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Our History

Punjab is a state in northern India

History The foundations of the present Punjab (historical Punjab) were laid by Banda Singh Bahadur, a hermit who became a military leader and, muslims_with his fighting band of Sikhs, temporarily liberated the eastern part of the province from Mughal rule in 1709-10. Banda Singh’s defeat and execution in 1716 were followed by a prolonged struggle between the Sikhs on one side and the Mughals and Afghans on the other. By 1764-65 the Sikhs established their dominance in the region. Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) built up the Punjab into a powerful kingdom and attached to it the adjacent provinces of Multan, Kashmir, and Peshawar. In 1849 the Punjab fell to the troops of the British East.

India Company and subsequently became a province under British rule. By the late 19th century, however, the Indian nationalist movement took hold in this province. One of the movement’s most significant events-the some 400 deaths and 1,200 injuries of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre,ordered by British general Reginald E.H. Dyer took place at Amritsar in 1919. India gained its independence in 1947, the British province of Punjab was split between the new sovereign states of India and Pakistan, and the smaller, eastern portion became part of India. Since independence, the history of the Indian sector of the Punjab has been dominated by Sikh agitation for a Punjabi-speaking state, led first by Tara Singh and later by his political successor, Sant Fateh Singh.

In November 1956 the Indian state of Punjab was enlarged by its incorporation of the Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU), an amalgamation of the preindependence princely territories of Patiala, Jind, Nabha, Faridkot, Kapurthala, Kalsia, Malerkotla, and Nalagarh. Political and administrative leadership for the enlarged Punjab was provided by Sardar Partap Singh Kairon, Congress chief minister of the state from 1956 to 1964. It is the home of more than 80 per cent of India’s 14 million Sikhs. Punjab is the most prosperous state in India. Incomes are 78 per cent above the national average, and nearly every village has electricity. The soil is fertile and well watered. At the time of India’s Independence in 1947, the Punjab region was divided between India and Pakistan.

Punjab is leading wheat-growing region of India. Crop yields are consistently much higher than anywhere else in the country giving India a regular surplus of wheat. Punjab is also major rice growing state. Before the rise of Indus valley civilization nearly 5000 years ago there were fortified towns in what is now Punjab. The area was brought into the Harappan civilization until about 1700 B.C. The Aryans advancing from the northwest around 1500 B.C completely overran the area. Successive invaders were assimilated with the Aryans and formed the ethnic stock of the Punjabis, Jats and Rajputs. The area played an important part in the development of the Hindu beliefs, for there the ideas of the Vedas the most sacred Hindu religion books, took shape. The word Punjab is derived from the Persian words Panj (five) and ab (water) and was the name applies to the region of the
five rivers – Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej.

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