Punjabi was raised to the status of one of India's official languages in 1966.
Punjabis have a rich mythology and folklore that includes folktales, songs, ballads, epics, and romances.
In Pakistan, Punjabi is written using the Persian-Arabic script, which was introduced to the region during the Muslim conquests. Punjabi is spoken by two-thirds of the population of Pakistan.
In India, Punjabi is the mother tongue of just under 3 percent of the population.
After then, Persians, Greeks, Huns, Turks, and Afghans were among the many peoples that entered the Indian subcontinent through the northwestern passes and left their mark on the region.
Punjabis, who are basically of Aryan, or Indo-European ancestry, are the modern descendants of the mixture of peoples that passed through the region.
Many folk tales are sung to the accompaniment of music.
Among the lower-ranked service and artisan castes are the Lohars, Tarkhans, and Chamars.
The homeland of the Punjabis lies on the plains of the upper Indus Valley, covering an area of roughly 104,200 square miles (270,000 square kilometers).
In 1966, however, agitation for a Punjabi-speaking state led to the creation of the present Punjab State.
The location of India's Punjab State along the border with Pakistan and only some 25 miles (40 kilometers) from the city of Lahore, gives it great military significance. Punjabis, whether in India or in Pakistan, share the agrarian (farming) social structure based on caste that is found throughout southern Asia.
Punjabis derive their name from a geographical, historical, and cultural region located in the northwest of the Indian sub-continent.