Features Of Saraiki
Saraiki language and culture bears the following main features, which existed side-by-side and interacted with each other in course of time.
Nomadic Culture: – As most part of the land is desert or semi-desert, people used to live a nomadic life. The remains of this culture can be witnessed in the Cholistan and Thal. Their language is more clean rich and prosaic. Most of the folklore has its root in these areas. Khawaja Ghulam Farid, a Sufi poet, depicts this culture in his beautiful poetry.
Riverine Culture: – From the early days of Indus valley civilization, Saraiki’s are intelligent farmers. They grow wheat, cotton, sugarcane, sesame, indigo and several other cash crops on well watered lands of Indus and its tributaries. They laboriously cut canals from the rivers to irrigate their lands. Saraiki language in this way is abound with its vocabulary about crops, seasons and farming tools, weight and measures.
Market Culture: – This land was not only self sufficient in farm produce but also exported its surplus to other countries. Market places developed in to towns and cities, where soldiers, business man, citizens and other classes began to live in more sophisticated manners. Trade and commerce progressed and the language developed its vocabulary about new occupations. Saraiki became a language of trade not only in this area but market towns and bazaars of Central Asia, Afghanistan, Baluchistan and Sindh.
Transporters: – As most of the market towns and cities of were on high banks of navigable rives, the trade goods were transported by means of large boats. This mode of transportation was in vogue till the British period from Kala Bagh in Mianwali District to the seaports of Thatta. The Indus and its tributaries served as highways and transport class called ‘Mohannas’ with their large fleets of boats transported goods and passengers between the towns and cities and to and from the ports of Arabian sea. Boat Construction industry also developed at Makhad, Kala Bagh and Sukkur. With the construction of railway and roads this mode of transport died out but the remains of these people are still existent.
Religion: – Three main regions Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam flourished and spread in the Saraiki speaking area. Hundreds of Aryans descended upon this area about 1700 BC and onwards. They were the worshippers of ‘Surya’ the Sun God. They settled here before their further migration to the Northern India. The first written religious text ‘Rig Veda’ was compiled here. Its verses are all about the people, land and rivers of the Saraiki area. The great Sanskrit scholar and grammarian ‘Panini’ was born here. The famous Sun temple of Multan with a statue of the sun god cast in pure gold remained a center of pilgrimage up to the time Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Buddhism flourished in this area about the end of fourth century B.C. and remained major religion of Saraiki area up to the beginning of 8th century A.D