Pakistan — History and Culture
The Pakistani civilization is one of the oldest in the world, which accounts for the country’s long and dynamic history. Having fallen into a politically stifling regime, however, the country and its people are not in the best political or economic condition. The country’s culture is as dynamic as the history. Pakistani culture is an eclectic blend of many other regional cultures and this is evident in the country’s music, architecture and even its cuisine.
Pakistan is home to of one of the oldest civilizations in the world – the Indus Valley civilization. Evidence exists to support the theory that the Indus Valley cities existed at the same time at those of the ancient Egyptians. Many of the sites in the country are amazing indications of the progressive communities that inhabited this region.
For 300 years the area now known as Pakistan was ruled over by Islamic civilizations filled with Arabs of all types, including Persians and Turks until the early 1900s. It was only in 1947, when Pakistan underwent a harsh partition from India, that Pakistan became a nation.
Initially Pakistan consisted of an eastern and a western part. Further conflict led to the eastern section of Pakistan separating and becoming what we known today as Bangladesh. The regions of Jammu and Kashmir, which lie on the border between the two territories, remain a source of conflict and political sensitivity to this day.
While India stabilized after the retreat of the British, Pakistan fell under harsh military rule and ultimately spiraled into an economic, social and political crisis after decades of mismanagement, nepotism, oppression and corruption. Conditions are beginning to improve but the country is still struggling with low levels of education and an overwhelming poverty rate.
Pakistan is home to a large number of ethnicities and cultural groups, which makes for an interesting and diverse national culture. The country’s culture has been established over thousands of years, with many civilizations inhabiting the region helping to influence everything from cuisine and music to literature and art.
Pakistani music is one of the country’s greatest assets. Ranging from traditional folk music to more modern interpretations, the music remains a wonderful amalgamation of South East Asian influences. The diversity of the culture is evident in the musical styles across the country, with Punjab boasting bhangra styles and Sindh being home to the traditions of dhammal and ho jamalo.
The architecture in Pakistan speaks loudly about the country’s history and its cultural roots. Many ancient sites point to pre-Islamic heritage and the influence of such faiths as Hinduism and Buddhism. Much of the contemporary architecture in many of the larger cities points directly to the long and powerful reign of the Islamic empire in the region.