Siri Guru Nanak Gurdwara

Byron Road, Gillingham, Kent ; 01634 850921

Gurmukhi

Punjabi is the language of the Sikhs. As you can tell, its name originates from Punjab, the land of five rivers. Punjabi is spoken primarily in Punjab, although many Punjabi descendents also speak it around the world. Like all other languages, Punjabi has its own alphabet. This alphabet is called “Gurmukhi.”

The literal definition of Gurmukhi is “from the mouth of the Guru.” Gurmukhi is used in the Sikh scriptures, or Guru Granth Sahib Ji. It is believed that Gurmukhi is evolved from the old Brahmi scripts and therefore would be a member of the Brahmi family. Gurmukhi was widely used to record the sayings coming from the Guru’s mukh, or mouth. This is how Gurmukhi got its name.

The Gurmukhi script was made by the second Sikh Guru, Guru Angad Dev Ji. I want to point out that Punjabi had been around for some time when Guru Angad Dev Ji made Gurmukhi. At that time, Punjabi was said but it was an unorganized language because it didn’t have a proper alphabet. In order to invent Gurmukhi, Guru Angad Dev Ji had to take many steps. Guru Ji retained and slightly modified certain letters of the Brahmi scripts. These letters depicted sounds of Punjabi. Guru Ji also created some other letters for each of the Punjabi phonemes. Once Guru Angad Dev Ji was done in making the letters, he rearranged them into what we have today.

However, the letters aren’t all the Gurmukhi Sikhs have. Guru Angad Dev Ji also made numbers as part of the Gurmukhi script.