Punjab State

Introduction :

Punjab 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, Chandigarh to the east, 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. After the partition of India in 1947, the Punjab province of British India was divided between India and Pakistan; the Indian Punjab was further 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 [2], 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[3], 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.

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 km2 which is 1.54 % of country’s total geographical area.

Punjab Geography And Climate :

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.[7] 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. Climate 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.


History Main article:
History of the Punjab:
Maharaja Ranjit Singh the ruler of Punjab ca. 1835-40.
The golden throne of Punjab:
Maharaja Duleep Singh the last Maharaja of Punjab:


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 lived in the west, and many Muslims lived in the east, and so the partition saw many people displaced and much intercommunal violence.[8] 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. Punjab region was united under the Sikh Empire from 1799 to 1849 and remained so until the end of the British rule in India.

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 1 November 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. Some 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 and along with his supporters sought shelter inside the Akal Takht in the Golden Temple premises. Fearing an arrest, 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 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 Sikhs, and many human rights organisations were not allowed in the Punjab at the time.

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.