Short essay on Pakistani Culture


The culture of Pakistan includes various different cultures and societies of different ethnic backgrounds. In northern Pakistan there exists the Dardic, Wakhi and Burusho communities, the west comprises of the Baluch and the Pakhtoon, in eastern Pakistan there are the Muhajir and the Makarani communities and lastly in the east there are the Punjabis, Kashmiris and the Sindhis. The Pakistani culture is a mixture of all these cultures and ethnicities which have been significantly affected by the cultures of the neighboring countries including Turkish people, Persians, Afghans, Indians, the Southern and Central Asian Countries and of course for religious reasons the Middle East.

In older times Pakistan was known to be the heart of Culture due to its people of diverse backgrounds. There happens to be many cultural rituals and magnificent structures that have been adapted from the past ancient rulers and colonizers of the state. The Persian Empire is one empire which has had the greatest influence on Pakistan, in fact the rulers of the Persian Empire in Pakistan known as the satraps were once upon a time the wealthiest of the whole empire. Other significant empires which have had a great impact include the Afghan Empire, Mughal Empire and the British Empire (for a short duration).

The cultural history of Pakistan dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization which existed in 2800 - 1800 B.C., and was known for its amazing cities, organized sanitation, brilliant roads and exquisite societies. The culture of Pakistan seems to be so diverse because it has been invaded quite a few times and has been inhabited by a number of different people, each of them have left their traces of culture on the locals of the country. The more prominent invaders were the Greeks, Aryans, White Huns, Arabs, Turks, Mongol, Afghans, Buddhists and other Eurasian groups until and including the British who finally left in the 1940s.

There are differences in the cultural practices of different ethnic groups in dress, food and religious aspects; they show varying influence from Tibet, Nepal, India and Eastern Afghanistan. Pakistan was the first state in South Asia which received the complete influence of Islam; it has developed a unique Islamic identity, which is different from the areas of further west.

The sites and structures that Pakistan is home to include Zorastrian Fire Temples, Islamic Centers, Shia Shrines, Sufi Shrines, Sikh, Hindu and Pagan temples, gardens, palaces, tombs, historical structures and Mughal buildings. Pakistan is also known for its sculptures (Greco Buddhist friezes), ceramic crafts, jewelry, silk goods and engraved woodwork and metal work. The Pakistan society is predominantly multilingual and multicultural. The cultures within Pakistan though seem to have more similarities than differences as they have co-existed for several thousands of years (and seem to have the Aryan heritage).

More importantly after sixty years of integration in a state a unique Pakistani culture has emerged from within the many cultures that exist, especially in the urban areas where the various ethnic groups have lived together. The family values still hold respect and are significant, yet urbanization has increased the number of nuclear families, due to the socio economic constraints of the extended family in the traditional culture. Thus the culture of Pakistan is representative of its colorful history and the vibrant civilizations and empires that have existed in the region, however Pakistan has developed its own identity and culture amongst the many that have coexisted, by including variations of all the diverse ethnic cultures and practices of the various cultures.