Panjabi is spoken by about 93 million speakers. It is one of India’s many official languages. Punjabi speakers came originally from the Panjab, which was divided between India and Pakistan after partition in 1947. About 70 per cent of Panjabi speakers live in Pakistan, and 30 per cent in India. Those who live in Pakistan are mostly Muslim and use Urdu as the language of religion and high culture. Panjabi-speaking Hindus look to Hindi as the language of religion. For Sikhs, however, Panjabi is the main language of their holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib.
Panjabi speakers form one of the most significant south Asian communities in the UK. Many Panjabis came to the UK in the period from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. They settled around the London area, the Midlands and the textile towns of northern England. Not all Panjabi speakers came from India and Pakistan. Many were business and professional people who came from East Africa, where people from the Panjab had settled as traders earlier in the 20th century.
In Wales, education authorities have reported Punjabi speaking-pupils in Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Cardiff, Flintshire, Merthyr Tydfil, Swansea/Neath/Port Talbot and Torfaen. Listen to Swinder Chadha, who was raised in Delhi but came to Wales in the 1980s via Iran. Those Sikhs who worship at her local Gurdwara in Cardiff have come to Wales from all over the world - from East Africa, Burma, Singapore and Iran as well as directly from the Punjab.
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- 5 May 2011
Explore the history and sounds of Wales' languages from Early Medieval to the present