By Amanda Stutt
Punjabis hail from Punjab region in Northern India, but the area is not comprised of an ethnically homogenous group.
-India’s national language is Hindi – different from Punjabi.
– People in Punjab, irrespective of their religion, would speak Punjabi. In Bengal it would be Bengali. Both would express their culture differently.
– In India, every province has its unique culture and traditions. State culture and language traditions are reflected by the pre-colonial kingdoms that are now the present-day states.
There are many religions in India: Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, and Buddhism. Each religion has very different traditions.
– Punjabis practice many religions such as Sikhism, Hinduism and Islam.
– Punjabis make up approximately 70% of Indo-Canadians.
– Sikhs have no formal state in India, but there is a movement that calls for the creation of an independent state in India.
Most Punjabis settled in the lower mainland practice the Sikh religion and hail from the Jat Sikh caste. A caste is a system of social stratification based on ethnicity and hereditary class distinction.
1899 – First Sikhs arrive in Vancouver.
1904 – Immigration wave begins. Over the next three years over 5,000 Sikhs arrive in Vancouver.
1914 – A Japanese steamship called the Komagata Maru arrived in Vancouver carrying 376 Punjabis in search of better employment opportunities. B.C’s exclusionist laws refused them entry, and the ship was turned away.
– Today, Vancouver has the most concentrated Punjabi population in North America.
Punjabi Market on Main street has been called Vancouver’s “Little India.”
–with files from Anupreet Sandhu Bhamra.