Punjab – States of India

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04 Sep, 2015

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Primary Info

Language: Punjabi (written in Gurmukhi script)

Capital: Chandigarh

Chief Minister: Parkash Singh Badal


Governor: Kaptan Singh Solanki

Geographical Features

Punjab is a landlocked state in the north of India

Most of the state comprises of vast plain areas


North areas of Punjab touch the Himalayan foothills whereas western boundary of Punjab touches fringes of vast Indian desert

Punjab touches four states of India – Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan

Punjab also touches union territory of Chandigarh and it is the state which envelopes Chandigarh from three sides

Punjab’s international boundary touches Pakistan

The name Punjab (meaning land of Five Rivers) is derived from five rivers which flow through this area. However, much of this Punjab is now in Pakistan after India’s partition in 1947

The name ‘Punjab’ was given by Maharaja Ranjit Singh

Three major rivers to pass through India’s Punjab are  – Sutlej, Ravi and Beas

Punjab is famous for its extreme climate – Freezing cold in winters and extremely hot in summers

Punjab has been divided into three regions – Malwa, Majha and Doaba

History and Politics

Punjab is often called ‘the cradle of Indian civilization’ as it was an important part of the Indus Valley Civilization and the Vedic Civilization

Harappa, one of the most important spots of the Indus Valley Civilization, is in the Pakistani Punjab

Indian Punjab’s Ropar city was one of the important Indian cities of Indus Valley Civilization

Punjab has also been mentioned in the civilization of the Vedic Period

In the epic Mahabharata Punjab has been described as Panchanad (land of five rivers)

Punjab had to face numerous western invaders due to its strategic position on India’s western boundary

Great Mogul Emperor Akbar, the Great, was enthroned at Kalanaur by his guardian Bairam Khan in 1556 AD. Kalanaur is now in the Gurudaspur district of Punjab

Guru Nanak was born in 1469 AD in Nanakana Sahib in Punjab (now in Pakistan)

Guru Nanak got immense following in Punjab region and people started following his teachings

He died in 1539 in Kartarpur (now in Pakistani Punjab), which is just 3 Km from Indian Punjab

Guru Nanak’s followers were later converted into a armed militia by Tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, who founded the Khalasa (meaning pure)

Maharaja Ranjit Singh founded a very strong Sikh state, which was spread up to Afghanistan.  Punjab was the center-point of this huge kingdom

The name ‘Punjab’ was given by Maharaja Ranjit Singh

Punjab’s Amritsar is the most sacred place of Sikhs in the world. This city was founded in 1574 by the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ramdas

A sacred pool was also built by Guru Ramdas in middle of this city, and this city is named after this sacred pool (The pool of Nectar)

Amritsar is famous all over the world for its Golden Temple, whose real name is Harmandar Sahib. Construction of this temple (Gurudwara) was started by Guru Arjan Devji, the Fifth Sikh Guru. Arjan Dev laid foundation of this temple in 1588


Sikh’s holy book – the Guru Granth Sahib was kept at Harmandar Sahib in 1604. Slowly this Gurudwara became centre of all activities of Sikhs with establishment of the Akal Takht, Damadami Taksal and Shri Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC)

Renovation of Gurudwara Harmandar Sahib (Golden Temple) was done in 1764 AD by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, the founder of Kapurthala state of Punjab

Sikh Emperor Maharaja Ranjit Singh initiated the work of polishing the upper parts of Harmandar Sahib with gold. After this the temple got its popular name of Golden Temple

Amritsar also has the famous Jallianwalah Bagh, where thousands of unarmed Indians were massacred by incessant and uncontrolled firing by British forces on the orders of Gen. O’ Dyer on 13 April, 1919

Atari (in Amritsar district) is the last Indian railway station on route to Lahore in Pakistan

Punjab was most affected by the Partition of India, which was done after the Mountbatten Plan of 3 June 1947

After India’s partition and carving out of Pakistan from India, Indian Punjab was known as East Punjab

The old capital of Punjab – Lahore, went to Pakistan. Lahore is about 80 km from Amritsar

After India’s partition, there were two Punjabi states, one was called Punjab, which comprised of British Punjab state. It accepted Indian dominion and became part of Indian union

Other Punjab comprised of 8 royal states, which later merged with India. The union of these states was called Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU). PEPSU had autonomous status and royals belonging to it didn’t accepted Indian dominion

8 royal states in PEPSU were Patiala, Jeend, Nabha, Kapurthala, Faridkot, Kalsia, Malerkotla and Nalagarh. Patiala was the capital of PEPSU

In 1950 PEPSU accepted India’s dominion and became part of Indian union

On 1 November 1956 PEPSU was merged with Punjab and the new re-organized state was also called Punjab. With this PEPSU’s existence ceased

Punjab (PEPSU) was the first Indian state to have been clamped with the President’s Rule in 1951 (under section 356 of Indian Constitution)

A new state called Haryana was carved out of Punjab on 1 November 1966. Punjab’s mountainous area were merged with Himachal Pradesh, which later also became a state

Chandigarh became capital of both Haryana and Punjab

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is the main regional party of Punjab

SAD was established as a political arm of Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), which is a very powerful organization of Sikhs and which control affairs of managing numerous Gurudwaras not just in India but the world over

SAD presents itself as the main representative of the Sikhs and tries to woo Sikhs by its efforts

SAD’s relations with centre have always been not very warm as state governments run by it were removed by clamping president’s rule

The demand for a separate and autonomous Punjabi state (Punjabi Soobaa) was put by Master Tara Singh

It was a general feeling among Sikhs that they were not given their due in spite of toiling for the country the most. Sikhs comprised a substantial part of Indian Army and Punjab was the pre-eminent state as far as contributing to country’s food-stock was concerned

In 1973 a 12-member committee was formed after Akali Dal’s poor showings in the legislative elections in Punjab in 1972. This committee put many important proposals and its proposals were named Anandpur Proposals. A declaration was made later in demand of these proposals and this declaration became famous as Anandpur Declaration

In Anandpur Declaration, welfare and upliftment of Sikhs was called for and related demands were put to the Centre

The Khalistan Movement was later started by some Sikh hardliners and this movement was inspired by the Anandpur Declaration in 1973

Khalistan meant a place based on teachings of the Khalsa, which was established by tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh

Khalistan Movement was a brainchild of Jagjit Singh Chouhan, who started collecting funds for Khalistan

Later Jarnail Singh Bhindarawale became the most important icons of the Khalistan movement, who however has not explicitly supported formation of Khalistan

Bhinadrawale raised an armed force of Sikhs in 1982 called Dharam Yuddh Morcha. This organization was instrumental in sowing militant thoughts among Silk youths and other Sikh supporters

Operation Blue Star of 1984 was the turning point in Khalistan Movement. In this operation hundreds of militant Sikhs were flushed out of the Golden Temple in Amritsar. These militants had assembled ample amount of armed equipments inside Golden Temple

These Sikh militants were led by Jarnail Singh Bhindarawale and his trusted lieutenant Maj. Gen. Shabeg Singh, who was a former high official of the Indian Army

Operation Blue Star was ordered by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and was led by Lt. Gen. KS Brar. This operation was executed between 3-8 June 1984 and culminated with death of Jarnail Singh Bhindarawale and hundreds of his trusted milita. However, hundreds of Indian Army personnel were too lost in this operation

After this operation two more operations were carried out by the Indian Army to flush out militants from Golden Temple. These operations were christened as Operation Black Thunder I and II

Operation Black Thunder I took place in 1986

Operation Black Thunder II took place in 1988

Punjab remained embroiled in militancy during major part of the decade of 80. In 90s control over militancy was achieved mainly due to severe tactics adopted by the then DGP of Punjab Police JF Rubeiro and later by his successor KPS Gill. By 1990 militancy was much under control

Art and Culture

Punjabi is the main language spoken in Punjab. However, the script of Punjabi language is known as Gurmukhi, which is one of the scheduled languages of Indian Constitution

Guru Angad Dev, the second Guru of Sikh faith is credited to have standardized the Gurumukhi script


Bhangra is the major folk dance form of Punjab and is performed mainly by men

Giddha is another folk dance form of Punjab and is performed by women

Phulkari is a famous handicraft of Punjab in which flowers are hanr-crafted on textile fabrics with a hue of colours and shades. This art probably travelled to Punjab through Iran

Baisakhi is the main festival of Punjab. It is on this day that the Khalsa was raised by Guru Gobing Singh in 1699 AD

Guru Parb or birthday of the first Guru, Guru Nanak is also celebrated with much fan-fare through length and breadth of Punjab. This festival is celebrated on Kartik Purnima

Lohri is also an important festival of state. It is celebrated as a gesture to the residing cold weather and coming season of prosperity (due to harvest time of Rabi crops)

Hola Mohalla is celebrated at the holi Gurudwara city of Anandpur Sahib. This festival was started by Guru Gobind Singh to show the might and prowess of Sikh militia raised by him

Miscellaneous Information

Punjab is one of the most important states as far as agriculture is concerned. It contributes the maximum in India’s food-stock and is therefore often described as ‘Granary of India’

Punjab received the maximum benefit of Green Revolution initiated during late 1960s to make India self-sufficient in food production

Pratap Singh Kairon, the then Chief Minister of Punjab, was instrumental in bringing maximum benefits of Green Revolution to Punjab

Punjab has the second lowest sex ratio among Indian states. The sex ratio according the 2011 Census was 895, which meant there are only 895 female per 1000 males in the state.

Punjab has witnessed a dramatic rise in drug addiction over the past several years. Drug addiction has taken epidemic proportions in the state as robust drug supply channel across the border from Pakistan contribute in spread of drugs. Apart from this sale of synthetic drugs is also significant in the state.

Netaji Shubash National Sports Academy (NSNSA) is situated in Patiala and is the most important sports institutes of the country. It is operated by the Sports Authority of India (SAI)

Guru Ramdas International Airport is situated in Amritsar and is the most important international airport of Punjab

Punjab Cricket Association (PCA)’s cricket stadium at Mohali is one of India’s best cricket stadiums

Ludhiana is the most populous state of Punjab. It is also the most industrialized city of Punjab with cycle, automotive parts, sports goods, woolen and hosiery industry concentrated in the city

Other major cities of Punjab are Amritsar, Jalandhar, Patiala and Bhatinda.

Mohali is a bustling satellite town of Chandigarh


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