This part deals with things one knows about the socio economic strucure of the time. The source is again, family and literature of the period. Some of these snippets may be true only for some regions.. like the last time, please do add whatever u know.. without thinking too much. Am hoping that someday, there will be another curious child who will google to find out what Punjab was like before partition.. and will get some information..this is to help that searcher.. and me.
- Saanjha Chulha: This was a reality. There was a common tandoor where the women went to make "rotis" - especially for dinner. Tandoors were typically not made inside the house.
- Silver jewelry, bright colors and salma sitaare: Were all for the Muslims. Hindu girls did not wear any of this. Sequins were called "Salmaa sitaare" - and were absolutely forbidden on the dresses of Hindu-Sikh girls. As was any form of gold -silver embellishment. This group wore Phulkari, Crochet work, and , at most, kinaari(a sort of golden border) for festive occasions. Unmarried girls were not allowed to wear any makeup or good clothes. The Sindhis wore diamond jewelry.
- Religion based segregation: There was the Hindu-Sikh part of the village and the Muslim part of the village. The segregation was complete - there was a separate well, separate lands, separate parts of the village. Usually, even the occupations were different. They did not share food or water . Not much social contact either. However, the "caste" based panchayats are a novelty. Because of the preponderance of Sikhs , the caste system was not too pronounced. (The Sikhs, theoretically, do not believe in caste)
- The Sindhis were the traditional money lenders in this part of the world. Because they were into moneylending and the Punjabis were into borrowing, there was little love lost between these 2 communities. however, they could do without each other and thus was born a generation of jokes about the other community.
- Marriage with the family: It was considered scandalous to ask to see the girl before marriage. The marriages were fixed by the respective elders (always male) and were solemnised before the groom(or anyone on the groom's side) ever set eyes on the bride. As for the groom, if the elders of the house, when they go to finalise the alliance, happen to meet the boy, it is fine. There was never any demand to see the boy.
- Multan, Jhang and Punjab: Few of us know that Multan, Jhang, Punjab and Sindh were closely related provinces, each with its own dialect. Jhangi and Multani were separate dialects, albeit related to Punjabi.
- The Eastern Punjabis: were considered not as good looking, lazy and manipulative. It was said that Ambarsar (Amritsar) onwards, only cunning ruled, not the sweat on the brow.. and that one must not trust the "zubaan" as much.. how can one fight perceptions!! In hindsight, they appear so ridiculous, yet i wonder about our perpetually judgemental perceptions today.
- Hard Work was revered. One who works hard, tells the truth, and does not flash his/her wealth, was considered "good."
What do you remember? Please post comments.. Thank you!