Pakistan, a country in Southern Asia, has a rich culture and heritage. Formerly, a part of 'Hindustan', it became an independent country on August 14, 1947. The culture of Pakistan is highly traditional, and borrows heavily from the cultures of Arabs, Greeks, Persians, Aryans, Moghuls, and the British. The neighboring countries like Iran (in the west), Afghanistan (in the northwest), and India (in the east) also influence its culture.
Although, English is widely spoken, Urdu is the official language of this country. The other languages that are spoken include Punjabi, Sindhi, Pushto, Balochi, Hindko, Saraiki, Brahvi, etc.
The majority of population are Muslim and follow the Islamic religion in a strict fashion. They offer namaaz (prayers) five times everyday. Ramadan, the most important festival of the Muslims, is also considered as a sacred month. During this month, they fast from morning till sunset without drinking water and are strictly prohibited from smoking and consuming alcohol. The last day of Ramadan is Eid, which is celebrated with great fervor with family and friends.
Islam is the major religion in this nation, but it is not the only one. The minority population comprises Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, and Persians. Christmas (also the birthday of Ali Jinnah, first governor-general of the country), Jashn-e-Baharan (spring festival celebrated by the Punjabis), Baisakhi Purnima (the birth date of Buddha), and Naoroz (Parsi New Year) are among some of the festivals celebrated in this country.
The architecture of this country is assorted in nature, as every nation that invaded and settled in this country has left a mark on it. In ancient times, this Islamic country was a part of the Indus Valley Civilization and the architectures of Mohenjo Daro, Harappa and Kot Diji, are considered as the heritage sites.
One can also see the Buddhist monuments that were constructed during the time when Buddhism was prevalent here. The advent of the Moghuls put an end to the Buddhist architecture. During this time, due to the influence of Greeks and Persians, there was an amalgamation of these styles in the architecture of the country, which was known as the 'Greco-Buddhist' style.
The invasion of the Mughal empire led to the development of Islamic architecture. The Shah Jahan Mosque of Thatta is the first building that was constructed according to the principles of Mughal architecture. One of the very important monuments that came up during this period is the Badshahi Mosque. It was built during the rule of Emperor Aurangzeb, and is flanked by the magnificent Alamgiri gate.
Later, during the time of colonization, the constructions were majorly of Indo-Western style. Today, in the post-colonial era, we can see a mixture of all these styles along with the modernized structures.
Although field hockey is its national game, cricket is a game that is followed with lot of passion. In recent times, even soccer has become popular among the people. The country also internationally represents in sports, like swimming, boxing, shooting, and athletics.
Art and Literature
Poetry is the most important form of literature in this country. One of the most known exponent of Urdu poetry is Mirza Ghalib. He has written various poems in Urdu and Persian. His poems are still read and loved by Urdu and Hindi speaking people around the globe.
The literature is not restricted only to Urdu poetry. There is an embodiment of works written in English, Punjabi, Sindhi, and Pushto languages. Also, there are diasporic writers around the world.
Music is a primary interest of the Pakistanis. Qawwali, which was said to have been introduced by Amir Khusrau, is one of the most traditional forms of music in this country. Urdu and Punjabi films or pop music are also popular among the people. Nowadays, it is blended with western music, and this amalgamation has developed into a popular music genre.
The most popular entertainment mediums are the television and the radio. Pakistan's film industry is referred to as Lollywood, with a production of 40 motion pictures every year. Indian movies are also popular, although they have been banned by the Government.
The Pakistanis are mostly conservative in nature. They follow a strict code of conduct. They live in a patriarchal family where the eldest male member is the head of the family. The elders are given lot of respect, and their opinions are regarded with utmost importance while taking important decisions.
Although education is considered as a very important factor among the middle class people, most women are not given the freedom to work. But nowadays, many joint families are disintegrating into nuclear families due to the social and economic limitations that are enforced by the joint family system.
This country adheres to its traditional beliefs, values, and customs, especially in matters of religion. Although, the Pakistanis are deeply rooted in their cultural values, the nation is not lagging behind, with globalization affecting every part of the world. Westernization has embarked into their culture, which has paved the way for positive development.