informed that Petain had little longer to live, commuted his sentence to confinement in hospital (the news was kept secret until after the elections on 17 June), but by then Petain was too ill to be moved.[49] He died on the Île d’Yeu on 23 July 1951, at the age of 95,[45] and is buried in a Marine cemetery (Cimetière communal de Port-Joinville) near the prison.[24] Calls are sometimes made to re-inter his remains in the grave prepared for him in Verdun.[50].”
    —-
    A traitor to the French TriColour, a traitor to the French Republic, Petain might be a hero to you, Sir, but to a authentic Punjabi Jatt (me) he remains a capitulator who brought dishonour to the Republic.Recommend

  • Jamil M Chaudri

    Foremost, I accept you correction regarding the label: originally it was indeed VICEROY COMMISSIONED OFFICER, which was re-labelled by the Islamic Republic as JUNIOR COMMISSIONED OFFICER.
    The rest of what I wrote STANDS.
    Also, whereas your uncle and my grandfather fought against Sultanate-Uthmania your uncle died for the Crown of England, my Grandfather returned to Ludihana, and died peacefully in bed. By the way, my father’s mother was a Gill.Recommend

  • Azam Gill

    Pétain was the hero of World War I, as I said! Nobody in France challenges that!Recommend

  • Azam Gill

    My Uncle fought to honor his signature on the contract, not for an obscure crown far across the oceans! But it is fortunate that your Grandfather died peacefully.Recommend

  • Azam Gill
  • Patwari

    Since you had nothing better to say, first rule is,
    change the subject and give it a bigoted slant.
    Nothing was mentioned about anything being
    wrong with Manhattan taxi drivers, A fact was
    revealed, simply, that they all speak Punjabi.
    Just as most gangs in Los Angeles speak Spanish.
    Just as 35 million children are out of school in
    Punjab. Just as a women died on the floor of a govt.
    hospital in Lahore, because she did not have the
    money. Just as The French Foreign Legion is a third
    rate fighting force. That was pulverized, kicked
    out of Mali, Chad and Timbuktu and God knows
    how many other African countries. In most cases
    the legionnaires left their socks
    behind in their rush to vacate the country.
    Now that, ain’t worth a truffle covered escargot.Recommend

  • Azam Gill

    I look forward o speaking Punjabi with you some day, over a glass of lassi, in the shade of a sukh chaen tree, more so since your honoraable grandmother was from the Gill gotra. You might be interested in my book History of Jatts and the Gill Clan https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=saga+indicus+azam+gillRecommend

  • Azam Gill

    Sorry for having misunderstood your collection of incontestable trivia, even though your Foreign Legion history and evaluation could do with a bit of home work – hope to buy you a cup of tea one day, though your hint of a truffle covered escargot might be inappropriate!Recommend

  • Gopal

    That would be called Punjabistan.Recommend

  • nishantsirohi123

    To be able to even apply for a state government job in indian punjab, you may clear the class 10 punjabi language exam. This is true for all non hindi states in India.
    Hindi and English is taught along with the regional language, in schools as a subject
    For someone who has been educated outside the state, ppl have to fill up the form separately

    Something that muhajirs curse the sindhis for Recommend

  • Jamil M Chaudri

    Mr Gill, your efforts to cover up a misstatement of history, is not worthy of a scholar. Just say: “sorry for the misstatement”. In the age of tweets and instant-messages, WE ALL are make such boo boos (mistakes).
    In trying to cover up a misstatement, you now make a SECOND misstatement. You now write:
    “Petain was the hero of WWI, as I said!”
    As you said? Mr Gill, you never said anything of the sort!! You never mentioned WW1. However, you did mention Nazis, but there were no Nazis during WW1!Recommend

  • Jamil M Chaudri

    Mr Patwari, You have gone off the track. Could be you have never been on track.Recommend

  • Jamil M Chaudri

    While my grandmother’d Gotra was Gill, my mother was a SURAJ-BANSI. My own Gotra is LEWSA. My parents moved to Manchester, England, and later to Canada. While my Mom spoke not a word of English, she became a subject of the Crown of England and later a citizen of the Kingdom of Canada. I speak Ludihana Punjabi mixed with English and German words (when I get stuck for words)Recommend

  • Azam Gill

    This is the sentence in the article:
    “Around two thousand years later, Maréchal Pétain, too, saved Paris from Nazi depredations by establishing the Vichy government.”

    It is a well-known historical fact that a reference to the Vichy government refers to collaboration!

    It is equally well known that in France, Pétain is considered a hero of World War I, but not of World War II.

    Also, since I have no claims to being a scholar, your demotion is nul and void, and your concern for France has been noted!Recommend

  • Patwari

    Look who is talking ! A Punjabi to boot. Son of the Soil
    Tearing their hair out over ‘why a coarse regional dialect
    is not given the glory it deserves but given a short shrift’
    Oh well can’t have everything Recommend

  • Patwari

    Time for you to go back to the fields and bring in
    the sugarcane harvest.Recommend

  • india

    Sir, you say your gotra is surajbansi. FYI Surajbansi is a Hindu Gotra not any Arab or Muslim and are descendent of Lord Rama.Then you say by adopting Persian language you will return to your roots. How Sir ?Recommend

  • Jamil M Chaudri

    Jats in the lands of Punjab and parts Rajastan, have gotras which are common to Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims. For example, many a Sikh (or Hindu) has the GILLL Gotra. As a matter of fact, in 2008, I visited my friend Brinder Singh Gill, son of DIG Punjab Police, Amritsar, in India. In Delhi, I also met a Hindu whose gotra was Gill. Many Jats accepted Islam; some Muslim Jats and some Hindu Jats accepts Sikhism.
    However, the concept of Gotra is a Indo-Aryian concept similar to the Sottish “Sept” or Clan. The concept of Gotra was developed by the Aryan tribes when they travessed over the HINDU KUSH (Hindu Killer) mountains into the Indus valley, and the riverine valleys of the Punjab. Some Aryan tribes entered the lands of the ancient Paraas (Persia). Remember the Pahlavi dynasty (1925-1979) of Iran assumed the title of Araya-mehr. Punjabi and Persian are both Aryan language.
    Surajbansi is Jat Gotra, i.e. shared by Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs.
    Although born in British India, in Ludihana, my family moved to the PROMISED LAND of the Islamic Republic, we are a Muslim people. For most Muslims the NEW DAWN, starts at conversion to Islam. Persian was the STATE LANGUAGE of the Punjab for a thousand years. Whatever happened before the new dawn is ANCIENT HISTORY (for us a period of ignorance) ; we have made progress since then. Our path to progress leads us to accept Persian and Arabic as OFFICIAL LANGUAGES worthy of our NEW SELVES. While we may converse in Punjabi, just as Sindhis may converse in Sindhi, and the Pakhtoons may converse in Pashto, and Tajiks may speak Tajaki, and Luristanis may speak in Luri, the state language (or the desired state language) remains Farsi (or Arabic).
    For the Islamic Republic, the neighbour to the East is just a neighbour, A neighbour is a neighbour not a member of the Family. The Family is Pakia, Afghania, Iran and TajakistanRecommend

  • Jamil M Chaudri

    Mr Gill the well known fact might be in your mind, but it is NOT in your WORDS. Also, neither is Petain considered a Hero, even in France, as I have documented it for you, in one of my previous mails.
    Mr Gill, I am neither in the business of promoting nor demoting bloggers; I was just disputing revisionist twist to History.

    I do like France and have traveled from Basel(CH) to Perpignan, and from Basel to Calais, As a matter of fact, I still own a plot in Excenevex, Haute Savoie, overlooking the Lac Leman.Recommend

  • Azam Gill

    Please reread: “Raja Ambhi capitulated and saved Taxila University … Maréchal Pétain, too, saved Paris from Nazi depredations by establishing the Vichy government.” Vichy is a well-known synonymous reference to capitulation and collaboration.

    As far as Pétain’s performance in WWI is concerned, here’s a quote:

    “Henri-Philippe Pétain (1856-1951) was a World War I French general who was later imprisoned for treason. Pétain earned acclaim for stopping the Germans at the Battle of Verdun and assumed command of the French forces in 1917. Marshal Henri-Philippe Pétain endeared himself to the French nation during World War I.”

    Good to hear you have a plot of land in France overlooking Lac Leman – I hope it sprouts a chalet one of these days!Recommend

  • Jamil M Chaudri

    Mr Minor, what you state is a minor view. The majority view is that 7 million Muslims were made to flee Hind, their ancestral land – they came to the promised land, the Islamic Republic. In retaliation seven million non-Muslims chose to leave Pakia (fearing for their lives).
    500’000 Muslims were killed in India; in retaliation 500’000 non Muslims lost their lives in retaliation.

    In Islam, forgiveness and mercy are favoured and recommended ways to respond to an outrage; but the Law of Retaliation is recognised: provided the retaliation is in proportion to the original loss. Hence 7 million to 7 million; and half a million to half a million.
    —-
    This was indeed a one of the worst moments in the history of Islam in India; but it was a crime of passion, and not a methodically carried out killings Recommend

  • Jamil M Chaudri

    How strange then that the French condemned Petain to Death, and even 75 years later his body still he lies buried near the Jail where he died (a natural death). Even France does not treat its Heroes like that.

    Churchill is celebrated for the retreat, but Petain was condemned to death. Perhaps you see the difference now.Recommend

  • Azam Gill

    Chaudri saab,

    Raja Ambhi and Pétain both saved real estate in exchange for capitulation.

    Just as Porus and de Gaulle both resisted —the former lost and the latter’s alliance won!

    Pétain was acclaimed for his WWI performance and condemned for this WWII collaboration.

    Alas, individual performance is inconstant.

    As for the fat man with the cigar, the verdict of history is not consensual!Recommend

  • india

    Dear, Then don’t use Surajbansi or Jat or Rajputs all these are integral part of Hindu faith and also 90% Rajputs are Hindu by faith even today, same applies to Jats as 70% jats are in India , all these term are Sanskritised word, aryas per Sanskrit means noble not any race, west propaganda won’t work for too long . This is the attitude why Pakistan is facing terrorism. Recommend

  • india

    Do you know Hindu kush was term was used mostly for captured people irrespective of faith as Hindu is not a religious term it is SANATHAN DHARMA, it is from your side of Punjab which faced the brunt of invaders Recommend

  • india

    Since, haha Muslim you people are treated as slaves in Arabia. It was you people who started killing Sikhs and Hindus in West Punjab , then was the retaliation from Hindus and Sikhs., which I think was correct, should have been more to remove radical people like you who don’t recognise their ancestry.Recommend

  • Frank

    You are confusing Hindustani speaking Jaats with Punjabi speaking Jatts. They are not the same people. The majority of Jatts are in Pakistani Punjab not India. The Jatts of West Punjab are Muslims while the Jatts of East Punjab are Sikhs. There is a tiny Hindu Jatt community too which originates from Mirpur but is now based in Jammu.Recommend

  • Rashid Zia Cheema

    Well done, Azam Gill!! It is a very informative article. It makes me sad to learn that there is not a single newspaper or magazine published in Punjabi.Recommend

  • Concerned

    Urdu is a disease put upon people the only reason it was thrown out there by the British is to separate the pubjabi people.. coming from an Arab my self I learned pubjabi and I love speaking it I speak it on a daily basis with friends and coworkers since I live in Canada I put the time and effort to learn the Gurmukhi script had an advantage where I could read the shamukhi script since Arabic is my first language.. I have been around my Pakistani friends and no way do they speak Punjabi they chose urdu cause apparently Punjabi is a “rude” language i still don’t understand how that’s possible it ticks me off to a point where when someone speaks to me in Hindi/Urdu I don’t reply only in Punjabi and will only speak pubjabi save your culture it’s sad when an Arab says that! Recommend

  • Concerned

    Cause u don’t even know how to read most likely since u Breath ur beloved “Urdu” that’s actually Hindi spoke by the Muslim it’s not wrong to know it but leaving a mother tongue in the case of a modified language that the Mughals didn’t even adopt they spoke Persian with each other I don’t understand you Recommend

  • Fahim

    Write it in Punjabi and we will understandRecommend

  • india

    Lol both jat or jatts are same. Jats Hindi word,jatt is Punjabi word. There Gotra is same. How can Hindu Dhillion jat in Ambala Haryana is different to Sikh Dhillion jatts in bhatinda , India Punjab. The distance is less than 150 km between the two. Even Hindu Jats are better than Sikh jats in sports.Recommend

  • india

    Bhai both are same the difference like in some are we call Rajput as Rajpoot , in punjabi it is Jatt, in Haryanvi it is Jat and in Bagri it is Jaat. But all gotras are same. Even todau Haryanvi jats are better on physical grounds then Punjabi jatts Recommend

  • Frank

    In actual fact, Jatt and Jaat gotras do not largely intersect. Whatever little intersection exists is through migration. There is no difference in the pronunciation of Rajput, it is Rajpoot everywhere, including in Punjab. Besides the names there are large cultural differences between Jatts and Jaats. for one Jatts speak Punjabi while Jaats speak various Hindustani dialects. The social status of both is also very different. Jatt is a superior caste in Punjab while Jaat is not even a middle ranking one in Hindustani speaking areas. Quite franky, most Jatts do not like to be associated with Jaats. and value their distinct Punjabi identity. Jatts feel more affinity with Punjabi Khatris than they do with Jaats.Recommend

  • india

    It is Rajput not rajpoot , generally some Muslim write rajpoot but everywhere in India it is Rajput. Jatt Sikhs relate more with Haryanvi Hindu jats then any pak converted Muslim jatts . Because of common SINGH surname Hindu jats and Sikh jatts relate more to each otherRecommend

  • india

    Lol jats were kings in Bharatpur, where jatts never ruled Punjab, even Rabbit Singh was Sansi not jat. Recommend

  • india

    You have zero knowledge of Punjab then. Punjabi khatris are called as banias ,whereas Hindu jats are much stronger then even Jatt Sikhs. Most wrestlers and boxers of India are from Haryana not PunjabRecommend

  • india

    Hindu Jats had Kings in Bharatpur, but Sikh jatts never had strong ruler. Ranjit Singh was not Jatt but Sansi Sikh. Recommend

  • india

    Lol. Language is not a barrier, jatts were not there in punjab some 1000 yrs back. Gotra tells us the similarity and differences. Jats and Jatts gotra are same from toor to dhillion to bajiya/bajwa to mann to goraya etc.. All are same in Hindu jats and Sikh jats. British considered Hindu Jats as martial race and that is why there was Jat regiment bu no jatt regiment for Punjabi jatts lol. Punjabies in army have been exxaggerated as they have included even Hindu Haryana figure while showing the numbers. All jatts have come to Punjab from Rajasthan and lower Sindh.Recommend

  • india

    Lol this the biggest misunderstanding you are doing. At present Hindu jats of Haryana are richer then sikh jatts. Hindu jats are asking off reservation doesnot mean they are poor but it is just show of power. But in social status both fall below only to Hindu Rajputs the Kings.Recommend

  • Frank

    Sansi is a Jatt gotra of Gujranawala, and you can still visit their belt of villages in the district, which includes Ranjeet Singh’s village SukerChak. Most Sansis are Muslims and they regard themselves as Jatts and are accepted as such by other Jatts, who freely intermarry with them. Besides Ranjeet Singh, a Muslim Jatt gotra, the Langahs, ruled a kingdom in Southern Punjab for nearly a century. Bharatpur is smaller than most districts in Punjab. It was hardly a ‘kingdom’.Recommend

  • Frank

    There is no caste more powerful than Jatt in central and southern Punjab and no Rajput has EVER ruled Punjab. Rajput clans like the Bhattis and Minhas have intermarried with Jatts for centuries in these areas, and in many villages have adopted a Jatt identity. The Rajput and Jaat relationship, on the other hand, was more of a master and slave one. This is one of the reasons Jatts don’t like to be associated with Jaats.Recommend

  • Azophi

    You cannot talk about ‘Punjabis’ as a homogenous whole, nor can we speak about a Punjabi language. It’s more a collection of often mutually intelligible languages that can each differ radically village from village, region from region. Resorting to worthless nationalism to respond to Pakistani nationalism is like trying to put out a fire with a flamethrower. We have to seriously and critically evaluate a lot of these euroccentric ideas that came down from the British, like the idea of Nation, the Modern State, the National Education etc. There has been a lot of work in Europan academia that reevaluates these ideas, but in the third world people still stick to and defend them to death.

    Yes, the mothertongues of most people have been seriously devalued, people look down on them. I know ‘educated’ people in my own family who don’t know their mothertongue (Pashto) and some refuse to speak it. All this boils down to the centralisation and standardisation of languages and the school. In the past, children grew up multilingual generally knowing a variety of local languages to various extents as well as the state language, such as Farsi. Speaking of Farsi, it has by far been hit hardest by colonialism and today’s language politics.

    There is a simple solution to all of this. Rather than teaching children a usless hodge-podge of Urdu and English in school, simply teach them how to read and write their local dialect in Nastaliq and go over some local poetry. Arabic and Farsi should be introduced later on and used exclusively for higher education. Local government should also promote newspapers, magazines and programs local languages and Farsi. The post of Malik Ashuara should be re-instituted. Simple, problem solved. Various non-Muslim communities can even be accommodated by offering courses in Sanskrit and Grumukhi script. It can even be promoted through Madrasahs and religious seminaries. Recommend

  • india

    I am a Rajput , I know more then you of these tribes in India.Do you know that only jat /jatt to have a kingdom were Hindu jaats in bharatpur kingdom of mahraja surajmal jat , Sikh jats never had any kingdom8. Ranjit singh was not jatt but sansi. Jatts were slaves of pashtuns so were rajputs on your side. That is why they accepted invader’s faith. Only true rajputs in those areas were in jammu belt who are Hindu even todayRecommend

  • india

    Lol historians say sansis are not jatts. Don’t write false. They are not. Even in indian Punjab they claim jatt status but are not.Recommend

  • india

    Lol it shows your knowledge bharatpur state had areas of Haryana, mathura, aligarh, even meerut except Agra which was mughal belt much more then central and southern punjab. Where are you from ?Recommend

  • india

    Was Hindu king jaipal who ruled pak Punjab not rajput ? Jatts were worst then jaats in social status. You are Muslim I guess from pak so will not accept the truth of jatts . We still have jagas and bhats carrying all details. By the way I am Rajput.Recommend

  • india

    jaats and jatts don’t fight in India. Sikh jatts, Hindu jats and Hindu jatts are good brothers. Even Rajputs fight amongst each other but jats or jatts don’t at least in India.Recommend

  • india

    Sansi is separate caste in India Punjab. Though some call themselves jatts also. But these are late narrative. Sansi are separate clan. Sukerchakia misl of Sikhs was not jatt misls But sansi misls.Recommend

  • india

    Not only bharatpur, dholpur, hathras , gohad all were under Hindu jats right under the nose of mughals at agra. While Jatts in Punjab irrespective of any religion were working as slaves of Pashtuns, Turks etc till Ranjit Singh freed them from Afghans.Recommend

  • india

    Same is Hindu jats no caste is powerful then them in Haryana. Now don’t ask me where is Haryana. Social status is different thing , if any low tribe becomes rich tomorrow his social status will not change that much if we go by old systems, for me as I being from Rajput both jatts and jats are not at par with us if we follow any old systems then, jatts will be rated more lower then even jats because they sold their original faith quite easily to invaders without offering resistance like Hindu jats did to late mughals . Hindu Jats are much more powerful in and around Haryana then what jatts are in India Punjab and pakistan central and southern Punjab.Recommend

  • Frank

    Jatts are the landlords in Punjab and always have been. Just read the old literature of Punjab. What you as an Indian Rajput think is irrelevant in Punjab. Jatt is right at the top of the Punjabi caste power hierarchy, and always has been. Many Indians wrongly extrapolate the sociology of India into Punjab and Sindh, merely assuming things are the same here. They are not. Jaats are merely a peasant caste, even in Haryana. Whatever power they have they gained through an alliance with Muslim Jatt landlords of the Unionist Party during the British era.Recommend

  • Frank

    What are ‘jagas’ and ‘bhats’ and of what relevance are they to the history of the Punjabi nation? Who told you Jaipal was a Rajput? You have merely assumed he was because you want to claim him, when in fact his caste is completely unknown. The headquarters of the Sansi tribe is in Pakistan not India. Take up my challenge and visit their belt of villages in Gujranwala. They are all Jatts. You are arguing merely for the sake of it now. Whatever the Jammu Rajputs have they have because of licking the backsides of the Jatt Sikhs and then betraying them to the British. Read history books not Rajput village fairy tales of fake and non existent glory.Recommend

  • Frank

    Jatt is not a ‘status’. It is a tribe or an ethnicity which has traditionally provided the landed elite within the Punjabi nation. Sansi Jatts live in Pakistani Punjab not Indian Punjab and their tribal headquarters is in Gujranwala. Sansis claim to be Jatts and are accepted as Jatts by other Jatts of Gujranwala like the Cheemas and Chatthas, who freely intermarry with them. So what sense does it make to say they aren’t Jatts?Recommend

  • india

    Cheema and chatha are jatts but not Sansi they may be like rors in Haryana or tarkhans /lohars in Punjab. Even Neutral Sikh History does not ascribe Sansi as Jatts and Ranjit Singh as Jatt.Recommend

  • india

    Jaipal was Janjua Rajput. Now, I am sure you don’t know history of your own state.Recommend

  • india

    Those Sansis must have elevated themselves to jatts in some these yrs. Like in Haryana even any Haryanvi or Bania may be called as Jat because of the Khariboli language synonymous to Haryanvi Hindu JatsRecommend

  • india

    Yes they betrayed Sikhs but not Jatts as neither Hari Singh Nalwa ( Khatri bhape General was Jatt nor Ranjit Singh ( Sansi) . Sansi was designated as separate criminal tribe by British and not included in Jatts. Tomorrow you will claim kambojas, banda bahadur or even Tarkhans as Jatts. Lol Recommend

  • india

    Lol they kicked Muslims out of Haryana pls read then have discussion. Jatts in Indian Punjab are in declining power mode compared to Hindu jats of Haryana. The first jat/jatts to become king was Hindu Jat of bharatpur Maharaja Badan Singh in 1723 AD. Jatt Sikh became ruler only after 1780s The Sikh Jatts have given their daughters in mareaige to Hindu Jats Ruler of Bharatpur. But Hindu Jats rulers don’t reciprocate the same .Natwar Singh’s wife is Patiala Royal Jatt Sikh. Now don’t waste my time , counter only these with any substantial facts.Recommend

  • india

    In Pakistan even Arains marry Jatts. Your state is different case. You can marry pakhtun even butts etc and then start claiming Jatt status. British designated Sansis as tribe related to Lower segment of Society and not as jatt tribeRecommend

  • india

    Jagas and Bhats are History keepers of all clans , gotras especially of the Hindu Kshatriyas like Rajputs and Jats etc ( even today’s Sikhs and Muslims were also Hindus once, pls mind it without any offence to you) . That is why I am saying I know more then you about this Jatt or jat or jaat thing even about Rajputs.Recommend

  • india

    First of all in Pakistan Jatts can’t make their Chief minister of Punjab. So please don’t talk about this with me. In Haryana recently non Jat became CM otherwise it is Jats who were controlling Haryana CM post for some last 20 yrs. Even in Indian Punjab despite declining power Jatt Sikhs have their CM. In Pakistan, in many areas Jatts play second fiddle to even Arains and Gujjars forget about Rajputs. Plus Arains and Awans are more in your Punjab then Jatts, this is claimed by Arains and Awans not by me. Jatts/jats/jaats are mostly Hindu and Sikhs with some 20-30 percent muslim as most jatts / jats either remained Hindus or adopted Sikh faith. Jat population in India as claimed by jat mahasabha is around 9 crore. Almost your whole Punjab population which includes Arains, Awans, Kambohs Gujjars etc is equivalent to jats if we go by the jat mahasabha assertion. So please if you are so better then Hindu jats then remove Mr Shahbaz Shariff ( trader or shaikh baniya by caste ) from cm then shout against Jatt or jat of India Punjab and HaryanaRecommend

  • india

    Sindh and Punjab are not some 10000 kms away from Indian border. Your side Punjab was mainly ruled by Turks, Mughal rulers or Pakhtun tribes. Jatts were just petty farmers in their kingdom atleast Hindu Jats revolted and founded their kingdom in 1723 AD when jatts were just slaves of invaders. It all changed when Jatts joined Khalsa ranks in late 1700s ( and joined armies of Sikh Misls) and became Sikhs otherwise, jatts irrespective of religion were just playing third fiddle to others like pakhtuns , turk etc forget about even second fiddle or ruling Punjab.Recommend

  • Frank

    Pakistan has a history of being dominated by the military and the Sharif family is a result of the social engineering of the army for more than half of Pakistan’s history. Jatts dominated during the Musharaf era and they dominated under the Unionist Party during the British era. Most of the landed elite in West Punjab is still Jatt. Anyone can claim anything but the realty on the ground is that for most Arains getting a daughter married into a Jatt family is the equivalent of 6 Eids at one time. Arains are traditionally landless renters and the social position of Awans is not much higher. In Khushab and Attock districts they are completely dominated by Tiwana and Gheba Jatts, in Khanpur by Ghakkhars and in Abbottabad by the Jadoon and Tareen tribes. If you could visit Pakistan you could see all this for yourself. Firing off these messages from the other side of the border only shows your ignorance and frustration. Before they allied with the Jatt landlords of the Unionist Party the social position of Jaats in Haryana was no better than that of Arains or Awans in Punjab.Recommend

  • Frank

    I repeat, Jaipal’s caste is completely unknown. No historical records of his time mentioning his caste survive. And what do your jagas and bhats of India know about Jatts of Punjab? This is a laughable comment. Are they professional historians with degrees from Cambridge or village menials who tell their masters whatever they want to hear? Do you know that Punjabi Rajputs like the Bhattis have been intermarrying with Jatts for centuries? They gave their daughters to Jatts in order to build alliances with the most powerful section of Punjabi society. Did Rajputs in Rajasthan-Hindustan ever give their daughters to Jaats?Recommend

  • Frank

    So you have found something on a Janjua Rajput website making the utterly preposterous claim that Jaipal was a Janjua and you have swallowed it hook, line and sinker?Recommend

  • Frank

    Each province or state in South Asia is the equivalent of a country. Each has its own ethnicity, language and culture. Punjab is not 10000km from India, but it is not the same as India either. For instance, the Varna system of India has never existed in Punjab. Rather than Brahmin, Kshatrya etc, Punjab has its own Zamindar (landlord) and Kamee (menial) social system. No one here knows what a Kshatrya is and though Brahmins did exist before partition they’ve always been an object of ridicule. Our grandfathers would have been amazed to hear that in India Brahmins are considered the highest caste. In Sindh it is the Baloch tribes like the Zardaris and the Jamalis who are at the top of the social hierarchy. The rest of your post is just angry outpourings with no basis in history and mostly gleaned from websites. No Punjabi Jatt – Sikh or Muslim – ever gave his daughter to a Mughal but you don’t need me to tell you the shameful history of Rajputs in this regard. Recommend

  • Frank

    Jatts are proud of who they are and will never deny their Hindu and Buddhist forefathers. You make the mistake of believing your own propaganda that Pakistanis like to think they are Arabs. You also make the absurd assumption that village bards in India have an extensive knowledge of the history of Jatts in Punjab. Punjab is a different land to Rajasthan, Haryana or UP. Related yes, but not the same. It has its own ethnicity, language , culture, literature and identity. You cannot extrapolate things in UP or Rajasthan to Punjab. This is where you keep tripping up.Recommend

  • Frank

    I don’t claim Sansis as Jatts: Sansis themselves claim to be Jatts and are accepted as Jatts by other Jatts. The Sansi tribe you are alluding to is a different one to the Sansi Jatt tribe of Gujranwala to which Ranjeet Singh belonged. What is so hard to understand about this?Recommend

  • india

    Sirji Punjab also had bards but because turk influence it got finished. You will not realise since you have not seen the records of gotras Recommend

  • india

    The reason is your Punjab remained under turk rule from mahmud ghazni so they forgot their lineage that does not there was no such system. Names etc is Urdu word of some 300 400 yrs old . Punjab was called as Madra Pradesh in Mahabharta period.Recommend

  • india

    Truth hurts it seems to you. I stated the facts you got your first army chief bajwa whereas India had Gen Suhag a Jat army chief otherwise even in army it is potohari Muslims of Rajput descent who are ruling or Punjabi pathans, arains and awans of chakwal etc Recommend

  • india

    Does anyone even know that bhattis of pak Punjab claim their descent from Raja jaisal of jaisalmer of Rajasthan. Go and ask then why. Today even in India Rajputs marry jats I am talking about the old days. Jaipal was janjua rajput ruler history says so , he took help of his cousin brothers of delhi kings Tomar rajput ruler at that time. Jagas and bhats are community and gotra based recordings not confined only to Rajasthan or Haryana but in most areas of Indian subcontinent Recommend

  • india

    Tiwana in attacks are rajputs and jats both . Even in India tomar/toor/tanwar , solanki , bhatti , etc is common surnames in both rajputs and jatsRecommend

  • india

    Lol , Punjabi jatt didnt gave their daughters to Turks. This is the greatest joke because Turks and invaders from north west used to kidnap your Punjabi Hindu or Muslim alike at will until the starting of khalsa panth. People with turk background used to marry your women folks.Recommend

  • india

    Kshatriyas are Rajputs , then jatts/jats/jaats since you people have been ruled by Turks after the fall of King Jaipal by invaders except some 70 yrs of Sikh rule. How would you know this thing. Regarding Balochis in Sindh they came to Sindh under Talpur rule of sindh. In our area such people would be labelled as Mlechas or lowest bottom of society Recommend