|Punjab is the most populous
province of Pakistan, with approximately 56% of the country's
total population.Forming most of the Punjab region, the province
is bordered by Kashmir (Azad Kashmir, Pakistan and Jammu and
Kashmir, India) to the north-east, the Indian states of Punjab
and Rajasthan to the east, the Pakistani province of Sindh to
the south, the province of Balochistan to the southwest, the
province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the west, and the Islamabad
Capital Territory to the north. The Punjab is home to the Punjabis
and various other groups. The main languages are Punjabi and
Saraiki and the dialects of Mewati and Potowari. The name Punjab
derives from the Persian words Panj Five. and Ab (Water), i.e.
(the) Five Waters - referring to five tributaries of the Indus
River from which is also the origin of the name of "India"
- these being Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, that flow
through the larger Punjab.
Punjab is the most developed, most populous, and most prosperous
province of Pakistan.Lahore has traditionally been the capital
of Punjab for a thousand years; it is Punjab's main cultural,
historical, administrative and economic center. Historically,
the Punjab region has been the gateway to the Indian subcontinent
for invaders who came from Greece, Central Asia, Iran and Afghanistan.
Due to its stategic location, it has been part of various empires
and dynasties throughout history, including the Indus Valley
Civilization, Aryans, Kushans, Scythians, Greeks, Persians,
Arabs, Turks, Ghaznavids, Timurids, Mughals, Afghans, Sikhs
and the British.
The Greeks referred to Punjab as Pentapotamia, an inland
delta of five converging rivers. In Avesta, the sacred text
of Zoroastrians, the Punjab region is associated with the
ancient hapta h?ndu or Sapta Sindhu, the Land of Seven Rivers.The
British used to call Punjab "Our Prussia."
History of Punjab
Punjab during Mahabharata times was known as Panchanada. Punjab
was the cradle of the Indus Valley Civilization, more than
4000 years old. The main site of the Indus Valley Civilization
in Punjab was the city of Harrapa. The Indus Valley Civilization
spanned much of what is today Pakistan and eventually evolved
into the Indo-Aryan civilization. The arrival of the Indo-Aryans
led to the flourishing of the Vedic civilization along the
length of the Indus River. This civilization shaped subsequent
cultures in South Asia and Afghanistan. Although the archaeological
site at Harappa was partially damaged in 1857 when engineers
constructing the Lahore-Multan railroad used brick from the
Harappa ruins for track ballast, an abundance of artifacts
have nevertheless been found. Punjab was part of the great
ancient empires including the Gandhara Mahajanapadas, Mauryas,
Kushans and Hindu Shahi. Agriculture flourished and trading
cities (such as Multan and Lahore) grew in wealth. The Aryans
invaded Punjab between 1500 B.C. and 500 B.C.; they called
Punjab Arya-Varta, or the land of Arya. The Rig Vedas are
also supposed to have been written in Punjab.
Due to its location, the Punjab region came under constant
attack and influence from the west. Invaded by the Persians,
Greeks, Kushans, Scythians, Turks, and Afghans, Punjab witnessed
centuries of bitter bloodshed. Its legacy is a unique culture
that combines Zorastrian, Hindu, Buddhist,
Persian, Central Asian,
Islamic, Afghan, Sikh, and British elements. The city of Taxila,
founded by son of Taksh the son Bharat who was the brother
of Ram. It was reputed to house the oldest university in the
world, Takshashila University, one of the
teachers was the great Vedic thinker and politician Chanakya.
Taxila was a great centre of learning and intellectual discussion
during the Maurya Empire. It is a UN World Heritage site,
valued for its archaeological and religious history.
Punjab has been the cradle of civilization since times immemorial.
The ruins of Harappa show an advanced urban culture that flourished
over 8000 years ago. Taxila, another historic landmark also
stands out as a proof of the achievements of the area in learning,
arts and crafts. The ancient Hindu Katasraj temple and the
Salt Range temples are regaining attention and much-needed
The structure of a mosque is simple and it
expresses openness. Calligraphic inscriptions from the Koran
decorate mosques and mausoleums in Punjab. The inscriptions
on bricks and tiles of the mausoleum of Shah Rukn-e-Alam (1320
AD) at Multan are outstanding specimens of architectural calligraphy.
The earliest existing building in South Asia with enamelled
tile-work is the tomb of Shah Yusuf Gardezi (1150 AD) at Multan.
A specimen of the sixteenth century tile-work at Lahore is
the tomb of Sheikh Musa Ahangar, with its brilliant blue dome.
The tile-work of Emperor Shah Jahan is of a richer and more
elaborate nature. The pictured wall of Lahore Fort is the
last line in the tile-work in the entire world.