PUNJAB THROUGH THE AGES
Punjab is the holiest piece of land in Aryavarta
- Swami Vivekananda
The Punjab has been known by different names in the different periods of its history, and its boundaries have changed in the various periods. Kinsley outlines history in periods as: Formative (1500-800 BC); Speculative (800-400 BC); Epic and Classical (400 BC to 600 AD); Medieval (600 to 1800 AD); and Modern (1800 AD -now).
In the ancient period, Madra or Madhya Desa was the name of Punjab. During the Vedic age, the Punjab was called the Sapt Sindhu or Sapt Sindhava, the land of seven rivers namely: Sindhu (the Indus), Vitasta (the Jhelum), Asuki/Asikni (the Chenab), Parushni /Iravati (the Ravi), Vipas or Vipasha (the Beas), Sutdaru or Satudri (the Satluj) and Sarsuti (the Saraswati; now dried up losing itself in Rajasthan desert). During the rule of Greeks in Punjab / India from 4th century BC, it was called as Penta Potamia (five rivers). In the Epic age, Punjab was known as Panchnad or Punjab (land of five rivers) Uttara Path / Hafta Hindva name of Punjab appeared in the Buddhist literature and in the holy book Zend Avesta of Zoroastrianism, pre-Islamic religion of Iran. Punjab was also known for several centuries as Taki or Tak Desa. Historically, the Punjab as the name of the region finds mention in the writings of the Muslim traveller Ibn-Batuta who visited India during the 14th century AD. During the Medieval period, Mughal Emperor ‘Akbar the Great’ (1556-1605 AD), divided Punjab into two Provinces, those of Lahore and Multan. Sirhind Sarkar was a part of Delhi Province. Punjab became famous during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1799-1839 AD). It was known as the kingdom of Lahore or Sarkar-i-Khalsa. The Sikh Kingdom stretched from river Satluj in the East to Khyber Pass in the North West and Kashmir in the North to Sind in the South. Its four provinces were Lahore, Multan, Kashmir and Peshawar. Under the British rule from March 29, 1849, it came to be called ‘the Province of the Punjab’ which included all the territories from Hissar and Delhi, in the East to Khyber in the West. Kashmir was separated from the Punjab in 1849 AD; N.W.F.P in 1901 AD and Delhi conclave was created in 1911 AD. After partition of India in August 1947, the Indian portion of the Punjab got the name of East Punjab and the Pakistan portion was given the name of West Punjab. In the new Constitution of India, it was called ‘The Punjab State’. On November 1st, 1966, Haryana and Himachal States were created. Another segment, Chandigarh became the Union territory under the direct control of the Central Government.
Punjab is the prosperous State and is also on top of other states in the matter of general standard of living of the common man. In 1993-94, per capita income in Punjab was Rs. 12,724 against Rs. 6,929 for the country as a whole.
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U . C. Kapur & Sons, Greater Kailash, New Delhi.
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April 28, 1991.
5. P. S. Gill - Heritage of Sikh Culture, New Academic Publishing Co,
Old Railway Road, Jullundur.
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Studies, Unique Publishers, Lajpat Nagar, New-DeIhi .
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Lal Publishers Pvt. Ltd. Rani Jhansi Road, New-Delhi.
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Publishing House, New Delhi.
9. Faqir Syed Waheeduddin - The Real Ranjit Singh, Publication
Bureau, Punjabi University, Patiala.
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