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Saraiki people

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Depiction of Saraiki men near Derawar Fort
Total population
c. 20 million[1]
Regions with significant populations
Sunni Islam
Related ethnic groups
Other Indo-Aryan peoples

The Saraikis (Saraiki: سرائیکی), are a Indo-Aryan ethnolinguistic group native to the Southwestern region of the Punjab province of Pakistan. They are multi-ethnic in origin and speak the Saraiki language.

They are mainly found in a region of southern Punjab known as Saraik or Saraikistan, as well as in most parts of Derajat, which is located in the region where southwestern Punjab, southeastern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and northeastern Balochistan meet.[3][4][5] Derajat is bounded by the Indus River to the east and the Sulaiman Mountains to the west.

The Saraiki people follow many religions, though most are predominantly followers of Islam. A small minority of Saraikis follow Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, many Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India where they are known as Multanis, Derawalis and Bhawalpuris.[6]


Painting of Saraikis (or Seraikis) from a series of twelve paintings, ca.1850

The present extent of the meaning of Sirāikī is a recent development, and the term most probably gained its currency during the nationalist movement of the 1960s.[7] It has been in use for much longer in Sindh to refer to the speech of the immigrants from the north, principally Siraiki-speaking Baloch tribes who settled there between the 16th and the 19th centuries. In this context, the term can most plausibly be explained as originally having had the meaning "the language of the north", from the Sindhi word siro 'up-river, north'.[8] This name can ambiguously refer to the northern dialects of Sindhi, but these are nowadays more commonly known as "Siroli"[9] or "Sireli".[10]

An alternative hypothesis is that Sarākī originated in the word sauvīrā, or Sauvira,[11] an ancient kingdom which was also mentioned in the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata.[12]

Currently, the most common rendering of the term is Saraiki.[a] However, Seraiki and Siraiki are also commonly used.

Notable people


See also



  1. ^ Saraiki is the spelling used in universities of Pakistan (the Islamia University of Bahawalpur, department of Saraiki established in 1989,[13] Bahauddin Zakariya University, in Multan, department of Saraiki established in 2006,[14] and Allama Iqbal Open University, in Islamabad, department of Pakistani languages established in 1998),[15] and by the district governments of Bahawalpur[16] and Multan,[17] as well as by the federal institutions of the Government of Pakistan like Population Census Organization[18] and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation.[19]
  1. ^ "Saraiki". Ethnologue.
  2. ^ "Pakistan Census 2017" (PDF). www.pbs.pk. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  3. ^ "About Punjab: Geography". Tourism Development Corporation, Government of the Punjab. Archived from the original on 2007-12-02. Retrieved 2007-12-14.
  4. ^ "People & Culture". Government of the North-West Frontier Province. Archived from the original on 2007-11-17. Retrieved 2007-12-14.
  5. ^ Qadeer, Mohammad (2006-11-22). Pakistan – Social and Cultural Transformations in a Muslim Nation. Routledge. p. 40. ISBN 978-1-134-18617-4. Punjab's diversity of dialects, Saraiki and Pothohari contrasting with the heartland Punjabi, was striking at the time of independence. Since then, the increased mobility of the population and the absorption of refugees from India have stimulated homogenizing tendencies both linguistically and ethnically. NWFP, although symbolically a Pashtoon is also a province of many ethnicities and languages, for example, Hindku-speaking people inhabit the Peshawar Valley and Hazara district, and Saraiki speakers are found in the Derajats.
  6. ^ Bhatia, Tej K.; Ritchie, William C. (2008-04-15). The Handbook of Bilingualism. John Wiley & Sons. p. 803. ISBN 9780470756744.
  7. ^ Rahman 1995, p. 3.
  8. ^ Rahman 1995, p. 4; Shackle 1976, p. 2; Shackle 1977, p. 388
  9. ^ Shackle 2007, p. 114.
  10. ^ Shackle 1976, p. 24.
  11. ^ Dani 1981, p. 36.
  12. ^ Shackle 1977.
  13. ^ "The Islamia University of Bahawalpur Pakistan – Department". iub.edu.pk.
  14. ^ "Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan". bzu.edu.pk.
  15. ^ "Department Detail". aiou.edu.pk.
  16. ^ "History of Bahawalpur". bahawalpur.gov.pk. Archived from the original on 11 June 2012.
  17. ^ "Introduction -City District Government Multan". multan.gov.pk.
  18. ^ Population by Mother Tongue Archived 12 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine, website of the Population Census organization of Pakistan
  19. ^ Saraiki News Bulletins Archived 6 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine, website of Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation


  • Dani, A.H. (1981). "Sindhu – Sauvira : A glimpse into the early history of Sind". In Khuhro, Hamida (ed.). Sind through the centuries : proceedings of an international seminar held in Karachi in Spring 1975. Karachi: Oxford University Press. pp. 35–42. ISBN 978-0-19-577250-0.
  • Rahman, Tariq (1995). "The Siraiki Movement in Pakistan". Language Problems & Language Planning. 19 (1): 1–25. doi:10.1075/lplp.19.1.01rah.
  • Shackle, Christopher (1976). The Siraiki language of central Pakistan : a reference grammar. London: School of Oriental and African Studies.
  • —— (1977). "Siraiki: A Language Movement in Pakistan". Modern Asian Studies. 11 (3): 379–403. doi:10.1017/s0026749x00014190. ISSN 0026-749X. JSTOR 311504. S2CID 144829301.
  • —— (2007). "Pakistan". In Simpson, Andrew (ed.). Language and national identity in Asia. Oxford linguistics Y. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-922648-1.