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The literature of Punjab has been written in the local language of Punjab that is Punjabi. This language has been written on the history of the state of Punjab that pertains to the Southern Asia region of the country that have the citizens from countries like India, Pakistan and the Punjabis located in the entire other regions all over the world. The Punjabi scripts have been nicely mentioned in the scriptures Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi that belong to the Punjabi culture in India and Pakistan respectively. The scriptures written in Punjabi have been classified into three different three different epochs with very minor changes in all the different scriptures.

The scriptures of the three different eras can be classified as mentioned below:-

1. Punjabi Literature from c. 11th century to 16th century

2. Punjabi Literature from c. 16th century - 1849

3. Modern Punjabi Literature (1850s onwards)

The literature of Punjabi became popular only after the period of 16th century. This literature was most sacred for the Punjabi community and became only popular when the existence of the Punjabi community was into the middle period.

Guru Arjan Dev who was the fifth Guru of Sikh has majorly designed the Adi Granth or also known as Guru Granth Sahib Scripture. This scripture is not scripted in Punjabi language. The last Guru of Sikh, Guru Gobind Singh (1666- 1708) who has also been the last Guru of Sikhs and tenth in his position has poised many of the sacred scripts that were majorly written in older Hindi language while one of these has also been written in Punjabi language and has been named as Candi-di-Var. During the earlier days, the scripts of Punjab community were written only in Landha also known as Mahajani scripts rather than in the main language, Punjabi. But as Sikhism became popular, the community declared a fresh alphabet that was in an urgent need of the scripts so that the community gets itself an individual recognition and thus paved the path for spreading the knowledge of fresh religious practices.

Sanskrit language has been the inspiration for the script Landha or also known as Mahajani but it does not have the sounds that were pertained in the language of Punjab. The Punjabi community of Pakistan has their sacred script Shahmukhi written in Persian language that was composed by the Muslim community. It also has the scripts that were narrated by the Shah or commonly also known as the king. Another script that was originated by Guru Angad Dev, the second Guru of the Sikh community, named it as “Gurmukhi” that also has some famous preaching said by the guru. This script constituted a total of thirty-five alphabets that had different sounds and this is the only script that has such a long list of alphabets.

The existence of Khalsa group or Sikhism also has witnessed the evolvement of rich poetry in Punjabi language since all the leaders and Guru of Sikh community were proficient in writing poems and also enriched the community with soothing and pleasing music. Thus, paving a new way to the Punjabi community. The first guru of Sikh community Guru Nanak Ji is considered as the originator of Punjabi community and provided the community a separate identity.

Abdullah (1616-1666), a Muslim poet has scripted the Bara Anva also known as “The Twelve Topics” as opinioned in Islam. At this time, many other Sufi poets of Muslim community came into existence with various pieces of music that has links to the Punjabi community and later formed part of the Sikh community. The most famous poet of the Muslim Sufi music is Bullhe Shah (1680-1758). He has composed Kafi, also the small pieces of poems that had almost six paras. The other Guru of Sikh community in Pakistan who has composed in bulk, the Sharfis that consists of poems of almost 30 Para in which each Para begin with an alphabet in Persian language, was Ali Haidar (1689-1776).

During the years 1852 and 1854, Christian community made the Bible and Dictionary printed in Punjabi language. The modern guru of Punjabi literature is considered to be Bhai Vir Singh (1872-1957). He has done major work for modern Sikh literature and his major contribution is in the poems written in 1905 for Rana Surat Singh and named it as Srikhandi Chanda.

The literature and scripts of the Sikh community got recognition with the work done by the following Sikh Guru and few of their followers as mentioned below:-

Guru Angad Dev (1539 – 1552)

He is the founder of a fresh alphabet for Gurmukhi. This provided a new kind of uniqueness to the people by making them known with new faith and hope and thus providing a new start for the thoughts of Punjabi community.

Guru Amar Das (1552 – 1574)

He was behind the abolishment of Sati practice. Sati Practice was the belief of burning the widow along with the burning body of her husband. He also sectioned the state of Punjab into 22 different districts that were sectioned on the basis of faith of Sikhs. He also appointed a learned intellectual as the leader of each district.

Guru Arjan Dev (1581 – 1606)

He is believed to be known for providing a new focus in the lives of people of Sikh community. He preached that no phase in the society that may be either social or political is different from the spiritual beliefs and practices and would be showered with heavenly lights. He has composed the final preaching’s composed in the sacred Adi Granth commonly known as Guru Granth Sahib. He is the only person who has been responsible for the spiritual scripts mentioned in Grant Sahib.

Guru Gobind Singh (1675 -1708)

He has been the man behind the formation of the Khalsa group and provided a special dressing norm for this group. He has also written large number of poems for the fighters. The logic behind the poems written by him has been the inspiration for several people since they have captured the minds and heart of people who have specific goals in their lives. He has also been the person behind the Zafarnama that has been written in pure Persian language to remind the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb about the preaching’s written in sacred Quran that says about the diverging pillage of the Mughal army against the weaker section of the society. The compilation of his scripts are mentioned in Dasam Granth that is a huge book comprising of 1066 pages that is also part of Gurmukhi script. He is also declared as the person who has concluded the spiritual teachings in the Guru Granth Sahib that has been from ages been followed by the people of Sikh community. He is officially the most recent and also the last Guru of the community of Sikh people.

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