The History of the
Punjab concerns the history of the
the Northern area of the
Indian Subcontinent between the modern day
India and Pakistan. Historically known as Saptasindhu, or
the land of seven rivers, the name
Punjab was given by later Islamic
Punjab was the primary geographical extant of the
Indus Valley Civilization, which was notable for advanced technologies
and amneties that the people of the region had used. Ancient Punjab
was historically a
Hindu region, divided into various
Janapadas——or city states——and was known for its high activity
of scholarship, technology, and arts. Intermittent wars between
various small and large Janapadas was characteristic of this time,
except in times of temporary unification under centralized Empires.
After the arrival of Islamic invaders that had managed to rule
throughout a long period of the country's history, much of the Western
Punjab had became a center of
Islamic culture in South Asia. An
Sikh rule under the Mahraja Ranjit Singh and his Sikh
Empire had saw a brief resurfacement of traditional culture, until the
British had annexed the region into their larger British Empire. After
the British had left, the region was partitioned into a Hindu-Sikh
majority area that would go to the secular state of India, and a
Muslim majority area that would go to the Islamic state of Pakistan.
1 Vedic Era
Indus Valley Civilisation
1.2 Vedic Descriptions
2 Mauryan Era (c.356B.C -c.180B.C)
2.1 Alexander's invasion
2.2 Maurya Empire
3 Golden Age(c.320-c.1001)
3.1 Gupta Empire
3.2 Empire of Harsha
4 Islamic Invasions (1001-1761)
4.1 Early Islamic Invasions
4.3 Mughal Empire
4.4 Durranis and Marathas
Sikh Rule (1799-1849)
British Raj (1849-1947)
7 Modern Day
8 See also
11 Further reading
12 External links
Indus Valley Civilisation
Indus Valley Civilisation
Punjab in ancient times was known as the Sapt-Sindhava, or land of the
seven rivers. The name
Punjab was given by later Islamic invaders. The
aforementioned seven rivers were the Vitsta and Vitamasa (Jhelum),
Asikni (Chenab), Parusni and Iravati (Ravi), Vipasa (Beas), and the
Satudri (Sutlej). It is believed by most scholars that the earliest
trace of human inhabitation in
India traces to the Soan valley between
Indus and the Jhelum rivers. This period goes back to the first
inter-glacial period in the Second Ice Age, and remnants of stone and
flint tools have been found.
Punjab and the surrounding areas are the location of the ruins of the
Indus Valley Civilization. There are ruins of cities, thousands of
years old, found in these areas with the most notable of which being
those of Harappan and Mohenjo-Daro. Besides the aforementioned sites,
hundreds of Ancient
Indus Valley settlements have been found
throughout the region spanning an area of about a hundred miles. These
ancient towns and cities had advanced features such as city-planning,
brick-built houses, sewage and draining systems, as well as public
baths. The people of the
Indus Valley also developed a writing system,
that has to this day still not been fully deciphered.
The ruins of an old city at Mohenjo-daro ca. 2600-1500 BCE.
Literary evidence from the Vedic era suggests a transition from early
small janas, or tribes, to many Janapadas (territorial civilizations)
and gana-samgha societies. The gana samgha soceties are loosely
translated to being oligarchies or republics. These political entities
were represented from the Rig Veda to the Astadhyayi by Panini.
Archeologically, the time span of these entities corresponds to phases
also present in the Indo-Gangetic divide and the upper Gangetic
Some of the early Janas of the Rigveda can be strongly attributed to
the Punjab. Although their distribution patterns are not
satisfactorily ascertinable, they are associated with the Porusni,
Asikni, Satudri, Vipas, and Saraswati. The rivers of the
corresponded to the eastern Janapadas.
Rigvedic Janas such as the
Druhyus, Anus, Purus, Yadus, Turvasas, Bharatas, and others were
Punjab and the Indo-Gangetic plain. Other Rig Vedic
Janapadas such as the Pakhthas, Bhalanasas, Visanins, and Sivas were
associated with areas in the North and West of the Punjab.
A map of
India during the Vedic period, including the
An important event of the
Rigvedic era was the "Battle of Ten Kings"
which was fought on the banks of the river Parusni (identified with
the present-day river Ravi) between king Sudas of the Trtsu lineage of
the Bharata clan on the one hand and a confederation of ten tribes on
the other. The ten tribes pitted against King Sudas comprised five
major tribes: the Purus, the Druhyus, the Anus, the Turvasas and the
Yadus ; in addition to five minor ones;the Pakthas, the Alinas,
the Bhalanas, the Visanins and the Sivas. King Sudas was supported by
Rishi Vasishtha, while his former Purohita the Rishi
Viswamitra sided with the confederation of ten tribes. King Sudas
had earlier defeated Samvaran and ousted him from Hastinapur. It was
only after the death of Sudas that Samvaran could return to his
A second battle, referred to as the Mahabharat in ancient texts, was
fought in the
Punjab in a battlfield known as Kurukshetra. The battle
was fought between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. Duryodhana, a
descendant of Kuru (who was the son of king Samvaran), had tired to
insult the Panchali princess Draupadi in revenge for defeating his
Many Janapadas were mentioned from vedic texts and are confirmed by
Ancient Greek historical sources. Most of the Janapadas that had
exerted large territorial influence, or Mahajanapadas, had been raised
in the Indo-Gangetic plain with the exception of Gandhara in
modern-day Afghanistan. There was a large level of contact between all
the Janapadas of ancient
India with descriptions being given of
trading caravans, movement of students from universities, and
itineraries of Princes.
Punjab was also a center of learning for Ancient India,
and aside from a great many ashrams, it had featured many Universities
. The most notable of which being the University at Taxila (also
referred to as Takhsh-Shila), which was dedicated to the study of the
'three Vedas and 18 branches of knowledge'. In its heyday, the
University had attracted students from all over
India as well as those
from surrounding countries.
Mauryan Era (c.356B.C -c.180B.C)
Mauryan Empire around 265 BCE. Prior to Alexander's invasion, much
of the region was ruled by the
Mahajanapada of the
Nanda Empire as
well as other smaller Janapadas.
After overrunning the Achaemenid Empire, Alexander turned his sights
to India. This was the first time Alexander moved beyond the limits of
the Persian Empire. Alexander sent heralds ahead to the native rulers
on the west side of the
Indus and divided his army into two. One wing
led by himself, and the other led by Hephastion. Alexander took his
troops and razed several cities, fought a battle at Massaka which
turned into a massacre, and conducted the battle at Aornos rock.
Somewhere in this region, Alexander visited a city called Nysa which
was in legend founded by a God.
After crossing the Indus, Alexander was welcomed by the native ruler
of Takshashila, known to the Greeks as Taxila, and other allies.
Onesikritos was sent to interview the native ascetics about their way
of life, but the conversation was rumored to be difficult as the
Greeks had to use three different levels of interpreters. Alexander
was nevertheless impressed enough to bring an Indian philosopher whom
the Greeks called Kalanos. Another Indian philosopher was asked as
well, but had refused to come. When Alexander had reached Malloi and
Oxydrakai in 325 B.C, the people had claimed that they always lived
freely, directly contradicting with Persian accounts of rule over the
region. After this, Alexander's first opponent was the Raja Porus.
Taxiles were longtime enemies, and the latter saw
Alexander's arrival as a way to settle old scores.
Porus and Alexander had fought a battle on the Hydaspes. This was the
last major battle of Alexander's campaign. The armies had met in June,
when the monsoon had begun, and it was the first time Alexander and
his troops had encountered Elephants in battle. After the defeat of
Porus in Greek sources, most armies that he had encountered had came
to submit, with very few refusing to do so such as the people of
Sangala who were massacred.
Supposedly after the disheartened and homesick attitude of his troops,
Alexander had returned home through Malois. On his return,
Alexander had conquered many resisting Indian janas and janapadas, and
those who had refused were killed. Many Brahmans were noted to be
executed by Alexander, much to the shock of the Indians. After his
return, Alexander had made little effort in order to retain much of
the land he had conquered.
Main article: Maurya Empire
Chandragupta Maurya, with the aid of Kautilya, had established his
empire around 320 B.C. The early life of Chandragupta Maurya is not
clear. Kautilya took a young Chandragupta to the University at Taxila
and enrolled him in order to educate him in the arts, sciences, logic,
mathematics, warfare, and administration. With the help of the small
Punjab and Sindh, he had went on to conquer much of the
North West. He then defeated the Nanda rulers in Pataliputra to
capture the throne. Chandragupta Maurya fought Alexander's successor
in the east, Seleucus, when the latter invaded. In a peace treaty,
Seleucus ceded all territories west of the
Indus and offered a
marriage, including a portion of Bactria, while Chandragupta granted
Seleucus 500 elephants.
Chandragupta's rule was a very well organized one. The Mauryans had an
autocratic and centralized administration system, aided by a council
of ministers; the Empire also had a well established espionage system
for his rule. Much of Chandragupta's success is attributed to
Chanakya, the author of the Arthashastra. Much of the Mauryan rule had
a strong bureaucracy that had regulated tax collection, trade and
commerce, industrial activities, mining, statistics and data,
maintenance of public places, and upkeep of temples. Mauryan rule
was advanced for its time, and foreign accounts of Indian cities
mention many temples, libraries, universities, gardens, and parks. A
notable account was that of the Greek ambassador Megasthenes who had
visited the Mauryan capital of Pataliputra.
The assassination of the last Mauryan Emperor by the general
Pushyamitra did not end in the break up of Mauryan rule entirely. Some
of the eastern provinces, such as that of Kalinga, were quick to
Punjab and much of the Indo-Gangetic plain were
still under the hold of Pushyamitra's Empire as well as under the
subsequent smaller offshoots that had asserted its claim over the
Gupta Empire at its maximum extent. The
Gupta Empire ruled during
a period known as India's Golden age.
Main article: Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire's origins are believved to be from local Rajas as
only the father and grandfather of Chandra Gupta are mentioned in
inscriptions. Chandra Gupta's reign was an unsetted one, but under his
son Samudra Gupta, the Empire reached supremacy over
similar to the proportions that the
Maurya Empire had excercised
before. Various records exist of Samudra Gupta's conquest, showing
that nearly all of North
India and a portion of Southern
been under Gupta rule. The Empire was organized along the lines of
provinces, frontier feudatories, and subordinate kings of vassal
states that had sworn fealty to the Empire. In the case of Punjab, the
local Janapadas were semi-Independent but were expected to obey orders
and pay homage to the Empire.  Samudra Gupta was regarded as a
patron of the arts and humanities. Inscriptions give evidence to the
Raja not only being a learned man, but one fond of the company of
poets and writers; one type of coinage even shows him playing on the
Samudra Gupta was succeeded by his son Rama Gupta in whose time the
Scythians, known as the Sakas, had begin to be recognized as a threat.
Rama Gupta had attempted to pay off the Sakas, but this had cost him
his throne. Usurped by Chandra Gupta II, the new Emperor had begun to
consoldiate the power of the Empire where traces of disruption had
presented himself. Chandra Gupta II had went on to defeat the
Sakas, earning him the name 'Sakari Chandra Gupta'. By this time the
Empire still ruled over much of North India, but the authority on the
South had seemed to lapse.  Although the main acheivement for
which Chandra Gupta II will be known for is the victory over invaders,
the ruler was described as devoted to the arts of peace. Chandra Gupta
II was an ardent worshipper of Vishnu, and was a patron of the revival
of Puranic Hinduism——a movement that had revived and redefined
Hinduism——displacing much of Buddhist influence within the period
of a century. Under the Gupta court at this time the arts, sciences,
and literature had flourished. 
The two hundred years of Gupta rule are said to be the climax of Hindu
Imperial tradition. From the context of literature, art, religion,
science, commerce, and architecture, the period under Gupta rule had
prospered. The Mauryan Bureacracy, already converted to caste, had
functioned with impartial loyalty throughout the Empire and
surrounding areas. The Empire was organized in similar lines to that
of the Mauryan Empire, and had a system of viceroys, governors,
administrators, and ministers. Seals of police chiefs, military
suppliers, and chief justices give further insight into the
administration of the Guptas. The
Gupta Empire was also known for
its art and architecture, characterized by the reduction of the
foreign influence of the Greeks and Kushans, and re-assertion of Hindu
art. The Gupta period was also the classical age of Sanskrit
literature. Much of the original ancient
Hindu texts from before the
Gupta Empire are lost, but the current iterations of Sanskrit works
such as that of the Mahabharata and Bhagvad Gita are from the editions
of this time.  The complete re-writing of the
Hindu texts raised
the question of why the writers of the period would do this. A
historian claims that this was due to the foreign influence that was
present due to previous invaders, and a re-writing was required for
the re-assertion of the original ideals. Another feature of the
Gupta rule was the development of Indian science. The early
development of the decimal system with respect to zero, the
heliocentric model, accurate calculations of the duration of a day,
reasons behind eclipses, and advances in the natural sciences were all
achivements from this period. Major scholars from this time included
Aryabhata and Varahamhira. 
The White Huns, who initially were part of the predominantly Buddhist
Hephthalite group, established themselves in
Afghanistan by the first
half of the 5th century, with their capital at Bamiyan. The Huns
Gupta Empire under Kumara Gupta (r.415-455). Kumara Gupta
had just earlier defeated several revolts from the Pushyamitras, a
tribe of central India. After the death of Kumaragupta in 467, the
Huns renewed their attacks and managed to invade border provinces
around this time. Kumara Gupta's son Skanda Gupta had managed to
defeat further Hun invasions. Skanda Gupta managed to defeat the Huns
in such a manner that they were fully routed; the consequences of the
Gupta victory over the Huns were far reaching, leading a historian to
believe that this was likely the reason for the Hun invasions further
West. After the death of Skanda Gupta, the Empire suffered from
various wars of succession. The last major Gupta King was Buddha
Gupta; after him, the Empire had split into various branches across
India. Nevertheless, by the sixth century, the Huns had established
themselves and Toramana and his son Mihirakula, who has been described
to be a Saivite Hindu, had ruled over the approximate areas of Punjab,
Rajputana, and Kashmir. Several accounts, including those by Chinese
pilgrims, make reference to the cruelty of the Huns. There had been
several alliances throughout this time that had checked the advance of
the Huns, but it was not until 533-534 that Raja Yashovarman of
Mandasor firmly defeated them.
Empire of Harsha
Main article: Harsha
After the disintegration of the Gupta Empire, Northern
India was ruled
by several independent kingdoms which carried on the traditions of the
Gupta Empire within their own territories. Harshavardhana,
commonly called Harsha, was an Indian emperor who ruled northern India
from 606 to 647 from his capital Kanauj.Harsha's grandfather was
Adityavardhana, a feuduatory ruler of Thanesvar in the eastern Punjab.
Under his son Prabhakarvardhana, the dynasty emerged as a major state
which was constantly at odds with the Huns and the nearby rulers of
Harsha was his newphew, and seeked to conquer all of the
country; at the height of his power his kingdom spanned the entirety
of Northern India.
Harsha was defeated by the south Indian Emperor
Pulakeshin II of the
Chalukya dynasty when
Harsha tried to expand his
Empire into southern peninsular of India.
Islamic Invasions (1001-1761)
Early Islamic Invasions
Arab armies had earlier tried to penetrate deep into South Asia but
were defeated by the South Indian Emperor
Vikramaditya II of the
Chalukya dynasty, South Indian general Dantidurga of the Rashtrakuta
dynasty in Gujarat, and by Nagabhata of the
Pratihara Dynasty in Malwa
in the early 8th century. Despite repeated campaigns, in
698 and 700, Arabs also failed to occupy the Kandahar-Ghazni-Kabul
route to the Khyber Pass. Two small
Hindu states of Zabul and Kabul in
Afghanistan stubbornly defended this strategic area between
the river Sindh and Koh
A Brahmin dynasty, more commonly known as the
Hindu Shahis, was ruling
from Kabul and later Waihind, another Brahmin dynasty ruled in
Punjab. During this period a Turkic kingdom was established Ghazni
and Sabuktagin ascended its throne in 977. The kingdom had rapidly
conquered nearby kingdoms, and also conquered the Shahi capital of
Kabul. Alarmed by the rapid expansion of the Ghaznavids, Jayapala
twice attacked Sabuktagin but failed in his objective. Gradually,
Sabuktagin conquered all Shahi territories in Afghanistan, north of
the Khyber Pass. He died in 997 and was succeeded by his son Mahmud
after a brief war of succession among the brothers. 
Bhima Deva Shahi was the fourth king of the
Hindu Kabul Shahis. As a
devout Brahmin, in his old age, he committed ritual suicide in his
capital town of Waihind, located on the right side of river Sindh,
fourteen miles above Attock. As Bhimadeva had no male heir,
Jayapala succeeded the Shahi throne, which had included areas spanning
Punjab to Kabul in Afghanistan.
Jayapala was defeated at
Peshawar by Mahmud of Ghazni and the Shahis lost all territory north
of river Sindh. Anandapala and Trilochanapala, his son and
grandson respectively, resisted Mahmud for another quarter of a
Punjab was finally annexed to the
Sultanate of Ghazni,
Muslim attacks, many Punjabi scholars of Sanskrit had fled
to schools and universities in Benares and Kashmir, which were at the
time unaffected from Islamic invasion. Al Biruni wrote: "Hindu
sciences have fled far away from those parts of the country that have
been conquered by us, and fled to places which our hand cannot yet
reach, to Kashmir, to Benares, and other places." These places were
later to face the same depredations.
Main articles: Muhammad Ghori,
Delhi Sultanate, and Timurid Dynasty
Delhi Sultanates were a series of
Muslim sultanates based in Delhi
that had encompassed large areas of the
Indian subcontinent between
1206 to 1526. The dynasties that ruled the
Delhi sultanate in
order are: the
Mamluk dynasty (1206–90), the Khalji dynasty
Tughlaq dynasty (1320–1414), the Sayyid
dynasty (1414–51), and the
Lodi dynasty (1451–1526).The Sultanate
had successfully repelled an attack by the Mongols, and enthroned
one of the few female rulers in Islamic history, Razia Sultana, who
reigned from 1236 to 1240.
Qutb al-Din Aibak, a former
Mamluk slave of Muhammad Ghori, was the
first sultan of Delhi, and his
Mamluk dynasty conquered large areas of
Northern India. Afterwards, the
Khalji dynasty was also able to
conquer most of central India, but both failed to conquer the whole of
the Indian subcontinent. The sultanate reached the peak during the
Tughlaq dynasty, occupying most of the Indian subcontinent. This
was followed by decline due to
Hindu reconquests, states such as the
Vijayanagara Empire asserting independence, and new
such as the
Bengal Sultanate breaking off. The
was known for large-scale demolitions of
Hindu temples and other
institutions, as well as forced conversions.
Main article: Mughal Empire
Lahore Fort is one of the most famous landmarks left behind from
In 1526, Babur, a Timurid descendant of
Timur and Genghis Khan from
Fergana Valley (modern-day Uzbekistan) was ousted from his
ancestral domain in Central Asia. Bābur turned to India, and crossed
the Khyber Pass. From his base in Afghanistan, he was able to
secure control of the Punjab, and in 1526 he decisively defated the
forces of the
Delhi sultan Ibrāhīm Lodī at the First Battle of
Panipat. The next year, he defeated the Rajput confederacy under Rana
Sanga of Mewar, and in 1529 defeated the remnants of the Delhi
sultanates. At his death in 1530 the
Mughal Empire encompassed almost
all of Northern India.
Bābur’s son Humāyūn (reigned 1530–40 and 1555–56) had lost
territory to rebels, but Humāyūn’s son Akbar (reigned 1556–1605)
Hindu king Hemu at the Second Battle of Panipat (1556)
and reestablished Mughal rule. Akbar's son
Jahangir had furthered the
size of the
Mughal Empire through conquest, yet left much of the state
bankrupt as a result. Akbar's son
Shah Jahan (reigned 1628-1658) was
known for his monuments, including the Taj Mahal. Shah Jahan's son
Aurangzeb was especially known for his religious intolerance, and was
known for his destruction of schools and temples which he saw as
unislamic. In addition to the murder of a
Sikh Guru, Aurangzeb had
instilled heavy taxes on
Sikhs that had later led to an
During the reign of Muḥammad Shah (1719–48), the empire began to
decline, accelerated by warfare and rivalries, and. After the death of
Muḥammad Shah in 1748, the Marathas attacked and ruled almost all of
northern India. Mughal rule was reduced to only a small area around
Delhi, which passed under Maratha (1785) and then British (1803)
control. The last Mughal, Bahādur Shah II (reigned 1837–57), was
exiled to Burma by the British.
Durranis and Marathas
Main articles: Durrani Empire, Maratha conquest of North-west India,
Sikh holocaust of 1762
In 1747, the Durrani kingdom was established by the Pakhtun general,
Ahmad Shah Abdali, and included Balochistan, Peshawar, Daman, Multan,
Sindh, and Punjab. The first time Ahmad Shah invaded Hindustan, the
Mughal imperial army checked his advance successfully. Yet subsequent
events led to a double alliance, one by marriage and another
politically, between the Afghan King and the Mughal Emperor. The
battle of Panipat was the effect of this political alliance. After the
victory of Panipat, Ahmad Shah Durrani became the primary ruler over
Northern India. The influence of Durrani monarch continued in Northern
India up to his death.
In 1757, the
Sikhs were persistently ambushing guards to loot trains.
In order to send a message, and prevent such occurrences from
recurring, Ahmad Shah destroyed the Harminder Sahib and filled the
pool with cow carcasses.
In 1758 the Maratha Empire's general
Raghunathrao attacked and
Attock driving out
Timur Shah Durrani, the son
and viceroy of Ahmad Shah Abdali, in the process. Lahore, Multan,
Kashmir and other subahs on the eastern side of
Attock were under
Maratha rule. In
Punjab and Kashmir, the Marathas were now major
players. In 1761, following the victory at the Third battle of
Panipat between the Durrani and the Maratha Empire, Ahmad Shah Abdali
captured remnants of the
Maratha Empire in
and had consolidated control over them.
In 1762, there were persistent conflicts with the Sikhs. The rebuilt
Harminder Sahib was destroyed, and the pool was filled with cow
entrails, again. This time the conflict was a lot more significant, as
it resulted in the death of 25,000-30,000 Sikhs.
Sikh Rule (1799-1849)
Ranjit Singh's Empire encompassed much of the
Sikh religion began around the time of the conquest of Northern
Babur Shah, the founder of the Mughal Empire. The later
Muslim Emperor Jahangir, however, saw the
Sikhs as a political threat.
Guru Arjun Dev
Guru Arjun Dev to be put to death after he had refused to
change the passage about
Islam in the Adi Granth. When the Guru
Jahangir ordered him to be put to death by torture. Guru
Arjan Dev's death led to the sixth Guru
Guru Hargobind to declare
sovreignty in the creation of the
Akal Takht and the establishment of
a fort to defend Amritsar.
Jahangir then jailed
Guru Hargobind at
Gwalior, but released him after a number of years when he no longer
felt threatened. The succeeding son of Jahangir, Shah Jahan, took
offence at Guru Hargobind's declaration and after a series of assaults
on Amritsar, forced the
Sikhs to retreat to the Sivalik Hills. The
ninth Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur, moved the
Sikh community to Anandpur
and travelled extensively to visit and preach in defiance of
Aurangzeb, who attempted to install Ram Rai as new guru. Guru Tegh
Kashmiri Pandits in avoiding conversion to
Islam and was
arrested by Aurangzeb. When offered a choice between conversion to
Islam and death, he chose to die rather than compromise his principles
and was executed.
Guru Gobind Singh
Guru Gobind Singh assumed the guruship in 1675
and established the Khalsa, a collective army of baptised Sikhs, on 30
March 1699. The establishment of the
Khalsa united the
against various Mughal-backed claimants to the guruship.
Banda Singh Bahadur (also known as Lachman Das, Lachman Dev and Madho
Das), (1670–1716) met
Guru Gobind Singh
Guru Gobind Singh at Nanded and adopted the
Sikh religion. A short time before his death, Guru Gobind Singh
ordered him to conquer the
Punjab and gave him a letter that commanded
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
peasants. During the rebellion, Banda Singh Bahadur made it a
point to destroy the cities in which the Muslims had been cruel to the
supporters of Guru Gobind Singh. He executed Wazir Khan in revenge for
the deaths of Guru Gobind Singh's sons after the
Sikh victory at
Sirhind. 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.
In 1716, he was defated by the Mughals at his fort at Gurdas Nangal.
The captured sikhs were beheaded, their heads stuffed with hay,
mounted on spears and carried on a procession to
Delhi en route to the
Qutb Minar. Banda Singh was told to dismount, as the Muslims placed
his child in his arms and bade him to kill it. The child was ripped
open and fed to him, as the Muslims had dismembered his limbs after
refusing to convert to Islam.
In 1799, a process to unify the
Punjab was started by Ranjit Singh.
Training his army under the style of the East
India Company, it was
able to conquer much of the
Punjab and surrounding areas. The use of
the suzrein-vassal polity as established by previous rulers had been
instrumental in establishing the political control of the Sikhs.
During this time, there was an increase in the population of
well. In towns and cities, there was an increase in the population of
urban Sikhs, while the same happened with an increase in rural Sikhs.
This had also likely led to some of the idealogical differences
Sikhs around this time.
The invasions of the
Muslim Zaman Shah, the second successor Ahmad
Shah Abdali had served as a catalyst. After the first invasion, Singh
had recovered his own fort at Rohtas. During the second invasion, he
had emerged as a leading
Sikh chief. After the third invasion, he had
decisively defated Zamah Shah. This had eventually led to the takeover
Lahore in 1799. In 1809, Singh signed the Treaty of
the British; in this treaty, Singh was recognized as the sole ruler of
Punjab by the British and was given freedom to fight against the
Muslims of surrounding areas.
Within ten years of Ranjit Singh's death in 1839, the Empire was taken
over by the British who had already more or less exerted indirect or
direct influence throughout the Subcontinent. At Lahore, there were
increasing levels of nobles vying for power. A growing instability,
allowed the British to come in and takeover control of the area. After
the British victories at the battles of the Sutlej in 1845-46, the
army and territory of the boy Raja Duleep Singh was cut down. Lahore
was garrisoned by British troops, and given a resident in the Durbar.
In 1849, the British had formally taken control.
British Raj (1849-1947)
The British Brigadier-General R.E.H Dyer fired upon protesters at
Jallianwalla Bagh in 1919, killing between 300-1000 people.The act
served to rally the Indian Independence movement.
Punjab Province (British India)
Punjab ruled under the British was larger than that under Ranjit
Singh. The colonial rule of
Punjab had instated a system of
bureaucracy and measure of law. Replacing the 'paternal' system of
ruling was replaced by 'machine rule' with a system of laws, codes,
and procedures. For purposes of control, the British established new
forms of communication and transportation. These included post
systems, railways, roads, and telegraphs. Irrigation projects between
1860 and 1920 brought 10 million acres of land under cultivation.
Despite these developments, colonial rule was marked by exploitation
of resources. For the purpose of exports, the majority of external
trade was controlled by British export banks. The Imperial government
excercised control over the finances of the
Punjab and took the
majority of the income for itself.
To the agrarian and commercial class was added a professional middle
class that had risen the social ladder through the use of the English
education, which opened up new professions in law, government, and
By the 1870's there had been communities of Muslims of the Wahabi
sect, drawn from the lower classes, that intended to use jihad to get
rid of the non-Muslims by force. A highlight of religious controversy
during this time was that of the Ahmaddiya movement. Mirza Gulam Ahmad
in his Burahin-i-Ahmaddiya which was meant to rejuvanate
Islam on the
basis of the Quran, had attempted to refute both Christian
Hindus and Sikhs. In another work, Ahmad argued that
Guru Nanak was a Muslim. He interpreted Jihad as a peaceful method,
and declared himself to be the Messiah. This was met with significant
controversy. In the first and second decades of the early 20th
century, the idea of
Muslim separation had become an active
political tone. Muslims were told to remain aloof of the Indian
National Congress, the main body seeking Indian Independence, because
there was a general fear that representation based on elections and
employment based upon competition was not in their interest. The All
Muslim League's demand for separate electorates for Muslims was
Amritsar in 1909. The
Muslim league also demanded separate
electorates in every province, even in those without
populations, which was also granted by the Indian National Congress in
An important event of the
British Raj in
Punjab was the Jallianwala
Bagh Massacre of 1919. The British brigadier-general R.E.H Dyer
marched fity riflemen of the 1/9th Gurkhas, 54th Sikhs, and 59th Sikhs
into the Bagh and ordered them to open fire into the crowd that had
collected there. The official number of deaths given by the British
was given as 379 people dead, but there are reported to be greater
than a 1000 killed. There had been many Indian Independence
Punjab at the time as well. Notably, the actions of
Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru on the 17th of December, 1928 in
which the trio were responsible for killing J.P Saunders in revenge
for the latter's murder of Lala Lajpati Rai. They were also
responsible for the bombing of the Legislative Assembly in
the 8th of April in 1929. The three believed that the nonviolent
movement was a failure. Nevertheless, the use of violence in the
Indian Independence movement became unpopular after the execution of
the trio on the 23 of March in 1932.
The retreat ceremony at the India-
International Border near
Wagah, in Punjab
Punjab (India) and
In 1947, the
Punjab Province of British
India was divided along
religious lines into West
Punjab and East Punjab. The western part was
assimilated into new country of
Pakistan while the east stayed in
India. This led to riots. The
Partition of India
Partition of India in 1947 split the
former Raj province of Punjab; the mostly
Muslim western part became
the Pakistani province of West
Punjab and the mostly
Sikh and Hindu
eastern part became the Indian province of Punjab. Many
Hindus lived in the west, and many Muslims lived in the east, and so
partition saw many people displaced and much intercommunal violence.
Several small Punjabi princely states, including Patiala, also became
part of India. The undivided Punjab, of which
Punjab (Pakistan) forms
a major region today, was home to a large minority population of
Hindus unto 1947 apart from the
Backed and trained by the Pakistani Inter-Services-Intelligence
starting from the 1970's, a small minority of
Sikhs called for the
creation of a state known as Khalistan, along the lines of Pakistan.
This had led to the state of emergency given by Indira Gandhi, who had
called in Indian troops to stop the militants who were in the Golden
Temple and held it hostage. Terrorist attacks targeted members of
Sikh majority that wished to stay with India, and opposed the
creation of Khalistan. The extremists continued to carry out attacks,
including placing a bomb in an Air
India flight over the Atlantic
Ocean, killing more than 300 people. Other terrorist attacks had
continued, notably against the
Punjab police and others, in which more
Sikhs were killed than other groups. Most of the
separatist movements were based in Pakistan, and these were under
close watch by the Indian government. In addition, much of the funding
for fringe group had come from expatriate sources abroad in America
History of Sindh
History of India
History of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
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