The Punjab ( (listen), , , ), also spelled Panjab, panj-āb, land of "five rivers"
(Punjabi: پنجاب (Shahmukhi); ਪੰਜਾਬ (Gurumukhi)), is a geographical and cultural region in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, comprising areas of eastern Pakistan and northern India. Not being a political unit, the boundaries of the region are ill-defined and focus on historical accounts.
The Punjab region has been inhabited by Indus Valley Civilisation, Indo-Aryan peoples, Indo-Scythians and has seen numerous invasions by the Persians, Greeks, Kushans, Ghaznavids, Timurids, Mughals, Afghans, British and others. The foreign invaders mainly targeted the most productive central region of the Punjab known as the Majha region, which is also the bedrock of Panjabi culture and traditions. The people of the Punjab today are called Punjabis and their principal language is called Punjabi. The main religions of the Punjab region are Islam, Sikhism and Hinduism. Other religious groups are Christianity, Jainism and Buddhism.
The name Punjab
is a xenonym
and the first known mention of the word Punjab
is in the writings of Ibn Batūtā, who visited the region in the 14th century. The term came into wider use in the second half of the 16th century, and was used in the book Tarikh-e-Sher Shah Suri
(1580), which mentions the construction of a fort by "Sher Khan of Punjab". The first mentioning of the Sanskrit equivalent of 'Punjab
', however, occurs in the great epic, the Mahabharata
(pancha-nada 'country of five rivers'). The name is mentioned again in Ain-e-Akbari
(part 1), written by Abul Fazal
, who also mentions that the territory of Punjab was divided into two provinces, Lahore
. Similarly in the second volume of Ain-e-Akbari
, the title of a chapter includes the word Panjnad
in it. Punjabi Adab De Kahani
, Abdul Hafeez Quraishee, Azeez Book Depot, Lahore, 1973. Punjab
, derived from Persian
and introduced by the Turkic
conquerors of India
, literally means "five" (panj
) "waters" (āb
), i.e., the Land of Five Rivers, referring to the five rivers which go through it. It was because of this that it was made the granary of British India. Today, three of the rivers run exclusively in Punjab, Pakistan
, while Himachal Pradesh
and Punjab, India
have the headwaters of the remaining two rivers, which eventually run into Pakistan.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh
: ਮਹਾਰਾਜਾ ਰਣਜੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ), (13 November 1780 – 27 June 1839), was the founder of the Sikh Empire
, which came to power in the northern South Asia
in the early half of the 19th century. He survived smallpox
in infancy but lost sight in his left eye. He fought his first battle alongside his father at age 10. After his father died, he fought several wars to expel Afghans in his teenage years, and was proclaimed as the "Maharaja of Punjab" at age 21. His Empire grew in the Punjab region
under his leadership through 1839.
Prior to his rise, the Punjab region had numerous warring misls (confederacies), twelve of which were under Sikh rulers and one by a Muslim. Ranjit Singh successfully absorbed and united the Sikh misls, took over other local kingdoms to create the Sikh Empire. He repeatedly defeated the invasions by Muslim armies particularly those arriving from Afghanistan, and established friendly relations with the British. Ranjit Singh's reign introduced reforms, modernization, investment into infrastructure and general prosperity
The snow-covered Himalayas
A section of the Lahore Fort built by the Mughal emperor Akbar
Wikipedia in Punjabi