Punjabis - Then and now!
The word "Punjab" for the first time was mentioned in ``Tarikh-e-Sher Shah'' in 1580 which describes the construction of Fort by a fellow ``Sher Khan of Punjab''.
Punjabis are known for their hardwork and grit throughout the world. Be it the rocky terrain in Uttranchal or tough terrain in some God forsaken Onion growing provinces in Canada where there is fight for survival with nature for around ten months a year, Punjabis have really turned around the area and made most barren Lands green. There in no country in the world where they have not created waves.
So much is the recognition of their work around the globe is that Canadian Premier while wishing the gathering before address, wishes them “Sat Siri Akal”, an address normally used by Sikhs in Punjab. Such is the success of this community that when a leader addressed a gathering in a Wolverhampton Gurudwara asking for Tsunami relief, in few hours $ 100,000 was collected.
Punjabi community, every where it has gone, has made their roots well. With their grit, created a stable economy, jobs, rights at work, support for families etc, and have remarkably merged well in the new society but have also carried their drawbacks along at some places.
Though, all communities hold pride in their traditions, Punjabis hold their unique tradition of hospitality high in their values of life. Those who been to Gurudwaras in Punjab, must be aware that in each Gurudwara there is a flag called “Nishan Sahib”. It is meant to denote that free kitchen, called Langar would be served here to all and any body, local; or traveler, is most welcome for tea or food. On account of rising prices it is coming under strain in the cities of Punjab, however, in villages it still remains supreme. Punjabis carry this spirit of hospitality to virgin lands where they emigrate and keep alight the zest of humane love which is an organic trait of their culture.
Punjab, historically, had its share of miseries too. Waves after waves of invaders, settlers, traders, travelers, came through this route to India. In fact, all invaders who came through Afghan route came through this state. Accordingly to many historians, significant numbers of Punjabi tribes have descended from Afghan, Arab, and Mughal invaders/migrants.
It is not that Punjabis living abroad are not facing any racial problems. After Sep 11, Sikhs faces many hate crimes, being mistaken as from Afghanistan. Sikhs among Punjabis generally carry a ceremonial knife known as Kirpan, one of the five Ks of Sikhism. It is never and rather can’t be used aggressively, being blunt and only 5 inch of length. Many would know the case of Mr. Fauja Singh, who is a marathon runner. He is in his 90s and he runs the London marathon. Because of his athletic prowess, he was invited to the London Eye for a celebration. But after reaching there, he was refused entry because, understandably, he refused to remove his kirpan, which was treated as weapon.