Punjab, aka The land of five rivers, is a historic northwestern state of India known for it’s rich heritage, culture, and it’s fertile land. It shares border with four states – Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, and Rajasthan – and also the neighbouring country Pakistan. As mentioned earlier, Punjab is an ancient state and has been a prominent part of Indian history for a long time.
From the time of the great Indus Valley civilization to the Partition of the country, regions of Punjab have always played notable roles in shaping history. Punjab has bravely witnessed and fought away several invasions throughout history by numerous conquerors like Greeks, Achaemenids, Turks and Afghans. Sikhism, one of the most popular religions in the world, was born in Punjab as well. Infact, the holiest shrine of Sikhism, The Golden Temple, is also located at Amritsar. Therfore, Sikhs around the world are also known as ‘Punjabi’, i.e., ‘descendants of Punjab’. The state’s economy majorly depends on agriculture, given its highly fertile soil, aided by the five rivers flowing that caused it’s name. And today, we’re going to talk about some interesting facts about this beloved state of our country. Keep Reading!
Some quick general knowledge about Punjab
- Capital – Chandigarh
- Official Language – Punjabi
- Main spoken languages – Punjabi, Hindi
- Area – 50,362 Sq Km
- Area Rank – 19th
- Population – 2,77,04,236 (as per 2011 census)
- Population Rank – 16th
- Population Density – 550 / Sq Km
- Pop. Density Rank – 7th
- Sex Ratio – 893 females per 1000 male (2011 census)
- Sex Ratio Rank – 26th
- Literacy Rate – 76.6 %
- No of Districts – 22
The word Punjab
The word Punjab, meaning the land of five rivers, is made up of two words – Panj, and Aab. ‘Panj’ stands for five, and ‘Aab’ means water. The five rivers flowing through the state that gave it it’s name are Sutlej, Ravi, Beas, Jhelum and the Chenab. Punjab is also called “Sapta Sindhu” in Rig Veda, one of the four vedas, the holy books of Hinduism. The seven rivers associated with Punjab in the Rig Veda are Saraswati, Satadru, Vipasa, Asikani, Iravati, Vitasta and Sindhu. The state has also been acknowledged as ‘Panchnanda’ in epics like Mahabharata and Puranas, meaning the land of five rivers.
The historic partition of India and Pakistan led to the division of Punjab province of British India along with Bengal in 1947. The then Pakistan, was created out of Punjab and Bengal. The Western part of Punjab went to Pakistan as it was a Muslim majority region, leading to the largest human migration in history till the date. This caused widespread communal violence in both the countries, with Hindus and Sikhs on one side and Muslims on the other. In 1966, Punjab underwent another division, on the basis of language, leading to the formation of two new states – Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, which were earlier parts of Punjab.
Punjab is the only state in India where the Sikh community is in majority. According to the 2011 census data, the total population of Punjab is 2.77 crore with 60% Sikhs and 35% Hindus residing in the state. Rural population accounts for 62.5% of the total population while the urban population constitutes 37.5% of the total population. Due to it being a Sikh majority state, Punjab witnessed the Khalistani movement for a separate Sikh nation during the 1980s which was successfully curbed by the Indian government.
Relation to Hinduism
There are many holy books of Hinduism that have been partially or completely written in Punjab. These include the Rig Veda, Sakatayana, Ashtdhyayi of Panini, Nirukta of Yaska, Charak Samhita, Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita, Bakhshali manuscript and others. Hinduism was present in Punjab much before the invaders brought Islam with them and the founding of Sikhism by Guru Nanak. The names Lahore, Chandigarh and Jalandhar are all derived from the Hindu traditions.
Bread Basket of India
The extremely fertile soil of Punjab makes it very suitable for agriculture. Rice, Wheat and Sugarcane are the three major crops grown in the state. Fruits and vegetables are also widely grown in the state. The state produces 19.6% of India’s wheat, 11% of India’s rice and accounts for 10.26% of India’s cotton production. Wheat has the largest share in total cultivation of crops. Due to these reasons, Punjab is called the “Granary of India” or “India’s Bread Basket”.
Punjab experiences very hot summers and equally cold winters. The monsoon season witnesses heavy rainfall which is essential for the agricultural health of the state. The summer season commences from the month of April and continues till June. The temperature can touch as high as 45 degrees. The monsoon season lasts from July to September. Winter season starts from the month of October even though the temperatures touch the minimum limit only during the months of December to February. The temperatures can touch the freezing point in the month of December.
The Wagah Border
The Grand Trunk Road runs between the holy city of Amritsar in India and the Pakistani city of Lahore. The road runs through the international border crossing between India and Pakistan at the Pakistani village of Wagah. Attari is the last Indian village located at the border. The Wagah border is located just 32km from Amritsar and 24km from Lahore on the Pakistani side. It is perhaps one of the most famous border crossings in the world.
The capital of Punjab
Chandigarh is the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana. It is a Union territory. The city of Chandigarh is a well planned city and reputed to be one of the most beautiful among Indian cities. The city was designed by the French architect Le Corbusier. Chandigarh is famous for its educational institutions and a plethora of tourist attractions.
Regions of Punjab
Punjab has been divided into Majha, Doaba and Malwa regions. Majha is known as the heartland of Punjab and consists of the districts of Amritsar, Pathankot, Gurdaspur and Tarn Taran. This is the region between the Ravi, Beas and Sutlej rivers. Doaba is the region between Beas and Sutlej and is a very fertile land. Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and Phagwara are present in this region. Malwa is located south of the Sutlej River and forms the bulk of Punjab. Ludhiana, Bathinda, Mohali, Sangrur, Ferozepur, Moga, etc. are present in this region.
The Punjabi culture and traditions have become dominant in the Indian psyche much of which have been shaped due to the preponderance of Punjabi songs and dance forms in many famous Bollywood movies. Furthermore, many Punjabi delicacies are much loved by people all over the country.