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Punjab, India

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Sarovar and the Golden Temple.jpg
Jaliyalwalabagh massacre memmorial monument.jpg
Wagah border ceremony2.jpg
Punjabi Dance - Opening Ceremony - Wiki Conference India - CGC - Mohali 2016-08-05 6405.JPG
Khalsa Heritage Memorial 207.JPG
Qila Mubarak In 2015.jpg
Official seal of Punjab
Location of Punjab in India
Location of Punjab in India
Coordinates (Chandigarh): 30.79°N 75.84°ECoordinates30.79°N 75.84°E
Country  India
Capital Chandigarh
Largest city Ludhiana
Districts 22
 • Governor V P Singh Badnore
 • Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh(INC)
 • Legislature Unicameral (117 seats)
 • Parliamentary constituency 13
 • High Court Punjab and Haryana High Court††
 • Total 50,362 km2 (19,445 sq mi)
Area rank 20th
Highest elevation 551 m (1,808 ft)
Lowest elevation 150 m (490 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 27,704,236
 • Rank 16th
 • Density 550/km2 (1,400/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Punjabi
GDP (2017–18)[2][3]
 • Total ₹4.65 lakh crore(US$65 billion)
 • Per capita ₹142,958 (US$2,000)
Time zone UTC+05:30 (IST)
ISO 3166 code IN-PB
HDI (2015) Increase 0.706 (high)[4] · 3rd
Literacy (2011) 76.68%
Official language Punjabi[5]
^† Joint Capital with Haryana.
††Common for Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.
Symbols of Punjab
Emblem Lion Capital of Ashokawith Wheat stem (above) and Crossed Swords (below)
Language Punjabi
Dance BhangraGiddha
Animal Blackbuck
Bird Baaz[6] (Accipiter gentilis)

Punjab (/pʌnˈɑːb/ (About this sound listen)) is a state in northern India. Forming part of the larger Punjab region, the state is bordered by the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir to the north, Himachal Pradesh to the east, Haryana to the south and southeast, Rajasthan to the southwest, and the Pakistani province of Punjab to the west. The state covers an area of 50,362 square kilometres, 1.53% of India’s total geographical area. It is the 20th-largest Indian state by area. With 27,704,236 inhabitants at the 2011 census, Punjab is the 16th-largest state by population, comprising 22 districts. Punjabi is the most widely spoken and official language of the state. The main ethnic group are the Punjabis, with Sikhs (57.7%) forming the demographic majority, followed by Hindus (38.5%). The state capital is Chandigarh, a Union Territory and also the capital of the neighboring state of Haryana. The five rivers from which the region took its name were SutlejRaviBeasChenab and Jhelum; Sutlej, Ravi and Beas are part of the Indian Punjab.

The Punjab region was home to the Indus Valley Civilization until 1900 BCE. The Punjab was conquered by Alexander the Great in 330 BCE and was captured by Chandragupta Maurya. The Punjab was home to the Gupta Empire, the empire of the Alchon Huns, the empire of Harsha, and the Mongol Empire. Circa 1000, the Punjab was invaded by Muslims and was part of the Delhi Sultanate and Mughal EmpireSikhism originated in Punjab and resulted in the formation of the Sikh Confederacy after the fall of the Mughal Empire. The confederacy was united into the Sikh Empire by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The entire Punjab region was annexed by the British East India Company from the Sikh Empire in 1849. In 1947, the Punjab Province of British India was divided along religious lines into West Punjaband East Punjab. The western part was assimilated into new country of Pakistan while the east stayed in India. The Indian Punjab as well as PEPSUwas divided into three parts on the basis of language in 1966. Haryanvi-speaking areas (a dialect of Hindi) were carved out as Haryana, while the hilly regions and Pahari-speaking areas formed Himachal Pradesh, alongside the current state of Punjab. Punjab’s government has three branches – executive, judiciary and legislative. Punjab follows the parliamentary system of government with the Chief Minister as the head of the state.

Punjab is primarily agriculture-based due to the presence of abundant water sources and fertile soils.[7] Other major industries include the manufacturing of scientific instruments, agricultural goods, electrical goods, financial servicesmachine toolstextilessewing machinessports goodsstarchtourismfertilisersbicyclesgarments, and the processing of pine oil and sugar. Minerals and energy resources also contribute to Punjab’s economy to a much lesser extent. Punjab has the largest number of steel rolling mill plants in India, which are in “Steel Town”—Mandi Gobindgarh in the Fatehgarh Sahib district.


The region was originally called Sapta Sindhu,[8] the Vedic land of the seven rivers flowing into the ocean.[9] The Sanskritname for the region, as mentioned in the Ramayana and Mahabharata for example, was Panchanada which means “Land of the Five Rivers”, and was translated to Persian as Punjab after the Muslim conquests.[10][11] The word Punjab is a compound of the Persian words panj (five) and āb (waters). Thus Panjāb roughly means “the land of five rivers”. The five rivers are the SutlejBeasRaviChenab and Jehlum (also spelled Jhelum). Traditionally, in English, there used to be a definite article before the name, i.e. “The Punjab”. The name is also sometimes spelled as “Panjab”.

The Greeks called Punjab a pentapotamia, an inland delta of five converging rivers;[12] the name Punjab was given to the region by the Central Asian Turkic conquerors of India, and popularised by the Turco-Mongol Mughals.[13][14]


Ancient history[edit]

During the period when the epic Mahabharata was written, around 800–400 BCE, Punjab was known as Trigarta and ruled by Katoch kings.[15][16] The Indus Valley Civilization spanned much of the Punjab region with cities such as Ropar. The Vedic Civilization spread along the length of the Sarasvati River to cover most of northern India including Punjab. This civilisation shaped subsequent cultures in the Indian subcontinent. The Punjab region was ruled by many ancient empires including the GandharaNandasMauryasShungasKushansGuptasPalasGurjara-Pratiharas and Hindu Shahis. The furthest eastern extent of Alexander the Great’s exploration was along the Indus River. Agriculture flourished and trading cities such as JalandharSangrur and Ludhiana grew in wealth.[citation needed]

Due to its location, the Punjab region came under constant attack and influence from both west and east. Punjab faced invasions by the AchaemenidsGreeksScythiansTurks, and Afghans. This resulted in the Punjab witnessing centuries of bitter bloodshed. Its culture combines HinduBuddhistIslamicSikh and British influences.[citation needed]

Hindus in Punjab[edit]


Map of early Iron Age Vedic India after Witzel (1989); realms or tribes are labelled black, foreign tribes mentioned in early Vedic texts purple, Vedic shakhas in green, rivers are labelled blue, the Thar desert is marked orange.

The original Punjab region is now divided into several units: West Punjab (now in Pakistan), portions of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa such as the Gandharar region, the Indian states of PunjabHaryana and Himachal Pradesh and the Indian Union territory of Chandigarh. The regions of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and Jammu have also been historically associated with the Punjab.[citation needed]

The Punjab is the ‘Sapta Sindhu‘ region mentioned in the Rig Veda, the seven rivers are:

  1. Saraswati (thought to be the present day Ghaggar),
  2. Satadru/Shutadri (Sutlej),
  3. Vipasa (Beas),
  4. Asikani, Chandrabhaga (Chenab),
  5. Iravati (Ravi),
  6. Vitasta/Vet (Jhelum) and
  7. Sindhu (Indus).

Among the classic books that were wholly or partly composed in this region are the following.

The world’s oldest university Takshashila flourished here, even before the Buddha‘s birth. The Brahmins of this region are called ‘Saraswata’ after the legendary Saraswati river region, once known for the ashramas of the rishis. Hinduism has been prevalent in Punjab since historical times before the arrival of Islam and birth of Sikhism in Punjab. Some of the influential Sikhfigures such as Guru NanakGuru Angad DevGuru Amar DasGuru Ram DasBanda Singh BahadurBhai Mati Das, all originated from Hindu families of Punjab. Many of Punjab‘s Hindus converted to Sikhism.

Punjabi Hindus can trace their roots from the time of the Vedas. Many modern day cities in Indian Punjab and Pakistani Punjab are still named from that period like LahoreJalandharChandigarh and so on. Examples of Punjabi Hindus include the former Prime ministers of India I.K. Gujral and Gulzari Lal Nanda and former Indian cricketer Kapil Dev and scientist Hargobind Khorana.

Sikhs in Punjab[edit]

Sikhism originated in the Punjab Region during the 15th century. Approximately 75% of the total Sikh population of the world lives in Punjab. Sikhism began at the time of the conquest of northern India by Babur. His grandson, Akbar, supported religious freedom and after visiting the langar of Guru Amar Das had a favourable impression of Sikhism. As a result of his visit he donated land to the langar and had a positive relationship with the Sikh Gurus until his death in 1605.[17] His successor, Jahangir, saw the Sikhs as a political threat. He arrested Guru Arjun Dev because of Sikh support for Khusrau Mirza[18] and ordered him put to death by torture. Guru Arjan Dev’s martyrdom led to the sixth Guru, Guru Har Gobind, declaring Sikh sovereignty in the creation of the Akal Takht and the establishment of a fort to defend Amritsar.[19]

Jahangir attempted to assert authority over the Sikhs by imprisoning Guru Har Gobind at Gwalior. He felt compelled to release him when he began to suffer premonitions of an early and gruesome death. The Guru refused to be released unless the dozens of Hindu princes imprisoned with him were also granted freedom, to which Jahangir agreed. Sikhism did not have any further issues with the Mughal Empire until Jahangir’s death in 1627. His successor, Shah Jahan, “took offense” at Guru Har Gobind’s sovereignty and after a series of assaults on Amritsar forced the Sikhs to retreat to the Sivalik Hills.[19] Guru Har Gobind’s successor, Guru Har Rai, maintained the guruship in the Sivalik Hills by defeating local attempts to seize Sikh land and taking a neutral role in the power struggle between Aurangzeb and Dara Shikoh for control of the Timurid dynasty.

The ninth Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur, moved the Sikh community to Anandpur and travelled extensively to visit and preach in Sikh communities in defiance of Mughal rule. He aided Kashmiri Pandits in avoiding conversion to Islam and was arrested and confronted by Aurangzeb. When offered a choice between conversion or death, he chose to die and was executed.[20]

Guru Gobind Singh assumed the guruship in 1675 and to avoid battles with Sivalik Hill Rajas moved the guruship to Paunta. He built a large fort to protect the city and garrisoned an army to protect it. The Sikh community’s growing power alarmed Sivalik Hill Rajas, who attempted to attack the city, but the Guru’s forces routed them at the Battle of Bhangani. He moved on to Anandpur and established the Khalsa, a collective army of baptised Sikhs, on 30 March 1699. The establishment of the Khalsa united the Sikh community against various Mughal-backed claimants to the guruship.[21]

In 1701, a combined army composed of the Sivalik Hill Rajas and the Mughal army under Wazir Khan attacked Anandpur and, following a retreat by the Khalsa, was defeated by the Khalsa at the Battle of Muktsar. Banda Singh Bahadur was an asceticwho converted to Sikhism after meeting Guru Gobind Singh at Nanded. Shortly before his death, Guru Gobind Singh ordered him to uproot Mughal rule in Punjab and gave him a letter that commanded all Sikhs to join him. After two years of gaining supporters, Banda Singh Bahadur initiated an agrarian uprising by breaking up the large estates of Zamindar families and distributing the land to the poor Sikh and Hindu peasants who farmed the land.[22]

Banda Singh Bahadur started his rebellion with the defeat of Mughal armies at Samana and Sadhaura and it culminated in the defeat of Sirhind. During the rebellion, Banda Singh Bahadur made a point of destroying the cities in which Mughals had been cruel to Sikhs, and executed Wazir Khan in revenge for the deaths of Guru Gobind Singh’s sons, Baba Zorawar Singh and Baba Fateh Singh, after the Sikh victory at Sirhind.[23] He ruled the territory between the Sutlej River and the Yamuna River, established a capital in the Himalayas at Lohgarh, and struck coinage in the names of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh.[22]

In 1762, there were persistent conflicts with the Sikhs. Sikh holocaust of 1762 took place under the Muslim provincial government based at Lahore to wipe out the Sikhs, with 30,000 Sikhs being killed, an offensive that had begun with the Mughals, with the Sikh holocaust of 1746,[24] and lasted several decades under its Muslim successor states.[25] The rebuilt Harminder Sahib was destroyed, and the pool was filled with cow entrails, again.[26][27]

Cis-Sutlej states[edit]

The Cis-Sutlej states were a group of states in modern Punjab and Haryana states lying between the Sutlej River on the north, the Himalayas on the east, the Yamuna River and Delhi District on the south, and Sirsa District on the west. These states were ruled by the Scindhia dynasty of the Maratha Empire. Various Sikh sardars and other Rajas of the Cis-Sutlej states paid tributes to the Marathas until the Second Anglo-Maratha War of 1803–1805, after which the Marathas lost this territory to the British.[28] The Cis-Sutlej states included KaithalPatialaJindThanesarMaler Kotla, and Faridkot.

Sikh Empire[edit]

The Sikh Empire (1801–1849) was forged by Maharajah Ranjit Singh on the foundations of the Khalsa from a collection of autonomous Sikh misls, creating a unified political state. The empire extended from the Khyber Pass in the west, to Kashmir in the north, to Sindh in the south, and Tibet in the east. The main geographical footprint of the empire was the Punjab region. The religious demographyof the Sikh Empire was Muslim (70%), Sikh (17%), Hindu (13%).[29]

After his proclamation in 1801 as Maharajah, Ranjit Singh began the modernisation of the Punjab Army. All the Misl leaders who were affiliated with the Army had been nobility, usually with long and prestigious family histories in Punjab.[30][31] Ranjit Singh introduced several new commanders, some of them European, and a further 52,000 well-trained and equipped professional-grade irregulars with a significant multi-religious component. In addition, the army was equipped with field artillery, turning it into a premier fighting force.[citation needed]

After Ranjit Singh’s death in 1839, the empire was severely weakened by internal divisions and political mismanagement. This opportunity was used by the British Empire to launch the Anglo-Sikh Wars. A series of betrayals of the Sikhs by some prominent leaders in the army led to its downfall. Maharaja Gulab Singh and Raja Dhian Singh were the top generals of the army.[32]

The Sikh Empire was finally dissolved, after a series of wars with the British at the end of the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849, into separate princely states and the British province of Punjab, which were granted statehood. Eventually, a Lieutenant Governorship was formed in Lahore as a direct representative of the British Crown.[citation needed]


Maharaja Ranjit Singh listening to Guru Granth Sahib being recited near the Akal Takht and Golden Temple, Amritsar.

Punjab Province (British India)[edit]


British Punjab Province, before 1947

The Cis-Sutlej states, including KaithalPatialaJindThanesarMaler Kotla, and Faridkot, were under the suzerainty of the Scindhia dynasty of the Maratha Empire, following the Second Anglo-Maratha War of 1803–1805, when Marathas lost this territory to the British. During the war, some of the states in the region gave their allegiance to British General Gerard Lake. At the conclusion of the Second Anglo-Maratha War, an 1809 agreement with Ranjit Singh, ruler of the Sikh Empire west of the Sutlej, brought these states under formal British protection.[28][33][34]

Ranjit Singh’s death in the summer of 1839 brought political chaos, and the subsequent battles of succession and the bloody infighting between the factions at court weakened the state. By 1845 the British had moved 32,000 troops to the Sutlej frontier to secure their northernmost possessions against the succession struggles in the Punjab. In late 1845, British and Sikh troops engaged near Firozpur,[35] beginning the First Anglo-Sikh War. The war ended the following year, and the territory between the Sutlej and the Beas was ceded to British Company rule in India, along with Kashmir, which was sold to Gulab Singh of Jammu, who ruled Kashmir as a British vassal.[citation needed]

As a condition of the peace treaty, some British troops, along with a resident political agent and other officials, were left in Punjab to oversee the regency of Maharaja Dhalip Singh, a minor. The Sikh army was reduced greatly in size. In 1848, out-of-work Sikh troops in Multan revolted, and a British official was killed. Within a few months, the unrest had spread throughout Punjab, and British troops once again invaded. The British prevailed in the Second Anglo-Sikh War, and under the Treaty of Lahore in 1849, Punjab was annexed by the British East India Company, and Dhalip Singh was pensioned off. Punjab became a province of British India, although a number of small states, most notably Patiala, Kapurthala, Faridkot, Nabha, and Jind, retained local rulers in subsidiary alliances with the British, with the rulers retaining their own internal sovereignty but recognising British suzerainty.[citation needed]

The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre of 1919 occurred in Amritsar. In 1930, the Indian National Congress proclaimed independence from Lahore.[citation needed] In March 1940, the All-India Muslim League passed the Lahore Resolution, demanding the creation of a separate state from Muslim majority areas in India. This triggered bitter protests by the Sikhs in Punjab, who could not countenance living in a Muslim state.[36]

In 1946, massive communal tensions and violence erupted between Punjab’s Muslim majority and the Hindu and Sikh minorities. The Muslim League attacked the government of Unionist Punjabi Muslims, Sikh Akalis and the Congress and led to its downfall.[citation needed] Unwilling to be cowed, Sikhs and Hindus counterattacked,[citation needed] and the resulting bloodshed left the province in great disorder. Congress and League leaders agreed to partition Punjab along religious lines, a precursor to the wider partition of the country.[37]

Independence and its aftermath[edit]


Wagah Border is situated between Amritsar and Lahore, became the main border crossing after partition of Punjab is known for its elaborate ceremony

In 1947 the Punjab Province of British India was partitioned along religious lines into West Punjab and East Punjab. Huge numbers of people were displaced, and there was much intercommunal violence. Following independence, several small Punjabi princely states, including Patiala, acceded to the Union of India and were united into the PEPSU. In 1956 this was integrated with the state of East Punjab to create a new, enlarged Indian state called simply “Punjab”.

The undivided Punjab, of which Pakistani Punjab forms a major region today, was home to a large minority population of Punjabi Hindus and Sikhs until 1947, apart from the Muslim majority.[38]

Immediately following independence in 1947, and due to the ensuing communal violence and fear, most Sikhs and Punjabi Hindus who found themselves in Pakistan migrated to India.[39]

Punjabi Muslims were uprooted similarly from their homes in East Punjab, which now forms part of India.[40] More than seven million moved to Pakistan, and over six million settled in Punjab. In 1950, two new states were recognised by the Indian constitution: the Indian part of the former British province of Punjab became the state of East Punjab, while the princely states of the region were combined into the Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU). Himachal Pradesh was later created as a union territory from several princely states in the hills.[citation needed]


Punjab is in northwestern India and has a total area of 50,362 square kilometres (19,445 sq mi). Punjab is bounded by Pakistan on the west, Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Himachal Pradesh on the northeast and Haryana and Rajasthan on the south.[41] Most of the Punjab lies in a fertile, alluvial plain with many rivers and an extensive irrigation canal system.[42] A belt of undulating hills extends along the northeastern part of the state at the foot of the Himalayas. Its average elevation is 300 metres (980 ft) above sea level, with a range from 180 metres (590 ft) in the southwest to more than 500 metres (1,600 ft) around the northeast border. The southwest of the state is semiarid, eventually merging into the Thar Desert. The Shiwalik Hills extend along the northeastern part of the state at the foot of the Himalayas.[citation needed]

The soil characteristics are influenced to a limited extent by the topography, vegetation and parent rock. The variation in soil profile characteristics are much more pronounced because of the regional climatic differences.[43] Punjab is divided into three distinct regions on the basis of soil types: southwestern, central, and eastern. Punjab falls under seismic zones II, III, and IV. Zone II is considered a low-damage risk zone; zone III is considered a moderate-damage risk zone; and zone IV is considered a high-damage risk zone.[44]



Agricultural fields of Punjab during the monsoon

The geography and subtropical latitudinal location of Punjab lead to large variations in temperature from month to month. Even though only limited regions experience temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F), ground frost is commonly found in the majority of Punjab during the winter season. The temperature rises gradually with high humidityand overcast skies. However, the rise in temperature is steep when the sky is clear and humidity is low.[45]

The maximum temperatures usually occur in mid-May and June. The temperature remains above 40 °C (104 °F) in the entire region during this period. Ludhiana recorded the highest maximum temperature at 46.1 °C (115.0 °F) with Patiala and Amritsar recording 45.5 °C (113.9 °F). The maximum temperature during the summer in Ludhiana remains above 41 °C (106 °F) for a duration of one and a half months. These areas experience the lowest temperatures in January. The sun rays are oblique during these months and the cold winds control the temperature at daytime.[45]

Punjab experiences its minimum temperature from December to February. The lowest temperature was recorded at Amritsar (0.2 °C (32.4 °F)) and Ludhiana stood second with 0.5 °C (32.9 °F). The minimum temperature of the region remains below 5 °C (41 °F) for almost two months during the winter season. The highest minimum temperature of these regions in June is more than the daytime maximum temperatures experienced in January and February. Ludhiana experiences minimum temperatures above 27 °C (81 °F) for more than two months. The annual average temperature in the entire state is approximately 21 °C (70 °F). Further, the mean monthly temperature range varies between 9 °C (48 °F) in July to approximately 18 °C (64 °F) in November.[45]


Punjab experiences three main seasons. They are:

  • Hot Season (mid-April to the end of June)
  • Rainy Season (early July to the end of September)
  • Cold Season (early December to the end of February).[45]

Apart from these three, the state experiences transitional seasons like:

  • Pre-summer season (March to mid-April): This is the period of transition between winter and summer.
  • Post-monsoon season (September to end of November): This is the period of transition between monsoon and winter seasons.[45]


Punjab starts experiencing mildly hot temperatures in February. However, the actual summer season commences in mid-April. The area experiences pressure variations during the summer months. The atmospheric pressure of the region remains around 987 millibar during February and it reaches 970 millibar in June.[45]

Rainy season[edit]

The monsoon brings joy to the agricultural sector as farmers become very busy. Punjab’s rainy season begins in first week of July as monsoon currents generated in the Bay of Bengal bring rain to the region.[45]


Temperature variation is minimal in January. The mean night and day temperatures fall to 5 °C (41 °F) and 12 °C (54 °F), respectively.[45]

Post-Monsoon transitional season[edit]

The monsoon begins to reduce by the second week of September. This brings a gradual change in climate and temperature. The time between October and November is the transitional period between monsoon and winter seasons. Weather during this period is generally fair and dry.[45]

Post-Winter transitional season[edit]

The effects of winter diminish by the first week of March. The hot summer season commences in mid-April. This period is marked by occasional showers with hail storms and squalls that cause extensive damage to crops. The winds remain dry and warm during the last week of March, commencing the harvest period.[45]


  • Monsoon Rainfall

Monsoon season provides most of the rainfall for the region. Punjab receives rainfall from the monsoon current of the Bay of Bengal. This monsoon current enters the state from the southeast in the first week of July.[45]

  • Winter Rainfall

The winter season remains very cool with temperatures falling below freezing at some places. Winter also brings in some western disturbances.[45] Rainfall in the winter provides relief to the farmers as some of the winter crops in the region of Shivalik Hills are entirely dependent on this rainfall. As per meteorological statistics, the sub-Shivalik area receives more than 100 millimetres (3.9 in) of rainfall in the winter months.[45]

Flora and fauna[edit]


Agriculture in Punjab

The plains of Punjab do not have any thick forests. The only available flora are patches of grass, small bushes, and shrubs. In the southeastern part of Punjab and the areas of Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur and Multan, mangoes are grown. Other varieties of fruit grown in abundance are orangesapplesfigsquincesalmondspomegranatespeachesmulberriesapricots and plums.

Major cultivation of rich flora and fauna can be seen in the Shivalik ranges. Due its rich flora and fauna, it has been termed a micro-endemic zone of India. There is a wide variety of angiosperms in the area, including 355 types of herbs, 70 types of trees, 70 types of shrubs of all sizes, 19 types of climbers, and 21 types of twines. Besides angiosperms, the region is home to 31 kinds of pteridophytes and 27 kinds of bryophytes, while a special species of gymnosperm named Pinus roxburghii can be seen in the ranges of Punjab.[citation needed]

The fauna of the area is rich, with 396 types of birds, 214 kinds of Lepidoptera, 55 varieties of fish, 20 types of reptiles, and 19 kinds of mammals. The state of Punjab has large wetland areas, bird sanctuaries that house numerous species of birds, and many zoological parks. Wetlands include the national wetland Hari-Ke-Pattan, the wetland of Kanjli, and the wetlands of Kapurthala Sutlej. Wildlife sanctuaries include the Harike in the district of Tarn Taran Sahib, the Zoological Park in Rupnagar, Chhatbir Bansar Garden in Sangrur, Aam Khas Bagh in Sirhind, Amritsar’s famous Ram Bagh, Shalimar Garden in Kapurthala, and the famous Baradari Garden in the city of Patiala.[46]

Animals and birds[edit]

A few of the rivers in Punjab have dangerous species of crocodiles. The extraction of silk from silkworms is another industry that flourishes in the state. Production of bee honey is done in some parts of Punjab. The southern plains are desert land; hence, camels can be seen. Buffaloes graze around the banks of rivers. The northeastern part is home to animals like horses. Wildlife sanctuaries have many more species of wild animals like the otter, wild boar, wildcat, fruit bat, hog deer, flying fox, squirrel and mongoose. Naturally formed forests can be seen in the Shivalik ranges in the districts of Ropar, Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur. Patiala is home to the Bir forest while the wetlands area in Punjab is home to the famous Mand forest.[47]

Botanical gardens exist throughout Punjab. There is a zoological park and a tiger safari park, as well as three parks dedicated to deer.[47]

The state bird is the baz (northern goshawk).[48] (Melierax poliopterus), the state animal is the blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra), and the state tree is the shisham (Dalbergia sissoo).[42]

Government and politics[edit]

Punjab is governed through a parliamentary system of representative democracy. Each of the states of India possesses a parliamentary system of government, with a ceremonial state Governor, appointed by the President of India on the advice of the central government. The head of government is an indirectly elected Chief Ministerwho is vested with most of the executive powers. The term length of the government is five years. The state legislature, the Vidhan Sabha, is the unicameral Punjab Legislative Assembly, with 117 members elected from single-seat constituencies. The current Government was elected in the 2017 Assembly elections as Congress won 77 out of 117 Assembly seats and Amarinder Singh is the current Chief Minister. The state of Punjab is divided into five administrative divisions and twenty-two districts.

The capital of Punjab is Chandigarh, which also serves as the capital of Haryana and is thus administered separately as a Union Territory of India. The judicial branch of the state government is provided by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Chandigarh.[49]

The main players in the politics of the state are the Indian National Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal (with alliance Bharatiya Janata Party). The present government is headed by Amarinder SinghPresident’s rule has been imposed in Punjab 8 times so far, since 1950, for different reasons. In terms of the absolute number of days, Punjab was under President’s rule for 3510 days, which is about 10 years. Much of this was in the 80s during the height of militancy in Punjab. Punjab was under President’s rule for 5 continuous years from 1987 to 1992.

Law & Order Set-Up[edit]

Punjab state law and order is maintained by Punjab Police. Punjab police is headed by its DGP, Suresh Arora, and has 70,000 employees. It manages state affairs through 22 district heads known as SSP.

Administrative Set-Up[edit]


Districts of Punjab along with their headquarters, before 2007

Punjab has 22 districts which are geographically classified into MajhaMalwaDoabaand Poadh regions. They are officially divided among 5 divisions: Patiala, Rupnagar, Jalandhar, Faridkot and Firozepur.[50]





Each district under the administrative control of a District Collector. The districts are subdivided into 79 tehsils, which have fiscal and administrative powers over settlements within their borders, including maintenance of local land records comes under the administrative control of a Tehsildar. Each Tehsil consists of blocks which are total 143 in number. The blocks consist of revenue villages. There are total number of revenue villages in the state is 12,278. There are 22 Zila Parishads, 136 Municipal Committees and 22 Improvement Trusts looking after 143 towns and 14 cities of Punjab. Majitha is newly created tehsil, which was formed in September 2016. Zirakpur is the latest sub-tehsil, in the district of Mohali.

The capital and largest city of the state is Chandigarh. Out of total population of Punjab, 37.48% people live in urban regions. The absolute urban population living in urban areas is 10,399,146 of which 5,545,989 are males and while remaining 4,853,157 are females. The urban population in the last 10 years has increased by 37.48 percent. The major cities are LudhianaAmritsarJalandharPatialaBathindaSangrur, and SAS Nagar (Mohali).



Burning of rice residues after harvest to quickly prepare the land for wheat planting, around Sangrur, Punjab

Punjab’s GDP is 3.17 lakh crore (US$47 billion). Punjab is one of the most fertile regions in India. 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”.[51] It produces 10.26% of India’s cotton, 19.5% of India’s wheat, and 11% of India’s rice. The Firozpur and Fazilka Districts are the largest producers of wheat and rice in the state. In worldwide terms, Indian Punjab produces 2% of the world’s cotton, 2% of its wheat and 1% of its rice.[51]

The largest cultivated crop is wheat. Other important crops are ricecottonsugarcanepearl milletmaizebarley and fruit. Rice and wheat are doublecropped in Punjab with rice stalks being burned off over millions of acres prior to the planting of wheat. This widespread practice is polluting and wasteful.[52]

In Punjab the consumption of fertiliser per hectare is 223.46 kg as compared to 90 kg nationally. The state has been awarded the National Productivity Award for agriculture extension services for ten years, from 1991–92 to 1998–99 and from 2001 to 2003–04. In recent years a drop in productivity has been observed, mainly due to falling fertility of the soil. This is believed to be due to excessive use of fertilisers and pesticides over the years. Another worry is the rapidly falling water table on which almost 90% of the agriculture depends; alarming drops have been witnessed in recent years. By some estimates, groundwater is falling by a meter or more per year.[53][54]

According to the India State Hunger Index, Punjab has the lowest level of hunger in India.[55]


Public transport in Punjab is provided by buses, auto rickshaws, Indian railways and an international rail connection to Pakistan (Samjhauta Express). The state has a large network of multi modal transportation systems.

Punjab has six civil airports including two international airports: Amritsar International Airport and Chandigarh International Airport; and four domestic airports: Bathinda AirportPathankot AirportPatiala AirportSahnewal Airport.


DMU Train in Ludhiana

The Indian Railways‘ Northern Railway line runs through the state connecting most of the major towns and cities. The railway network in the state is controlled by Northern Railway zone divisional headquarter: Firozpur railway division and Ambala railway division. The Shatabdi Express, India’s fastest series of train connects Amritsar to New Delhi covering total distance of 449 km. Bathinda Junction is the largest railway station in the state. Punjab’s major railway stations are Ludhiana Junction (LDH), Jalandhar Cantonment (JRC), Firozpur Cantonment (FZR), Jalandhar City Junction(JUC), Pathankot Junction (PTK), Amritsar Junction (ASR), Patiala railway station(PTA), SAS Nagar Mohali (SASN), Moga railway station (MOGA), Gurdaspur railway station (GSP), and Phagwara railway station (PGW). The railway stations of Amritsar is included in the Indian Railways list of 50 world-class railway stations.[56] The Samjhauta Express is a joint venture between Indian Railways and Pakistan Railways and runs from Attari railway station near Amritsar in India to Lahore Railway Station in Punjab, Pakistan.

All the cities and towns of Punjab are connected by four-lane national highways. The Grand Trunk Road, also known as “NH1”, connects Kolkata to Peshawar, passing through Jalandhar and Amritsar. Another major national highway connects Punjab to Jammu, passing through Hoshiarpur and Pathankot. National highways passing through the state are ranked the best in the country[by whom?] with widespread road networks that serve isolated towns as well as the border region. Ludhiana and Amritsar are among several Indian cities that have the highest accident rates in India.[57]

There are also a bus rapid transit system Amritsar BRTS in the holy city of Amritsar, popularly known as ‘Amritsar MetroBus’[58] The following national highways connect major towns, cities and villages:



Located in AmritsarHarmandir Sahib is the holiest shrine of Sikhism.


Lakshmi Narayan Durgiana Templein Amritsar


Languages of Punjab (2001)[61]

  Punjabi (91.69%)
  Hindi (7.60%)
  Tamil and Others (0.27%)

Punjab is home to 2.30% of India’s population; with a density of 551 persons per km2. According to the provisional results of the 2011 national census, Punjab has a population of 27,704,236, making it the 16th most populated state in India. Of which male and female are 14,639,465 and 13,103,873 respectively. In the state, the rate of population growth is 13.89 percent (2011), lower than national average. Out of total population, 37.48% people live in urban regions. The total figure of population living in urban areas is 10,399,146 of which 5,545,989 are males and while remaining 4,853,157 are females. The urban population in the last 10 years has increased by 37.48 percent. Punjabi is the sole official language of Punjab and is spoken by the majority of the population (91.69%). Hindi is spoken by 7.6% of the population.[5] The 2011 census found OBC and Scheduled Castes to account for 22% and 31% of the population respectively. The Forward caste (includes Jat Sikhs – 21%, Brahmins, Khatris, Arains, Banias, Thakurs/Rajputs) constitutes 41% of the total population of Punjab.

There has been a constant decline in the sex ratio of the state. The sex ratio in Punjab was 895 females per 1000 males, which was below the national average of 940. The literacy rate rose to 75.84 percent as per 2011 population census. Of that, male literacy stands at 80.44 percent while female literacy is at 70.73 percent. In actual numbers, total literates in Punjab stands at 18,707,137 of which males were 10,436,056 and females were 8,271,081.

Punjab has the largest population of Sikhs in India and is the only state where Sikhs form a majority with approximately 57.69 percent of the state population practicing Sikhism as of 2011.[62] Hinduism is second most popular religion in state of Punjab with 38.49% following it. Islam is followed by 1.93%, Christianity by 1.26%, Jainism by 0.16%, Buddhism by 0.12%. Around 0.04% stated ‘Other Religion’, approximately 0.32% stated No Particular Religion. Sikhs form a majority in 17 districts out of the 22. Hindus constitute the majority in 5 districts: complete majority in JalandharHoshiarpurNawanshahrPathankot districts and a marginal majority in the Gurdaspur DistrictMalerkotla is the only city in Punjab with a Muslim majority.


Religion in Punjab (2011)[62]

  Sikhism (57.69%)
  Hinduism (38.49%)
  Islam (1.93%)
  Christianity (1.26%)
  Jainism (0.16%)
  Buddhism (0.12%)
  Other or not religious (0.36%)

The Sikh shrine, Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple), is in the city of Amritsar, which houses the SGPC, the top most Sikh religious body. The Sri Akal Takht Sahib, which is within the Golden Temple complex, is the highest temporal seat of Sikhs. Of the five Takhts (Temporal Seats of religious authority) of Sikhism, three are in Punjab. These are Sri Akal Takht Sahib, Damdama Sahib and Anandpur Sahib. At least one Sikh Gurdwaracan be found in almost every village in the state, as well as in the towns and cities (in various architectural styles and sizes). Before the advent of Islam, and later birth of SikhismHinduism was the main religion practised by the Punjabi people. Due to non-exclusive nature of their religion, a segment of Punjabis who are categorised as Punjabi Hindus continue heterogeneous religious practices in spiritual kinship with Sikhism. This not only includes veneration of the Sikh Gurus in private practice but also visits to Sikh Gurdwaras in addition to Hindu temples.



The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research

Primary and Secondary education is mainly affiliated to Punjab School Education Board. Punjab is served by several institutions of higher education, including 23 universities that provide undergraduate and postgraduate courses in all the major arts, humanities, science, engineering, law, medicine, veterinary science, and business. Punjab Agricultural University is a leading institution globally for the study of agriculture and played a significant role in Punjab’s Green Revolution in the 1960s–70s. Alumni of the Panjab University, Chandigarh include Manmohan Singh, the former Prime Minister of India, and Dr. Har Gobind Khorana, a biochemistry nobel laureate.

One of the oldest institutions of medical education is the Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, which has existed since 1894.[63] There is an existing gap in education between men and women, particularly in rural areas of Punjab. Of a total of 1 million 300 thousand students enrolled in grades five to eight, only 44% are women.[64]

Punjab has 23 universities, of which 10 are private, 9 are state, 1 is central and 3 are deemed universities. Punjab has 1.04 lakh (104,000) engineering seats.[65]

Punjab also putting step in education of Yoga and Naturopathy. It’s slowly becoming popular and student adopting these as their career . Board of Naturopathy and yoga science (B.N.Y.S.)[66] Regional College Dinanagar is very first college opened in Dinanagar Town with the help of Dr Jawahar lal Raina and Dr Abhishek Gaur[67]


Daily AjitJagbaniPunjabi Tribune and The Tribune are the largest-selling Punjabi and English newspapers respectively. A vast number of weekly, biweekly and monthly magazines are under publication in Punjabi. Other main newspapers are Daily Punjab TimesRozana SpokesmanNawan Zamana, etc.

Doordarshan is the broadcaster of the Government of India and its channel DD Punjabi is dedicated to Punjabi. Prominent Punjabi channels include news channels like ABP Sanjha,[68] Global Punjab TV,[69] Zee Punjab Haryana HimachalDay & Night News and entertainment channels like GET PunjabiZee ETC PunjabiChardikla Time TVPTC PunjabiJUS Punjabi MH1 and 9x Tashan.[citation needed]

Punjab has witnessed a growth in FM radio channels, mainly in the cities of Jalandhar, Patiala and Amritsar, which has become hugely popular. There are govt. radio channels like All India Radio, JalandharAll India RadioBathinda and FM Gold Ludhiana.[70] Private radio channels include Radio MirchiBIG FM 92.7, 94.3 My FM, Radio Mantra and many more.

Digital library[edit]

Launched in 2003 under Nanakshahi Trust, the Punjab Digital Library was a result of the early phase of the digital revolution in Punjab. While most saw the Nanakshahi as a small digitisation organisation, or as an assemblage of some unknown youth working towards capturing some manuscripts on their digital cameras, its founders saw it as a cornerstone of a fundamentally new approach to preserving Punjab’s heritage for future generations. In the shadow of search engines, a Semantic Webapproach conceived in the early 2003 reached maturity in 2006. This was when the organisation planned to expand its operations from a mere three-employee organisation to one of the leading NGOs working in the field of digital preservation all over India.[71][72]

Digitised collections include manuscripts held by the Punjab Languages Department, items from the Government Museum and Art Gallery, ChandigarhChief Khalsa DiwanSGPCDSGMC and manuscripts in the Jawahr Lal Nehru Library of Kurukshetra University. Hundreds of personal collections are also included. With over 5 million pages digitised, it is the biggest repository of digital data on Punjab.[citation needed]



Women at cultural event

The culture of Punjab has many elements including music such as bhangra, an extensive religious and non-religious dance tradition, a long history of poetry in the Punjabi language, a significant Punjabi film industry that dates back to before Partition, a vast range of cuisine, which has become widely popular abroad, and a number of seasonal and harvest festivals such as Lohri,[73] BasantVaisakhi and Teeyan,[74][75][76] all of which are celebrated in addition to the religious festivals of India.


Women using Charkha

kissa is a Punjabi language oral story-telling tradition that has a mixture of origins ranging from the Arabian peninsula to Iran and Afghanistan.[77]


Punjabi jutti

Punjabi wedding traditions and ceremonies are a strong reflection of Punjabi culture. Marriage ceremonies are known for their rich rituals, songs, dances, food and dresses, which have evolved over many centuries.[78][79]


Bhangra (Punjabiਭੰਗੜਾ (Gurmukhi); pronounced [pɑ̀ŋɡɾɑ̀ː]) and Giddha are forms of dance and music that originated in the Punjab region.[80]

Bhangra dance began as a folk dance conducted by Punjabi farmers to celebrate the coming of the harvest season. The specific moves of Bhangra reflect the manner in which villagers farmed their land. This hybrid dance became Bhangra. The folk dancehas been popularised in the western world by Punjabis in England, Canada and the USA where competitions are held.[81] It is seen in the West as an expression of South Asian culture as a whole.[82] Today, Bhangra dance survives in different forms and styles all over the globe – including pop music, film soundtracks, collegiate competitions and cultural shows.

Punjabi folklore[edit]

The folk heritage of the Punjab reflects its thousands of years of history. While Majhiand Doabi are considered to be the standard dialect of Punjabi language, there are a number of local dialects through which the people communicate. These include Malwai and Pwadhi. The songs, ballads, epics and romances are generally written and sung in these dialects.

There are a number of folk tales that are popular in Punjab. These are the folk tales of Mirza SahibanHeer RanjhaSohni MahiwalSassi PunnunJagga JattDulla BhattiPuran BhagatJeona Maud etc. The mystic folk songs and religious songs include the Shalooks of Sikh gurusBaba Farid and others.[83]

The most famous of the romantic love songs are MayhiahDhola and Boliyan. Punjabi romantic dances include DhamaalBhangraGiddhaDhola, and Sammi and some other local folk dances.[citation needed]

Punjabi culture.jpg


Punjabi culture


Most early Punjabi literary works are in verse form, with prose not becoming more common until later periods. Throughout its history, Punjabi literature has sought to inform and inspire, educate and entertain. The Punjabi language is written in several different scripts, of which the Shahmukhi, the Gurmukhī scripts are the most commonly used.[citation needed]



Bhangra Dance

Punjabi Folk Music is the traditional music on the traditional musical instruments of Punjab region.[84][85][86]

Bhangra music of Punjab is famous throughout the world.[87][88]

Punjabi music has a diverse style of music, ranging from folk and Sufi to classical, notably the Punjab gharana and Patiala gharana.[89][90]

Film industry[edit]

Punjab is home to the Punjabi film industry, often colloquially referred to as ‘Pollywood’.[91] It is known for being the fastest growing film industry in India. It is based mainly around Chandigarh city.[92][93]

The first Punjabi film was made in 1936. Since the 2000s Punjabi cinema has seen a revival with more releases every year with bigger budgets, homegrown stars, and Bollywood actors of Punjabi descent taking part.[94]



Vegetarian Punjabi Thaali

One of the main features of Punjabi cuisine is its diverse range of dishes.[95][96] Home cooked and restaurant cuisine sometimes vary in taste. Restaurant style uses large amounts of ghee. Some food items are eaten on a daily basis while some delicacies are cooked only on special occasions.[citation needed]

There are many regional dishes that are famous in some regions only. Many dishes are exclusive to Punjab, including sarson da saagTandoori chickenShami kebabmakki di roti, etc.[97]

Festivals and traditions[edit]

Punjabis celebrate a number of festivals, which have taken a semi-secular meaning and are regarded as cultural festivals by people of all religions. Some of the festivals are Bandi Chhor Divas (Diwali),[98][99] Mela Maghi,[100] Hola Mohalla,[101][102]RakhriVaisakhiLohriTeeyan and Basant.



PCA Stadium under lights at Mohali

Kabbadi (Circle Style), a team contact sport originated in rural Punjab is recognised as the state game.[103][104] Field hockey is also a popular sport in the state.[105] Kila Raipur Sports Festival, popularly known as the Rural Olympics, is held annually in Kila Raipur(near Ludhiana). Competition is held for major Punjabi rural sports, include cart-race, rope pulling. Punjab government organises World Kabaddi League,[106][107]

Punjab Games and annual Kabaddi World Cup for Circle Style Kabbadi in which teams from countries like ArgentinaCanadaDenmarkEnglandIndiaIranKenyaPakistanScotlandSierra LeoneSpainand United States participated.[citation needed]



Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar is a major tourist destination in Punjab

Tourism in Indian Punjab centres around the historic palaces, battle sites, and the great Sikh architecture of the state and the surrounding region.[108] Examples include various sites of the Indus Valley Civilization, the ancient fort of Bathinda, the architectural monuments of KapurthalaPatiala, and Chandigarh, the modern capital designed by Le Corbusier.[109] The Golden Temple in Amritsar is one of the major tourist destinations of Punjab and indeed India, attracting more visitors than the Taj MahalLonely Planet Bluelist 2008 has voted the Harmandir Sahib as one of the world’s best spiritual sites.[110] Moreover, there is a rapidly expanding array of international hotels in the holy city that can be booked for overnight stays. Devi Talab Mandir is a Hindu temple located in Jalandhar. This temple is devoted to Goddess Durga[111] and is believed to be at least 200 years old. Another main tourist destination is religious and historic city of Sri Anandpur Sahib where large number of tourists come to see the Virasat-e-Khalsa (Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex) and also take part in Hola Mohalla festival. Kila Raipur Sports Festival is also popular tourist attraction in Kila Raipur near Ludhiana.[112][113][114] Shahpur kandi fort, Ranjit sagar lake and Sikh Temple in Sri Muktsar Sahib are also popular attractions in Punjab. Punjab also has the world’s first museum based on the Indian Partition of 1947, in Amritsar, called the Partition Museum.

See also[edit]


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  • Harnik Deol. Religion and Nationalism in India: The Case of the Punjab (Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Asia) (2000)
  • Harjinder Singh Dilgeer, Encyclopedia of Jalandhar, Sikh University Press, Brussels, Belgium (2005)
  • Harjinder Singh Dilgeer, SIKH HISTORY in 10 volumes, Sikh University Press, Brussels, Belgium (2010–11)
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  • Nazer Singh. Delhi and Punjab: Essays in history and historiography (1995)
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  • J. C. Aggarwal and S. P. Agrawal, eds. Modern History of Punjab: Relevant Select Documents (1992)
  • R. M. Chopra, The Legacy of The Punjab, 1997, Punjabee Bradree, Calcutta.
  • Zuhair Kashmeri; Brian McAndrew (6 September 2005), Soft Target: The Real Story Behind the Air India Disaster – Second Edition, James Lorimer & Company, ISBN 978-1-55-028904-6

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