Destinations » Asia » South Asia »
is a relatively recent name given to the lands and country of Pakistan. It is directly
translated from Urdu or Persian to mean "land of the pure" (stan
means "land of" or "country of"). However, the name was also
perhaps chosen because it was an acronym of the regions that make up modern day
Pakistan, although what regions specifically are in doubt: Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir,
Sindh, Turkharistan, Afghanistan & Baluchistan. The "i" was either
added to ease pronunciation or was added to include Iran or the Indus Valley at
a later date. Likewise, Turkharistan and Afghanistan seem to be more recent additions
to the name as Baluchistan seemed to originally include the entire "-tan."
WARNING: Terrorist threats continue
in Pakistan, please read this travel
warning before going!
Pakistan is home to some of the most fertile lands on earth in the delta of the
Indus River. This region has been home to people for millennia and over time hundreds
of ethnic groups have come and gone until the people that live there today settled
and intermarried the previous people. This land is one of the world's greatest
cradles of civilization because it provides multiple foods in the form of both plants
and animals. It was in this delta region that most people made a living by farming
and even today many people survive off the land, although today the greater region
is more densely populated.
As with any fertile land that is accessible, others came to take the land or trade
with the people and the people of Pakistan today are essentially the result of these
various people. Over time the culture, ethnicity, language, and lifestyle was ever
changing and today the people are a result of these many changes over time. Among
the earliest of these changes came when the people shifted their lifestyle from
one focused on farming to one that involved both farming and trading. This also
brought in new people and ideas.
Among the many outside influences that were introduced to Pakistan, one of the most
profound and influential was the people's conversion to Islam. While many people
converted to this religion, many others remained believers in Hinduism or another
religion. Islam changed the diet of the people, social interactions, and lifestyle,
but it also created a division among the Muslims and the Hindus, as well as other
non-Muslims. Over time this division became more important than the shared history
and many other similarities the people had with other as Islam became one of the
most important identifying features of Pakistani culture.
Although few people in Pakistan are devout Muslims today, the religion has played
a significant role in their culture and political sphere as the country gained independence
from India primarily on the grounds of religious differences, although political
direction and social differences also greatly contributed.
In more recent times Pakistan has been thrown further into flux. Most of the population
continues to work on farms, but the British introduced new technologies from the
Industrial Revolution and the cities of Pakistan have used this technology to create
a new urban lifestyle and jobs that were never available in the past. This is creating
another divide among the people, this time by generation as the youth is growing
up with high tech communication and fairly liberal attitudes, while many people
in the older generations tend to be more conservative and remain in the villages
and on their farms. Pakistan is a country that seems to be always moving and changing;
where the country goes in the future is seemingly always a mystery.
Learn More About Pakistan:
Map of Pakistan:
Start your trip to Pakistan with our free Travel Planner: