HISTORY OF PUNJAB

Punjab (pronounced /pənˈdʒɑːb/ ( listen); Punjabi: ਪੰਜਾਬ (Gurmukhi)) is a state in the northwest of the Republic of India, forming part of the largerPunjab region. The state is bordered by the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh to the east, Haryana to the south and southeast and Rajasthan to the southwest as well as the Pakistani province of Punjab to the west, it is also bounded to the north by Jammu and Kashmir. The state capital isChandigarh. Major cities of Punjab includes Mohali, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Bathinda, Patiala and Jalandhar. After the partition of India in 1947, the Punjab province of British India was divided between India and Pakistan. The Indian Punjab was divided in 1966 with the formation of the new states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh as well as the current state of Punjab. Punjab is the only state in India with a majority Sikh population.[3]

Agriculture is the largest industry in Punjab; it is the largest single provider of wheat to India. Other major industries include the manufacturing ofscientific instrumentswater meter, electrical goods, financial servicesmachine toolstextilessewing machinessports goodsstarchtourism,fertilizersbicyclesgarments, and the processing of pine oil and sugar. Punjab also has the largest number of Steel Rolling Mill Plants in India which are located in Steel Town Mandi Gobindgarh, District Fatehgarh Sahib.

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[edit]Etymology

The word Punjab is a combination of the Persian words پنج panj (five) and آب āb (water), and thus the (land of) five rivers.[4] The five rivers are the Beas,SutlejRavi RiverChenab River and Jhelum River. Traditionally, in English, there used to be a definite article before the name i.e. the Punjab.[5] The name is also sometimes spelled as Panjab or Punjaab.

[edit]Geography

Punjab is located in northwestern India, and has an area of 50,362 km2. It extends from the latitudes 29.30° North to 32.32° North and longitudes 73.55° East to 76.50° East. It is bounded on the west by Pakistan, on the north by Jammu and Kashmir, on the northeast by Himachal Pradesh and on the south by Haryana and Rajasthan.

Most of the Punjab lies in a fertile plain, alluvial plain with many rivers and an extensive irrigation canal system.[6] A belt of undulating hills extends along the northeastern part of the state at the foot of the Himalayas. Its average elevation is 300 meters above sea level, with a range from 180 meters in the southwest to more than 500 meters around the northeast border. The southwest of the state is semi-arid, eventually merging into the Thar Desert. The Siwalik Hills extends along the northeastern part of the state at the foot of the Himalayas.

The soil characteristics are influenced to a limited extent by the topography, vegetation and parent rock. The variation in soil profile characteristics are much more pronounced because of the regional climatic differences. Punjab is divided into three distinct regions on the basis of soil types; southwestern, central, and eastern.

Punjab falls under seismic zones II, III, and IV. Zone II is considered a low damage risk zone; zone III is considered a moderate damage risk zones; and zone IV is considered a high damage risk zone.[7]

[edit]Climate

Punjab's climate is characterized by extreme hot and extreme cold conditions. Annual temperatures in Punjab range from –2 to 40 °C (min/max), but can reach 47 °C (117 °F) in summer and –4 °C in winter. The northeast area lying near the foothills of the Himalayas receives heavy rainfall, whereas the area lying further south and west receives less rainfall and experiences higher temperatures. Average annual rainfall ranges between 960 mm in the sub-mountain region and 460 mm in the plains.

Punjab has three seasons:[6]

  • Summer (April to June), when temperature typically rise as high as 110°F.
  • Monsoon season (July to September), when a majority of rainfall occurs.
  • Winter (December to February), when temperatures typically fall as low as 40°F.

There is a transitional period between winter and summer in March and early April, as well as a transitional season between monsoon season and winter in October and November.

[edit]Wildlife

Male and female Blackbucks

The Sivalik area is the richest area of Punjab in terms of floral and faunal diversity and has been identified as one of the micro-endemic zones of India. Amongst the Angiosperms, about 355 species of herbs, 70 tree species, 70 species of shrubs or under shrubs, 19 of climbers and 21 species of twiners have been recorded from the area. Apart from angiosperms, 31 species of Pteridophytes, 27 of bryophytes and one species of gymnosperms(Pinus roxburghii) have also been recorded. The area is also rich in faunal diversity including 396 species ofbirds, 214 species of Lepidoptera, 55 species of fish, 20 species of reptiles, and 19 species of mammals.[8]

There are no natural forests in the plains; extensive tracts occur covered only with grass, shrubs and bushes. The mango fruit is largely cultivated in the south-east of the Punjab and attains a high degree of perfection about Multan and Hoshiarpur. Cultivated fruit trees, such as orange, pomegranate, apple, peach, fig, mulberry, quince, apricot, almond, and plum are abundant in the region.[9]

There are a number of wetlands, bird sanctuaries and zoological parks across Punjab. These include the Hari-Ke-Pattan National Wetland and Wildlife Sanctuary at Harike in Tarn Taran Sahib District, the Kanjli Wetland, the Kapurthala Sutlej Water Body Wetland, the Ropar Zoological Park, Chhatbir, Bansar Garden, Sangrur, the Aam Khas Bagh, Sirhind, the Ram Bagh Garden Amritsar, the Shalimar Garden, Kapurthala and the Baradari Garden at Patiala.[10]

Alligators are also commonly found in local rivers. The silkworm is reared with great skill and industry, and bees produce abundant wax and honey. Camels thrive in the hot southern plains, and herds of buffaloes on the grazing lands adjoining the rivers. Horses are reared in the north-east part of the Punjab.[9] Among poisonous snakes there are the cobra and the sangehur, the bite of which causes instant death. Other mammals like the smooth-coated otter, hog deer, wild boar, flying fox, wildcat, squirrel, fruitbat, and mongoose can be seen in the wild and in reserves.

The state bird of Punjab is the Baz (Eastern Goshawk)[11] (Melierax poliopterus), the state animal is the Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra), and the state tree is the Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo).[6]

[edit]History

Main article: History of the Punjab

[edit]Ancient History

Punjab during Mahabharata times was known as Panchanada.[12][13]Indus Valley Civilization spanned much of the Punjab region with cities such asHarrapa (modern-day Punjab, Pakistan). The arrival of the Indo-Aryans led to the flourishing of the Vedic Civilization along the length of the Indus River to cover most of Northern India. This civilization shaped subsequent cultures in the Indian Subcontinent and Afghanistan. Punjab was part of the great ancient empires including the Gandhara MahajanapadasNandasMauryasSungasKushansGuptasPalasGurjara-Pratiharas and Hindu Shahis. Agriculture flourished and trading cities (such as Jalandhar and Ludhiana) grew in wealth.

Due to its location, the Punjab region came under constant attack and influence from the west. Punjab faced invasions by the PersiansGreeks,ScythiansTurks, and Afghans. This resulted in the Punjab witnessing centuries of bitter bloodshed. Its legacy is a unique culture that combinesZorastrianHinduBuddhistPersianCentral AsianIslamicAfghanSikh and British elements.

The city of Taxila, founded by son of Taksh the son Bharat who was the brother of Ram. It was reputed to house the oldest university in the world,Takshashila University, one of the teachers was the great Vedic thinker and politician Chanakya. Taxila was a great centre of learning and intellectual discussion during the Maurya Empire. It is a UN World Heritage site.

those of Alexander the GreatChengiz Khan and Tamerlane. Of particular importance were the periods of contact between Punjab and various Persian Empires when the parts of it either became integrated with the empire itself, or was an autonomous region which paid taxes to the Persian King. In later centuries, when Persian was the language of the Mughal government, Persian architecture, poetry, art and music was an integral part of the region's culture. The official language of Punjab remained Persian until the arrival of the British in the mid 19th century, where it was finally abolished and the administrative language was changed over to Urdu.

[edit]Sikhs in Punjab

The roots of 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 favorable 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.[14] His successor, Jahangir, saw the Sikhs as a political threat. He arrested Guru Arjun Dev because ofSikh support for Khusrau Mirza[15] and ordered him to be 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.[16] Jahangir attempted to assert authority over the Sikhs by jailing Guru Har Gobind at Gwalior and released him after a number of years when he no longer felt threatened. Sikhism did not have any further issues with the Mughal Empire until the death of Jahangir 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.[16]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 Aurangzeband Dara Shikoh for control of the Timurid dynasty. The ninth Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur, moved the Sikh community to Anandpur and traveled extensively to visit and preach in Sikh communities in defiance Aurangzeb, who attempted to install Ram Rai to the guruship. He aided Kashmiri Brahmins in avoiding conversion to Islam and was arrested and confronted by Aurangzeb. When offered a choice between conversion or death, he chose to die rather than compromise his principles and was executed.[17] 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 growing power of the Sikh community 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 baptized Sikhs, on March 30, 1699. The establishment of the Khalsa united the Sikh community against various Mughal-backed claimants to the guruship.[18] 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, were defeated by the Khalsa at the Battle of Mukstar. In 1707, Guru Gobind Singh accepted an invitation by Bahadur Shah IAurangzeb's successor to meet in southern India. When he arrived in Nanded in 1708, Agents of Wazir Khan, the governor of Sirhind attempted to assassinate him but both were killed by Guru Gobind Singh, however they managed to stab Guru's Rib area, Later Bahadur Shah I hired a European surgeon to stitch the Guru's wound, but later his wound got open due to shooting an arrow from a very hard bow. On anticipating his death he passed the Guruship to Sikh's Holy Scripture Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji and made the scripture the eternal Guru of Sikhs, no body knows exactly Guru Gobind Singh died or not because he ran into a huge fire with his horse and falcon and disappeared. One thing left in the Ashes was his sword which is still present in Gurudwara Hazoor Sahib Nanded, Maharashtra.

[edit]Banda Singh Bahadur

Banda Singh Bahadur was an ascetic who converted to Sikhism after meeting Guru Gobind Singh at Nanded. A short time before his death, Guru Gobind Singh ordered him to reconquer 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 familiesand distributing the land to the poor SikhHindu,and Muslim peasants who farmed the land.[19] Banda Singh Bahadur started his rebellion with the defeat of Mughal armies at Samana and Sadhauraand the rebellion 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, including executing 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.[20] He ruled the territory between the Sutlej river and theYamuna river established a capital in the Himalayas at Lohgarh and struck coinage in the names of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh.[19] In 1716, his army was defeated by the Mughals after they surrounded his fort at Gurdas Nangal and cut off the food supplies of Sikhs for 7 months . He was captured along with 700 of his men and sent to Delhi.Zakarya Khan, the son of the Lahore Governor, then ordered his men to lop off more Sikh heads on the way because he was feeling ashamed because only 700 Sikhs kept his 100,000 Mughal army to struggle hard for 7 months. The prisoners were first taken to Lahore, and then to Delhi. Thus Muslims made a spectacle of killing sikhs and displaying their heads in most humiliating manner.In Delhi Banda Singh Bahadur was tortured and executed after refusing to convert to Islam.

[edit]Sikh Misls

Main article: Sikh Confederacy

The period from 1716 to 1799 was a highly turbulent time politically and militarily in the Punjab. This was caused by the overall decline of the Mughal Empire.[21] This left a power vacuum that was eventually filled by the Sikhs in the late 18th century, after fighting off local Mughal remnants and allied Rajput leaders, Afghans, and occasionally hostile Punjabi Muslims who sided with other Muslim forces. Sikh warlords eventually formed their own independent Sikh administrative regions (misls), which were united in large part by Ranjit Singh.

[edit]The Sikh Empire

Main article: Sikh Empire

At the beginning of the fifteenth century, the religion of Sikhism was born, and during the Mughal period gradually emerged as a formidable military force until subjugated and assimilated by the later rising and expanding Sikh Empire. After Ahmad Shah Durrani rule, the Sikhs wrested control of the Punjab from his descendants and ruled in a confederacy, which later became the Sikh Empire of the Punjab under maharaja ranjit singh. A denizen of the city of Gujranwala, the capital of Ranjit Singh's empire was Lahore.[22]

The Sikh Empire (1801–1849) was formed on the foundations of the Punjabi Army by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The empire extended from the Khyber Pass in the west, to Kashmir in the north, to Sindh in the south, andTibet in the east. The main geographical footprint of the empire was the Punjab region. The religiousdemography of the Sikh Empire was Muslim (70%), Sikh (15%), Hindu (15%).[23]

The foundations of the Sikh Empire could be defined as early as 1707, starting from the death of Aurangzeb and the downfall of the Mughal Empire. The fall of the Mughal Empire provided opportunities for the army, known as the Dal Khalsa, to lead expeditions against the Mughals and Afghans. This led to a growth of the army, which was split into different Punjabi armies and then semi-independent "misls". Each of these component armies were known as a misl, each controlling different areas and cities. However, in the period from 1762–1799, Sikh rulers of their misls appeared to be coming into their own. The formal start of the Sikh Empire began with the disbandment of the Punjab Army by the time of coronation of Ranjit Singh in 1801, creating a unified political state. All the misl leaders who were affiliated with the Army were nobility with usually long and prestigious family histories in Punjab's history.[24][25]

Dalip Singh, the last Maharaja of Punjab.
The golden throne of Maharaja Ranjit Singh

After Maharaja 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 events of the Sikhs being betrayed by some prominent leaders in the army led to its downfall. Maharaja Gulab Singh and Raja Dhian Singh the top Generals of the army.[26][27]

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.

[edit]The British in Punjab

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 Ferozepur, beginning the First Anglo-Sikh War. The war ended the following year, and the territory between the Sutlej and the Beas was ceded to Great Britain, along with Kashmir, which was sold to Gulab Singh of Jammu, who ruled Kashmir as a British vassal.

The Maharaja'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. Relationships with neighbouring British territories then broke down, starting the First Anglo-Sikh War; this led to a British official being resident in Lahore and the annexation of territory south of the Satluj to British India. Sikhs were the first people of the Punjab to rule their own land since Prithviraj Chauhan's defeat.

As a condition of the peace treaty, some British troops, along with a resident political agent and other officials, were left in the 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 the Punjab, and British troops once again invaded. The British prevailed in the Second Anglo-Sikh War, and under the Treaty of Lahore in 1849, the Punjab was annexed by the British East India Company, and Dhalip Singh was pensioned off. The Punjab became a province of British India, although a number of small states, most notably Patiala,Kapurthala, Faridkot,Nabha,Jind etc. retained local rulers due to their loyalty towards British who recognized British sovereignty.

In every way, the Punjab was one of Great Britain's most important assets in colonial India. Its political and geographic predominance gave Britain a base from which to project its power over more than 500 princely states that made up India. Lahore was a center of learning and culture under British rule, and Rawalpindi became an important Army installation.

The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre of 1919 occurred in Amritsar. In 1930, the Indian National Congress proclaimed independence from Lahore. The 1940 Lahore Resolution of the Muslim League to work for Pakistan, made Punjab the centerstage of a different, bloodier and dirtier struggle.

In 1946, massive communal tensions and violence erupted between the majority Muslims of Punjab, 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 down, Sikhs and Hindus counter-attacked and the resulting bloodshed left the province in great disorder. Both Congress and League leaders agreed to partition Punjab upon religious lines, a precursor to the wider partition of the country.

[edit]Independence and its aftermath

British Punjab Province, before 1947

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. This led to massive rioting as both sides committed atrocities against fleeing refugees. The Partition of India in 1947 split the former Raj province of Punjab; the mostly Muslim western part became the Pakistani province of West Punjab and the mostly Sikh and Hindueastern part became the Indian province of Punjab. Many Sikhs and Hindus lived in the west, and many Muslims lived in the east, and so partition saw many people displaced and much intercommunal violence. Several small Punjabi princely states, including Patiala, also became part of India. The undivided Punjab, of which Punjab (Pakistan) forms a major region today, was home to a large minority population of Punjabi Sikhs and Hindus unto 1947 apart from the Muslim majority.[28]

At the time of independence in 1947 and due to the ensuing horrendous exchange of populations, the Punjabi Sikhs and Hindus migrated to India.[29] Punjabi Muslims were uprooted similarly from their homes in East Punjab which now forms part of India.[30] Approximately 7 million plus who moved to Pakistan, over 6 million settled in Punjab. In 1950, two new states were created; the former Raj province became the state of Punjab, while the princely states were combined into the Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU). Himachal Pradesh was created as a union territory from several princely states in hilly region.

[edit]Formation of current Punjab

The capital of the undivided Province of Punjab, Lahore, was allocated to Punjab during the partition of British India in 1947, so a new capital for Indian Punjab was built at Chandigarh.

After years of protest by Akali Dal and other Sikh organizations finally punjab was divided along linguistic basis in 1966. On 1 November 1966, the Hindi-speaking southern half of Punjab became a separate state, Haryana and Pahari speaking hilly areas in north east was given to Himachal Pradesh . Chandigarh was on the border between the two states, and became a separate union territory but serves as the capital of both Punjab and Haryana. During the 1970s, the Green Revolution brought increased economic prosperity for the Punjab, mainly due to the late Pratap Singh Kairon. However, a growing polarisation between the Indian National Congress led central government and the main Sikh political party, the Shiromani Akali Dal, began to widen during the 1970s. Hostility and bitterness arose from what was widely seen by the Akali Dal as increasing alienation, centralization and discriminatory attitudes towards Punjab by the Government of India. This prompted the Shiromani Akali Dal to pass the Anandpur Sahib Resolution which asked for granting maximum autonomy to the region of Punjab and other states and limited role and powers of the Central Government.

[edit]Demographics

[show]Population Growth 

According to the 2011 Indian Census, the population of Indian Punjab is 27,704,236 (Males 14,634,819 & Females 13,069,417)[33] The Indian state of Punjab is 60% Sikh and 37% Hindu. There is a small Muslim population still living there, especially in Malerkotla.The Jat Community account for 20%[34] of the population and dalits 30%[35]. In recent times, there is growing concern in the state about the immigration of labourers from other Indian states such as OrissaUttar Pradesh and Bihar. Around 15-20% of Punjab's population is now made up of migrants from other states. The literacy rate in Punjab is 75%, male literacy being 80.23% and female literacy is 68.36%. Being an agricultural state, a large part of the population lives in the rural area. Roughly 66% of people live in rural areas while the rest of the 34% are urban residents. The state has a skewed sex ratio, according to the 2001 census there are 876 females per 1000 males in Punjab.

[edit]Religion

Religion in Punjab
ReligionPercent
Sikhism
  
60%
Hinduism
  
37%
Others
  
3%
Distribution of religions
Religions in Punjab by adherence
ReligionNo. of people[36]% of total
Sikhs14,656,34560.00%
Hindus8,997,94237.00%
Muslims382,0451.57 %
Christians292,8001.20 %
Buddhists41,4870.17 %
Jains39,2760.16 %
Others8,5940.04 %
Total population24,358,999[37]100%
See also: Sikhism

Sikhism is the predominant faith in Punjab. About 60% of the people in the state are Sikhs. The holiest of Sikh shrines, the Sri Harmandir Sahib (orGolden Temple), is in the city of Amritsar. The Sri Akal Takht Sahib which resides within the Golden temple complex is the temporal seat of Sikhs. Of the five Takhts (Temporal Seats of religious authority) of Sikhism, three are in Punjab. These are Sri Akal Takht SahibDamdama Sahib and Anandpur SahibAnandpur Sahib is where Guru Gobind Singh created the Khalsa in 1699 on the day of Vaisakhi. During major holidays on the Sikh calendar (such as VaisakhiHola MohallaGurpurb and Diwali), many Sikhs gather and march in religious processions through virtually every city, town and village in Punjab. Sikhism is in fact so common that at least one Sikh Gurdwara can be found in almost every village in the state beside towns and cities (in various architectural styles and sizes). Hinduism is the second most practised faith in Punjab. A large segment of Punjabis who are categorized as Punjabi Hindus continue to live out heterogeneous religious practice that includes spiritual kinship with Sikhism. This not only includes veneration of the Sikh Gurus in private practice, but also visits to Sikh Gurdwaras along with Hindu temples. Other religions like Islam (1.5%) and Christianity(1.2%) are also followed by few people in the state, alongside Buddhism (0.2%) and Jainism (0.2%).

[edit]Language

See also: Punjabi Language and Gurmukhi

The Punjabi language, written in the Gurmukhi script, is the official and most commonly used language in the state.[38] The language is now popular across India and the wider world due to large scale migration of Punjabis[39] and the rich Punjabi music. Punjabi has always been an integral part of Indian Bollywoodcinema due to large numbers of Punjabis working in Bollywood. In recent years a trend of Bollywood songs written totally in Punjabi can be observed. Punjabiis also the most spoken language in Pakistan and is the provincial language of Punjab (Pakistan), the second largest and the most populous province ofPakistan. It is also the second official language in the Indian states of HaryanaHimachal Pradesh and the National capital of Delhi.[40]

Apart from India and Pakistan, Punjabi is the second most spoken language in England[41] and fourth most spoken language in Canada according to official census.[42] Among the world languages, Punjabi is the 11th most spoken language in the world.[43] The major dialects of Punjabi spoken in Punjab are MajhiMalwiPwadhi and Doabi.[43]

Other languages common in Punjab are EnglishHindiUrdu (mainly in Malerkotla) and Bihari languages.[44]

[edit]Education

The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research

Punjab is served by several institutions of higher education, which provide undergraduate and postgraduate courses in all the major arts, humanities, science, engineering, law, medicine, veterinary science, and business courses. Punjab Agricultural University is a leading institution globally for the study of agriculture, and played a significant role in Punjab's Green Revolution in the 1960s-70s. Among the alumni of the Panjab University, Chandigarh includeManmohan Singh, the current Prime Minister of India, and Har Gobind Khorana, a biochemistry nobel laureate. One of the oldest institutions of higher education is the Christian Medical College, Ludhiana which has existed since 1894.[45]

[edit]Economy

PCA Stadium under lights
Quark, Mohali

According to the India State Hunger Index 2008, Punjab has the lowest level of hunger in India.[46]

According to India Today, Leading magazine in India, Punjab has been awarded best overall state since 2003, and has been able to retain the top position every year. It also affords best quality of life to its residents.[47]

Punjab has the best infrastructure in all of India[48][49] Although it has a huge shortage of electricity due to high demand, all major cities in Punjab benefit from this and have some of the lowest tariffs in India. All of Punjab's villages have been provided electricity and connected to the state electrical power grid since 1974. Punjab (Land of the five rivers) is one of the most fertile regions on earth. The region is ideal for wheat-growing. Rice, sugar cane, fruitsand vegetables are also grown. Indian Punjab is called the "Granary of India" or "India's bread-basket".[50] It produces 14% of India's cotton, 20% of India's wheat, and 9% of India's rice. The Fazilka and Ferozpur Districts are the largest producer of wheat and rice in the state. In worldwide terms, Indian Punjab produces 2% of the world's cotton, 2% of its wheat and 1% of the world's rice.[50] The largest grown crop is wheat. Other important crops are ricecottonsugarcanepearl milletmaizebarley and fruit. In Punjab per hectare consumption of fertilizer is 177 kg as compared to 90 kg at national level. Also Punjab State has been awarded National Productivity Award for agriculture extension services for consecutively ten years from 1991-92 to 1998-99 and 2001 to 2003-04. In recent years a drop in productivity has been observed mainly due to falling fertility of the soil. This is believed to be due to excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides over the years. Also a big worry is the rapidly falling water table on which almost 90% of the agriculture depends, which has witnessed alarming drops in recent years. By some estimates, groundwater is falling by a meter or more per year.[51][52]

Excluding agriculture other major industries include the manufacture of scientific instruments, electrical goods, machine tools, textiles, tourism, sewing machines, sports goods, starch, fertilizers, bicycles, and the processing of pine oil and sugar.

[edit]Government and politics

Each of the states of India possesses a parliamentary system of government, with a ceremonial state Governor, appointed by the President of India on the advice of the central government. The head of government is an indirectly-elected Chief Minister who is vested with most of the executive powers. Thestate legislature is the unicameral Punjab Legislative Assembly, with 117 members elected from single-seat constituencies. The capital of Punjab isChandigarh which also serves as the capital of Haryana, and is thus administered separately as a Union Territory of India. The judicial branch of the state government is provided by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Chandigarh.[53] The state of Punjab is divided into four administrative divisions and twenty two districts:

[edit]Regions and Districts

Districts of Punjab along with their headquarters

The area of Punjab can be divided into:

  • Malwa is a region of Punjab south to river satluj. The Malwa area makes up majority of the Punjab region consisting 11 districts. Cities such as LudhianaPatialaSangrurBhatinda and Mohali located in the Malwa region. malwa is also famous for cotton farming.
  • Majha is a historical region of the Indian Punjab comprising the modern districts of AmritsarPathankotGurdaspur and Tarn Taran. It lies between rivers Ravi, Beas and the Sutlej. This region is called heartland of punjab, it is also celebrated as being the 'Cradle of Sikhism'.
  • Doaba is the region of Indian Punjab between the rivers Beas and Sutlej. The name "Doaba" literally translates to "land between two rivers" ("Do" two, "Ab" river; Punjabi). It is one of the most fertile regions of the world, and was the centre of the Green Revolution in India. To this day, it remains one of the largest per capita producers of wheat in the world.The biggest cities in Doaba are JalandharHoshiarpur,Nawanshahr and Kapurthala.

[edit]Administrative divisions

The state of Punjab has 22 districts which comprise of sub-divisions, tehsils and blocks. The 22 districts:

The state capital of Punjab is Chandigarh. There are 14 cities and 157 towns in Punjab. Punjab has some very valuable historical, colorful great cities .The major cities in Punjab are Ludhiana,JalandharAmritsarPatialaMohaliBathindaPhagwara. The State of Punjab in western India is one of the most fertile regions of the earth. The cities have rich culture of self dependence, self reliance and hard work.

[edit]Tourism

Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar is a major tourist destination in Punjab

Tourism in Indian Punjab centres around the historic palaces, battle sites, great Sikh architecture of the state and the surrounding region. Examples include various sites of the Indus Valley Civilization, the ancient fort ofBathinda, the architectural monuments of KapurthalaPatiala, and Chandigarh, the modern capital designed byLe Corbusier.[54] The Golden Temple in Amritsar is one of the major tourist destination of Punjab and indeedIndia, attracting more visitors than the Taj MahalLonely Planet Bluelist 2008 has voted the Harmandir Sahib as one of the world’s best spiritual sites.[55] Moreover, there is a rapidly expanding array of international hotels in the holy city that can be booked for overnight stays.

[edit]Transportation

Infrastructure of Punjab has been rated the best in India. Public transport in Punjab is provided by buses, auto rickshaws and Indian railways.The state has a large network of multimodal transportation system:

Air

Punjab has six airports . Domestic airports are at LudhianaPatialaPathankotMohali. International airport, Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport in Amritsar is the largest and most important airport in the state and is also the second busiest in North India after Delhi Airport. Prominent Airports in Punjab are:

Rail

Almost all the major as well as smaller cities of the state are linked through railways. Amritsar is the largest railway station having trains connecting to all major cities. Shatabdi Express connects Amritsar to Delhi. The railway junction in Bhatinda is the largest in Asia.

DMU Train in Ludhiana

Road

All the cities and towns of Punjab are connected with four lane roads, National Highway. The Grand Trunk Road also called as NH1 connect Calcutta toPeshawar passing through Jalandhar and Amritsar. Another major National Highway connects Punjab to Jammu passing through Hoshiarpur and Pathankot. The state road conditions are the finest in India. The national Highways passing through the state is ranked the best in the country with road networks widely spread,covering isolated towns as well as border region.

The following National Highways connect major towns, cities and villages:

National Highway 1 (India)National Highway 10 (India)National Highway 15 (India)National Highway 1A (India) National Highway 20 (India)National Highway 21 (India)National Highway 22 (India)National Highway 64 (India)National Highway 70 (India)National Highway 71 (India)National Highway 95 (India)

[edit]Digital Library of Panjab

Launched in 2003 under Nanakshahi Trust, the Panjab Digital Library was a result of the early phase of the digital revolution in Panjab. While most saw the Nanakshahi as a small digitization organization, or as an assemblage of some unknown youth working towards capturing some manuscripts on their digital cameras, its founders saw it as a cornerstone of a fundamentally new approach to preserving Panjab’s heritage for future generations. In the shadow of search engines, a Semantic Web approach thought of in the early 2003 reached maturity in 2006. This was when the organization planned to expand its operations from a mere three employee organization to one of the leading NGO’s working in the field of digital preservation all over India.

Digitized collections include manuscripts held by the Punjab Languages Department, items from the Government Museum and Art Gallery Chandigarh, Chief Khalsa DiwanSGPC, DSGMC and manuscripts in the Jawahr Lal Nehru Library of Kurukshetra University. It also include hundreds of personal collections. With over 5 million pages digitized it is the biggest repository of digital data on Panjab.

[edit]Culture

Main article: Punjabi culture

The culture of the Punjab comprises many elements including music such as bhangra, an extensive religious and non-religious dance tradition, a long history of poetry in the Punjabi language, a significant film industry which dates back to before Partition, a vast range of cuisine which has become widely popular abroad, and a number of seasonal and harvest festivals such as Lohri,[56] Basant,Baisakhi and Teej, all of which are celebrated in addition to the religious festivals of India.

kissa is a Punjabi language oral story-telling tradition that has a mixture of origins ranging from the Arabian peninsula to Iran and Afghanistan.[57]

Punjabi wedding traditions and ceremonies are a strong reflection of Punjabi culture. Marriage ceremonies are known for their rich rituals, songs, dances, food and dresses, which have evolved over many centuries.

[edit]Bhangra

Bhangra concert

Bhangra (Punjabiਭੰਗੜਾ (Gurmukhi),; pronounced [pɑ̀ŋɡɾɑ̀ː]) is a form of dance and music that originated in the Punjab region.[58] Bhangra dance began as a folk dance conducted by Punjabi farmers to celebrate the coming of the harvest season. The specific moves of Bhangra reflect the manner in which villagers farmed their land. This hybrid dance became Bhangra. The folk dance has been popularised in the western world by Punjabi Sikhs in England and the USA where competitions are held.[59] It is seen in the West as an expression of South Asian culture as a whole.[60] Today, Bhangra dance survives in different forms and styles all over the globe – including pop music, film soundtracks, collegiate competitions and cultural shows.

[edit]Punjabi Folklore

Main article: Punjabi folklore

The folk heritage of the Punjab is the traditional urge of thousands of years of its history. While Majhi is considered the standard dialect of Punjabi language, there are a number of local dialects through which the people communicate. These include MajhiMalwiDoabi, and Pwadhi. The songs, ballads, epics and romances are generally written and sung in these dialects.

There are a number of folk tales that are popular in Punjab. These are the folk tales of Mirza SahibanHeer RanjhaSohni MahiwalSassi Punnun, Dulla Bhatti, Puran Baghat, Jeona Maud etc. The mystic folk songs and religious songs include the Shalooks of Sikh gurusBaba Farid and others. They also include Kafis, Hamds, BaitsDohasLohrisSehra, and Jugni.[61]

The most famous of the romantic love songs are MayhiahDhola and Boliyan. Punjabi romantic dances include DhamaalBhangraGiddhaDhola, and Sammi.


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