Sialkot is one of the important industrial cities of Pakistan. It has very ancient history. Sialkot was founded by Raja Sul and later it was reconstructed by Raja Salivahian, he also built a fort in the city, thus the city was given the name ‘Sialkot” which means the “Fort of Sia”. After independence Muslim population of Sialkot supported Muslim league and Muhammad Ali Jinnah and many Muslims settled here after migrating from India. The city has been affected by the wars of 1965 and 1971 because of its location; it is located near the border of India. Sialkot is known for manufacturing and export of many items such as surgical instruments, musical instruments, sports goods, leather goods, textile goods etc. Sialkot is the second largest source of foreign exchange earnings for Pakistan because of its exports’ and remittances from overseas manpower.
Sialkot is located in Punjab province near Chanab River. The north part of Sialkot is very fertile whereas south art is less fertile. These both arts are watered by Chanab River. The main crops of Sialkot are wheat, barley, rice, corn, millet and sugarcane.
Sialkot is a city rich in culture. People of Sialkot belong to different backgrounds. People of different castes live in Sialkot. They belong to different castes like Jat, Aryan, Kashmir, Mughal, Gujjars and others. Culture of Sialkot represents Punjabi culture and its impact can be seen in different areas of life in Sialkot. Following are the different elements of Sialkot’s culture.
Different Punjabi dishes are famous in Sialkot. Some of the famous Sialkot dishes are Tandori Chicken, Bhuna Ghost, Nihari, Chicken and Beef Biryani, Keema Naan, Sarson da saag etc. Famous sweet dishes include Phirni, Jalebi, and Sheer Khorma etc.
In Sialkot on a wider scale Punjabi is spoken. It is spoken by 95% people, Punjabi dialects are spoken in the city are
· Majhi by the majority.
· Dogri/Darhab (Jammu and Narowal district’s people).
Other languages like Urdus, English and Pashto are also spoken in Sialkot.
Traditional dresses of Sialkot are dhoti, khurta and Khussa but now shalwar kameez, trousers and shirts are also worn by the citizen of Sialkot.
The wedding functions include Mehandi, Barat and Walima. These functions resemble the wedding functions of other cities of Punjab. Mehandis are performed before the barat in which girls wears colorful dresses and sings mehndi songs. After Walima, a rasam is performed in which dulhan visits her home for the first time after marriage, this rasam is called muklawa. All these functions represent traditions of Sialkot.
Punjabi culture is dominated in the poetry of this area. The poetry of this area clearly shows the Punjabi mindset. Many poets like Baba Farid, Bulleh Shah, Shah Hussain and Waris Shah has been cited in the city. And the Punjabi poetry of this area has been translated into many other languages. Sialkot has produces very famous poets throughout its history. It is the home of the greatest poet which world has ever seen, Allama Iqbal. Furthermore more great poets and writers like Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, and Asghar Sodhar belong to Sialkot.
Sialkot has many historical places that represent its culture. It is a great centre for Punjabi culture. Following are some of the important places in Sialkot:
· There is a shrine of Imam Ali-ul-Haq.
· In Sialkot there are also remains of Sialkot fort. The tomb of Pir Muradia Shah is also in Sialkot fort.
· Birthplace of Allama Iqbal has been converted into museum, which contains his personal belongings and a library which comprises of different types of books.
· Puran well related to Punjab folklore Bhagat Puran is also situated in Sialkot.
All these historical represent the culture of Sialkot.
Numerous theatre organizations like Shaheen Arts Council Adda Pasuiyan, Dramatic Society Islamia College Sialkot, Al-Shahkaar Art Society Sialkot, Khan Art Council Sialkot and many others are working for the promotion and development of theatre in Sialkot. They are also producing good quality actors. Atmosphere and standard of theatre in Sialkot is good. but because of availability of other forms of entertainment level of audience for theatre is decreasing day by day but still especially families like to visit theatres But none the less, Stage in Sialkot has also been contaminated with vulgarity like stages of other cities of Pakistan. In the last few years quality of stage has decrease because of which people avoid stage mostly.
Punjabi music is dominant in Sialkot. Bhangra is the most listened form of music but now trend of mixing Punjabi music to produce new variety of music is gaining popularity.
In Sialkot various music academies are working for the production of high quality music. They are also producing good quality singers. These academies include Sun Sangam academy, Pakistan Arts Council, Sub Rung Musical group etc.
Punjabi form of dances are famous is Sialkot. They are performed at different events like weddings, festivals etc. Different Punjabi dances like Bhangra, Jhumar, and Gidha are performed in different events of Sialkot. Men and women both participate in these dances.
Numerous organizations like Daera-tul-Adab, Bazm-e-Urdu Jammu Kashmir, Anjuman Shabab Urdu, Bazm-e-Anees Sialkot and others are working in Sialkot for the promotion and development of literature.
Sialkot has a very good educational system and provides many facilities to students and has a very good educational infrastructure. Many different educational institutes are operating in the city and they provide excellent educational facilities to the students. Here there are universities for students of medical, engineering, law and also a virtual university. In Sialkot, there is also a separate university for women.
Different sports like are being played in the city. Cricket is the most played sport. Sialkot’s cricket team is known as Sialkot Stallions and they have participated in numerous cricket tournaments. Annually a golf tournament is also held at Sialkot Golf club.
Three industries dominate Sialkot. These industries provide employment opportunities for the people of Sialkot.
· Surgical goods
Sialkot produces different types of surgical instruments to export.
· Sports goods
Sialkot’s hand stitch footballs are famous worldwide for their excellent quality.
· Leather goods
Sialkot’s produce excellent quality leather jackets, handbags etc.