Lost in the Translation: Punjabi Identity and Language in Pakistan


  • Rabia Sarfraz Sarfraz Ahmed Government College University, Lahore


Punjabi Language, Punjab, Pakistan, Nationalism, Colonialism


Punjabi identity in Pakistan is primarily motivated by the language. The discussion around the
Punjabi language or identity has received criticism in the contemporary political milieu of
Pakistan compared to other ethnic identity politics. Many leftists render the debate around
diminishing Punjabi identity and language as an insignificant question because Punjabis
constitute majority. Despite numerical dominance, Punjabi usage and vernacular are waning
compared to Eastern Punjab. These developments are demoted with Punjabi identity as
secondary to supporting perceived threats to the federation since Fall of Dhaka and Punjabi
elites' preference for Urdu. Regardless of the profound historical and cultural richness of the
Punjabi culture and language, as evidenced by literary contributions and vast historical
demographic, their cultural identity is paradoxically relegated to mockery and jest.