Gender Dimension Of Punjabi Folklores Cultural Studies Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.


The present study intends to identify whether the gender dimensions are being articulated by women and men of the village through their riddles and the depiction of masculine and feminine images through riddles pose in rural society of Punjab.

Culture is the way of life of a people, that consisting both of the material as well as ideological components. (Niaz, pg: 54) Culture consists straight patterns of thought and behavior, including values, norm, belief, rules of content of political organization, economic activity etc. Culture isn't biological inheritance, it passed on from one generation to the next by learning. (Raymond and Decorse 1992).

Every culture is different from other and has different cultural values. It is not a creation of single man but emerge through different people who lived there and share land and emotions. (Maswan, 1977).

Culture is mixture of norms, belief, and values, which are orally transmitted to one generation to another. Oral tradition is one of the oldest forms of art in any society that transmitted their values, belief and norms through communication. In world two third of it population are preferred to orally communicate. (Tshering).

In oral tradition Folklore is considered as main source of information which moves in multiple generations. (Hassan, 1995). "Folklore" is a complex meaning of "folk," which mean common people, and "lore" means the knowledge or traditions. Folklore' is a source to express the culture. (Francis, book 1968). In Folklore and folk life, include the all way of living in that particular cultural through which people can become a member of that culture. (Hassan, 1995).

Folklore is actually help to understand the past and also often help to shape the present. (M.Siddiq Kalim 1978). Folklore is then, is the main oral tradition, transmitted by word of mouth, is the main source of learning in specific culture it starts from lullaby which used to sing when children are very little. Through lullabies, folk stories, proverbs, riddles, actually the roles and norms of that specific culture are transmitted and internalized by the person that how life can spend. These norms and tradition supports person through out the whole life. These folklores are dominating on whole part of man's life like folk song sing at the time of happiness, riddles proverb indirectly give the message of norm and belief. (Francis, 1968).

Folklore plays the main role to express the culture, through folklores the norms tradition and values are shared form one area to another or one generation to another. In Folklores basically the characteristic of that culture are shown, that also help to expose any culture within a particular population comprising the traditions of that culture, subculture, or group. (Quddus, 1992).

Folklores work as vehicle, through which tradition circulate, like tool to transform values from one culture to another culture. Folklores serve both as entertainment as well as socialization, where gender roles and images are depicted. Through folklores the man and women socially accepted role is explained. These roles and duties are slowly changed with passage of time but still practices in any shape in world. Gender images created by folksongs can therefore reveal a great deal about the societal attitudes toward gender. (Mahan, 1978).

Gender Roles are assigned by different folklores which gives identity. It means these biological and social identities become socio. These identities are internalizing in every person, and motivated to play these roles which actually culture associated with them, because those roles are socially and culturally accepted. (Dr.Hassan, 1995).

Every culture has its own value and traditions, Pakistan as a culture contains multi cultural values and traditions. (Niaz, pg: 54). It has lot of influence of their neighboring cultural areas like Central Asia, Iran, the Arab World and India. Pakistan has strong cultural and historical roots. Modern Pakistan was the land of Indus civilization which was mixture of Persian, Indo-Greek and Islamic cultures. Pakistan has been arranged by the Aryans, Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Turks, Afghans, Mongols and the British. Pakistani folklore contains elements of all of these cultures. In Pakistan first phase of folklore was collected and started by British rural. (Ashraf and Zahurul). So in Pakistan large number of unwritten folklores passes orally from generation to generation. The crafts, rituals, legends, epics, ballads, folk tales, songs dances and riddles are still alive today and there main characteristic are the mixture of different culture and region which makes the culture as unique and specific. But fusion of different culture doesn't become the cause of removal of originality of Pakistani culture. The patterns of culture clearly move on its own right way. This diversity and dynamic of cultural make our heritage powerful and alive. (Sajid, 1990).

In Pakistan, because of different culture, the different languages are spoken. So each of the language spoken in Pakistan has unique quality of poems, songs, stories and proverbs which are associated with its cultural norms and values. (Francis, book 1968)

Punjabi is traditional language of Pakistan (Punjab) which is spoken since Middle age. The first written Punjabi sample is found in 13th century, which were short verses of Baba Farid Shakar Ganj. By the 16th century, Peeloo was a poet who has notable contribution in Punjabi literature, who was also the writer of Mirza Sahiban. In Pakistan, mostly the folklores are prevailing in Punjab. (Quddus, 1992).

In folklores, there are broad ranges, which are the major forms of expression. It can be oral, material, and behavioral. In kinds of folklores are: A ballad is a traditional poem or folksong in which a love story telling and it about the true love, their break up or their tragic death etc. For example: folk ballads of Waris Shah on Heer Ranjha from Punjabi folklore. (………… Fairy tales are traditional stories, which are mostly for children and conveying stereotypical messages, it is mostly telling about a human norms and tradition through supernatural beings such as fairies, witches, giants and genies. (…………Folk art is different from of 'fine Art', it is range of artistic productions and handicrafts including paintings, sculptures, quilts, pottery, and furniture that are created by ordinary, people in traditional way.(…………. Folk dance are also called ethnic dance that are originated with the common people of the cultural group and has been handed down by tradition. These dance mostly practice in happy occasions or the season of harvesting and the coming of spring but there are some which are danced any time of the year. There is specification in dances also some of them are danced purely by men and others only by women. (Maswan, 1977). A folk song is a traditional song that is collected for different occasion and handed down orally, about commonplace topics including work, family, community, and the issues of everyday life.  For Example: wedding and mehndi songs 'tappay' in different regions of Pakistan or songs sung at the time of wheat Cultivation in Punjab. (Pamela, & Strathern, 2002). Joke is a technique in which game of word play, in humorous way that provoke laughter. It can be irony, discomforting of expectations, and combination of images. (…exam………Legends are traditional historical tales usually containing a mixture of fact and fiction but popular regarded as true. A myth is a traditional sacred story, usually featuring gods and heroes, who purports to give a cosmic explanation of a natural phenomenon or cultural practice. (exam………… Superstitions A superstition is an irrational belief usually involving supernatural forces and associated with rituals. (……exam……Urban legends are forms of story that is fictional, which give some massage and told through second or thirds person. (…exam……… Fables is another kind of tale in which mostly character are animals, through its example some moral lesson are given. It is mostly for children and for socialization. (examp………… Folk tales popular tales, which are love stories and mostly tragically ended, like in the end the death of hero or heroin has happen. These stories reflect a double standard; the protagonists are punished by death for defying social convention, but venerated as symbols of divine love and redemption from suffering and unfulfilled desires. Heer Ranjha and Sssi Punnu are the examples. (………… Folk games are those games which are traditionally very famous; these are practice and passed from generation to generation e.g.  Hide and seek - "Chuppan Chupai", "Stappo", "Pithoo Gram", and "Kikeli" etc are the folk games in Pakistan. (………… Folklores were used in daily life by elders through whom they understand matters of life; folklores were made by experiences of people. (…example………Riddles is a linguistic puzzle in the form of a question which also containing clues to its solution. (…exam………

Riddles are important media for transmitting of culture, education, knowledge and skills to children. Riddles play important roles as a means of socialization and social learning. Riddles are actually puzzle, games of words, it can be comprised of one or two sentences or more than that, which can be solved through interaction and symbolic activities. (Kallen and Eastman, 1979). A riddle is a mysterious statement or description that contains a hidden meaning to be guessed by to whom it is addressed. Riddles also involve analogy of meaning, sound, Rhythm, or tone. (Maureen, 1985).

Mostly riddles are taking as a game and structure those of the riddle is like question, through its analyses and definition other people assume the answer. Riddles have binary relation, which has question and answer of it. (Thomas).

Riddles are done in special sitting, in which two or more then two people sit in one place and one is ask the riddle question and other person or persons guess its answer. Mostly these sitting are arranging in some occasion, in homes, in field and any other social meeting. Where group of people assembled, belong to same culture; know about tradition, belief, etc (Thomas).

There are no proper rules and regulations for riddling, that has to follow strictly. But mostly two or three things are arranged before to start riddling, that is to have people who ask question or guess answer, and the event or scenario from which riddle asked. Nevertheless these rules are important, whether it is verbal activity. (Thomas A. burns).

The riddling can be played in different ages of people. In some tradition only children engage in riddling. In some tradition adults can participate in the riddling of children, in some traditions riddling is mostly an adult hobby. In some traditions riddling is mostly a behavior reserved for males. But in the majority of cultures it is leisure-time activity or traditions, both male and female participate in this activity and they also participate in mixed groups including both women and men while elsewhere females are said to specialize in riddling. It is general belief that females are more intelligent than man and riddles require intelligence."(Tshering).

Riddles mainly based on common household items, crops names, animals names, daily activities, heavenly objects, cultural artifacts, parts of the body, etc.( Tshering).

Riddles functions as umbrella categories, of socialization, entertainment, and education (Thomas).

The main role of riddle is socialization of younger generation, that know about the items of daily routine like name of crops help to know about it, then their season of harvesting and using of that crops, these information are internalize through riddle. Riddles helped children to learn about gender roles and duties, their characteristic, culture and tradition according to which they spend their life. ( Tshering).

Riddles are part of folklore so through folklores, culture and tradition are transferred from one generation to another. Riddle inculcates the culture and proper behavior of life in a child. Interesting sessions and repetition of asking riddles mostly memorize the children who repeat it with their friends, or other people and learn them. (John).

Another function of riddling is entertainment that plays in leisure time which is called leisure-time riddling. Riddling is also play in greeting occasion like marriage ceremony where people are gathered and enjoy their gathering. (Thomas). Riddle is usually played by people to entertain themselves during long winter nights. Of course it also helps to measure the intelligence of the people. (Tshering). Another time at which riddles are also played when people busy in field with harvesting they also play riddling for time pass and entertainment etc. ( Tshering).

Riddles have important educational value because they develop critical thinking and memory among young children. It is meant for entertainment and education as well, especially for child's learning. In addition to enjoyment, riddles help in memory training for children as they are expected and encouraged to remember the correct answer to the riddles. (Ishengoma, J.M. (2005). On the other side is also criticize that riddle has lacking the capacity to improve the mind, because riddle has stereotype question and answer and mostly answer is already known to the audience. (Awedoba, 2000). But riddles are still prevailing to use for education purpose as device to learn about cultural value, attitudes, and to teach dominant and submissive roles. (Ishengoma, 2005).

Riddles have been a rich oral tradition, without doubt, throughout the world. Some societies play it in present times also. Now the concept of riddling is less in urban and rural population, but still play in rural population. Because in rural population has less source of entertainment like video, television, cinema and many others are not available. So people enjoy through riddles. (Tshering).