Punjab Public Service Commission
Special Material For Punjab Public
Service Commission (PPSC) Pre Exam, 2012
Topic : Geographical Outline of Punjabi
The name and frontiers of Punjab have been changing from time
to time. The geographical situation of an area has a deep impact on its culture,
covering its language, way of living, dresses, occupation, folk religion and
folk-literature etc. This impact is discernible in the case of Punjab also. The
geographical outline of Punjab can be discussed as under: The Names of
Punjab-Punjab has been called by different names in different periods. In
Rigveda word Sapt Sindhu has been used for this province. This name resembles
Hapt Hindu of the Iranis the epitaph on the grave of the Iranian king. First
includes this province in the list of those who paid taxes to the Iranian
empire. Punjab has been called 'Panchnad' in Sanskrit. This name nds mention
in Mahabharata, Agni Puran and Brahman Purans. In the seventh century the
Chinese traveller Hieuntsang has mentioned the name
of Sapt Sindhu in his travellogue. For the rst time word 'Punjab' was used in a
poetic way Ain-e-Akbari though does not mention 'Punjab', yet words like 'Suba
Multan' and 'Suba Lahore' have been used to denote this
During the British-rule-According to the administrative
report of 1849-52, Punjab was divided into two parts-
The areas across satlej.
The areas to this side of Satlej.
The Boundaries of Punjab- The frontiers of Punjab have
never been always the same. They have been changing from time-to-time and even
its name has been changing. About the boundaries of Punjab Dr. Sohinder Singh
Bedi writes that the geographical boundaries of Punjab have never been the same.
They have been expanding and contracting with the political upheavals. During
Vedic era it was called Sapt Sindhu. At that time river
saraswati towards the east and Sindh towards the west were its boundaries. Since
ve more rivers Satluj, Beas, Ravi, Chenab and Jehlum owed in between, this
land of seven rivers was called Sapt Sindhu. In Jend-Avesta, the scripture of
the Parsis, word 'Hapt Hindu' has been used. Similar views have been expressed
by Omprakash Gaso. He writes that the culture of Punjab is proportionate to its
geographical variety and its turmoiled life. The geographical composition of
Punjab has undergone many changes. In this process the Eastern region of Sindhu
river was divided in to several parts many times and became uni ed again and
again, passing through such geographical and political chain of events the
culture of Punjab has acquired its present shape. The geographical aspect of
Punjab had its impact on its literature also. So much so that there is a
difference in the literature written in different parts of Punjab. It requires
an intellectual insight to understand this factor.
Dear Candidate, This Material is from Punjab PSC Study Kit. For Details
In Pre-Vedic Times-A study of the 'Nadi Sukte' of Rigveda
makes one understand that prior to vedic era Punjab was divided into two parts -
1.The Eastern Province of Indus river - Seven rivers owed
in this region. According to the sutra 10/75/5 of Rigveda these rivers were
Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Satudiri, Prushini, Ashikni and Susoma.
2. Metamorphosed Province of Indus River- This region had in
it seven big and small rivers owing viz. Tiri Sadama, Susrut, Rasha, Sweti,
Rubha, Gomti and Varun. Both these regions jointly formed Sapt Sindhu. This name
remained popular in Vedic Period also. In Vedic era -During Vedic era Punjab was
called Sapt Sindhu. Sapt Sindhu was divided into three parts: (a) Upper region
of Saraswati river, (b) Lower region of Saraswati
and (c) Kashmir (hilly terrain). In Puranic Age - According to Om Prakash Gaso,
the hilly region of Sindh was known as Gandhar. Some scholars consider modern
Kandhar as the Apbhransh form of Gandhan Eastern region of Indusriver is
sometimes divided into different Janpads also. When these boundary lines
disappeared, this region became Saraswat region. When the Aryans deserted Sapt
Sindhu, it came to be known as Vahlik. This name became 'Vahike' in Apbhransh.
The Eastern province was also called 'Malechhe' by the metamorphosed region
people and the language of this area was called malechh language, (word Malechh
is composed of
two word mal(bad) = Ichha(Wish, desire.) In this very series, it is mentioned
somewhere else that shaks are known as suryavanshiKhatris. Eastern
province on the bank of Sinuhu (Indus) became popular as 'Bahlik'. According to
Mahabharat the intervening regions of rivers Chenab, Jehlum, Ravi, Satlej and
Beas were known as Bahlik. Some historians have called it'Brahmvart' also. Agni
Puran and Mahabharata- Agni puran and Mahabharata mention Punjab as 'Panchnad'.
These writings reveal that Janpads like Sindhu, Sauvir, Kaikya, Madra, Usiner,
Trigat, Odumvar etc. were a part of this region. Om Prakash Gasso has described
these-) anpads as under -
1.Madra- It was the Northren Part of old vahik province.
Sialkot has been called its capital. During panini's period Madra Janpad
was divided in to two parts. East Madra and West Madra. The old name of Sialkot
2.Kaikya- The name of modern west Punjab, Jehlum, Shahpur,
Gujarat and Rawalpindi is Kaikya. Its existence spreads from Ramayana period to
3.Sindhu- In post-vedic literature word 'sindhu' has been
indicative of river also. Modern Gurdaspur was ruled by Udamvara.
Patanjali has mentioned Udamavara river also.
4.Trigat- Ravi, Beas and Satlej were called Trigat. Its very
old name used to be Jalandhar also. Trigat province had plains also known
as 'PrasthaP in Sanskrit. Plain area is called Prashthal in Sanskrit.
5. Sarswat- Yodhej Zanjibar Bahawalpur, Jangal Pradesh
Kaurava Malwa Bhati, Shivalik, Paishach, Malechh Desh, Tapan Teerath,
Kashmir, Jammu Shivalik and umbtion etc. were also the regions of sapt sindhu.
6. Malwa- It is said that Bikramaditya was the king of
Ujjain and his regime spread upto Malwagan, Ferozepur, Bathinda.
7. Majha- As per a quotation of Mahabharata the Eastern part
of Sindhu had three parts : Sindhu, Sauvir and Mada. A scholar describes Sauvir
as today's Bahawalpur and Multan division and Lahore and Amritsar as Majha.
According to him today's'Majha' is an Apbhransh from of' Madra' only. In the
times of King Harsha- During the time of king Harsha, Baan Bhatt wrote 'Harsh
Charitra'. He makes mention of the land, irrigation means of his empire in his
book but does not show the area. According to him, this country was very green,
there were tanks and ponds for irrigation.The farmers were very sturdy and
the boys were shepherds. In Seventh and Eighth Century- According to Dr. Fauja
Singh and other scholars, Punjab was divided into Doabas during the journey of
Hieun Tsang to Punjab. Between two Doabas of Ravi, Beas and Satlej, lay the
fertile land of Jalandhar which included beside Kangrg, the areas of Hoshiarpur,
Chamba, Mandi and Sirhind. This state was called Trignat also which infact,
was the name of Kotkangra, the old hilly area of Kangra. According to Hieun
Tsang, beside Jalandhar, this region had another empire called 'Takk'
which was a vast and great empire during the time of the Chinee traveller.
Multan was an important part of it. In the vicinity of Jalandhar was the
territory of the Chauhan Rajput riders. According to Dr. Bedi, some centuries
before christ, Scvthian tribes invaded Punjab. One of them was Takk which
established its rule in the area between Beas and Chenab for a long time. That
is why this region was called Takk Desh for long. A part of West Punjab was
known as Kaikya due to the tribe of this very name which was at its Zenith at
that time. Word 'Malwa' owes its origin to the Malwa or Malai community which
was at its best at that time.
During the time of Gurus- During the period of Sikh Gurus,
the name of Punjab was Madra Desh also. Guru Gobind Singh, in his Bachittar
Natak, has used this very name for a part of Punjab.
During Maharaja Ranjit Singh's Period- During the tenure of
Maharaja Ranjit Singh, entire state was divided into three parts -Lahore,
Peshawar and Kashmir. These different regions had a exchange among themselves.
Today, food and the apparel of Punjabis somewhat resembles that of the people of
Peshawar. Similar-, we have borrowed something regarding dressing and
ornamentation from the Kashmiris.Frontiers- According to 1868-69 administrative
report, the British Punjab in its North and North-east had Himalyan hills,
Yamuna river in the East. District Mathura in the South and North-West states,
Rajputana states and Satlej river. On its West were suleman hills and
Afghanistan. After the 1947 Partition- The partition of India in 1947 divide
Punjab intq two parts- East Punjab and West Punjab. The East Punjab remained a
part o ndia while the west Punjab became a part of Pakistan. The river Ravi
became a dividing line between the two Punjabs. Indian Punjab included
PEPSU, present Punjab, Lahaul spiti, Shimla, Kullu and Kangra of present
Himachal Pradesh and the whole of present Haryana. Reorganisation of Punjab - In
1966, Punjab was reorganised on linguistic basis. In the of Punjab, the
whole area up to Ambala was cut off and then Haryana came into existence. On the
other side, hilly areas of Punjab including Shimla, Lahaul, Spiti, Kangra etc.
were merged into Himachal Pradesh. Present Punjab' is con ned to 17 districts
Difference in two Punjabs- While East Punjab is inhabited by
Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Christians, there is only Muslim population in
the West Punjab. Here the central language of Punjab is that of Majha, there in
West Punjab, trend is more towards Lehndi' or any other mixed dialect. The
Punjabi of East Punjabi is inclined more towards Hindi and Sanskrit whereas the
Punjabi of West Punjab tends more towards Urdu and Persian vocabulary. In the
words of Gurbux Singh Frank, "Many other such like differences are responsible
for creating and maintaining gap between both the Punjabs.
Above all there lacks a mutual interaction between the
Punjabis of both the sides and it can be instrumental not in the unication of
both the cultures but widening the gap between them on the contrary." But we are
concerned more with the Punjabi culture of Indian Punjab. The Political
religious and economic conditions of Pakistani Punjab are quite different from
those of Indian Punjab. Therefore, the culture of East Punjab should be
assessed in the context of its conditions exclusively. International and
Meta-geographical concept- During the last few years, some conferences
were organised in this context. In these conferences, Punjabi culture was
discussed in international and metageographical perspective. But in the process,
these scholars ignore the geographical factor. According to Dr. Frank, a
particular geographical region, a particular life-style and language
collectively de ne a culture. None of these can have a de nitive importance
for culture in isolation nor any one of these can be subtracted for de ning a
culture. The Punjabis living abroad are relevant in the context of Punjabi
culture only as long as they pine for their soil, language and crave to go back
to their own life-style. When this nostalgia is gone, that very moment Punjabi
culture will lose all meaning for them.