(Download) Special Material For Punjab PSC Pre Exam, 2012 [Geographical Outline of Punjabi Culture]

Punjab Public Service Commission

Special Material For Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) Pre Exam, 2012

Topic : Geographical Outline of Punjabi Culture

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-

  1. The areas across satlej.

  2. 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.

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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 was

2.Kaikya- The name of modern west Punjab, Jehlum, Shahpur, Gujarat and Rawalpindi is Kaikya. Its existence spreads from Ramayana period to Mahabharata period.

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 only.

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 unication 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.

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