Place:Punjab, India


Coordinates30.0°N 76.0°E
Located inIndia     (1966 - )
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Punjab is a state in northern India. Forming part of the larger Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent, the state is bordered by the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir to the north, Himachal Pradesh to the east, Haryana to the south and southeast, Rajasthan to the southwest, and the Pakistani province of Punjab to the west. The state covers an area of 50,362 square kilometres, 1.53% of India's total geographical area. It is the 20th-largest Indian state by area. With 27,704,236 inhabitants at the 2011 census, Punjab is the 16th-largest state by population, comprising 22 districts. Punjabi is the most widely spoken and official language of the state. The main ethnic group are the Punjabis, with Sikhs (58%) forming the demographic majority. The state capital is Chandigarh, a Union Territory and also the capital of the neighbouring state of Haryana. The five rivers from which the region took its name were Sutlej, Ravi, Beas, Chenab and Jhelum; Sutlej, Ravi and Beas are part of the Indian Punjab.

The Punjab region was home to the Indus Valley Civilization until 1900 BCE. The Punjab was invaded by Alexander the Great in 330 BCE and was captured by Chandragupta Maurya under Chanakya. The Punjab was home to the Gupta Empire, the empire of the Alchon Huns, the empire of Harsha, and the Mongol Empire. Circa 1000, the Punjab was invaded by Muslims and was part of the Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire. Sikhism originated in Punjab and resulted in the formation of the Sikh Confederacy after the fall of the Mughal Empire. The confederacy was united into the Sikh Empire by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The entire Punjab region was annexed by the British East India Company from the Sikh Empire in 1849. In 1947, the Punjab Province of British India was divided along religious lines into West Punjab and East Punjab. The western part was assimilated into new country of Pakistan while the east stayed in India. The Indian Punjab as well as PEPSU was divided into three parts on the basis of language in 1966. Haryanvi-speaking areas (a dialect of Hindi) were carved out as Haryana, while the hilly regions and Pahari-speaking areas formed Himachal Pradesh, alongside the current state of Punjab. Punjab's government has three branches – executive, judiciary and legislative. Punjab follows the parliamentary system of government with the Chief Minister as the head of the state.

Punjab is primarily agriculture-based due to the presence of abundant water sources and fertile soils. Other major industries include the manufacturing of scientific instruments, agricultural goods, electrical goods, financial services, machine tools, textiles, sewing machines, sports goods, starch, tourism, fertilisers, bicycles, garments, and the processing of pine oil and sugar. Minerals and energy resources also contribute to Punjab's economy to a much lesser extent. Punjab has the largest number of steel rolling mill plants in India, which are in "Steel Town"—Mandi Gobindgarh in the Fatehgarh Sahib district.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Ancient history

During the period when the epic Mahabharata was written, around 800–400 BCE, Punjab was known as Trigarta and ruled by Katoch kings. The Indus Valley Civilization spanned much of the Punjab region with cities such as Ropar. The Vedic Civilization spread along the length of the Sarasvati River to cover most of northern India including Punjab. This civilisation shaped subsequent cultures in the Indian subcontinent. The Punjab region was ruled by many ancient empires including the Gandhara, Nandas, Mauryas, Shungas, Kushans, Guptas, Palas, Gurjara-Pratiharas and Hindu Shahis. The furthest eastern extent of Alexander the Great's exploration was along the Indus River. Agriculture flourished and trading cities such as Jalandhar, Sangrur and Ludhiana grew in wealth.

Due to its location, the Punjab region came under constant attack and influence from both west and east. Punjab faced invasions by the Achaemenids, Greeks, Scythians, Turks, and Afghans. This resulted in the Punjab witnessing centuries of bitter bloodshed. Its culture combines Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Sikh and British influences.

Hindus in Punjab

The original Punjab region is now divided into several units: West Punjab (now in Pakistan), portions of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa such as the Gandharar region, the Indian states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh and the Indian Union territory of Chandigarh and Jammu Division.

The Punjab is the 'Sapta Sindhu' region mentioned in the Rig Veda, the seven rivers are:

  1. Saraswati (thought to be the present day Ghaggar),
  2. Satadru/Shutadri (Sutlej),
  3. Vipasa (Beas),
  4. Asikani, Chandrabhaga (Chenab),
  5. Purushni (Ravi),
  6. Vitasta/Vet (Jhelum) and
  7. Sindhu (Indus).

Among the classic books that were wholly or partly composed in this region are the following.

The world's oldest university Takshashila flourished here, even before the Buddha's birth. The Brahmins of this region are called 'Saraswata' after the legendary Saraswati river region, once known for the ashramas of the rishis. Hinduism has been prevalent in Punjab since historical times before the arrival of Islam and birth of Sikhism in Punjab. Many of Punjab's Hindus converted to Sikhism.

Punjabi Hindus can trace their roots from the time of the Vedas. Many modern day cities in Indian Punjab and Pakistani Punjab are still named from that period like Lahore, Jalandhar, Chandigarh and so on. Examples of Punjabi Hindus include the former Prime ministers of India I.K. Gujral and Gulzari Lal Nanda and former Indian cricketer Kapil Dev and scientist Hargobind Khorana.

Sikhs in Punjab

Sikhism originated in the Punjab Region during the 15th century. Approximately 75% of the total Sikh population of the world lives in Punjab. Sikhism began at the time of the conquest of northern India by Babur. His grandson, Akbar, supported religious freedom and after visiting the langar of Guru Amar Das had a favourable impression of Sikhism. As a result of his visit he donated land to the langar and had a positive relationship with the Sikh Gurus until his death in 1605. His successor, Jahangir, saw the Sikhs as a political threat. He arrested Guru Arjun Dev because of Sikh support for Khusrau Mirza and ordered him put to death by torture. Guru Arjan Dev's martyrdom led to the sixth Guru, Guru Har Gobind, declaring Sikh sovereignty in the creation of the Akal Takht and the establishment of a fort to defend Amritsar.

Jahangir attempted to assert authority over the Sikhs by imprisoning Guru Har Gobind at Gwalior. He felt compelled to release him when he began to suffer premonitions of an early and gruesome death. The Guru refused to be released unless the dozens of Hindu princes imprisoned with him were also granted freedom, to which Jahangir agreed. Sikhism did not have any further issues with the Mughal Empire until Jahangir's death in 1627. His successor, Shah Jahan, "took offense" at Guru Har Gobind's sovereignty and after a series of assaults on Amritsar forced the Sikhs to retreat to the Sivalik Hills.[1] Guru Har Gobind's successor, Guru Har Rai, maintained the guruship in the Sivalik Hills by defeating local attempts to seize Sikh land and taking a neutral role in the power struggle between Aurangzeb and Dara Shikoh for control of the Timurid dynasty.

The ninth Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur, moved the Sikh community to Anandpur and travelled extensively to visit and preach in Sikh communities in defiance of Mughal rule. He aided Kashmiri Pandits in avoiding conversion to Islam and was arrested and confronted by Aurangzeb. When offered a choice between conversion or death, he chose to die and was executed.

Guru Gobind Singh assumed the guruship in 1675 and to avoid battles with Sivalik Hill Rajas moved the guruship to Paunta. He built a large fort to protect the city and garrisoned an army to protect it. The Sikh community's growing power alarmed Sivalik Hill Rajas, who attempted to attack the city, but the Guru's forces routed them at the Battle of Bhangani. He moved on to Anandpur and established the Khalsa, a collective army of baptised Sikhs, on 13 April 1699. The establishment of the Khalsa united the Sikh community against various Mughal-backed claimants to the guruship.

In 1701, a combined army composed of the Sivalik Hill Rajas and the Mughal army under Wazir Khan attacked Anandpur and, following a retreat by the Khalsa, was defeated by the Khalsa at the Battle of Muktsar. Banda Singh Bahadur was an ascetic who converted to Sikhism after meeting Guru Gobind Singh at Nanded. Shortly before his death, Guru Gobind Singh ordered him to uproot Mughal rule in Punjab and gave him a letter that commanded all Sikhs to join him. After two years of gaining supporters, Banda Singh Bahadur initiated an agrarian uprising by breaking up the large estates of Zamindar families and distributing the land to the poor Sikh and Hindu peasants who farmed the land.

Banda Singh Bahadur started his rebellion with the defeat of Mughal armies at Samana and Sadhaura and it culminated in the defeat of Sirhind. During the rebellion, Banda Singh Bahadur made a point of destroying the cities in which Mughals had been cruel to Sikhs, and executed Wazir Khan in revenge for the deaths of Guru Gobind Singh's sons, Baba Zorawar Singh and Baba Fateh Singh, after the Sikh victory at Sirhind. He ruled the territory between the Sutlej River and the Yamuna River, established a capital in the Himalayas at Lohgarh, and struck coinage in the names of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh.[2]

In 1762, there were persistent conflicts with the Sikhs. Sikh holocaust of 1762 took place under the Muslim provincial government based at Lahore to wipe out the Sikhs, with 30,000 Sikhs being killed, an offensive that had begun with the Mughals, with the Sikh holocaust of 1746, and lasted several decades under its Muslim successor states. The rebuilt Harminder Sahib was destroyed, and the pool was filled with cow entrails, again.

Cis-Sutlej states

The Cis-Sutlej states were a group of states in modern Punjab and Haryana states lying between the Sutlej River on the north, the Himalayas on the east, the Yamuna River and Delhi District on the south, and Sirsa District on the west. These states were ruled by the Scindhia dynasty of the Maratha Empire. Various Sikh sardars and other Rajas of the Cis-Sutlej states paid tributes to the Marathas until the Second Anglo-Maratha War of 1803–1805, after which the Marathas lost this territory to the British. The Cis-Sutlej states included Kaithal, Patiala, Jind, Thanesar, Maler Kotla, and Faridkot.

Sikh Empire

The Sikh Empire (1801–1849) was forged by Maharajah Ranjit Singh on the foundations of the Khalsa from a collection of autonomous Sikh misls, creating a unified political state. The empire extended from the Khyber Pass in the west, to Kashmir in the north, to Sindh in the south, and Tibet in the east. The main geographical footprint of the empire was the Punjab region. The religious demography of the Sikh Empire was Muslim (80%), Sikh (10%), Hindu (10%).

After his proclamation in 1801 as Maharajah, Ranjit Singh began the modernisation of the Punjab Army. All the Misl leaders who were affiliated with the Army had been nobility, usually with long and prestigious family histories in Punjab. Ranjit Singh introduced several new commanders, some of them European, and a further 52,000 well-trained and equipped professional-grade irregulars with a significant multi-religious component. In addition, the army was equipped with field artillery, turning it into a premier fighting force.

After Ranjit Singh's death in 1839, the empire was severely weakened by internal divisions and political mismanagement. This opportunity was used by the British Empire to launch the Anglo-Sikh Wars. A series of betrayals of the Sikhs by some prominent leaders in the army led to its downfall. Maharaja Gulab Singh and Raja Dhian Singh were the top generals of the army.

The Sikh Empire was finally dissolved, after a series of wars with the British at the end of the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849, into separate princely states and the British province of Punjab, which were granted statehood. Eventually, a Lieutenant Governorship was formed in Lahore as a direct representative of the British Crown.

Punjab Province (British India)

The Cis-Sutlej states, including Kaithal, Patiala, Jind, Thanesar, Maler Kotla, and Faridkot, were under the suzerainty of the Scindhia dynasty of the Maratha Empire, following the Second Anglo-Maratha War of 1803–1805, when Marathas lost this territory to the British. During the war, some of the states in the region gave their allegiance to British General Gerard Lake. At the conclusion of the Second Anglo-Maratha War, an 1809 agreement with Ranjit Singh, ruler of the Sikh Empire west of the Sutlej, brought these states under formal British protection.[3]

Ranjit Singh's death in the summer of 1839 brought political chaos, and the subsequent battles of succession and the bloody infighting between the factions at court weakened the state. By 1845 the British had moved 32,000 troops to the Sutlej frontier to secure their northernmost possessions against the succession struggles in the Punjab. In late 1845, British and Sikh troops engaged near Firozpur, beginning the First Anglo-Sikh War. The war ended the following year, and the territory between the Sutlej and the Beas was ceded to British Company rule in India, along with Kashmir, which was sold to Gulab Singh of Jammu, who ruled Kashmir as a British vassal.

As a condition of the peace treaty, some British troops, along with a resident political agent and other officials, were left in Punjab to oversee the regency of Maharaja Dhalip Singh, a minor. The Sikh army was reduced greatly in size. In 1848, out-of-work Sikh troops in Multan revolted, and a British official was killed. Within a few months, the unrest had spread throughout Punjab, and British troops once again invaded. The British prevailed in the Second Anglo-Sikh War, and under the Treaty of Lahore in 1849, Punjab was annexed by the British East India Company, and Dhalip Singh was pensioned off. Punjab became a province of British India, although a number of small states, most notably Patiala, Kapurthala, Faridkot, Nabha, and Jind, retained local rulers in subsidiary alliances with the British, with the rulers retaining their own internal sovereignty but recognising British suzerainty.

The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre of 1919 occurred in Amritsar. In 1930, the Indian National Congress proclaimed independence from Lahore. In March 1940, the All-India Muslim League passed the Lahore Resolution, demanding the creation of a separate state from Muslim majority areas in India. This triggered bitter protests by the Sikhs in Punjab, who could not countenance living in a Muslim state.

In 1946, massive communal tensions and violence erupted between Punjab's Muslim majority and the Hindu and Sikh minorities. The Muslim League attacked the government of Unionist Punjabi Muslims, Sikh Akalis and the Congress and led to its downfall. Unwilling to be cowed, Sikhs and Hindus counterattacked, and the resulting bloodshed left the province in great disorder. Congress and League leaders agreed to partition Punjab along religious lines, a precursor to the wider partition of the country.

Independence and its aftermath

In 1947 the Punjab Province of British India was partitioned along religious lines into West Punjab and East Punjab. Huge numbers of people were displaced, and there was much intercommunal violence. Following independence, several small Punjabi princely states, including Patiala, acceded to the Union of India and were united into the PEPSU. In 1956 this was integrated with the state of East Punjab to create a new, enlarged Indian state called simply "Punjab".

The undivided Punjab, of which Pakistani Punjab forms a major region today, was home to a large minority population of Punjabi Hindus and Sikhs until 1947, apart from the Muslim majority.

Immediately following independence in 1947, and due to the ensuing communal violence and fear, most Sikhs and Punjabi Hindus who found themselves in Pakistan migrated to India.

Punjabi Muslims were uprooted similarly from their homes in East Punjab, which now forms part of India. More than seven million moved to Pakistan, and over six million settled in Punjab. In 1950, two new states were recognised by the Indian constitution: the Indian part of the former British province of Punjab became the state of East Punjab, while the princely states of the region were combined into the Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU). Himachal Pradesh was later created as a union territory from several princely states in the hills.

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