Culture plays an important role for a nation as individuals are mostly identified by their culture. Culture is always of a group or of a society; an individual’s behavior cannot be termed as culture. What is culture? Culture is actually a collective manifestation of a societies or a group of person’s values, beliefs, customs, traditions, arts, religion, language and way of life or it could also be defined as the attitudes and behaviors of a particular group or of a particular society that has been transmitted from generations to generations through a shared symbol of system (author 2010) .The country on we would focus on is Pakistan.
History, culture, lifestyle (roles of the family)
Pakistan is a Muslim state located in south Asia along 30 degrees north and 70 degrees east. It has a total area of 803940 square kms. Pakistan came into being on 14 August 1947 under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Pakistan was a former British colony it came into existence due to the breakup of the British India (the subcontinent) into Pakistan and India. Pakistan came into being with 5 provinces namely the Punjab, Baluchistan. North West Frontier Province (N.W.F.P), Sindh and West Pakistan (now known as Bangladesh). The subcontinent was a home to great leaders who left their influence on its people. The great Muslim conqueror Muhammad bin Qasim came to the subcontinent in 712 AD through Sindh and spread Islam to the subcontinent, after Muhammad bin Qasim’s conquest of the subcontinent several great Muslim empires ruled the sub continent like the Ghaznavid Empire, the Delhi Sultanate and the in the end the Mughal Empire which was the last Muslim empire. The Mughal Empire in the early eighteen century started its decline mainly because of its own contradictions and smaller forces like the Sikhs, Marathas and others took control until the British east India Company arrived in the subcontinent and gained of it. The war of independence of 1857 or the Indian rebellion of 1857 was fought jointly by the Muslims and the Hindus but its failure lead to immense actions by the British government against both the Hindus and the Muslims so in 1920’s and in 1930’s political parties for the Hindus and the Muslims named as the Indian national congress and the Indian Muslim league was formed respectively to safeguard the rights of Hindus and the Muslim which later turned out to be freedom movements and finally ,of over 100 years of British rule the subcontinent was divided into Pakistan and India. The Pakistanis were extremely glad to have their own homeland on August 14 1947(Malik, 2010).
Everyone in this world can easily be identified by his culture. If a person visits another country or a state he can easily be identified by his custom , traits ,dressing , language religion and his way of life for example :Chinese are identified easily all around the world by their dressing , food they eat and by their language (their accent).The cultural background of Pakistan is very old which dates back to the Indus valley civilization of 1800BC as Pakistan was a home of a lot many races like the Aryans , Greeks, Mughals, Turks, Arabs,Persians,Hindus and the Britishers so the Pakistani culture contains attributes of all these cultures . Even after 60 years of independence the Pakistani culture is still in making, the Pakistani culture basically revolves around the Islamic principles and values and it contains many different sub cultures like the Punjabi, Balochi(the tribal culture),Sindhi and the Pashtun although these sub cultures differ to some extent but a lot of similarities are also there among them.
The Pakistani lifestyle is changing rapidly due to the influence of the western societies. In the last few years there has been an increase in the middle and the upper class in big cities like Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore ,Rawalpindi and more and more people are adopting or trying to adopt the western lifestyle. The family life in Pakistan is changing rapidly from male dominated to an equilateral society, although still patriarchal family system is followed in most areas of Pakistan but women rights are being raised in many areas and in many cities and villages women are working side by side with men for the progress and prosperity of the nation but still a lot is to be done convert this patriarchal society. Most of the families in Pakistan are extended families where grandfather, father , uncle even cousins live together in the same house .The most senior of them is considered to be the head of the family and he takes all decisions but recently a lot of nuclear families have emerged from the extended families. In Pakistan the grandparents are considered as a source of respect and honor of the family and no decisions are taken without their approval. Islam is the religion followed by almost all the families in Pakistan and all ceremonies like marriages and festivals are celebrated according to Islamic teachings ,usually women life is restricted to performing house chores or being a responsible daughter or a mother and she is married on the decision of her father on which she could not argue but recently there has been a positive change in women’s condition now they are not restricted to their houses anymore they are free to work and their choice is preferred in marriages ,unfortunately these changes are still in cities and in some rural areas and in the rest the same strong male dominated system is followed(Malik, 2010).
Pakistan came into being as a Muslim state and even today the majority of people(95%) in Pakistan are Muslims strictly following the principles and guidelines prescribed by Islam which is declared as the state’s religion by law although in the other 5% there are Hindus , christens, Sikhs and other. In Pakistan the political rights of the non-Muslims are limited as no non Muslim could become the President or the Prime minister or even a judge for a court whereas the Muslims are further divided into groups called the fiqh (school of thought) which are the Shia and the Sunni. In Pakistan 65% of the Muslims belong to Sunni group while almost 30% belong to Shia School of thoughts. According to the constitution of Pakistan a Muslim is one who believes that God (ALLAH) is one ,there is no god except God(ALLAH) and Muhammad(P.B.U.H) is the last prophet of God(ALLAH).Islam is practiced in every corner of Pakistan but unfortunately there are some extremists that are destroying the true image of Islam and the image of Pakistan .Killing is strongly prohibited in Islam rather even forcing someone to accept Islam is also prohibited and is considered one of the greatest sins. These extremists who call themselves as Muslims are not Muslims they rather are those people who are being misguided and misleaded, places like Quetta, Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other northern areas of Pakistan are effected by such people ,the Pakistani army is also engaged in mass scale operation against them so to restore the true face of Pakistan.
Type of society
The Pakistani society is an semi industrialized society in the recent years several industries had been setup in Pakistan which had transformed it from a purely agricultural society to an semi –industrialized society but still majority of Pakistani population is farmers and live on agriculture ploughing wheat,cotton,sugarcane,rice and other agricultural items(Malik, 2010).
Exports and imports of Pakistan
Pakistan came into existence as a very poor nation being deprived of many facilities by India and since its creation Pakistan has came across with 8 times larger and powerful India on several occasions so the Pakistani foreign policy is purely security oriented but although of all these factors Pakistan still has the 27th largest economy in terms of purchasing power and the economy of Pakistan is 45th largest in terms of dollar. Pakistan is basically an agricultural country but in the last decades allot of industries as well as many other small and big businesses had been successfully started in Pakistan. The export list of Pakistan although is narrow but due to the strategies of the Pakistani government the Pakistani exports have almost doubled in the last 6 years one of the strategies of the government of Pakistan is to diversify the exports goods also the Pakistani government has merged itself with many trade partners by signing free trade agreements like the SAFTA (south Asian free trade agreement ), the china-Pakistan free trade agreement and some others .In the exports of Pakistan the top position has to be given to soccer balls(the Pakistani hand-stitched footballs).For the Fifa world cup 2010 Pakistan had exported around 3.5 million footballs of about $5.2 million but unfortunately only 30% of them were exported because of the child labor problem being highlighted .Since the making of the ‘tango’ ball in the 1982 world cup the Pakistani footballs are exported all over the world and only a few years ago 70% of the total footballs of the world came from Pakistan and the country had exports of about $210 million annually today the Pakistani government is taking immense actions against child labor to retrieve the exports of soccer balls(Star article, n.d) .The Pakistani exports stood at $18billion in the year 2008 ,Pakistani is also well-known for its exports of rice(basmati and others), marbles ,cement, tiles ,furniture ,leather ,salt and handicrafts moreover Pakistani exports include surgical instrument, rugs , carpets ,wheat ,cotton, seafood ,vegetables also Pakistani assembled automobiles called the Suzuki’s are exported to Afghanistan and other countries and Pakistan also exports certain defense equipments ,engineering tools and Pakistan is a well-known exporter of cement throughout Asia and middle east.
The total imports of Pakistan for the year 2009 were of Rs.1, 665,093 million with an increase of 33% from the last year. The major imports of Pakistan is the petroleum and petroleum products also power generation machineries,, industrial machienery,iron and steel ,plastic materials, aircrafts ,ships, trucks , kids toys, and several types of automobiles also many types of medicines are imported along with several other consumer items(Pakistan defense,2010).
In Pakistan there are a lot many holidays as compared to the U.S .There is the Pakistan day on 23rd March, Independence day on 14th August ,the Defense day on 6th September, Quaid-e-Azam’s birth day on 25th December and 11 September as Quaid’s death,9 November the birth of Allama Iqbal ,30th July and 8th July are all observed as national holidays also Saturday and Sunday are declared as official holidays by the Pakistani government apart from these there are several other holidays like important religious days and festivals which are declared according to the Muslim lunar calendar. Also the nine month of every year is Ramadan in which fasting is practiced by all Muslims this holy month is followed by a cherish festival of Eid-ul-Fitar and after approximately 2 months they celebrate Eid-ul-Azha also the birth of the prophet Muhammad is celebrated as Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi day .While on the other hand in the U.S there are no national holidays in the sense that all business are closed on that day .In the U.S each state determines its own official holiday schedules while in Pakistan the holidays are for all the states determined by the government ,the official holiday in the U.S is on Monday where as in Pakistan it is on Saturday and Sunday. In Pakistan there are no individual state holidays or quadrennial holidays like the U.S there are only annual holidays and holidays on religious events. Whereas Christmas is also celebrated by Pakistani christens and is declared a holiday by the Pakistani government just like the U.S. also valentine’s day ,April fool’s day ,mother’s day , father’s day and new year’s eve are celebrated in Pakistan too but are not given as holidays.
Food, dress, customs
About 98% of the Pakistani people daily diet consists mostly of wheat, rice, meat, vegetables and fried products. Pakistani food is liked by many people because of its richness and its flavor. In Pakistan the food differs from region to region as the people of Punjab and eastern sindh mostly like spicy food whereas the people of the western and the northern areas like use of mild aromatic spices. The meal is usually served with bread (naan) and salad is eaten along with the meal not before the meal. Pakistani’s use a lot of meat most infact Pakistani dishes consists of meat as the basic ingredient also fast foods and mixing local and foreign foods is very popular in big cities. The Pakistani masalas (mixed spices) are well known all over the world while for beverages there is lassi (a blend of milk, sugar and salt) and Pepsi and Coke are widely used in Pakistan (Malik, 2010).
The national dress of Pakistan is shalwar qameez which consists of a loose fitting tunic, is very long (to the knees) and it has very baggy trousers. The people of Pakistan usually wear simple dresses. Being a Muslim state nudity is not allowed in Islam neither it is in Pakistan so people cover themselves properly. Nowadays jeans and t-shirts have become very popular in Pakistan but still majority wears the national dress. However in big cities people usually wear jeans pants along with shirts and even shorts (Malik, 2010).
Various games are played in Pakistan although the national game is hockey but cricket, football ,tennis, squash ,swimming ,polo, kabaddi, badminton and many other are popular in Pakistan.Many languages are being spoken in Pakistan including English ,Punjabi, balochi, kashmiri whereas Urdu is spoken and understood in every part of Pakistan as it is the official language ,also Pakistani’s have their own unique and mystique music and dances with their own melodies ,instruments and style. Pakistani handicrafts, designs, paintings, rugs, calligraphy and metal and wood work are well known and all the Pakistani customs are according to Islamic teachings.
Country’s impact on the U.S
Pakistan in the recent years has gained immense importance for the united states as it is one of the major allies of the U.S in its war on terrorism .Pakistan supported the U.S. in the cold war era and it made tremendous contributions in the war against the USSR and many years later again Pakistan was of great help for the U.S. when the war against terrorism started in Afghanistan and Pakistan provided the U.S military support, reinforcements for their aircrafts and its platform for the military and still Pakistan is a major U.S ally in this war although many people in Pakistan consider that the war the are fighting is not theirs it is of the U.S and but still tremendous contributions are made by the Pakistani’s .Pakistan itself has became a victim of terrorism because of this war hundreds and thousands of Pakistani people as well as soldiers have lost their lives for this cause but still they don’t want to withdraw from this war. Also from the U.S. Pakistani efforts are praised and U.S denotes large amounts of financial aid as well as military aid to Pakistan each year to fight this war against terrorism although sometimes the Pakistani government policies are being criticized by the U.S. but both the countries are in dire need of each other and need to maintain good relations.
The word Pakistan means the land of pure and the Pakistani culture reflects every bit of it. The culture of Pakistan is still in the process of making and is not final and even though it is a better culture and is admired and praised by many people. The Pakistan itself is on its verge of destruction because of terrorism and for the same reason that Pakistan’s image and reputation has been damaged all over the world despite of having an interesting, cooperative and a tremendous culture.
CNN. (n.d.) Pakistan soccer ball industry seeks end to child labor. Retrieved august 3, 2010, from http://edition.cnn.com/WORLD/asiapcf/9804/08/pakistan.soccer/
Malik, I. H.(2010). Pakistan: Democracy, Terrorism, and the Building of a Nation. Olive Branch Pr
Pakistan defense. (2010) .Pakistan Exports In January 2010 Stood At $1.7 Billion, A very encouraging news. Retrieved august3.2010,from http://forum.pakistanidefence.com/index.php?showtopic=87590
Star article (n.d.) Pakistan exports 55.8 mn footballs for World Cup. Retrieved august 3, 2010, from www.stararticle.com/article_110212_Pakistan-exports-558-mn-footballs-for-World-Cup.html