What Is Punjabi, What Is Sikh?

Harry Haller

Panga Master

I think it can be confusing separating what is Punjabi and what is Sikh from our culture.

For instance, some Punjabi traits that are now being seen as Sikh traits would be dowries, ostentatious displays of wealth, honour killings, Vedic ritualism, drinking, extreme displays of emotion, pride, sexual discrimination, prejudice, religious displays. Being Punjabi myself, I can also confirm that the positive traits are also many, namely, compassion, charity, openness, honesty, helpfulness.

Sikh traits, I would say, would be no dowries, modesty, respect for all sexes, lack of enimity, rejection of all ritual, non drinking, calmness, humility, living Sikhi rather than displaying it, etc

This is quite evident when you consider the difference between Sikh heroes and Punjabi heroes.

I consider the following to be Punjabi Heroes

Bhagat Singhji
Maharaja Ranjit Singhji
Banda Singh Bahadurji

All wonderful Punjabi men, but all with facets that would fail the litmus test.

I consider the following to be Sikh Heroes

All Gurus, Wives and Sahibzadey
Mai Bhagoji
Bibi Sharan Kaurji
Bhai Mani Singhji
Bhai Taru Singhji and sister Bibi Tar Kaurji
Baba Deep Singhji
Bhai Kanhaiyaji

I think some of us Punjabi types have difficulty seeing what is Sikh and what is Punjabi, both have a glorious past, but only one is the 'way', the other is just culture and has nothing at all to do with Sikhism, certainly from the viewpoint of Sikhism being a world religion, rather than a religion confined to the Punjab.


As a non-Punjabi I would say the separation of Punjabi culture and Sikhi is relatively clear. It appears much more difficult for Punjabi's to see it. Possibly because it's easier to see when you know nothing of the culture and start learning about Sikhi first - it's relatively easy to see when something doesn't stack up.

Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
Punjabi is the earth..the land of the Punjab..and the SIKH is the plant..the wheat..the sugarcane..and Gurmatt is the sweet juice..the atta....etc..just as the wheat grows in the erath..and leaves behind the roots..the chaff the leaves..and then the rest..and just as wheat now grows in canada..australia..ukraine..usa..as well as Punjab..SIKHS now grow all over...and you will find sikhs in say USA having some Halloween..some christmas..trees..santa claus..and some thanksgiving elements....same thing...ESSENTIAL GURMATT is is in the SGGS..that cannot change.


ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
Punjabi Definition for me: Punjabi is one who can communicate in Punjabi: Speak/Understand Punjabi.
Examples: Sikh Punjabi, Hindu Punjabi, Muslim Punjabi, Goray Punjabi (e.g. 3HO Sikhs of Bhajan Yogi), etc.

1. Punjabi is not religious centric. But it is very difficult to become a complete Sikh without the ability to speak/understand Punjabi due to the need to be understanding Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji written in Gurmukhi (Punjabi Alphabet) and Punjabi language.

2. Pseudo Punjabis are born in Punjabi families without developing the ability to so carry on.

3. Punjabis have traditionally originated from Punjab but this is blurring with migration of Punjabis across the world.

Sikh Definition: Per Sikh Reht Maryada,

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Sikh Reht Maryada
Section One
The Definition of Sikh :

Article I

Any human being who faithfully believes in
i. One Immortal Being,
ii. Ten Gurus, from Guru Nanak Sahib to Guru Gobind Singh Sahib,
iii. The Guru Granth Sahib,
iv. The utterances and teachings of the ten Gurus and
v. the baptism bequeathed by the tenth Guru, and who does not owe allegiance to any other religion, is a Sikh
Sat Sri Akal.
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Harry Haller

Panga Master
Punjab is geographical land mass....

Sikhism is a religion ...


Actually, its not.

My point is that too much of the rich history and culture of the Punjab has penetrated Sikhism. Punjab has a wonderful culture, but not all of it is in line with Bani. The problem , as I see it, is that a lot of people seem to think it is. If one is non Punjabi, then it is not an issue, if one is, then there has to be a priority in thinking. Are you Sikh? are you Punjabi? Yes you can be both, provided there is a rejection of Punjabi culture that is outside of Sikhism.

There seems to be much confusion as to what is Sikhi, and Punjabi

Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
all PUNJABIS ARE sikh..???......................no.
all sikhs ARE PUNJABIS ?..........................NO..

But if we take literal meaning of sikh...learner..then every one is a sikh..and certainly all punjabis are then sikhs...as is every chinese, indian, vietnamese, laotion , pakistani, afghani..eskimo..martian..uranusian..venusian..he he..so take your pick...6 million SIKHS..vs 6 BILLION Sikhs...its all the same...:sippingcoffee::singhsippingcoffee:icecreamkudiwinkingmunda


Punjabi is a culture & Sikhism is a religion .... What for comparison is been made ?? Can't understand it.

Secondly, dowry, honor killing etc not only happens in Punjab ... it's almost all parts of India and may be other Asian countries as well !!

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