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Punjabi is spoken in the eastern province of Punjab. It is also spoken in East Punjab (India) where it is a state language. Punjabi is not taught in Pakistani schools but is widely spoken. It is written in two scripts, Gurmukhi - which is used mainly in India and, Shahmukhi - which is used mainly in Pakistan and is based on the Persian script.
Early Punjabi literature was writen in Shahmukhi by scholars and saints. The epic Heer Ranjha was written in Punjabi by Waris Shah 1722 - 1798.
The language itself is very ancient and has a rich history of literature and writing. Much of this is not known to Pakistani Punjabi people as the government has actively encouraged Urdu, and there has been a policy of almost willful neglect towards the Punjabi language. It is very slowly seeing a comeback especially in art and literature, and there are now calls for the language to be used as a medium of education in Punjab, just as Sindhi is in the Sindh Province.
There are many variations and dialects of the language. Below is a brief list;
Although not all of Punjab is within the boundaries of Pakistan, many of the above dialects are spoken there, as they were brought with the millions of refugees coming into Pakistan to escape persecution in India. These communities settled mainly within Pakistani Punjab and have prospered. They proudly speak their dialects and have maintained them on this side of the Punjabi border along with many of their traditions and pretty way of life.