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(Panjabis), the main population of the geographical and historical region of Punjab, now occupied by the states of Punjab and Haryana in India and the province of Punjab in Pakistan. They number more than 58 million (1972, estimate). The majority speak Punjabi, and the rest speak Hindi in India or dialects of Lahnda and Urdu in Pakistan. In India most Punjabis are Sikhs or Hindus, and in Pakistan nearly all are Muslims.
The Punjabis evolved through the amalgamation of various indigenous ethnic groups, which from earliest times intermingled with other peoples who settled in the area as a result of the Aryan, Saka, Arab, and other invasions. The largest ethnic groups are the Jats, Rajputs, and Gujars.
From the third millennium B.C. the Punjabis have been famous as the creators of an advanced culture, known as the Harappa civilization, and the founders of several powerful states, such as Taxila. The chief occupation of the Punjabis is agriculture, and wheat, grown on irrigated land, is the main crop. Weaving, pottery, rug-making, and artistic wood carving are also highly developed. Many Punjabis, particularly those in India, are skilled workers and technicians. Both in India and Pakistan the literacy rate among Punjabis is significantly higher than among neighboring peoples.
REFERENCENarody Iuzhnoi Azii. Moscow, 1963.
M. K. KUDRIAVTSEV