This article is about an ethnic group. For information on the geographical Punjabi region, see Punjab region. For other uses, see Punjabi (disambiguation).
|Regions with significant populations|
|Punjabi and Punjabi dialects|
Pakistan: Islam (97%)
The Punjabis (Punjabi: پنجابی, ਪੰਜਾਬੀ), or Punjabi people, are an ethnic group associated with the Punjab region, who speak Punjabi, a language from the Indo-Aryan language family. The name Punjab literally means the land of five waters in Persian: panj ("five") āb ("waters"). The name of the region was introduced by the Turko-Persian conquerors of South Asia. Punjab is often referred to as the breadbasket in both Pakistan and India.
The coalescence of the various tribes, castes and the inhabitants of the Punjab into a broader common "Punjabi" identity initiated from the onset of the 18th century CE. Prior to that the sense and perception of a common "Punjabi" ethno-cultural identity and community did not exist, even though the majority of the various communities of the Punjab had long shared linguistic, cultural and racial commonalities.
Traditionally, Punjabi identity is primarily linguistic, geographical and cultural. Its identity is independent of historical origin or religion, and refers to those who reside in the Punjab region, or associate with its population, and those who consider the Punjabi language their mother tongue.Integration and assimilation are important parts of Punjabi culture, since Punjabi identity is not based solely on tribal connections. More or less all Punjabis share the same cultural background.
Historically, the Punjabi people were a heterogeneous group and were subdivided into a number of clans called biradari (literally meaning "brotherhood") or tribes, with each person bound to a clan. However, Punjabi identity also included those who did not belong to any of the historical tribes. With the passage of time, tribal structures are coming to an end and are being replaced with a more cohesive and holistic society, as community building and group cohesiveness form the new pillars of Punjabi society. In relative contemporary terms, Punjabis can be referred to in three most common subgroups; Punjabi Muslims, Punjabi Sikhs and Punjabi Hindus.
Sikh era Punjab
In the 19th century, Maharaja Ranjit Singh established a Punjabi kingdom based around the Punjab. The main geographical footprint of the country was the Punjab region to Khyber Pass in the west, to Kashmir in the north, to Sindh in the south, and Tibet in the east. The religious demography of the Kingdom was Muslim (70%), Sikh (17%), Hindu (13%). The population was 3.5 million, according to Amarinder Singh`s The Last Sunset: The Rise and Fall of the Lahore Durbar. In 1799 Ranjit Singh moved the capital to Lahore from Gujranwala, where it had been established in 1763 by his grandfather, Charat Singh.
The Punjab region was a region straddling India and the AfghanDurrani Empire. The following modern-day political divisions made up the historical Punjabi kingdom:
- Punjab region till Multan in south
- Kashmir, conquered 5 July 1819 - 15 March 1846, India/Pakistan/China
- Khyber Pass, Afghanistan/Pakistan
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 East India Company to launch the 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 British province of Punjab. Eventually, a Lieutenant Governorship was formed in Lahore as a direct representative of the British Crown.
Partition of Punjab
The 1947 independence of India and Pakistan, and the subsequent partition of Punjab, is considered by historians to be the beginning of the end of the British Empire. The UNHCR estimates 14 million Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims were displaced during the partition. To date, this is considered the largest mass migration in human history.
Until 1947, the province of Punjab was ruled by a coalition comprising the Indian National Congress, the Sikh-led Shiromani Akali Dal and the Unionist Muslim League. However, the growth of Muslim nationalism led to the All India Muslim League becoming the dominant party in the 1946 elections. As Muslim separatism increased, the opposition from Punjabi Hindus and Sikhs increased substantially. Communal violence on the eve of Indian independence led to the dismissal of the coalition government, although the succeeding League ministry was unable to form a majority. Along with the province of Bengal, Punjab was partitioned on religious lines – the Muslim-majority West becoming part of the new Muslim state of Pakistan, and the Hindu and Sikh East remaining in India. Partition was accompanied by massive violence on both sides, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. West Punjab was virtually cleansed of its Hindu and Sikh populations, who were forced to leave for India, while East Punjab and Delhi were virtually cleansed of their Muslim population.
By the 1960s, Indian Punjab underwent reorganisation as demands for a linguistic Punjabi state increased (in line with the policy of linguistic states that had been applied in the rest of India). The Hindi-speaking areas were formed into the states of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana respectively, leaving a Punjabi speaking majority in the state of Punjab. In the 1980s, Sikh separatism combined with popular anger against the Indian Army's counter-insurgency operations (especially Operation Bluestar) led to violence and disorder in Indian Punjab, which only subsided in the 1990s. Political power in Indian Punjab is contested between the secular Congress Party and the Sikh religious party Akali Dal and its allies, the Bharatiya Janata Party. Indian Punjab remains one of the most prosperous of India's states and is considered the "breadbasket of India."
Subsequent to partition, West Punjabis made up a majority of the Pakistani population, and the Punjab province constituted 40% of Pakistan's total land mass. Today, Punjabis continue to be the largest ethnic group in Pakistan, accounting for half of the country's population. They reside predominantly in the province of Punjab, neighboring Azad Kashmir and in Islamabad Capital Territory. Punjabis are also found in large communities in the largest city of Pakistan, Karachi, located in the Sindh province.
Punjabis in India can be found in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. Large communities of Punjabis are also found in the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir and in Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
Punjabis in Pakistan
Punjabis are numbered as 110,012,442, which make 55% of the population of Pakistan, and they are the largest ethnic group in Pakistan by population. The Punjabis found in Pakistan belong to groups known as biradaris. In addition, Punjabi society is divided into two divisions, the zamindar groups or qoums, traditionally associated with farming and the moeens, who are traditionally artisans. Some zamindars are further divided into groups such as the Rajputs, Jats, Shaikhs or Muslim Khatris, Gujjars, Awans, Arains and Syeds. People from neighbouring regions, such as Kashmiris, Pashtuns and Baluch, also form sizeable portion of the Punjabi population. A large number of punjabis descend from the groups historically associated with skilled professions and crafts such as Sunar, Lohar, Kumhar, Tarkhan, Julaha, Mochi, Hajjam, Chhimba Darzi, Teli, Lalari[disambiguation needed], Qassab, Mallaah, Dhobi, Mirasi etc.[page needed]
Punjabi people have traditionally and historically been farmers and soldiers, which has transferred into modern times with their dominance of agriculture and military fields in Pakistan. In addition, Punjabis in Pakistan have been quite prominent politically, having had many elected members of parliament. Punjabis in Pakistan have shown a predilection towards the adoption of the Urdu language but nearly all speak Punjabi, and still identify themselves as ethnic Punjabis. Religious homogeneity remains elusive as a predominant Sunni population with Shia, Ahmadiyya and Christian minorities. A variety of related sub-groups exist in Pakistan and are often considered by many Pakistani Punjabis to be simply regional Punjabis including the Seraikis (who overlap and are often considered transitional with the Sindhis).
The recent definition of Punjabi people, in Pakistani Punjab, is not based on racial classification, common ancestry or endogamy, but based on geographical and cultural basis.
Punjabis in India
The Punjabi-speaking people make 2.8% of India's population as of 2001. The total number of Indian Punjabis is unknown due to the fact that ethnicity is not recorded in the Census of India. The Sikhs are largely concentrated in the modern-day state of Punjab forming 60% of the population with Hindus forming 39%. Ethnic Punjabis are believed to account for at least 35% of Delhi's total population and are predominantly Hindi-speaking Punjabi Hindus. In Chandigarh, 80.78% people of the population are Hindus, 13.11% are Sikhs, 4.87% are Muslims and minorities are Christians, Buddhists and Jains.
Like the Punjabi Muslim society, these various castes are associated with particular occupations or crafts.
Indian Punjab is also home to small groups of Muslims and Christians. Most of the East Punjab's Muslims (in today's states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Chandigarh) left for West Punjab in 1947. However, a small community still exists today, mainly in Qadian,and Malerkotla, the only Muslim princely state among the seven that formed the erstwhile Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU). The other six (mostly Sikh) states were: Patiala, Nabha, Jind, Faridkot, Kapurthala and Kalsia.
The Indian censuses record the native languages, but not the descent of the citizens. Linguistic data cannot accurately predict ethnicity: for example, Punjabis make up a large portion of Delhi's population but many descendants of the PunjabiHindu refugees who came to Delhi following the partition of India now speak Hindi as their first language. Thus, there is no concrete official data on the ethnic makeup of Delhi and other Indian states.:8–10
The Punjab region within India maintains a strong influence on the perceived culture of India towards the rest of the world. Numerous Bollywood film productions use the Punjabi language in their songs and dialogue as well as traditional dances such as bhangra. Bollywood has been dominated by Punjabi artists including actors such as the Kapoor family, Dev Anand, Sunil Dutt, Pran, Prem Chopra, Manoj Kumar, Dharmendra, Rajesh Khanna, Vinod Khanna, Kabir Bedi, Vinod Mehra, Pankaj Kapur, Sunny Deol, Anil Kapoor, Poonam Dhillon, Juhi Chawla, Akshay Kumar, Hrithik Roshan, Arjun Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Priyanka Chopra, Parineeti Chopra and Sidharth Malhotra, singers Mohammed Rafi, Mahendra Kapoor, Narendra Chanchal, Sukhwinder Singh, Daler Mehndi, Mika Singh, Badshah, Yo Yo Honey Singh, and Kanika Kapoor. Punjabi Prime Ministers of India include Gulzarilal Nanda, Inder Kumar Gujral and Manmohan Singh. There are numerous players in the Indian cricket team both past and present including Lala Amarnath, Bishen Singh Bedi, Kapil Dev, Rajinder Singh Ghai, Yograj Singh, Mohinder Amarnath, Navjot Sidhu, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan.
Main article: Punjabi diaspora
The Punjabi people have emigrated in large numbers to many parts of the world. In the early 20th century, many Punjabis began settling in the United States, including independence activists who formed the Ghadar Party. The United Kingdom has a significant number of Punjabis from both Pakistan and India. The most populous areas being London, Birmingham and Glasgow. In Canada (specifically Vancouver and Toronto) and the United States, (specifically California's Central Valley). In the 1970s, a large wave of emigration of Punjabis (predominately from Pakistan) began to the Middle East, in places such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. There are also large communities in East Africa including the countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Punjabis have also emigrated to Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia including Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong. Of recent times many Punjabis have also moved to Italy.
According to Pippa Virdee, the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan has shadowed the sense of loss of what used to be a homeland nation for the Punjabi people in South Asia and its diaspora. Since the mid 1980s, there has been a drive for Punjabi cultural revival, consolidation of Punjabi ethnicity and a virtual Punjabi nation. According to Giorgio Shani, this is predominantly a Sikh ethno-nationalism movement led by some Sikh organizations, and a view that is not shared by Punjabi people organizations belonging to other religions.
History of Punjab
Main article: History of Punjab
Indigenous population flourished in this region, leading to a developed civilisation in 5th to 4th millennium BC, the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. Also Buddhism remnants have been found like Mankiala which corroborate the Buddhist background of this region as well.The remains of the ancient city of Taxila, and many ornaments that have been found in this region, suggests that, one of the centres of Indus Valley Civilization was established at many parts of Punjab, most notably Taxila and Harappa,Punjab became a center of early civilisation from around 3300 BC. During the Vedic Era The earliest text of Rigveda were composed in greater Punjab (northwest India and Pakistan) region.
According to Historians this region was ruled by many small kingdoms and tribes around 4th and 5th BCE. The earliest known notable local king of this region was known as King Porus and he fought a famous Battle of the Hydaspes against Alexander. His kingdom, known as Pauravas, was situated between Hydaspes (modern Jhelum and Acesines (modern day Chenab). These kings fought local battles to gain more ground.Taxiles or Omphis another local king from Punjab, wanted to defeat his eastern adversary Porus in a turf war and he invited Alexander the Great to defeat Porus. This marked the first intrusion of the West in the Indian subcontinent and Indus valley in general. But such was the valor of Porus and his kingdom forces in Punjab, that despite being defeated, he was appreciated by Alexander the Great for his skill and valor and he was granted further territories in the North. The other local kings did not like the fact that Porus was now an ally of Western forces. In less than ten years an Indian king Chandragupta Maurya defeated the forces and conquered the Northern Indian regions up to the Kabul river (in modern-day Afghanistan). Alexander mostly ruled this land with the help of local allies like Porus.
Centuries later, areas of the Punjab region were ruled by local kings followed by the Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Mughals, and others. Islam arrived in Punjab when the MuslimUmayyad army led by Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh in 711 AD, by defeating Raja Dahir. Some of the Muslims are said to have settled in the region and adopted the local culture. Centuries later, the Ghaznavids introduced aspects of foreign Persian and Turkic culture in Punjab.
The earliest written Punjabi dates back to the writing of Sufi Muslim poets of the 11th Century. Its literature spread Punjab's unique voice of peace and spirituality to the entire civilisation of the region.
Regions of North India and Punjab were annexed into the Afghan Durrani Empire later on in 1747, being a vulnerable target. However, in 1758, the Marathas captured most of Punjab including Lahore during its northwest expansion campaign. After conquering Peshawar and Attock, the Marathas defeated the Durrani Empire in the Battle of Lahore fought in 1759.The region was lost to the Durranis, however, after the Third Battle of Panipat. The grandson of Ahmed Shah Durrani (Zaman Shah Durrani), lost it to Ranjit Singh, a Punjabi Sikh. He was born in 1780 to Maha Singh and Raj Kaur in Gujranwala, Punjab. Ranjit took a leading role in organising a Sikh militia and got control of the Punjab region from Zaman Shah Durrani. Ranjit started a Punjabi military expedition to expand his territory. Under his command the Sikh army began invading neighbouring territories outside of Punjab. The Jamrud Fort at the entry of Khyber Pass was built by Ranjit Singh. The Sikh Empire slowly began to weaken after the death of Hari Singh Nalwa at the Battle of Jamrud in 1837. Two years later, in 1839, Ranjit Singh died and his son took over control of the empire. By 1850 the British took over control of the Punjab region after defeating the Sikhs in the Anglo-Sikh wars, establishing their rule over the region for around the next 100 years as a part of the British Raj. Many Sikhs and Punjabis later pledged their allegiance to the British, serving as sepoys (native soldiers) within the Raj.
Main articles: Sikhism and Sufism
In ancient and the medieval era, before the arrival of Islam into the Indian subcontinent, Buddhism and Hinduism were the predominant religion in the Punjab region. After Islam arrived, conversions began leading to a mixed population of Muslims and Hindus, and Buddhism vanished. After Guru Nanak founded Sikhism in the 15th century, the population increasingly became a mix of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, as with the contemporary Punjabis.
The region of Punjab is the birthplace of one monotheistic religion that is known as Sikhism. Also many well known followers of Sufism were born in Punjab.
Due to religious tensions, emigration between Punjabi people started far before the partition and dependable records. Shortly prior to the Partition of British India, Punjab had a slight majority Muslim population at about 53.2% in 1941, which was an increase from the previous years. With the division of Punjab and the subsequent independence of Pakistan and later India, mass migrations of Muslims from Indian Punjab to Pakistan, and those of Sikhs and Hindus from Pakistan to Indian Punjab occurred. Today, the majority of Pakistani Punjabis follow Islam with a small Christian minority, while the majority of Indian Punjabis are either Sikhs or Hindus with a Muslim minority. Punjab is also the birthplace of Sikhism and the movement Ahmadiyya.
Following the independence of Pakistan and the subsequent partition of British India, a process of population exchange took place in 1947 as Muslims began to leave India and headed to the newly created Pakistan and Hindus and Sikhs left Pakistan for the newly created state of India. As a result of these population exchanges, both parts are now relatively homogeneous, where religion is concerned.
- Population trends for major religious groups in the Punjab Province of British India (1881–1941)
|Other religions / No religion||0.3%||0.2%||0.2%||0.2%||0.1%||1.6%||1.3%|
See also: Punjabi Muslims
In 2017 places the total population of Punjabi Muslims to be 110,012,442 (~75% of all Punjabis), with 97% of Punjabis who live in Pakistan following Islam, in contrast to Punjabi Sikhs and Punjabi Hindus who predominantly live in India.
A variety of Muslim dynasties and kingdoms ruled the Punjab region, including Ghaznavids under Mahmud of Ghazni, the Delhi Sultanate, the Mughal Empire and finally the Durrani Empire. The province became an important centre and Lahore was made into a second capital of the Ghaznavid Empire. The Delhi Sultanate and later Mughal Empire ruled the region. MissionarySufi saints whose dargahs dot the landscape of Punjab region also played the dominant role in bringing about conversion. Sufis also comprised the educated elites of the Punjab for many centuries. Early classical Punjabi epics, such as Heer Ranjha, Mirza Sahiban, etc. were written by the Sufis like Waris Shah.[self-published source] Muslims established Punjabi literature, utilised Shahmukhi as the predominant script of the Punjab, as well as made major contributions to the music, art, cuisine and culture of the region. The Mughals controlled the region from 1524 until 1739 and would also lavish some parts of the province with building projects such as the Shalimar Gardens and the Badshahi Mosque, both situated in Lahore. The Muslim establishment in the Punjab occurred over a period of several centuries lasting until towards the end of the British Raj and the division of the Punjab province between Pakistan and India in August 1947. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the minority Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India while the Muslim refugees from India settled in the Pakistan. Today Muslims constitute only 1.53% of Eastern Punjab in India as now the majority of Muslims live in Western Punjab in Pakistan.
The vast majority of Pakistan's population are native speakers of the Punjabi language and it is the most spoken language in Pakistan. The majority of Pakistani Punjabis speak the standard Punjabi dialect of Majhi, which is considered the Punjabi dialect of the educated class, as well as Lahnda (including Hindko and Saraiki). Muslim Punjabis in Pakistan use the Persian script to write the Punjabi language.
See also: Punjabi Hindus
Today Punjabi Hindus are mostly found in Indian Punjab and in neighboring states like Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi, which together forms a part of the historical greater Punjab region. Many of the Hindu Punjabis from the Indian capital Delhi are immigrants and their descendants, from various parts of Western Pakistani Punjab. Some Punjabi Hindus can also be found in the surrounding areas as well as the recent cosmopolitan migrants in other big cities like Mumbai. There has also been continuous migration of Punjabi Hindus to western countries like USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, European Union, UAE and UK.
The Hindu Punjabis speak different dialects including Lahnda, as well as Majhi (Standard Punjabi) and others like Doabi and Malwi. Some still have managed to retain the Punjabi dialects spoken in Western Punjab, but many have also adopted Hindi. The Hindu Punjabis in India use the Gurmukhi or Nāgarī script to write the Punjabi language.
See also: Sikhs
Sikhi from Sikh, meaning a "disciple", or a "learner", is a monotheistic religion and nation originated in the Punjab region of South Asia during the 15th century. The fundamental beliefs of Sikhi, articulated in the sacred scripture Guru Granth Sahib, include faith and meditation on the name of the one creator, unity and equality of all humankind, engaging in selfless service, striving for social justice for the benefit and prosperity of all, and honest conduct and livelihood while living a householder's life. Being one of the youngest amongst the major world religions, with 25-28 million adherents worldwide, Sikhi is the fifth- largest religion in the world.
Sikhs form a majority of close to 58% in the modern day Punjab, India.
Gurmukhi is the writing script used by Sikhs and for scriptures of Sikhism. It is used in official documents in parts of India and elsewhere. The tenth living Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh (1666 – 1708) established the Khalsa Brotherhood, and set for them a code of conduct.
See also: Christianity in Punjab, Pakistan and Christianity in Punjab, India
Missionaries accompanied the colonising forces from Portugal, France, and Great Britain. Christianity was mainly brought by the British rulers of India in the later 18th and 19th century.
The total number of Punjabi Christians in Pakistan is approximately 2,800,000 and 300,000 in Indian Punjab. Of these, approximately half are Roman Catholic and half Protestant. Many of the modern Punjabi Christians are descended from converts during British rule; initially, conversions to Christianity came from the "upper levels of Punjab society, from the privileged and prestigious", including "high caste" Hindu families, as well as Muslim families. However, other modern Punjabi Christians have converted from Churas. The Churas were largely converted to Christianity in North India during the British raj. The vast majority were converted from the Mazhabi Sikh communities of Punjab, and to a lesser extent Hindu Churas; under the influence of enthusiastic British army officers and Christian missionaries. Consequently, since the independence they are now divided between Pakistani Punjab and Indian Punjab. Large numbers of Mazhabi Sikhs were also converted in the Moradabad district and the Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh. Rohilkhand saw a mass conversion of its entire population of 4500 Mazhabi Sikhs into the Methodist Church. Sikh organisations became alarmed at the rate of conversions among high caste Sikh families, and as a result, they responded by immediately dispatching Sikh missionaries to counteract the conversions.
Main article: Punjabi culture
Punjabi culture is the culture of the Punjab region. It is one of the oldest and richest cultures in world history, dating from ancient antiquity to the modern era. The Punjabi culture is the culture of the Punjabi people, who are now distributed throughout the world. The scope, history, sophistication and complexity of the culture are vast. Some of the main areas include Punjabi poetry, philosophy, spirituality, artistry, dance, music, cuisine, military weaponry, architecture, languages, traditions, values and history. Historically, the Punjab/Punjabis, in addition to their rural-agrarian lands and culture, have also enjoyed a unique urban cultural development in two great cities, Lahore and Amritsar.
Role of women
In the traditional Punjabi culture women look after the household and children. Also women in general manage the finances of the household. Moreover, Punjabi women fought in the past along with the men when the time arose. Majority of Punjabi women were considered as warriors upon a time, they excelled in the art of both leadership and war. They are still considered and treated as leaders among many Punjabi villages. In Sikhism, it is stated that women are to be equal to men in all aspects of life. Mai Bhago is a good example in this regard. Punjabi Sikh women also have a strong artistic tradition. Amrita Pritam was a notable poet in the 20th century. Amrita Shergill was a renowned painter. Rupi Kaur is a modern-day example of this as well. She was followed by many other women of repute.
Main article: Punjabi language
Punjabi is the most spoken language in Pakistan and eleventh most spoken language in India. According to the Ethnologue 2005 estimate, there are 130 million native speakers of the Punjabi language, which makes it the ninth most widely spoken language in the world. According to a 2008 estimate,[original research?] there are approximately 76,335,300 native speakers of Punjabi in Pakistan, and according to the Census of India, there are over 29,102,477 Punjabi speakers in India. Punjabi is also spoken as a minority language in several other countries where Punjabis have emigrated in large numbers, such as the United Kingdom (where it is the second most commonly used language) and Canada, in which Punjabi has now become the fourth most spoken language after English, French and Chinese, due to the rapid growth of immigrants from Pakistan and India. There are also sizeable communities in the United States, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Persian Gulf countries, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.
Punjabis are an ethno-linguistic group with Indo-Aryan roots, and are culturally related to the other Indo-Aryan peoples of South Asia. There are an estimated 102 million Punjabi speakers around the world. If regarded as an ethnic group, they are among the world's largest. In South Asia, they are the second largest ethnic group after the Bengali People.
The main language of the Punjabi people is Punjabi and its associated dialects, which differ depending on the region of Punjab the speaker is from; there are notable differences in the Lahnda languages, spoken in the Pakistani Punjab. In the Pakistani Punjab, the vast majority still speak Punjabi, even though the language has no governmental support. In the Indian Punjab, most people speak Punjabi. English is sometimes used, and older people who lived in the undivided Punjab may be able to speak and write in Urdu. The Punjabi languages have always absorbed numerous loanwords from surrounding areas and provinces (and from English).
This article is about a state of India. For a geographical region, see Punjab. For other uses of the name, see Punjab (disambiguation).
The only state in India with a majority Sikh population, Punjab contains the Golden Temple, amongst the most important sites in Sikhism
Location of Punjab in India
|Coordinates (Chandigarh): 30°47′N75°50′E / 30.79°N 75.84°E / 30.79; 75.84Coordinates: 30°47′N75°50′E / 30.79°N 75.84°E / 30.79; 75.84|
|• Governor||V P Singh Badnore|
|• Chief Minister||Captain Amarinder Singh (INC)|
|• Legislature||Unicameral (117 seats)|
|• Parliamentary constituency||13|
|• High Court||Punjab and Haryana High Court††|
|• Total||50,362 km2 (19,445 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||551 m (1,808 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||150 m (490 ft)|
|• Density||550/km2 (1,400/sq mi)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+05:30)|
|ISO 3166 code||IN-PB|
|HDI rank||9th (2005)|
^† Joint Capital with Haryana.
|Symbols of Punjab|
|Emblem||Lion Capital of Ashoka with Wheat stem (above) and Crossed Swords (below)|
Punjab ( ( listen)) is a state in northern India. Forming part of the larger Punjab region, 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 Pakistan province of Punjab to the west. The state covers an area of 50,362 square kilometres or 1.53 percent of the total geographical area of India. It is the twentieth largest Indian state by area. With 27,704,236 inhabitants at the 2011 census, Punjab is the sixteenth 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 Punjabi Sikhs (57.7 percent) forming the demographic majority followed by Hindus (38.5 percent). The state capital is located in Chandigarh, a Union Territory and also the capital of the neighboring state of Haryana. The five rivers from which the region took its name were Sutlej, Ravi, Beas, Chenab and Jhelum; currently 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 conquered by Alexander the Great in 330 BCE and was captured by Chandragupta Maurya. 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 was divided on the basis of language in 1966. It was divided into 3 parts. Haryanvi speaking areas (dialect of Hindi) were carved out as Haryana, Hilly regions and Pahari speaking areas formed Himachal Pradesh alongside the current state of Punjab. The diverse cultures of the various rulers of Punjab have influenced Punjabi culture. The government of Punjab has three branches - executive, judiciary and legislative. Punjab follows the parliamentary system of government with the Chief Minister as the head of the state.
State 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 the Punjab economy although to a much lesser extent. Punjab has the largest number of steel rolling mill plants in India, which are located in "Steel Town"—Mandi Gobindgarh in the Fatehgarh Sahib district.
The word Punjab is a compound of the Persian words panj (five) and āb (waters). Thus Panjāb roughly means "the land of five rivers". Another more accurate origin of "Punjab" is made up of Sanskrit words "punch" meaning five and "aap" meaning water ( river). Land of five waters i.e. "Punjab". The five rivers are the Sutlej, Beas, Ravi, Chenab and Jehlum (also spelled Jhelum). Traditionally, in English, there used to be a definite article before the name, i.e. "The Punjab". The name is also sometimes spelled as "Panjab".
While the Greeks already referred to Punjab as A pentapotamia, an inland delta of five converging rivers, the name Punjab was given to the region by the Central Asian Turkic conquerors of India, and popularised by the Turco-Mongol Mughals.
Main article: History of the Punjab
See also: Punjab (region)
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. The regions of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and Jammu have also been historically associated with the Punjab.
The Punjab is the 'Sapta Sindhu' region mentioned in the Rig Veda, the seven rivers are:
- Saraswati (thought to be the present day Ghaggar),
- Satadru/Shutadri (Sutlej),
- Vipasa (Beas),
- Asikani, Chandrabhaga (Chenab),
- Iravati (Ravi),
- Vitasta/Vet (Jhelum) and
- 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. Some of the influential Sikh figures such as Guru Nanak, Guru Angad Dev, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Banda Singh Bahadur, Bhai Mati Das, all originated from Hindu families of 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 the 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 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 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.
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 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. 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 rather than compromise his principles 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 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 baptised Sikhs, on 30 March 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, were 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. A short time 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 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. 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.
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.
Main article: 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 (70%), Sikh (17%), Hindu (13%).
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.
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 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, 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 the 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 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.
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 as part of the exchange of populations.
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.
Punjab is in northwestern India and has a total area of 50,362 square kilometres (19,445 sq mi). Punjab is bounded by Pakistan on the west, Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Himachal Pradesh on the northeast and Haryana and Rajasthan on the south. Most of the Punjab lies in a fertile, alluvial plain with many rivers and an extensive irrigation canal system. A belt of undulating hills extends along the northeastern part of the state at the foot of the Himalayas. Its average elevation is 300 metres (980 ft) above sea level, with a range from 180 metres (590 ft) in the southwest to more than 500 metres (1,600 ft) around the northeast border. The southwest of the state is semiarid, eventually merging into the Thar Desert. The Shiwalik Hills extend 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 zone; and zone IV is considered a high-damage risk zone.
The geography and subtropical latitudinal location of Punjab lead to large variations in temperature from month to month. Even though only limited regions experience temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F), ground frost is commonly found in the majority of Punjab during the winter season. The temperature rises gradually with high humidity and overcast skies. However, the rise in temperature is steep when the sky is clear and humidity is low.
The maximum temperatures usually occur in mid-May and June. The temperature remains above 40 °C (104 °F) in the entire region during this period. Ludhiana recorded the highest maximum temperature at 46.1 °C (115.0 °F) with Patiala and Amritsar recording 45.5 °C (113.9 °F). The maximum temperature during the summer in Ludhiana remains above 41 °C (106 °F) for a duration of one and a half months. These areas experience the lowest temperatures in January. The sun rays are oblique during these months and the cold winds control the temperature at daytime.
Punjab experiences its minimum temperature from December to February. The lowest temperature was recorded at Amritsar (0.2 °C (32.4 °F)) and Ludhiana stood second with 0.5 °C (32.9 °F). The minimum temperature of the region remains below 5 °C (41 °F) for almost two months during the winter season. The highest minimum temperature of these regions in June is more than the daytime maximum temperatures experienced in January and February. Ludhiana experiences minimum temperatures above 27 °C (81 °F) for more than two months. The annual average temperature in the entire state is approximately 21 °C (70 °F). Further, the mean monthly temperature range varies between 9 °C (48 °F) in July to approximately 18 °C (64 °F) in November.
Punjab experiences three main seasons. They are:
- Hot Season (mid-April to the end of June)
- Rainy Season (early July to the end of September)
- Cold Season (early December to the end of February).
Apart from these three, the state experiences transitional seasons like:
- Pre-summer season (March to mid-April): This is the period of transition between winter and summer.
- Post-monsoon season (September to end of November): This is the period of transition between monsoon and winter seasons.
Punjab starts experiencing mildly hot temperatures in February. However, the actual summer season commences in mid-April. The area experiences pressure variations during the summer months. The atmospheric pressure of the region remains around 987 millibar during February and it reaches 970 millibar in June.
The monsoon brings joy to the agricultural sector as farmers become very busy. Punjab's rainy season begins in first week of July as monsoon currents generated in the Bay of Bengal bring rain to the region.
Temperature variation is minimal in January. The mean night and day temperatures fall to 5 °C (41 °F) and 12 °C (54 °F), respectively.
Post-Monsoon transitional season
The monsoon begins to reduce by the second week of September. This brings a gradual change in climate and temperature. The time between October and November is the transitional period between monsoon and winter seasons. Weather during this period is generally fair and dry.
Post-Winter transitional season
The effects of winter diminish by the first week of March. The hot summer season commences in mid-April. This period is marked by occasional showers with hail storms and squalls that cause extensive damage to crops. The winds remain dry and warm during the last week of March, commencing the harvest period.
Monsoon season provides most of the rainfall for the region. Punjab receives rainfall from the monsoon current of the Bay of Bengal. This monsoon current enters the state from the southeast in the first week of July.
The winter season remains very cool with temperatures falling below freezing at some places. Winter also brings in some western disturbances. Rainfall in the winter provides relief to the farmers as some of the winter crops in the region of Shivalik Hills are entirely dependent on this rainfall. As per meteorological statistics, the sub-Shivalik area receives more than 100 millimetres (3.9 in) of rainfall in the winter months.
Flora and fauna
The plains of Punjab do not have any thick forests. The only available flora are patches of grass, small bushes, and shrubs. In the southeastern part of Punjab and the areas of Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur and Multan, mangoes are grown. Other varieties of fruit grown in abundance are oranges, apples, figs, quinces, almonds, pomegranates, peaches, mulberries, apricots and plums.
Major cultivation of rich flora and fauna can be seen in the Shivalik ranges. Due its rich flora and fauna, it has been termed a micro-endemic zone of India. There is a wide variety of angiosperms in the area, including 355 types of herbs, 70 types of trees, 70 types of shrubs of all sizes, 19 types of climbers, and 21 types of twines. Besides angiosperms, the region is home to 31 kinds of pteridophytes and 27 kinds of bryophytes, while a special species of gymnosperm named Pinus roxburghii can be seen in the ranges of Punjab.
The fauna of the area is rich, with 396 types of birds, 214 kinds of Lepidoptera, 55 varieties of fish, 20 types of reptiles, and 19 kinds of mammals. The state of Punjab has large wetland areas, bird sanctuaries that house numerous species of birds, and many zoological parks. Wetlands include the national wetland Hari-Ke-Pattan, the wetland of Kanjli, and the wetlands of Kapurthala Sutlej. Wildlife sanctuaries include the Harike in the district of Tarn Taran Sahib, the Zoological Park in Rupnagar, Chhatbir Bansar Garden in Sangrur, Aam Khas Bagh in Sirhind, Amritsar's famous Ram Bagh, Shalimar Garden in Kapurthala, and the famous Baradari Garden in the city of Patiala.
Animals and birds
A few of the rivers in Punjab have dangerous species of crocodiles. The extraction of silk from silkworms is another industry that flourishes in the state. Production of bee honey is done in some parts of Punjab. The southern plains are desert land; hence, camels can be seen. Buffaloes graze around the banks of rivers. The northeastern part is home to animals like horses. Wildlife sanctuaries have many more species of wild animals like the otter, wild boar, wildcat, fruit bat, hog deer, flying fox, squirrel and mongoose. Naturally formed forests can be seen in the Shivalik ranges in the districts of Ropar, Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur. Patiala is home to the Bir forest while the wetlands area in Punjab is home to the famous Mand forest.
Botanical gardens exist throughout Punjab. There is a zoological park and a tiger safari park, as well as three parks dedicated to deer.
The state bird is the baz (northern goshawk). (Melierax poliopterus), the state animal is the blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra), and the state tree is the shisham (Dalbergia sissoo).
Government and politics
Main articles: Politics of Punjab (India), Government of Punjab (India), Punjab Legislative Assembly, and List of districts of Punjab (India)
Punjab is governed through a parliamentary system of representative democracy. 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. The term length of the government is five years. The state legislature, the Vidhan Sabha, is the unicameral Punjab Legislative Assembly, with 117 members elected from single-seat constituencies. The current Government was elected in the 2017 Assembly elections as Congress won 77 out of 117 Assembly seats and Amarinder Singh is the current Chief Minister. The state of Punjab is divided into five administrative divisions and twenty-two districts.
The capital of Punjab is Chandigarh