Punjab

Wagah Border Wagah Border
Capital : Chandigarh
Largest city : Ludhiana
District(s) : 20
Population : 24,289,296 (15th)
Density : 482/km² (1,248/sq mi)
Language(s) : Punjabi
Established : 1956-11-01

The Punjab  also spelled Panjab,  meaning "The Land of five rivers", is a state in northwest India. This Indian state borders the Pakistani province of Punjab to the west, Jammu and Kashmir to the north, Himachal Pradesh to the northeast, Haryana to the south and southeast, Chandigarh to the southeast and Rajasthan to the southwest. The total area of the state is 50,362 square kilometres (19,445 square miles). The name of the region is a compound of two Persian words and was introduced to the region by the Turkish Muslim conquerors of India and more formally popularized during the Mughal Empire. Punjab literally means"(The Land of) Five Rivers" referring to the following rivers: the Jhelum, Ravi, Chenab, Sutlej and Beas. All are tributaries of the Indus River, the Jhelum being the largest. The region of Punab has a very vast history, it has been inhabited by Harrapans, proto-dravidians and Indo Aryans and has seen numerous invasions by the Persains, Greeks, Kushans, Ghaznavids, Timurids, Afghans, British and Mughals and others. 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 Christians, Jains and Buddhists. In 1947, with the dissolution of British India, the region was partitioned between India and Pakistan. The capital of Punjab is Chandigarh which is the dual capital of both Punjab and the neighbouring state Haryana. Chandigah is administered separately as a Union Territory. Other major cities of Punjab include Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar and Patiala. The state is the location of one of the world's first and oldest civilizations, the Indus Valley Civilization, India's first civilization.

The Indian Punjab historically forms a part of the larger Punjab region, which includes some parts of Afghanistan, Pakistani province of Punjab and the North West Frontier Province, the Indian states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, parts of J&K and Delhi and the Union Territory of Chandigarh, and a small part of China. Indian Punjab was trifurcated in the year 1966 leading to the formation of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

Agriculture is the largest industry in Punjab. Other major industries include the manufacture of scientific instruments, electrical goods, financial services, machine tools, textiles, sewing machines, sports goods, starch, tourism, fertilizers, bicycles, garments, and the processing of pine oil and sugar. Punjab is considered to have the best infrastructure in India , this includes road, rail, air and river transport links that are extensive throughout the region. Punjab also has the lowest poverty rate in India at 6.16% (1999-2000 figures), and has won the best state performance award, based on statistical data compiled by the Indian Government.

History
Sukhna Lake Sukhna Lake
The Indian state of Punjab was created in 1947, when the Partition of India split the former Raj province of Punjab between India and Pakistan. The mostly Muslim western part of the province became Pakistan's Punjab Province; the mostly Sikh and Hindu eastern part became India's Punjab state. Several small Punjabi princely states, including Patiala, also became part of India. In 1950, two separate states were created; Punjab included of the former Raj province of Punjab, while the princely states were combined into a new state, the Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU). PEPSU consisted of the princely states of Patiala, Nabha, Jind, Kapurthala, Malerkotla, Faridkot and Kalsia. Himachal Pradesh was created as a union territory from several princely states and Kangra District. In 1956, PEPSU was merged into Punjab state, and several northern districts of Punjab in the Himalayas were added to Himachal Pradesh. The British Raj had political, cultural, philosophical and literary consequences in the Punjab, including the establishment of a new system of education. During the independence movement, many Punjabis played a significant role, including Sukhdev Thapar, Madan Lal Dhingra, Ajit Singh Sandhu, Udham Singh, Bhagat Singh, Muhammad Iqbal, Chaudhary Rehmat Ali, Lala Lajpat Rai and many other freedom fighters. At the time of partition in 1947, the province was split into East and West Punjab. East Punjab (about 35%) became part of India, while West Punjab (65%) became part of Pakistan. The Punjab bore the brunt of the civil unrest following the end of the British Raj, with casualties estimated in the millions. The capital of undivided Punjab province, Lahore, ended up in Pakistan after partition, so a new capital for Indian Punjab state was built at Chandigarh. On November 1, 1966, the mostly Hindu southeastern half of Punjab became a separate state, Haryana. Chandigarh was on the border between the two states, and became a separate union territory which serves as the capital of both Punjab and Haryana. Chandigarh was due to transfer to Punjab alone in 1986, but the transfer has been delayed pending an agreement on which parts of the Hindi speaking areas of Abohar and Fazilka, currently part of Firozpur District of Punjab, should be transferred to Haryana in exchange.

During the 1970s, the Green Revolution brought increased economic prosperity for the Sikh community in Punjab. However, a growing polarisation between the Indian National Congress led Indian government and the main political part of the Sikhs, the Shiromani Akali Dal, began to widen during the 1970s. The hostility and bitterness arose from what was widely seen by the Sikhs as increasing alienation, centralization and discriminatory attitudes towards Punjab by the Government of India. This prompted the Shiromani Akali Dal to unanimously pass the Anandpur Sahib Resolution which among other things called for granting maximum autonomy for the Punjab and other states and limiting the role and powers of the Central Government. The Anandpur Sahib Resolution was rejected and dubbed as being of a hidden separatist agenda.



Sheesh Mahal Sheesh Mahal
Discord had been developing after the rejection of the Anandpur Sahib Resolution. A small section of Sikhs demanded an independent state of Khalistan. A number militants took to targeting officials and people opposed to their point of view which included a number of Sikhs. Bhindranwale along with his supporters sought shelter inside the Akal Takht. Fearing an attack on the Golden Temple, Bhindranwale, with help from Shabeg Singh heavily fortified the Temple. The Indian army finally assaulted the temple on the Harimandir Sahib Golden Temple to flush out armed militants in June, 1984. However, the operation was poorly planned and coordinated, resulted in heavy military and civilian casualties. As a result, the situation in Punjab deteriorated further and there was a rise in militancy. By the early 1990s, after many years of violence across Punjab, the militant's struggle for Khalistan lost much of the sympathy, given after the assault on the sacred Golden temple, it had previously had from some Punjabi Sikhs and what little armed resistance remained was eliminated and forced underground.
Punjab's economy was acutely affected in the 80s and early 90s. However in recent times, there have been serious attempts by both Central Government to diminish resentment and strong feelings of Punjabis over the issue. Punjab's economy is now on the path to recovery.
Punjabi culture
Punjabi culture is one of self-dependence, self-reliance and hard work, which have made Punjabis statistically on average the wealthiest in India. These character traits comes from Punjab's difficult history, particularly due to the number of outside invasions (Greeks, Persians, Scythians, Katoch, Kushans, Turks, Mughals and Afghans). The heroism of the ancient residents of Punjab was highlighted during Alexander the Great's invasion, most notably that of King Porus & his army at the Battle of the Hydaspes River. In a letter to his mother, Alexander wrote, "I am involved in the land of a leonine and brave people, where every foot of the ground is like a well of steel, confronting my soldier. You have brought only one son into the world, but everyone in this land can be called an Alexander.” Punjabis customarily value and show great respect for their traditions and history. The state is the location of one of the world's first and oldest civilizations, the Indus Valley Civilization, India's first civilization.

Religion
Qila Mubarak Qila Mubarak
Hinduism and Sikhism are the main religions of Indian Punjab and practiced by about 95% of the population . There is a small Muslim minority left (most of the Muslim population migrated to the Pakistani side after Partition). The holiest of Sikh shrines, the Golden Temple, is in the city of Amritsar, which is considered to be the holiest city in Sikhism. Amritsar is also a place of religious significance for Jains. The Punjabi language, written in the Gurmukhi script (as opposed to Shahmukhi in Pakistan), is the prevalent language in the state.

Tourism
Tourism is a swiftly expanding area and many analysts predict huge potential. Tourism of Punjab is principally suited for the tourist interested in culture, civilization, spirituality and epic history. More specifically tourism is particularly suited for the person who is interested in epic history, the celebrated Punjabi culture, royal Punjabi palaces, historic battles and of course the world-renowned examples of Sikh Architecture, shrines and temples.

Famous Punjabis
A person of Punjabi heritage is known as a Punjabi (the language of Punjab is also Punjabi). The Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is a Punjabi. Two former Indian Prime Ministers include I K Gujral and Gulzarilal Nanda both of whom were also Punjabis. Another Punjabi to occupy the topmost post in India was the former President of India Giani Zail Singh. The current highest ranking General Chief of Army Staff of India is a Punjabi General Joginder Jaswant Singh. Professor Har Gobind Khorana, famous Nobel laureate is a Punjabi. The first Indian in Outer space is a Punjabi - Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma. The highest ranking General in the Indian Air force is a Punjabi, Marshal of the Air Force of India - Arjan Singh (the highest rank ever given in the history of the Indian Air force). The first Indian-American Governor and new Governor Elect of Louisiana., USA Piyush "Bobby" Jindal (Rep) is also a punjabi from his fathers parental lineage. In the entertainment sector, the giant Dalip Singh helps promote Punjab in the sphere of Professional wrestling. Indian cricket star Harbhajan Singh is from the Punjab from a village called Lamhbra on the outskirts of Jalandhar. Hans Raj Hans a famous Punjabi singer is from Jalandhar.

Agriculture

Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara
Punjab (the five rivers region) is one of the most fertile regions on earth. The region is ideal for wheat-growing. Rice, sugar cane, fruits and vegetables are also grown. Indian Punjab is called the "Granary of India" or "India's bread-basket." It produces 60% of India's wheat, and 40% of India's rice. In worldwide terms, this represents 1/30th or 3% of the world's production of these crops, so Indian Punjab produces 2% of the world's cotton, 2% of its wheat and 1% of the world's rice. The largest grown crop is wheat. Other important crops are rice, cotton, sugarcane, pearl millet, maize, barley and fruit.