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Punjab

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Coordinates: 31°N 74°E / 31°N 74°E / 31; 74

Punjab
پنجاب
ਪੰਜਾਬ
Panjāb
Nickname(s): 
Land of the five rivers
Location of Punjab in South Asia
Location of Punjab in South Asia
Countries
AreasSee below
Area
 • Total358,354.5 km2 (138,361.4 sq mi)
Population
 (2011, India / 2017, Pakistan)[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]
 • Totalc. 190 million in India and Pakistan
Demonym(s)Punjabi
Demographics
 • Ethnic groupsPunjabis
Minor: Haryanvis, Himachalis, Dogras, Hindkowans, Saraikis, Pashtuns, Muhajirs, Kashmiris, Biharis[8]
 • LanguagesPunjabi and others
 • ReligionsIslam (60%)
Hinduism (29%)
Sikhism (10%)
Christianity (1%)
Others (<1%)
Time zonesUTC+05:30 (IST (India))
UTC+05:00 (PKT (Pakistan))
Population, area and religious figures based on Punjab province borders

Punjab (/pʌnˈɑːb, -ˈæb, ˈpʌn-/; Gurmukhi: ਪੰਜਾਬ; Shahmukhi: پنجاب; Punjabi: [pənˈdʒaːb] (listen); also romanised as Panjāb or Panj-Āb)[a] is a geopolitical, cultural, and historical region in South Asia, specifically in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, comprising areas of eastern Pakistan and northwestern India.

The Punjab region was the cradle for the Indus Valley civilisation. The region had numerous migrations by the Indo-Aryan peoples. The land was later invaded and contested by the Persians, Mauryans, Indo-Greeks, Indo-Scythians, Kushans, Macedonians, Ghaznavids, Turkic, Mongols, Timurids, Mughals, Marathas, Arabs, Pashtuns, British, and other peoples. Historic foreign invasions mainly targeted the most productive central region of the Punjab known as the Majha region,[10] which is considered the bedrock of Punjabi culture and traditions.[11]

The boundaries of the region are ill-defined and focus on historical accounts and thus the geographical definition of the term "Punjab" has changed over time. In the 16th century Mughal Empire it referred to a relatively smaller area between the Indus and the Sutlej rivers.[12] In British India, until the Partition of India in 1947, the Punjab Province encompassed the present-day Indian states and union territories of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, and Delhi and the Pakistani regions of Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory. It bordered the Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa regions to the west, Kashmir to the north, the Hindi Belt to the east, and Rajasthan and Sindh to the south.

The predominant ethnolinguistic group of the Punjab region is the Punjabi people, who speak the Indo-Aryan Punjabi language. Punjabi Muslims are the majority in West Punjab (Pakistan), while Punjabi Sikhs and Punjabi Hindus are the majority in East Punjab (India). Other religious groups are Christianity, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and Ravidassia. The Punjab region is often referred to as the breadbasket in both India and Pakistan.[13][14][15]

Etymology[edit]

Though the name Punjab is of Persian origin, its two parts (پنج, panj, 'five' and آب, āb, 'water') are cognates of the Sanskrit words, पञ्‍च, pañca, 'five' and अप्, áp, 'water', of the same meaning.[9][16] The word pañjāb thus means 'The Land of Five Waters', referring to the rivers Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej, and Beas.[17] All are tributaries of the Indus River, the Sutlej being the largest. References to a land of five rivers may be found in the Mahabharata, which calls one of the regions in ancient Bharat Panchanada (Sanskrit: पञ्चनद, romanizedpañca-nada, lit.'five rivers').[18][19] Persian place names are very common in Northwest India and Pakistan. The ancient Greeks referred to the region as Pentapotamía (Greek: Πενταποταμία),[20][21][22] which has the same meaning as the Persian word.

History[edit]

Taxila in Pakistan is a World Heritage Site

The Punjab region of India and Pakistan has a historical and cultural link to Indo-Aryan peoples as well as partially to various indigenous communities. As a result of several invasions from Central Asia and the Middle East, many ethnic groups and religions make up the cultural heritage of the Punjab.

In prehistoric times, one of the earliest known cultures of South Asia, the Indus Valley civilisation, was located in the region.

Ancient period[edit]

The epic battles described in the Mahabharata are described as being fought in what is now the state of Haryana and historic Punjab. The Gandharas, Kambojas, Trigartas, Andhra, Pauravas, Bahlikas (Bactrian settlers of the Punjab), Yaudheyas, and others sided with the Kauravas in the great battle fought at Kurukshetra.[23] According to Dr Fauja Singh and Dr. L. M. Joshi: "There is no doubt that the Kambojas, Daradas, Kaikayas, Andhra, Pauravas, Yaudheyas, Malavas, Saindhavas, and Kurus had jointly contributed to the heroic tradition and composite culture of ancient Punjab."[24]

Classical period[edit]

Menander I Soter (165/155 – 130 BCE), conqueror of the Punjab, carved out a Greek kingdom in the Punjab and ruled the Punjab until his death in 130 BC.[25][26]

In 326 BCE, Alexander the Great invaded Pauravas and defeated King Porus. His armies entered the region via the Hindu Kush in northwest Pakistan and his rule extended up to the city of Sagala (present-day Sialkot in northeast Pakistan). By 305 BCE the area was ruled by the Maurya Empire. In a long line of succeeding rulers of the area, Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka stand out as the most renowned. The Maurya presence in the area was then consolidated in the Indo-Greek Kingdom in 180 BCE.

Menander I Soter ("Menander I the Saviour"; known as Milinda in Indian sources) is the most renowned leader of the era, who conquered Punjab and made Sagala the capital of his Empire.[25] Menander carved out a Greek kingdom in the Punjab and ruled the region till his death in 130 BCE.[26] The neighbouring Seleucid Empire rule came to an end around 12 BCE, after several invasions by the Yuezhi and the Scythian people.[citation needed]

Medieval period[edit]

Early (600s to 1206)[edit]

In 711–713 CE, the 18-year-old Arab general Muhammad bin Qasim of Taif, a city in what is now Saudi Arabia, came by way of the Arabian Sea with Arab troops to defeat Raja Dahir. Bin Qasim conquered parts of present-day Sindh and southern Punjab for the Umayyad Caliphate. The newly created state of Sind, encompassing part of Punjab, brought Islamic rule to the region for the first time. Sind would later be governed by the Abbasid Caliphate, before fragmenting into five smaller kingdoms, one of which was based in Multan. The remainder of Punjab at this time was governed by the Hindu Shahis and local Rajputs.

A section of the Lahore Fort built by the Mughal emperor Akbar

In 1001, Mahmud of Ghazni began a series of raids which culminated in establishing Ghaznavid rule across the Punjab by 1026. The Ghaznavids, a Persianate Muslim dynasty of Turkic mamluk origin,[27][b][28] reigned until 1186 when they were defeated and replaced by the Ghurid dynasty, of Iranian descent from the Ghor region of present-day central Afghanistan.[29]

Late (1206–1526)[edit]

Following the death of Muhammad of Ghor in 1206, the Ghurid state fragmented and was replaced in northern India by the Delhi Sultanate. The Delhi Sultanate ruled the Punjab for the next three hundred years, led by five unrelated dynasties, the Mamluks, Khalajis, Tughlaqs, Sayyids and Lodis.

Modern period[edit]

Early (1526–1858)[edit]

In 1526, the Delhi Sultanate was conquered and succeeded by the Turko-Mongol Mughal Empire. The Mughals established prosperity, growth, and relative peace, particularly under the reign of Jahangir. The period was also notable for the emergence of Guru Nanak (1469–1539), the founder of Sikhism.

The Afghan forces of the Durrani Empire (also known as the Afghan Empire), under the command of Ahmad Shah Durrani, entered Punjab in 1749 and captured Kashmir and Punja, with Lahore governed by Pashtuns. In 1758, Punjab came under the rule of Marathas, who captured the region by defeating the Afghan forces of Ahmad Shah Abdali. Following the Third Battle of Panipat against the Marathas, the Durranis regained their power and dominion over the Punjab region and Kashmir Valley. Abdali's Indian invasion weakened Maratha influence.

After the death of Ahmad Shah, Punjab was freed from Afghan rule by Sikhs for a brief period between 1773 and 1818. At the time of the formation of the Dal Khalsa in 1748 at Amritsar, Punjab had been divided into 36 areas and 12 separate Sikh principalities, called Misl. From this point onward, the beginnings of a Punjabi Sikh Empire emerged. Of the 36 areas, 22 were united by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The other 14 accepted East India Company sovereignty. After Ranjit Singh's death, assassinations and internal divisions severely weakened the empire. Six years later, the British East India Company was given[who?] an excuse to declare war, and in 1849, following the first and Second Anglo-Sikh Wars, Punjab was annexed by the East India Company. In the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Sikh rulers backed the East India Company, providing troops and support.[30] This support proved vital in the Battle of Jhelum, where mutineers killed thirty-five soldiers from the 35 Regiment of Foot, and in Ludhiana, where a rebellion was defeated with the assistance of the Punjab chiefs of Nabha and Malerkotla.

1858 to present[edit]

The British Raj had major political, cultural, philosophical, and literary consequences in the Punjab, including the establishment of a new system of education. During the independence movement, many Punjabis played a significant role, including Madan Lal Dhingra, Sukhdev Thapar, Ajit Singh Sandhu, Bhagat Singh, Udham Singh, Kartar Singh Sarabha, Bhai Parmanand, Choudhry Rahmat Ali, and Lala Lajpat Rai. At the time of partition in 1947, the province was split into East and West Punjab. East Punjab (48%) became part of India, while West Punjab (52%) became part of Pakistan.[31] The Punjab bore the brunt of the civil unrest following partition, with casualties estimated to be in the millions.[32][33][34][35]

Another major consequence of partition was the sudden shift towards religious homogeneity occurred in all districts across Punjab owing to the new international border that cut through the province. This rapid demographic shift was primarily due to wide scale migration but also caused by large-scale religious cleansing riots which were witnessed across the region at the time. According to historical demographer Tim Dyson, in the eastern regions of Punjab that ultimately became Indian Punjab following independence, districts that were 66% Hindu in 1941 became 80% Hindu in 1951; those that were 20% Sikh became 50% Sikh in 1951. Conversely, in the western regions of Punjab that ultimately became Pakistani Punjab, all districts became almost exclusively Muslim by 1951.[36]

Timeline[edit]

Geography[edit]

The geographical definition of the term "Punjab" has changed over time. In the 16th century Mughal Empire it referred to a relatively smaller area between the Indus and the Sutlej rivers.[12][37]

Sikh empire[edit]

In the 19th century, Maharaja Ranjit Singh established the Sikh empire based in the Punjab.[38] The empire existed from 1799, when Ranjit Singh captured Lahore, to 1849, when it was defeated and conquered in the Second Anglo-Sikh War. It was forged on the foundations of the Khalsa from a collection of autonomous Sikh misls.[39][40] At its peak in the 19th century, the Empire extended from the Khyber Pass in the west to western Tibet in the east, and from Mithankot in the south to Kashmir in the north. It was divided into four provinces: Lahore, in Punjab, which became the Sikh capital; Multan, also in Punjab; Peshawar; and Kashmir from 1799 to 1849. Religiously diverse, with an estimated population of 3.5 million in 1831 (making it the 19th most populous country at the time),[41] it was the last major region of the Indian subcontinent to be annexed by the British Empire.

Map showing the Punjabi Sikh Empire.

The Sikh Empire spanned a total of over 200,000 sq mi (520,000 km2) at its zenith.[42][43][44]

The Punjab was a region straddling India and the Afghan Durrani Empire. The following modern-day political divisions made up the historical Punjab region during the Sikh Empire:

After Ranjit Singh's death in 1839, the empire was severely weakened by internal divisions and political mismanagement. This opportunity was used by the East India Company to launch the First and Second Anglo-Sikh Wars. The country was finally annexed and dissolved at the end of the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849 into separate princely states and the province of Punjab. Eventually, a Lieutenant Governorship was formed in Lahore as a direct representative of the Crown.[54]: 221 

Punjab (British India)[edit]

In British India, until the Partition of India in 1947, the Punjab Province was geographically a triangular tract of country of which the Indus River and its tributary the Sutlej formed the two sides up to their confluence, the base of the triangle in the north being the Lower Himalayan Range between those two rivers. Moreover, the province as constituted under British rule also included a large tract outside these boundaries. Along the northern border, Himalayan ranges divided it from Kashmir and Tibet. On the west it was separated from the North-West Frontier Province by the Indus, until it reached the border of Dera Ghazi Khan District, which was divided from Baluchistan by the Sulaiman Range. To the south lay Sindh and Rajputana, while on the east the rivers Jumna and Tons separated it from the United Provinces.[55] In total Punjab had an area of approximately 357 000 km square about the same size as modern day Germany, being one of the largest provinces of the British Raj.

Map of the Punjab Province (British India)

It encompassed the present day Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, and some parts of Himachal Pradeshwhich were merged with Punjab by the British for administrative purposes (but excluding the former princely states which were later combined into the Patiala and East Punjab States Union) and the Pakistani regions of the Punjab, Islamabad Capital Territory and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In 1901 the frontier districts beyond the Indus were separated from Punjab and made into a new province: the North-West Frontier Province. Subsequently, Punjab was divided into four natural geographical divisions by colonial officials on the decadal census data:[56]: 2 

  1. Indo-Gangetic Plain West geographical division (including Hisar district, Loharu State, Rohtak district, Dujana State, Gurgaon district, Pataudi State, Delhi, Karnal district, Jalandhar district, Kapurthala State, Ludhiana district, Malerkotla State, Firozpur district, Faridkot State, Patiala State, Jind State, Nabha State, Lahore District, Amritsar district, and Gujranwala District);
  2. Himalayan geographical division (including Nahan State, Simla district, Simla Hill States, Kangra district, Mandi State, Suket State, and Chamba State);
  3. Sub-Himalayan geographical division (including Ambala district, Kalsia State, Hoshiarpur district, Gurdaspur district, Sialkot District, Gujrat District, Jhelum District, Rawalpindi District, and Attock District;
  4. North-West Dry Area geographical division (including Montgomery District, Shahpur District, Mianwali District, Lyallpur District, Jhang District, Multan District, Bahawalpur State, Muzaffargarh District, and Dera Ghazi Khan District).

Partition of British Punjab[edit]

The struggle for Indian independence witnessed competing and conflicting interests in the Punjab. The landed elites of the Muslim, Hindu and Sikh communities had loyally collaborated with the British since annexation, supported the Unionist Party and were hostile to the Congress party led independence movement.[57] Amongst the peasantry and urban middle classes, the Hindus were the most active National Congress supporters, the Sikhs flocked to the Akali movement whilst the Muslims eventually supported the Muslim League.[57]

Since the partition of the sub-continent had been decided, special meetings of the Western and Eastern Section of the Legislative Assembly were held on 23 June 1947 to decide whether or not the Province of the Punjab be partitioned. After voting on both sides, partition was decided and the existing Punjab Legislative Assembly was also divided into West Punjab Legislative Assembly and the East Punjab Legislative Assembly. This last Assembly before independence, held its last sitting on 4 July 1947.[58]

Major cities[edit]

Historically, Lahore has been the capital of the Punjab region and continues to be the most populous city in the region at 11 million cities' proper population. Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Multan, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar, and Chandigarh are all the other cities in Punjab with a city proper population of over a million.

Climate[edit]

The snow-covered Himalayas

The climate has significant impact on the economy of Punjab, particularly for agriculture in the region. Climate is not uniform over the whole region, as the sections adjacent to the Himalayas generally receive heavier rainfall than those at a distance.[59]

There are three main seasons and two transitional periods. During the hot season from mid-April to the end of June, the temperature may reach 49 °C (120 °F). The monsoon season, from July to September, is a period of heavy rainfall, providing water for crops in addition to the supply from canals and irrigation systems. The transitional period after the monsoon is cool and mild, leading to the winter season, when the temperature in January falls to 5 °C (41 °F) at night and 12 °C (54 °F) by day. During the transitional period from winter to the hot season, sudden hailstorms and heavy showers may occur, causing damage to crops.[60]

Western Punjab[edit]

Climate data for Islamabad (1961–1990)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 30.1
(86.2)
30.5
(86.9)
36.0
(96.8)
40.6
(105.1)
45.6
(114.1)
46.6
(115.9)
45.0
(113.0)
42.0
(107.6)
38.1
(100.6)
37.5
(99.5)
32.2
(90.0)
28.3
(82.9)
46.6
(115.9)
Average high °C (°F) 17.7
(63.9)
19.1
(66.4)
23.9
(75.0)
30.1
(86.2)
35.3
(95.5)
38.7
(101.7)
35.0
(95.0)
33.4
(92.1)
33.5
(92.3)
30.9
(87.6)
25.4
(77.7)
19.7
(67.5)
28.6
(83.5)
Daily mean °C (°F) 10.1
(50.2)
12.1
(53.8)
16.9
(62.4)
22.6
(72.7)
27.5
(81.5)
31.2
(88.2)
29.7
(85.5)
28.5
(83.3)
27.0
(80.6)
22.4
(72.3)
16.5
(61.7)
11.6
(52.9)
21.3
(70.3)
Average low °C (°F) 2.6
(36.7)
5.1
(41.2)
9.9
(49.8)
15.0
(59.0)
19.7
(67.5)
23.7
(74.7)
24.3
(75.7)
23.5
(74.3)
20.6
(69.1)
13.9
(57.0)
7.5
(45.5)
3.4
(38.1)
14.1
(57.4)
Record low °C (°F) −3.9
(25.0)
−2.0
(28.4)
−0.3
(31.5)
5.1
(41.2)
10.5
(50.9)
15.0
(59.0)
17.8
(64.0)
17.0
(62.6)
13.3
(55.9)
5.7
(42.3)
−0.6
(30.9)
−2.8
(27.0)
−3.9
(25.0)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 67.1
(2.64)
89.5
(3.52)
129.8
(5.11)
61.8
(2.43)
39.2
(1.54)
148.2
(5.83)
368.0
(14.49)
334.5
(13.17)
151.2
(5.95)
44.3
(1.74)
17.8
(0.70)
24.3
(0.96)
1,475.7
(58.08)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 195.7 187.1 202.3 252.4 311.9 300.1 264.4 250.7 262.2 275.5 247.9 195.6 2,945.8
Source 1: NOAA (normals)[61]
Source 2: PMD (extremes)[62]


Central Punjab[edit]

Climate data for Lahore (1961–1990), extremes (1931–2018)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 27.8
(82.0)
33.3
(91.9)
37.8
(100.0)
46.1
(115.0)
48.3
(118.9)
47.2
(117.0)
46.1
(115.0)
42.8
(109.0)
41.7
(107.1)
40.6
(105.1)
35.0
(95.0)
30.0
(86.0)
48.3
(118.9)
Average high °C (°F) 19.8
(67.6)
22.0
(71.6)
27.1
(80.8)
33.9
(93.0)
38.6
(101.5)
40.4
(104.7)
36.1
(97.0)
35.0
(95.0)
35.0
(95.0)
32.9
(91.2)
27.4
(81.3)
21.6
(70.9)
30.8
(87.4)
Daily mean °C (°F) 12.8
(55.0)
15.4
(59.7)
20.5
(68.9)
26.8
(80.2)
31.2
(88.2)
33.9
(93.0)
31.5
(88.7)
30.7
(87.3)
29.7
(85.5)
25.6
(78.1)
19.5
(67.1)
14.2
(57.6)
24.3
(75.8)
Average low °C (°F) 5.9
(42.6)
8.9
(48.0)
14.0
(57.2)
19.6
(67.3)
23.7
(74.7)
27.4
(81.3)
26.9
(80.4)
26.4
(79.5)
24.4
(75.9)
18.2
(64.8)
11.6
(52.9)
6.8
(44.2)
17.8
(64.0)
Record low °C (°F) −2.2
(28.0)
0.0
(32.0)
2.8
(37.0)
10.0
(50.0)
14.0
(57.2)
18.0
(64.4)
20.0
(68.0)
19.0
(66.2)
16.7
(62.1)
8.3
(46.9)
1.7
(35.1)
−1.1
(30.0)
−2.2
(28.0)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 34.0
(1.34)
31.6
(1.24)
98.2
(3.87)
19.7
(0.78)
22.4
(0.88)
122.3
(4.81)
214.1
(8.43)
204.9
(8.07)
61.1
(2.41)
12.4
(0.49)
4.2
(0.17)
13.9
(0.55)
838.8
(33.04)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 218.8 215.0 245.8 276.6 308.3 269.0 227.5 234.9 265.6 290.0 259.6 222.9 3,034
Source 1: NOAA (1961-1990) [63]
Source 2: PMD[64]


Eastern Punjab[edit]

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 27.7
(81.9)
32.8
(91.0)
37.8
(100.0)
42.6
(108.7)
44.6
(112.3)
45.3
(113.5)
42.0
(107.6)
39.0
(102.2)
37.5
(99.5)
37.0
(98.6)
34.0
(93.2)
28.5
(83.3)
45.3
(113.5)
Average high °C (°F) 20.5
(68.9)
23.0
(73.4)
28.4
(83.1)
34.6
(94.3)
38.3
(100.9)
38.3
(100.9)
34.1
(93.4)
32.8
(91.0)
33.3
(91.9)
32.3
(90.1)
27.4
(81.3)
21.9
(71.4)
30.4
(86.7)
Average low °C (°F) 5.5
(41.9)
8.1
(46.6)
13.0
(55.4)
18.8
(65.8)
23.0
(73.4)
24.9
(76.8)
23.7
(74.7)
23.2
(73.8)
21.7
(71.1)
17.2
(63.0)
10.6
(51.1)
6.4
(43.5)
16.3
(61.3)
Record low °C (°F) 0.0
(32.0)
0.0
(32.0)
4.2
(39.6)
7.8
(46.0)
13.4
(56.1)
14.8
(58.6)
14.2
(57.6)
17.2
(63.0)
14.3
(57.7)
9.4
(48.9)
3.7
(38.7)
0.0
(32.0)
0.0
(32.0)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 43.3
(1.70)
44.2
(1.74)
30.5
(1.20)
11.7
(0.46)
28.9
(1.14)
131.8
(5.19)
278.1
(10.95)
289.0
(11.38)
158.2
(6.23)
22.8
(0.90)
6.4
(0.25)
19.2
(0.76)
1,064.1
(41.89)
Average rainy days 2.8 2.7 2.0 0.8 1.6 5.5 10.8 10.9 4.8 1.4 0.8 1.4 45.5
Average relative humidity (%) (at 17:30 IST) 47 42 34 23 23 39 62 70 59 40 40 46 44
Average dew point °C (°F) 7
(45)
10
(50)
13
(55)
14
(57)
15
(59)
20
(68)
25
(77)
26
(79)
24
(75)
18
(64)
12
(54)
8
(46)
16
(61)
Average ultraviolet index 4 5 6 8 8 8 7 7 6 6 5 4 6
Source 1: India Meteorological Department[65][66]Time and Date (dewpoints, 2005-2015)[67]
Source 2: Weather Atlas[68]


Demographics[edit]

Languages[edit]

Dominant Mother Tongue in each Pakistani District as of the 2017 Pakistan Census

The major language is Punjabi, which is written in India with the Gurmukhi script, and in Pakistan using the Shahmukhi script.[69] The Punjabi language has official status and is widely used in education and administration in Indian Punjab, whereas in Pakistani Punjab these roles are instead fulfilled by the Urdu language.

Several languages closely related to Punjabi are spoken in the periphery of the region. In the southwestern half of Pakistani Punjab, the majority language is Saraiki, while in the north there are speakers of Hindko and Pothwari. Within India, Dogri is spoken in the northernmost, Kangri language and associated dialects in eastern parts of the region, and Bagri in the extreme south-east.

Religions[edit]

The Punjabi people first practiced Hinduism, the oldest recorded religion in the Punjab region.[70] The Punjabi people first practiced Hinduism, the oldest recorded religion in the Punjab region.[71] The historical Vedic religion constituted the religious ideas and practices in the Punjab during the Vedic period (1500–500 BCE).[72][73][74][75] It is one of the major traditions which shaped Hinduism, though present-day Hinduism is markedly different from the historical Vedic religion.[74][76][note 1] The bulk of the Rigveda was composed in the Punjab region between circa 1500 and 1200 BC,[77] while later Vedic scriptures were composed more eastwards, between the Yamuna and Ganges rivers. An ancient Indian law book called the Manusmriti, developed by Brahmin Hindu priests, shaped Punjabi religious life from 200 BC onward.[78] Later, the spread of Buddhisim and Jainism in the Indian subcontinent saw the growth of Buddhism and Jainism in the Punjab.[79] Islam was introduced via southern Punjab in the 8th century, becoming the majority by the 16th century, via local conversion.[80][81] There was a small Jain community left in Punjab by the 16th century, while the Buddhist community had largely disappeared by the turn of the 10th century.[82] The region became predominantly Muslim due to missionary Sufi saints whose dargahs dot the landscape of the Punjab region.[83] The rise of Sikhism in the 1700s saw some Punjabis, both Hindu and Muslim, accepting the new Sikh faith.[78][84] A number of Punjabis during the colonial period of India became Christians, with all of these religions characterizing the religious diversity now found in the Punjab region.[78]

During the colonial era, the practice of religious syncretism among Punjabi Muslims and Punjabi Hindus was noted and documented by officials in census reports:

"In other parts of the Province, too, traces of Hindu festivals are noticeable among the Muhammadans. In the western Punjab, Baisakhi, the new year's day of the Hindus, is celebrated as an agricultural festival, by all Muhammadans, by racing bullocks yoked to the well gear, with the beat of tom-toms, and large crowds gather to witness the show, The race is called Baisakhi and is a favourite pastime in the well-irrigated tracts. Then the processions of Tazias, in Muharram, with the accompaniment of tom-toms, fencing parties and bands playing on flutes and other musical instruments (which is disapproved by the orthodox Muhammadans) and the establishment of Sabils (shelters where water and sharbat are served out) are clearly influenced by similar practices at Hindu festivals, while the illuminations on occasions like the Chiraghan fair of Shalamar (Lahore) are no doubt practices answering to the holiday-making instinct of the converted Hindus."[56]: 174 

"Besides actual conversion, Islam has had a considerable influence on the Hindu religion. The sects of reformers based on a revolt from the orthodoxy of Varnashrama Dharma were obviously the outcome of the knowledge that a different religion could produce equally pious and right thinking men. Laxity in social restrictions also appeared simultaneously in various degrees and certain customs were assimilated to those of the Muhammadans. On the other hand the miraculous powers of Muhammadan saints were enough to attract the saint worshiping Hindus, to allegiance, if not to a total change of faith... The Shamsis are believers in Shah Shamas Tabrez of Multan, and follow the Imam, for the time being, of the Ismailia sect of Shias... they belong mostly to the Sunar caste and their connection with the sect is kept a secret, like Freemasonry. They pass as ordinary Hindus, but their devotion to the Imam is very strong."[56]: 130 

— Excerpts from the Census of India (Punjab Province), 1911 AD

Religion in Punjab Region (2011 and 2017)[85][86][87]

  Islam (60.13%)
  Hinduism (28.54%)
  Sikhism (9.5%)
  Christianity (1.43%)
  Others (0.33%)

In the present-day, the vast majority of Pakistani Punjabis are Sunni Muslim by faith, but also include significant minority faiths, such as Shia Muslims, Ahmadi Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Christians.

Sikhism, founded by Guru Nanak is the main religion practised in the post-1966 Indian Punjab state. About 57.7% of the population of Punjab state is Sikh, 38.5% is Hindu, with the remaining population including Muslims, Christians, and Jains.[88] Punjab state contains the holy Sikh cities of Amritsar, Anandpur Sahib, Tarn Taran Sahib, Fatehgarh Sahib and Chamkaur Sahib.

The Punjab was home to several Sufi saints, and Sufism is well established in the region.[89] Also, Kirpal Singh revered the Sikh Gurus as saints.[90]

Population trends for major religious groups in the Punjab Province of British India (1881–1941)[91]
Religious
group
Population
% 1881
Population
% 1891
Population
% 1901
Population
% 1911
Population
% 1921
Population
% 1931
Population
% 1941
Islam 47.6% 47.8% 49.6% 51.1% 51.1% 52.4% 53.2%
Hinduism 43.8% 43.6% 41.3% 35.8% 35.1% 30.2% 29.1%
Sikhism 8.2% 8.2% 8.6% 12.1% 12.4% 14.3% 14.9%
Christianity 0.1% 0.2% 0.3% 0.8% 1.3% 1.5% 1.5%
Other religions / No religion 0.3% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.1% 1.6% 1.3%
Punjab region religious diversity (estimates from combining 2011 Indian census and 2017 Pakistani census)[85][86][87]
Religion Estimated population Estimated percentage
Islam Star and Crescent.svg 114.1 million 60%
Hinduism Om.svg 54.1 million 29%
Sikhism Khanda.svg 18.0 million 10%
Christianity Christian cross.svg 2.7 million 1%
Others 0.6 million 0%
Total Population 189.8 million 100%

Economy[edit]

The historical region of Punjab produce a relatively high proportion of India and Pakistan's food output respectively.[citation needed] The region has been used for extensive wheat farming. In addition, rice, cotton, sugarcane, fruit, and vegetables are also grown.[92]

The agricultural output of the Punjab region in Pakistan contributes significantly to Pakistan's GDP. Both Indian and Pakistani Punjab is considered to have the best infrastructure of their respective countries. The Indian state of Punjab is currently the 16th richest state or the eighth richest large state of India. Pakistani Punjab produces 68% of Pakistan's foodgrain production.[93] Its share of Pakistan's GDP has historically ranged from 51.8% to 54.7%.[94]

Called "The Granary of India" or "The Bread Basket of India," Indian Punjab produces 1% of the world's rice, 2% of its wheat, and 2% of its cotton.[95] In 2001, it was recorded that farmers made up 39% of Indian Punjab's workforce.[96] In the Punjab region of Pakistan, 42.3% of the labour force is engaged in the agriculture sector.[97]

Alternatively, Punjab is also adding to the economy with the increase in employment of Punjab youth in the private sector. Government schemes such as 'Ghar Ghar Rozgar and Karobar Mission' have brought enhanced employability in the private sector. So far, 32,420 youths have been placed in different jobs and 12,114 have been skill-trained.[98]

Environment[edit]

Three Punjab cities; Bathinda, Patiala and Ferozepur, were featured in a list of the top 100 cleanest cities of India from a Swachh Survekshan report released in August 2020.[99]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ From Persian پنج panj—meaning "five"—and آب âb—meaning "water" or "river". Thus, Panjâb, پنجاب or Panj-Âb, پنج‌آب translates as "five waters".[9]
  2. ^ The Ghaznavids were a dynasty of Turkic slave-soldiers...[27]
  1. ^ Michaels (2004, p. 38): "The legacy of the Vedic religion in Hinduism is generally overestimated. The influence of the mythology is indeed great, but the religious terminology changed considerably: all the key terms of Hinduism either do not exist in Vedic or have a completely different meaning. The religion of the Veda does not know the ethicised migration of the soul with retribution for acts (karma), the cyclical destruction of the world, or the idea of salvation during one's lifetime (jivanmukti; moksa; nirvana); the idea of the world as illusion (maya) must have gone against the grain of ancient India, and an omnipotent creator god emerges only in the late hymns of the rgveda. Nor did the Vedic religion know a caste system, the burning of widows, the ban on remarriage, images of gods and temples, Puja worship, Yoga, pilgrimages, vegetarianism, the holiness of cows, the doctrine of stages of life (asrama), or knew them only at their inception. Thus, it is justified to see a turning point between the Vedic religion and Hindu religions."
    Jamison, Stephanie; Witzel, Michael (1992). "Vedic Hinduism" (PDF). Harvard University. p. 3.: "... to call this period Vedic Hinduism is a contradictio in terminis since Vedic religion is very different from what we generally call Hindu religion – at least as much as Old Hebrew religion is from medieval and modern Christian religion. However, Vedic religion is treatable as a predecessor of Hinduism."
    See also Halbfass 1991, pp. 1–2

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  23. ^ Buddha Parkash, Evolution of Heroic Tradition in Ancient Panjab, p 36.
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  25. ^ a b Hazel, John (2013). Who's Who in the Greek World. Routledge. p. 155. ISBN 9781134802241. Menander king in India, known locally as Milinda, born at a village named Kalasi near Alasanda (Alexandria-in-the-Caucasus), and who was himself the son of a king. After conquering the Punjab, where he made Sagala his capital, he made an expedition across northern India and visited Patna, the capital of the Mauraya empire, though he did not succeed in conquering this land as he appears to have been overtaken by wars on the north-west frontier with Eucratides.
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Bibliography[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Condos, Mark. The Insecurity State: Punjab and the Making of Colonial Power in British India (2020) excerpt
  • Narang, K.S.; Gupta, Dr H.R. (1969). History of the Punjab 1500–1858 (PDF). U. C. Kapur & Sons, Delhi. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  • [Quraishee 73] Punjabi Adab De Kahani, Abdul Hafeez Quaraihee, Azeez Book Depot, Lahore, 1973.
  • [Chopra 77] Punjab as a Sovereign State, Gulshan Lal Chopra, Al-Biruni, Lahore, 1977.
  • Patwant Singh. 1999. The Sikhs. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-50206-0.
  • The Evolution of Heroic Tradition in Ancient Panjab, 1971, Buddha Parkash.
  • Social and Political Movements in ancient Panjab, Delhi, 1962, Buddha Parkash.
  • History of Porus, Patiala, Buddha Parkash.
  • History of the Panjab, Patiala, 1976, Fauja Singh, L. M. Joshi (Ed).
  • The Legacy of the Punjab, 1997, R. M. Chopra.
  • The Rise Growth and Decline of Indo-Persian Literature, R. M. Chopra, 2012, Iran Culture House, New Delhi. 2nd revised edition, published in 2013.
  • Sims, Holly. "The State and Agricultural Productivity: Continuity versus Change in the Indian and Pakistani Punjabs." Asian Survey, 1 April 1986, Vol. 26(4), pp. 483–500.

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