The Punjabis found in Pakistan belong to groups known as biradaris.
In addition, Punjabi society is divided into two divisions, the zamindar groups or qoums, traditionally associated with farming and the moeens, who are traditionally artisans.
The Hindi-speaking areas were formed into the states of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana respectively, leaving a Punjabi speaking majority in the state of Punjab.
In the 1980s, Sikh separatism combined with popular anger against the Indian Army's counter-insurgency operations (especially Operation Bluestar) led to violence and disorder in Indian Punjab, which only subsided in the 1990s.
Its identity is independent of historical origin or religion, and refers to those who reside in the Punjab region, or associate with its population, and those who consider the Punjabi language their mother tongue.
Historically, the Punjabi people were a heterogeneous group and were subdivided into a number of clans called biradari (literally meaning "brotherhood") or tribes, with each person bound to a clan.
Until 1947, the province of Punjab was ruled by a coalition comprising the Indian National Congress, the Sikh-led Shiromani Akali Dal and the Unionist Muslim League.
However, the growth of Muslim nationalism led to the All India Muslim League becoming the dominant party in the 1946 elections.
Communal violence on the eve of Indian independence led to the dismissal of the coalition government, although the succeeding League ministry was unable to form a majority.
However, Punjabi identity also included those who did not belong to any of the historical tribes.
With the passage of time, tribal structures are coming to an end and are being replaced with a more cohesive based around the Punjab.
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The coalescence of the various tribes, castes and the inhabitants of the Punjab into a broader common "Punjabi" identity initiated from the onset of the 18th century CE.
Punjabis are also found in large communities in the largest city of Pakistan, Karachi, located in the Sindh province.