You cannot define an Indian man strictly by his nationality. The state an Indian comes from defines him more than any other cultural factor. Punjabi's cover a healthy portion of Northern India, even areas outside of Punjab. Most don't realize there is a sizable Punjabi population in Delhi.
Punjabi's differ from Indians born and raised in other states because of the lifestyle they've had to lead. From partition to 1984 Punjab suffered a substantial amount of violence. It's not uncommon to encounter middle-aged women who were rarely able to leave their homes for long periods of time during their youth due to the violence or older women who had family members murdered violently. These circumstances causes Punjabi men to naturally be more protective of their families and ready to take up arms and fight than other Indians are likely to be.
Large wrought iron gates typically secure the Punjabi family home.
The heart-wrenching violence touched each segment of the population. From Hindu's to Sikhs to Muslims equally. No one was spared. The tensions are still a heavily underlying factor in every-day life in Punjab even though the violence has been dormant for more than 30 years.
The level of drugs and other criminal trafficking that cross the India-Pakistan border also contribute to the underlying unease of everyday life in Punjab. We lived across the street from a convicted, jailed and released drug dealer and I saw firsthand the damage it had done to the family. I also so how it affected the neighbors who worked hard to make sure their families were not involved and did not partake.
Those two factors alone explain first hand why Punjabi's also tend to be open about their heart and their love. It's not uncommon to hear a Punjabi man talking about something or someone who has touched his heart, how he feels something in his heart or how deep his emotions run. This is especially true when they see someone suffering. It seems to affect them more than other Indians I have known. The Punjabi's I know would do just about anything within their means to protect their families and keep them happy.
The troubling history of Punjab also helps you understand why Punjabi's are well known to be more lively and vibrant than many other Indians. They are loud, boisterous and energetic. All forms of over-compensating for the hardships they and their families have had to endure. Which explains Bhangra.
Bhangra literally means to be intoxicated with joy.
Being part of one of the oldest cultures in the world, Punjabi's are especially proud of the status their cuisine has earned throughout all of India and the world. Just ask an Amritsari and he will instantly tell you that the only place you can find authentic (insert food here) is in Punjab. Butter chicken, Amritsar kulcha, and lassi just to name a few.
If you've ever known a Punjabi, I'm sure I don't have to explain to you how over-the-top fantastic their parties are. It's common for them to have a loudspeaker at the party to blast the music all over the neighborhood for everyone to hear. Of course, the entire neighborhood is likely at the party anyway but if they need to go home for any reason, they can essentially take the party with them and not miss anything.
There are always lots of people at Punjabi parties, lots of food and lots of alcohol. Even if the family doesn't drink, alcohol is considered a social necessity at parties and special events. The ultimate goal of every Punjabi is to make sure everyone at their party or event stays happy during and leaves happy. They literally want to be the talk of the town for as long as possible afterward and will spare no expense to get there.
The essence of a Punjabi!
Though it may not be as pronounced, Punjabi's living outside of India still have these same ingrained traits. Their parents or grandparents may have passed them down. The exception being if their ancestors immigrated long before Partition in 1947, those Punjabi's may have a different outlook and view on life, but I'm willing to bet that you'll still find a lot of these same traits and emotions as Punjabi's tend to relate to each other and especially those from the mother land.
Being in the life of a Punjabi exposes you to an array of experiences and emotions you won't find with any other person. It will pull at your heartstrings, anger you, bless you, drive you crazy and make you a better person all at the same time.
How has being with a Punjabi changed your life?
*Images and video are courtesy of American Punjaban PI and are original copyrighted content and cannot be used without the express written consent of American Punjaban PI.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This is a guest post by the lovely American Punjaban PI who is an American woman married to a Punjabi man. On her blog she chronicles her journey into an inter-cultural relationship and then marriage; living life as a joint family in India then back to America.
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