Punjab Public Service Commission
Special Material For Punjab Public
Service Commission (PPSC) Pre Exam, 2012
Topic : Punjabi Proverbs (Akhans)
Punjabi proverbs form a part of Punjabi folk-literature. They
contain the essence of the experience of life as well as the unchanging truths.
Brevity, orality and compactness are some other characteristics of proverbs.
Punjabi proverbs are of many kinds and their social and cultural importance can
not be ignored Here is a detailed discussion on Punjabi proverbs. De nitions
Various scholars have de ned proverbs in their own respective
ways. In the words of Raymond Firth, "A proverb is a terse didactic statement
that is current in tradition. It ordinarily suggests a course of action or
passes a judgement on a situation." Another scholar Danis Saurat
says, "The proverbs are crystallized forms of human experience."
Punjabi dictionary de nes proverb as a compact collegial
sentence which conveys in brief and popular dialect some profound experience.
According to Dr. Vanjara Bedi, 'The proverbs are compact and rhythmic sentences
spoken in peoples own dialect which convey some truth of human life."
Dr. Kamail Singh Thind has also dened proverb as- that form of
folk-literature which expresses the crystallised experience of human life in a
brief but suitable manner. From Historical Perspective-like Bujharats, the
history of proverbs is also as old as Vcdas. But the proof of their existence is
available from Punjabi literature as old as it is available. For example, the
Shalokas of Sheikh Farid written in pre-Mughal period do not hint at any
proverbs; rather some of his Shalokas have turned into proverbs.
Kandhi Uttc Rukhra, Kichrak Bannhe Dhir Farida Kache Bhande
Rakhiye, Kichr Tain Ncer
Chal Chal Gaiya Pankhian Jinni Vasaye 'Tal Farida Sara Bharia VI
Chalsi, Thakke Kr val Ikkal.
Such examples arc available in the writings of Bhagats and Nath
The history of the literature of Mughal period reveals that the
proverbs were edy used in the language of these days. The Gurus' own lines
have become proverbial e.g.
Satia Eh Na Aakhian, Jo Maria I ag J alarm Nanak Satian Janian,
Ji Birha Chot Marann' (Guru Amar Dass Suhi's Vat) and
Tera Kiya Mcetha Laagc Hari Naam Padarath Nanak Maangc. (Guru
Double-line Dudh Sambhc Gujri Bed Dhan Sambhc Khatri Ben Jo Sukh
Chhajju De Chubare Na Oh Balkh Na Bukhare.
Four-line Vekho Bharuey Di Akal Gai Majh Vech Ke Ghori Iai Dudh
Peeno Gya Iidd Chakkni Pai.
Seven-Iine:Chet Visakh Shaven Jeth Haad Saven Saon Bhadoti Nhave
Assu Kattak Thoda Khave Maghar Poh Roon Handhave Magh Phaggan Tel Malave.
Te Vaid Hakim Kadi Na Jave. Punjabi Proverbs are Powerful- Like
Punjabis, the Punjabi proverbs are also powerful. They have full energy.
The re ect very well Punjabi life and culture. A majority of Punjabis are
engaged in agriculture. That is how it is said - Dabb Ke Vah. Rajj Ke Kha
(Plough well, eat well).
Social and Cultural Importance of Punjabi Proverbs
Like other languages, the proverbs of Punjabi also represent the
culture and society of Punjab. They stand witness to our social and cultural
history. Here we are discussing the importance of Punjabi proverbs with
regard to the culture and society of punjab.
Dear Candidate, This Material is from Punjab PSC Study Kit. For Details
Punjab and Punjabi Language
Describing the geographical conditions of old Punjab Dr. Vanjara
Bedi writes that in the North of Punjab lie the snow-clad hills of Himalayas
which sprawled from Jamuna in the east to Atak in the West at some time
and was named Sapt Sindhu by the Aryans. There after this province shrank to ve
rivers and came to be known as Punjab and its language was called Punjabi.
Punjab remained under constant spate of invasions and Punjabis
had to resist every invader. Many proverbs arc famous about Punjab and Punjabi.
People of Punjab
Punjabi Na Pid Chhadde, Na Hatth Adde. Punjab De Jammean Nu Nit
Muhimman. Punjabian Di Rehni Patshahan Wali. Dhann Punjabi Ma wan De Jaye Jihnan
Vadde Kot Nivaye.
There are some other such nes also in Guru Granth Sahib e.g.
Dukh Daru Sukh Rog Bhya, Rotian Karan Pooreh la at, Nivei so Gaura Hoi,
Mayadhari Annha Bola etc.
In Su Poetry
Su Poetry has also made good use of proverbs and many lines of
their poetry have also turned proverbial.
(a) Ik Din Tainu Supna Theesan Ga an Babal Walian Vo.
(b) Je Tudh Apna Aap Pachhata Sahib Nu Milan Asan Bande. (Both
by Shah Hussain)
(c) Maati Bagh Bagicha Maati Maati Di Gulzar.
Many other such like examples can be quoted from the history of
the Post-Mughal period literature.
Ranjit Singh's period and British Rule- The literature of
Maharaja Ranjit Singh's period can also be called invaluably rich in the
treasure of proverbs. Main Poets of this period arc Has ham Kadar Yaar, Shah
Mohammad etc Here are some examples of those proverbs.
Koonjan Nazar Aaian Bajan Bhukhyan Nu
Wang Nimbuan Lahu Nichor Ditta (Both by Shah Mohammad)
Hasham Maut Pave Carvana, Tukham Jahino Jande
Gul Te Khar Paidaish & se, lk Bagh Chaman De Dowen.
In the literature written during the British rule particularly
in Su poetry, Kissa Poetry, Prose proverbs have been used generously.
In modem age also the Journey of proverbs goes on uninterrupted
and in many books and other material an attempt has been made to preserve them.
Now we shall discuss their composition.
There can be no general hard and fast rule regarding the
composition of proverbs. Different proverbs have different formations. Dr.
Kamail Singh Thind has shown the composition of proverbs ranging from two
words to ten lines as under:
Two-word Vahi Patshahi
Three-word Mawan Thandian Chhawan Jorian Jag Thorian Kheti
Khasman seti Four-word Auratan Ghar Dian Daulatan Jcha Des Teha Ves Agga Daud
Single-line Akkhon Annhi Naon Noorbhaii Kaun Kahe Rani Agga Dhak
(d) Places of Punjab Lahore Da Garda Pishaur Da Zarda. Aaega
Nadaun, Jaega Kaun. Chambe Di Hakk (Paddy), Guler Di Fakk (Husk) Nurpur Di Gapp.
Amritsar Siphi da Ghar.
Like in other parts of the country, Punjabi society was also
divided into different castes, which had their own respective natures and
characters. This aspect is visible in many Punjabi proverbs:
1. Jatt: A large number of Punjabi proverbs are available
on Jatts, and they highlight many characteristics of this community.
Jatt's High-handednes Jatt Pilaye Lassi, Gal Vich Pa Lae
Rassi. Jatt Jattan De Saale, Viche Karde Ghale Male.
Surfeited Jatt: 1. Chitta Kappra, Kukkar Khana Us Jatt Da Nahin
2. Jatt Jatt Da Rehnda kama, Bhukha Mare Tan Kare Salaman.
Famished Jatt: Bhukhe Jatt Katora Labhya Pani Pee Pee
Caref eeness ofJatt Jatt Yamla, Khuda Nu Lai Gaye chor.
Jatt's Naivety: Jatt Ganna Na Deve, Gur di Bheli Deve.
2. Bania: In Punjab Banias have been trading or
shopkeeping till today. That is why Bania is known as clever community. But they
spend lavishly on occasions like marriage.
Vanaj Karende Baniye, Hor Karende Rees
Baniye Di Kamai, Vijah Jan Zamccn Ne Khai
3. Khatri: In Punjab Khatris have been doing the business
of usury or shopkeeping in Karyana wares. In Punjabi proverbs they have been
portrayed as weak and cheats. Char Chor Te Chare Thug Char Suniar,
Chare Thathiar Char Chauke Solan, Solan Duni Batri Ik Mara Jeha Khatri.
4. Kariar: In West Punjab, both Hindus and Muslims
engaged in trade are called Kariars. Here are some proverbs about Kariars:
Khao Brahman Nat, Pandh Pao Kariar Nat
Kan, Kariar, Kutte Da, Vlsah Na Kariye Sutte Da
Ik Khurpe Wall Rani Sahwen Nau Kriar Di Dhar Bhali
According to Dr. Swaran Singh, popular convictions and beliefs
in Social Life may not come true on the criterions of principles or logic,
but they are important due to their traditional values. Many folk proverbs re
ect our domestic life. As per Dr. Bedi, these proverbs include the importance of
home, mutual husband-wife relations, dominance of man over woman, inef ciency
of a clumsy woman, disputes between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law and a
satirical mention of women's dealings with their parents and parents -in-law.
Here are some examples.
(a) Apne Ghar Har Koi Badshah Ae
(b) Ghar Teewian De, Nan Mardan De. Man- Woman -
(a) Mard Di Maya, Birchh Di Chhaya.
(b) Mard Mitti Da Vi Maan Nahin.
(c) Janani Mange Pede Ohnu Den Wale Bathere Mard Mange Ata, Ohnu
Aate Da Vi Ghata.
(d) Dil Sunder Ghori, Muchh Sunder Mard Roop Sunder Gori, Sing
Sunder Majjh. Nature of Woman
(a) Gall in Pai Te Vassnon Rahi
(b) Rann Gai Syape, Ghaf Aave Tan Jaape. Hard Work
Hard work is the routine of Punjabi Life.
Dr. Vanjara Bedi says that Punjabis are very industrious people.
They are not idlers. Many proverbs are popular about this aspect of their
Dignity of Labour
Fruit of Labour
Kar Mazdoori, Kha Ghoori.
Dabb Ke Vah, Rajj Ke Kha. Job
Naukari Ki Te Nakhra Ki.
Sipahi Di Rann
Na Vidhwa Na Suhagan.
Loyalty in Job: Jis Da Loon Khaiye, Tis De Gun Gaiye.
Punjabi life lays sufcient stress on fate. Punjabis are of the
view that one has to face to consequences of some earlier lives' misdeeds in
this life. Our ideology of fatalism is nicely woven in our proverbs:
Honi Hoi Amitt, Bhawen Ro Te Bhawen Pitt.
Vah Karman Deya Balia, Ridhi Kheer Te Ban Gaya Daha.
Maaye Puttar Janendiye, Karara Na Deniye Vand, Ik Pae Charhende
Ghoriye, Ik Tukde Khande Mang.
Eh Dekho Kismat De Khel Parhe Farsi Veche Tel.
Superstitions-Superstitions are a part of the cultural life of a
society. In folk-mind, love turns into fear or superstitions. Like other
communities Punjabis, too, have their own superstitions. Here are some examples
1 About Stars: Bodi Wala Tara Ja Charhe Tan Hoi Ujada.
2. About days:
3. About Birds/animals: Dine Na Bole Gidri Raat Na Bole Kan, Ik
Tan Raja Mahiye, Ik Tan Ujde Giran.
4. About Handicapped: Annha Kana Tepra, Bakhsh Lain Parmeshra.
Social-Graps-Folk-literature also depicts the economic set up of a society. The
socioeconomic gaps can be gauged from the folk proverbs-
Kithe Raja Bhoj, Kithe Gangu Teli. Social Evils -Although in miniscule form, our
social evils are also indicated in our proverbs:
Posta Dil Dosta, Tera Mudhon Putawan Boota Vasde Ghar Ujar
Ke Hatth Pharauna Ae Thootha.
Pio Bhangan to sovo Baghin, Pichhle Jeewan Apne Bhagin.
In nutshell it can be said that like other forms of
folk-literature, Punjabi proverbs also re ect the socio-cultural picture of a
society. This is a very important role of the folk-proverbs which cannot be