Enterprise and endeavour, these two words symbolize the essential spirit of the people of Punjab.
Punjab is a state in the Indian sub-continent where five rivers namely Satluj,Ravi,Jhelum,Chenab and Bias,meet.
Punjab is the richest state in India with the highest per capita income, a big number of Indian immigrants come from Punjab. Punjab is also the agricultural hub of India. It is the state where the "Green Revolution" (production of surplus wheat) began.
Providing the impetus for the "White revolution", it was Punjab that recorded the highest per capita availability of milk. Its average growth rate of 10% is amongst the highest in the country, clearly reflecting the progressive economy of the state.
Punjab is home to Sikhs,the bravest people in India. The Sikh Golden Temple located in Amritsar has more tourist visits than the Taj Mahal. Punjabi music and bhangra is popular in India and abroad among the sub-continental people.
Life in Punjab began with the Harappan civilisation. This culture existed along the Punjab state (in present day Pakistan). It was named after the city of Harappa which it was centered around. This city is well known for its impressive, organized and regular layout. Over one hundred other towns and villages also existed in this region. The Harappan people were literate and used the Dravidian language.
The presence of five rivers and the fertile land invited invasions. The first alien settlers in Punjab were fair-skinned Aryans who came from Central Asia , Tibet and parts of Russia.
Punjab was originally given the name Paanchaal by Aryans. During the Ramayana period , Punjab was where the sons of Prince Ram , Luv and Kusha were born. The cities of Lahore (Luv Pore) and Kasur (Kush Pore) were named after them.
During the the Mahabharata period, Punjab or Paanchaal was the state Draupadi,the Pandava(the five brothers) wife came from. Hence the name Paanchaali.
The oldest scriptures in all of India
and the most important are called the vedas. All Hindus recognize the Vedas as the true origin of their faith because of the spiritual meaning behind them. The scriptures served as a base for inner searching among the Indo-Aryan people as they were composed by seers or ancient prophets while in a state of inspiration.
There are four Vedas: Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. Each is divided into two groups: works and knowledge. The first is made of hymns and instructions regarding rights, ceremonies and rules of conduct. The latter is concerned with knowledge of who god is.
The Vedas form the basis of Hinduism
and the caste system. Punjab was the place where Vedas were created by the Aryans after they invaded and settled in the Indus valley. These Vedas were passed on orally for many generations. They were first written in Vedic, an early form of Sanskrit. Then around 300 B.C. the Vedas were written down in Sanskrit
the form we have them in today.
The religion that sprang forth from the Vedas helped shape Indian society. The Veda describes how the god sacrificed himself to himself. Each of the pieces of his body developed into a different portion of society. His mouth became the Brahmin or priests; his arms became the Kshatriyas or warriors; his thighs became the Vaisya or merchants, farmers, herders and artisans; and the feet became the Harijana or slaves and servants. Thus, while each part of society had its own role, it was still and single body.
The birth of Islam and occupation of Sindh threatened Punjab as well due to its geographical proximity to modern day Afghanistan. Muslim rulers attacked seventeen times but failed. They however didn`t fail the eighteenth chance and Punjab came under Islamic rule.
The first centre of Islamic existence was established at Multan. For the locals, Muslim rule meant abandoning their original faith and culture or they faced punishment according to Islamic laws. Many refused to convert and were killed or mercilessly tortured.
This went on unabated until the birth of Sikhism , a religion that initially rose above the blind religious practices of Hindus and Muslims, disapproved the caste system , proposed the existence of a single God but later on became a fighting force to deal with the oppressive Muslim rule. Had it not been for Sikh`s efforts, entire north India would have become Pakistan.
After the fall of Muslims in Punjab, Sikhs tried to re-establish themselves in the Muslim-majority Punjab but were successfully defeated by the British and the state came under direct British rule.
Punjab contributed the most brave men towards freedom struggle. The Arya Samaj,a Hindu reformist movement that disapproved of idol worship and the caste system ,originated and grew popular in Punjab.
Punjab`s contribution to Colonial British forces during the first and second world war was significant. Many fought against the Japanese at Singapore and Burma alongside Gurkhas.
The partition of India divided this state. Muslim-majority areas including capital Lahore went to Pakistan. Over 5 million Pakistani Punjab`s Hindus and Sikhs were forced to abandon their homes and move to India. Rest were killed in riots.
1947 onwards the state has seen a movement demanding a seperate Sikh state , a military campaign to flush out Sikh millitants from the Golden Temple and a dead prime minister but nevertheless economic progress has been outstanding, compared to other Indian states.