Greater Punjab





v  Greater Punjab..... Once it was

v  Trauma of bifurcation
v  May be one day
v  Trifurcation now



Greater Punjab ....Once it was


The first known use of the word Punjab is in a book on Sher Shah Suri,which mentions the construction of a fort by "Sher Khan of Punjab". Though the first mention of the Sanskrit equivalent of Punjab , occurs in the great epic, The Mahabharata  ...... as the 'Pancha-nada' 'country of five rivers’.

The Greater Punjab was once the vast territories of eastern Pakistan and north-western India. It included, in its original sense, regions extending from Swat valley and Kabul in the west ,to Delhi in the east... i.e. from the mountain ranges of Afghanistan to the plains of Ganges and up  north  embracing parts of Jammu Kashmir  all the way to Tibet.


Punjab means "Land of the Five Rivers”. It is a region straddling the border between India and Pakistan. The "Five Rivers" are the Beas, the Ravi, the Sutlej, the Chenab and the Jhelum. All are tributaries of the Indus River, the Jhelum being the largest.This historical region of Greater Punjab is considered to be one of the most fertile regions on Earth.

The capital city of undivided Punjab was Lahore. 

Today, three of the rivers run exclusively in Pakistani Punjab. Indian Punjab has the headwaters of the remaining two rivers which eventually drain over into Pakistan.

The people of the Punjab are called Punjabis and their language is also called Punjabi. Punjab has a long history and rich cultural heritage...

The region, populated by Indo-Aryan speaking peoples, has been ruled by many different empires and ethnic groups, including Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Greeks, Persians, Arabs, Turks, Mughals, Afghans, Balochis, Sikhs and British.



The Trauma of Bifurcation

When the rest of India and Pakistan was celebrating the dawn of Independence, Punjab was in turmoil resulted from partition. It was a tragic and traumatic experience for the Punjabis. The partition with its riots and massacres destroyed thousands of lives and tore apart relationships and families.


There are still those, who are of the generation of partition who live to see Punjab’s identity overcome the effects of the religious divide of 1947 and enjoy the fruit of a prosperous and happy Punjab which go beyond the limitation of a geographical map.

Starting with Amrita Pritam, who in the midst of communal rioting in August 1947, evoked the spirit of Waris Shah, the renowned Punjabi bard, with her immortal poem:

Aj aakhan Waris Shah nun kite kabran vichon bol

(Today I ask Waris Shah to speak out from his grave), 

Mohan Singh, the most eminent poet of the day raised an appeal to Guru Nanak. There is agony in his words, a lament in the phrase. In the turmoil and mayhem created by the stampede of religious fanaticism, the message of Guru Nanak give centuries ago was lost:

O Baba tera watan hai veeran ho gaya
Jugaan di saadi sabhta pairin chitad gae
Sadian de saade khoon da nahaan ho gaya.

(O Baba, your land has been devastated.
Our age-old culture is molested under feet.
And our blood of centuries alienated.)

The fight against the religious divide continues in both parts of the Punjab.
Here is a young, not-too-well-known Pakistani poet disagreeing with Iqbal who is said to have conceived the establishment of Pakistan:

Sabh ton pehle main karda han nindya yaro!
Iqbal de is khab di,
Main nahin manda main nahin manda
Wand apne Punjab di.

(Friends! in the first instance I reject,
Iqbal’s misled vision.
I don’t accept, I don’t accept
My dear Punjab’s division.)




May Be One Day

Taking advantage of a small crack that had opened between India and Pakistan, there was a ray of hope, and the pain of Punjab’s partition three generations ago was gradually giving way to extraordinary wave of enthusiasm crossing borders to heal the scars of land and bridge the chasm between people.

 But alas! Terrorism raised its ugly head.

Punjabis—the biggest victims of the Subcontinent’s Partition—are now one in seeking to promote their shared language, culture and heritage.They are dreaming of open borders and reviving the spirit of Punjab, Punjabi, and Punjabiyat,’’ ……… May Be One Day




Then a Trifurcation

Prior to independence, the Punjab extended across both sides of what is now the India-Pakistan border. Lahore was its capital. After independence, Shimla was chosen as the capital of state of Punjab.

Later in the 50s, the first planned city in India, Chandigarh, was built and it became the capital of Punjab.

Politically, then Punjab was torn into two between Pakistan and India in the partition of British India in 1947 .Pakistan was awarded 62% of the Punjab India was awarded the remaining 38% of the Punjab

In 1966, India's portion of the Punjab was again divided into three areas: Punjab, Haryana, and Himchal Pradesh .The northwest sections became the state of Punjab, the southeast area became the state of Haryana, and the hilly regions in the northeast went to the state of Himachal Pradesh.