Punjab (Punjabi: ਪੰਜਾਬ, Hindi: पंजाब) is a state in northwest India. The 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 and Rajasthan to the southwest. The total area of the state is 50,362 square kilometres (19,445 square miles). The population is 24,289,296 (2000). Punjab's capital is Chandigarh, which is administered separately as a Union Territory since it is also the capital of neighbouring Haryana. Other major cities of Punjab include Mohali, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Patiala and Jalandhar.
The Indian Punjab historically forms a part of the larger Punjab region, which includes the Pakistani province of Punjab and the North-West Frontier Province, the Indian states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, parts of Jammu and Kashmir and the Union Territory of Chandigarh, which boasts the highest per capita income and Human Development Index in India.. Indian Punjab was trifurcated in the year 1966 leading to the formation of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
Agriculture is the largest industry in Punjab, it is the largest single provider of wheat to India. Others 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. According to the India State Hunger Index 2008, Punjab has the lowest level of hunger in India.
The word "Punjab" is a combination of the Sanskrit words panj Five, and āb Water, giving the literal meaning of the "Land of Five Rivers". The five rivers after which Punjab is named are the Beas, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej.
Punjab extends from the latitudes 29.30° North to 32.32° North and longitudes 73.55° East to 76.50° East.It covers a geographical area of 50,362 sq. km which is 1.54 % of country’s total geographical area.
Due to the presence of a large number of rivers, most of the Punjab is a fertile plain. The southeast region of the state is semi-arid and gradually presents a desert landscape. A belt of undulating hills extends along the northeastern part of the state at the foot of the Himalayas.
Most of the part of the state is an alluvial plain,which is irrigated by extensive canal system. Punjab's arid southern border edges on the Thar, or Great Indian, Desert. The Siwalik Range rises sharply in the north of the state.
The soil characteristics are influenced to a very 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.
Punjab is divided into three distinct regions on the basis of soil types. The regions are:
- South-Western Punjab
- Central Punjab
- Eastern Punjab
Punjab falls under seismic zones II, III, and IV. Zones II and III are referred to as Low Damage Risk Zone while zone IV referred to as high damage risk zone.
Punjab region temperature range from -2° to 40°C (MIN/MAX), but can reach 47°C (117°F) in summer and can touch down to -5°C in winter.
Climatically, Punjab has three major seasons as under:
- Hot weather (April to June) when temperature rises as high as 110F.
- Rainy season (July to September). Average rainfall annual ranges between 96 cms sub-mountain region and 46 cms in the plains.
- Cold weather (October to March). Temperature goes down as low as 40F.
The Indian state of Punjab was created in 1947, when the Partition of India split the former Raj province of Punjab between India and West Pakistan. The mostly Muslim western part of the province became West Pakistan's Punjab Province; the mostly Sikh eastern part became India's Punjab state. Many Sikhs and Hindus 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. lived in the west, and many Muslims lived in the east, and so the partition saw many people displaced and much intercommunal violence.
The capital of the undivided Punjab province, Lahore, ended up in West 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, mainly due to Pratap Singh Kairon, the late Sikh leader. However, a growing polarisation between the Indian National Congress led Indian government and the main political party 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.
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 of militants took to targeting officials and people opposed to their point of view which included a number of Sikhs. Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale along with his supporters sought shelter inside the Akal Takht. Fearing an attack on the Harimandir Sahib, Bhindranwale, with help from Shabeg Singh heavily fortified the temple. The Indian army finally assaulted the Golden Temple to take out armed militants in June, 1984. However, the operation, Operation Bluestar was poorly planned and coordinated, leading to heavy military and civilian casualties.
As a result, the situation in Punjab deteriorated into anarchy with a rise in radicalised militancy. By the early 1990s, after many years of violence across Punjab, the militants' struggle for Khalistan had 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. In the following years there was concern over alleged human rights abuses conducted by the central and state government against radical Sikhs, and many human rights organisations were not allowed in the Punjab at the time.
The Indian BJP former leader stated that the Congress Party governments have been involved in creating terrorism in the Punjab. Recently, BJP national president Lal Krishna Advani, stated that it was his party which pressured Sikh Extremists to take a stand against the government. The policy to help the Congress Party by creating militants and moderates backfired resulting in the deaths of thousands of innocent peopleTwo notable attacks in Punjab were in 1991 and 1987, both attacks involving militants .
Punjab's economy was acutely affected in the 1980s and early 1990s. However in recent times, there have been serious attempts by the Central Government to diminish resentment and strong feelings of Punjabis over the issue. Punjab's economy is now on the path to recovery. However, corruption and violence continues to hamper the state.
Flora and Fauna
Except in the hills, Punjab contains comparatively little that is indigenous. There are no natural forests in the plains; extensive tracts occur covered only with grass, shrubs and bushes. The mango is largely cultivated in the south-east of the Punjab and attains a high degree of perfection about Multan and Hoshiarpur. Cultivated fruit trees are abundant, such as orange, pomegranate, apple, peach, fig, mulberry, quince, apricot, almond, and plum.There are a number of wetlands, bird sanctuaries and zoological parks all over Punjab. These include the Hari-ke-pattan National Wetland and Wildlife Sanctuary at Amritsar, the Kanjli Wetland, the Kapurtala Sutlej Water Body Wetland, the Ropar Zoological Park, Chhatbir, Bansar Garden, Sangrur, the Aam Khas Bagh, Sirhind, the Ram Bagh Garden, the Shalimar Garden, Kapurthala and the Baradari Garden at Patiala Among poisonous snakes the most remarkable are the cobra, and a small snake, the sangehur, the bit of which causes instantaneous death. The rivers are infested with alligators, and fish of various species abound. The silkworm is reared with great skill and industry, and bees produce abundant wax and honey. Camels thrive in the hot southern plains, and herds of buffaloes on the grazing lands adjoining the rivers. Horses of excellent quality are reared in the north-east part of the country. A variety of mammals like the Smooth Indian Otter, Hog Deer, Wild Boar, Flying Fox, Wildcat, Squirrel, Fruitbat, Common Mongoose can be seen in Zoological Park Chhatbir.
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.
Music of Punjab is well-known. Bhangra is one of the many Punjabi musical art forms that is increasingly being listened to in the west and is becoming a mainstream favourite. Punjabi music is being used by western musicians, in many ways, such as mixing it with other compositions to produce award-winning music. In addition, Punjabi Classical music is increasingly becoming popular in the west due to the beauty of sounds of the Punjabi language and its composition.
Cinema of Punjab dates back to before partition. K.D. Mehra made the first Punjabi film Sheila (also known as Pind di Kudi). Baby Noor Jehan was introduced as an actress and singer in this film. Sheila was made in Calcutta and released in Lahore, the capital of Punjab; it ran very successfully and was a hit across the province. Due to the success of this first film many more producers started making Punjabi films. As of 2009, Punjabi cinema has produced between 900 and 1,000 movies. The average number of releases per year in the 1970s was nine; in the 1980s, eight; and in the 1990s, six. In 1995, the number of films released was 11; it plummeted to seven in 1996 and touched a low of five in 1997. Since 2000s the Punjabi cinema has seen a revival with more releases every year featuring bigger budgets, home grown stars as well as bollywood actors of punjabi descent taking part.
Punjabi cuisine has an immense range of dishes and has become world-leader in the field so much so that many entrepreneurs that have invested in the sector have built large personal fortunes due to popularity of Punjabi Cuisine throughout the world.
Punjabi Poetry is renowned for its extremely deep meaning, beautiful, exciting and hopeful use of words. The poetry is one of the deepest insights into the Punjabi mindset. The large number of Punjabi poetry masterpieces are being translated throughout the world into many languages.
A Punjabi qissa (story; pl. qisse) is a tradition of Punjabi language oral story-telling that came to South Asia with migrants from the Arabian peninsula and contemporary Iran and Afghanistan.
A Punjabi woman participating in Gidha folk dance.
Punjabi dances, due to the long history of the Punjabi culture and of the Punjabi people there is a large number of dances. These dances are normally performed at times of celebration the most prominent being at Punjabi weddings, where the elation is usually particularly intense. The particular background of the dances can be non-religious and religious. The overall style can range from very high energy to more reserved, however the common elements make it particularly attractive to the viewers whether they be of Punjabi heritage or not, the allure is considered universal. Punjabi dances are designed for either men or women.
Punjabi wedding traditions and ceremonies are traditionally conducted in Punjabi and are a strong reflection of Punjabi culture. Marriage ceremonies are conducted in Punjabi by Granthi for Sikhs, in Sanskrit by Pandits for Hindus and Jains. There are occasional commonalities in ritual, song, dance, food, dress. The Punjabi wedding has many rituals and ceremonies that have evolved since traditional times.