Americans in particular and Westerners in general should understand that Pakistani culture is traditionally conservative and religious.
Ideologically, Pakistan is an Islamic State.
Pakistan’s very foundation centers around Islam, and Pakistani culture is primarily based on the Islamic way of life.
All other cultural aspects are inspired by Islam. Pakistani culture is highlighted by its grandeur, simplicity, firm convictions and noble deeds and ideas.
Here are 11 key traits of Pakistani culture.
1. Religious Uniformity
Pakistan came into existence to provide its people a system of life based on Islam. The people, in spite of some language differences, customs and traditions commonly follow one religion. Islam is practiced by all Pakistanis.
A number of languages are spoken in Pakistan. Some of them are Punjabi, Sindhi, Pushto and Baluchi. But Urdu is spoken and understand in all parts of Pakistan. Being the official language, it is the media of communication between all regions of Pakistan.
3. Literature and Poetry
Literature is an important aspects of our cultural life. Most of our poets reflect Islamic code and deliver the message of love and brotherhood. Similarity of thought among poets and writers of all regions is an important factor of our cultural life.
Sufi poets occupy an honored place. Sufis like Lal Shahbaz, Data Ganj Baksh, Shah Abdul Lateef, Sachal Sarmast, Hazrat Sultan Bahu and Waris Shah rendered meritorious services for the spread of Islam in the subcontinent.
4. Dress and Diet
Dress is an important manifestation of culture. Regional dresses of Pakistan have under gone changes due to local traditions, economic conditions, and wealth. But in all provinces people generally wear the traditional dress by Salwar Kameez.
The food we consume and social etiquette confirms strictly with Islamic principles.
5. Mixed Culture
Pakistani culture is a mixed culture although majority of people are Muslims by birth and faith. However there is great influence of Hindu and British culture on present Pakistani society.
6. Male Dominated Society
In Pakistani culture the male member of the family enjoys the key position. Family is headed by a male member and in most cases, he is the soul sources of income for other members of the family.
7. Arts and Architecture
The iconoclasm of Islam has given a characteristic form and pattern in the use of elegant designs, based on geometric figures and floral forms borrowed from nature. The Shah Jahan Mosque, Shalimar Garden, Badshahi Mosque, Shahi Qila and many such graceful buildings are a living proof of the splendid Mughal architecture.
Embroidery, leather works, glazed pottery, wood work, carpet making, metal crafts, and ivory are the essential parts of our culture. Pakistani craftsmen are considered the best in their craftsmanship. They are known for the high quality works which is very popular in foreign countries.
Games like wrestling, hockey, cricket, football, squash etc are popular in every part of our country. These games reflect our cultural identity.
Pakistan’s educational system plays a vital role in the formation of culture, unity and solidarity of the nation. Therefore, it is important that the entire curriculum from kindergarten to high school be placed in accordance with the ideology of Pakistan.
11. Religious Festivals
Saira Ronaq is a writer and graduate student in gender studies at the University of Karachi. Read other articles by Saira.