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The name of the country is a compound of two Persian words and was introduced to the region by the Turkic Muslim conquerors of India and more formally popularized during the Mughal Empire. Punjab literally means, (The Land of) Five Rivers, referring to the following rivers: the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej, and Beas. All are tributaries of the Indus River, the Jhelum being the largest.
The territory that now constitutes Punjab was previously home to several ancient cultures, including the Mehrgarh of the Neolithic and the Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilisation, and was later home to kingdoms ruled by people of different faiths and cultures, including Hindus, Indo-Greeks, Muslims, Turco-Mongols, Afghans, before coming under rule of the Sikhs. The area has been ruled by numerous empires and dynasties, including the Mauryan Empire, the Persian Achaemenid Empire, Alexander of Macedonia, the Arab Umayyad Caliphate, the Mongol Empire, the Mughal Empire, the Durrani Afghan Empire, the Sikh Confederacy, then in 1799, a Sikh Kingdom was formed.
Indus valley civilisation
In prehistoric times, one of the earliest known cultures of South Asia, the Harappa civilisation, was located in Punjab.
The epic battles described in the Mahabharata were fought in modern-day Haryana of Punjab. The Gandharas, Kambojas, Trigartas, Andhra, Pauravas, Bahlikas (Bactrian settlers of Punjab), Yaudheyas and others sided with the Kauravas in the great battle fought at Kurukshetra. According to Dr Fauja Singh and Dr L. M. Joshi: "There is no doubt that the Kambojas, Daradas, Kaikayas, Andhra, Pauravas, Yaudheyas, Malavas, Saindhavas and Kurus had jointly contributed to the heroic tradition and composite culture of ancient Punjab".
Persians, Alexander, Ashoka, Indo-Greeks, and others
In 326 BCE, Alexander the Great invaded the tip of Punjab from the north and defeated King Porus. His armies entered the region via the Hindu Kush and his rule extended up to the city of modern-day Sialkot. In 305 BCE the area was ruled by the Maurya Empire. In a long line of succeeding rulers of the area, Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka the Great stand out as the most renowned. The Maurya presence in the area was then consolidated in the Indo-Greek Kingdom in 180 BCE. Menander I Soter "The Saviour" (known as Milinda in Indian sources) is the most renowned leader of the era. Neighbouring Seleucid rule came to an end around 12 BCE, after several invasions by the Yuezhi and the Scythian people.
Arrival of Islam
In 711–713 CE, 18-year-old Arab Sultan Muhammad bin Qasim of Taif, a city in Saudi Arabia, came by way of the Arabian Sea with Arab troops to defeat Raja Dahir. The Sultan then led his troops to conquer Sindh and Punjab regions for the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate. Qasim was the first to bring Islam to the region.
During the establishment and consolidation of the Muslim Turkic Mughal Empire prosperity, growth, and relative peace were established. Muslim empires ruled Punjab for approximately 1000 years. The period was also notable for the emergence of Guru Nanak Dev (1469–1539), the founder of Sikhism.
Mughal Empire and the founding of Sikhism
The roots of Sikhism began at the time of the Conquest of Northern India by Babur. His grandson, Akbar, supported religious freedom and after visiting the langar of Guru Amar Das had a favourable impression of Sikhism. As a result of his visit he donated land to the langar and had a positive relationship with the Sikh Gurus until his death in 1605. His successor, Jahangir, saw the Sikhs as a political threat. He arrested Guru Arjun Dev because of Sikh support for Khusrau Mirza and ordered him to be put to death by torture. Guru Arjan Dev's martyrdom led to the sixth Guru, Guru Har Gobind, declaring Sikh sovereignty in the creation of the Akal Takht and the establishment of a fort to defend Amritsar.
Jahangir attempted to assert authority over the Sikhs by imprisoning Guru Har Gobind at Gwalior. He felt compelled to release him when he began to suffer premonitions of an early and gruesome death. The Guru refused to be released unless the dozens of Hindu princes imprisoned with him were also granted freedom, to which Jahangir agreed. Sikhism did not have any further issues with the Mughal Empire until the death of Jahangir in 1627. His successor, Shah Jahan "took offense" at Guru Har Gobind's sovereignty and after a series of assaults on Amritsar forced the Sikhs to retreat to the Sivalik Hills. Guru Har Gobind's successor, Guru Har Rai maintained the guruship in the Sivalik Hills by defeating local attempts to seize Sikh land and taking a neutral role in the power struggle between Aurangzeb and Dara Shikoh for control of the Timurid dynasty. The ninth Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur, moved the Sikh community to Anandpur and traveled extensively to visit and preach in Sikh communities in defiance of Mughal rule. He aided Kashmiri Pandits in avoiding conversion to Islam and was arrested and confronted by Aurangzeb. When offered a choice between conversion to Islam or death, he chose to die rather than compromise his principles and was executed. Guru Gobind Singh assumed the guruship in 1675 and to avoid battles with Sivalik Hill Rajas moved the guruship to Paonta. He built a large fort to protect the city and garrisoned an army to protect it. The growing power of the Sikh community alarmed Sivalik Hill Rajas, who attempted to attack the city, but the Guru's forces routed them at the Battle of Bhangani. He moved on to Anandpur and established the Khalsa, a collective army of baptised Sikhs, on April 13, 1699. The establishment of the Khalsa united the Sikh community against various Mughal-backed claimants to the guruship.
In 1701, a combined army composed of the Sivalik Hill Rajas and the Mughal Empire army under Wazir Khan attacked Anandpur and, following a retreat by the Khalsa, were defeated by the Khalsa at the Battle of Muktsar. Banda Singh Bahadur was an ascetic who converted to Sikhism after meeting Guru Gobind Singh at Nanded. A short time before his death, Guru Gobind Singh ordered him to uproot Mugal rule in Punjab and gave him a letter that commanded all Sikhs to join him. After two years of gaining supporters, Banda Singh Bahadur initiated an agrarian uprising by breaking up the large estates of Zamindar families and distributing the land to the poor Sikh, Hindu, and Muslim peasants who farmed the land. Banda Singh Bahadur started his rebellion with the defeat of Mughal Empire armies at Samana and Sadhaura and the rebellion culminated in the defeat of Fatehgarh (then known as Sirhind). During the rebellion, Banda Singh Bahadur made a point of destroying the cities in which Mughals had been cruel to Sikhs, including executing Wazir Khan in revenge for the deaths of Guru Gobind Singh's sons, Baba Zorawar Singh and Baba Fateh Singh after the Sikh victory at Sirhind. He ruled the territory between the Sutlej river and the Yamuna river established a capital in the Himalayas at Lohgarh and struck coinage in the names of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh.
The period from 1716 to 1799 was a highly turbulent time politically and militarily in the Punjab region. This was caused by the overall decline of the Mughal Empire that left a power-vacuum in the region that was eventually filled by the Sikhs in the late 18th century, after defeating several invasions by the Afghan rulers of the Durrani Empire, and occasionally fighting off hostile Punjabi Muslims siding with other Muslim forces. Sikh warlords eventually formed their own independent Sikh administrative regions (misls). Although the misls were unequal in strength, and each misl attempted to expand its territory and resources at the expense of others, they acted in unison in relation to other states. The misls held biannual meetings of their legislature, the Sarbat Khalsa in Amritsar. After several campaigns, Maharajah Ranjit Singh conquered the other misls and created the Sikh Kingdom of Punjab in 1799.
The British and the Sikhs
The first Anglo-Sikh Treaty was signed in 1806 after Maratha Maharajah Yashwantrao Holkar`s crossed over into the Punjab in 1805 after he was defeated at Fateh garh and Dig in December 1804 by the British. Accompanied by his Rohilla ally, Amir Khan, and a Maratha force estimated at 15,000. Holkar arrived at Patiala (Raj Karega Khalsa|Patiala]], but on hearing the news that the British general, Lake, was in hot pursuit, both the refugees fled northwards, entered the Jalandhar Doab, and ultimately reached Amritsar. Ranjit Singh, then camping near Multan, hastened to Amritsar to meet Holkar. He was hospitable and sympathetic towards the Maratha chief, but was shrewd enough not to espouse a forlorn cause and come into conflict with the British, especially when he was far from securely established on the throne. Through diplomatic negotiation, he brought about reconciliation between Holkar and the British commander-in-chief. A treaty of friendship and amity was entered into by Ranjit Singh along with Fateh Singh Ahluwalia of Kapurthala with the East India Company on 1 January 1806 whereby it was agreed that. as long as these Sikh chiefs had no friendly connections with enemies of the British or committed no act of hostility, the British armies would never enter into the territories of the said chieftains, nor would the British government form any plan for the seizure or sequestration of their possession or property.The Anglo Sikh treaty of 1806 brought the Sikh chief into direct contact with the British government. Ranjit Singh`s reluctance to precipitate a clash with the British saved the infant State of Lahore from being overrun by Lake`s armies. The Maharaja not only kept the Punjab from becoming a theatre of war between two foreign armies, but also saved the Maratha chief from utter ruin and had his territories beyond Delhi restored to him.
The Anglo-Sikh Treaty of 1809 followed after Napoleon`s victories in Europe had alarmed the British, who, fearing a French attack on the country through Afghanistan, decided to win the Sikhs over to their side and sent a young officer, Charles Theophilus Met caife, to Maharaja Ranjit Singh`s court with an offer of friendship. Metcaife met the Maharaja in his camp at Khem Karan, near Kasur, on 12 September 1808, taking with him a large number of presents sent by the Governor General of India. He told him how the English wished to have friendly relations with him and presented to him the draft of a treaty.Ranjit Singh did not credit the theory that the British had made the proposal to him because of the danger from Napoleon. On the other hand, he showed his willingness to cooperate with the British, provided the latter recognized his claim of paramountcy over all the Majha and Malva Sikhs. He suspected that the real object of the British was to put a seal on his southern boundary and draw a permanent line between his dominions and their own. He rejected Metcaife`s terms and made his own, seeking the British to recognize his authority over the Sikh country to the south of the Sutlej.Metcaife expressed his inability to make any changes in the draft of the treaty he had brought, but offered to forward Ranjit Singh`s proposal to the Governor General. Ranjit Singh suddenly struck camp and crossed the Sutlej. Metcaife followed him from place to place, without being able to secure another interview with him for any serious discussions. Ranjit Singh overran the territory on the left bank of the river, thus shrewdly imposing on his English guest the role of a witness to his cis Sutlej acquisitions. Ranjit Singh`s bold and skilful policy would have borne fruit, had not the situation in Europe changed.As the danger of Napoleon`s attack lessened, the British became arrogant in their attitude. On his return to Lahore, Ranjit Singh received a message from the Governor General that the British had taken the Sikh chiefs south of the Sutlej under their protection. The British sent a force under the command of Colonel David Ochterlony who, passing through Buria and Patiala, came very close to the Sutlej and stationed himself at Ludhiana. Ranjit Singh also started making warlike preparations. Diwan Mohkam Chand was asked to proceed with the troops and artillery from Kangra to Phillaur, on the Sutlej. The guns were mounted on the Fort of Gobindgarh in Amritsar and powder and supplies laid in. The chiefs and nobles were asked to keep their soldiers in readiness. A large body of troops gathered in Lahore in a few days` time. Meanwhile, Metcaife, who had followed Ranjit Singh to Lahore, presented a new treaty which was based on terms first offered by the British and the proposal made by Ranjit Singh. The treaty in this form was acceptable to the Sikh ruler. Although it stopped him from extending his influence beyond the Sutlej, he was left master of the territories, south of the river, which were in his possession before Metcaife`s visit.The treaty was signed at Amritsar on 25 April 1809. It provided that the British government would count the Lahore Darbar among the most honourable powers and would in no way interfere with the Sikh ruler`s dominions to the north of the Sutlej. Both governments pledged friendship to each other. Ranjit Singh appointed Bakhshi Nand Singh Bhandari to stay at Ludhiana as his agent with the English. The English sent Khushwaqt Rai to Lahore as their representative at the Sikh court.Although the treaty of 1809 halted Ranjit Singh`s ambitions at the Sutlej and prevented the unification of the Majha and Malva Sikhs into a new commonwealth of the Khalsa, it gave the Sikh sovereign one clear advantage. Security on the southern frontier allowed him freely to consolidate his power in the Punjab, evolve a centralized system of government, build up a powerful army, and pursue unhampered his conquests in the north, northwest and southwest.
By the 1840s, Punjab was the only Indian state not be under European rule, and another treaty was signed with the British to not invade and annex Sindh, to the south of the Punjab, which acted as a buffer state between the Sikhs and the British, in a move which even many British regarded as cynical and ignoble the British later annexed Sindh in 1943. This did not gain the British any respect in the Punjab, and increased suspicions of British motives. Despite this, the Sikhs did not attack the British until Indian Rebellion in 1857 when the Sikhs aided the rebel forces to successfully remove British presence from India.
Communist Revolution and Khalistani Union of Communist States
Republic of Punjab
The climate is a factor contributing to the economy of the Punjab. It is not uniform over the whole region, the sections adjacent to the Himalayas receiving heavier rainfall than those at a distance. There are three main seasons and two transitional periods. During the Hot Season, from about mid April to the end of June, the temperature may reach 49˚C. The Monsoon Season, from July to September, is a period of heavy rainfall, providing water for crops in addition to the supply from canals and irrigation systems. The transitional period after the monsoon is cool and mild, leading to the Winter Season, when the temperature in January falls to 5˚C at night and 12˚C by day. During the transitional period from Winter to the Hot Season sudden hailstorms and heavy showers may occur, causing damage to crops.
Punjab is a secular nation. The first religions of Punjab were Buddhism and Hinduism. Buddhism declined after the death of Buddhist king Ashoka, leaving Hinduism as the dominant religion of the region. In the 8th century Islam arrived and after centuries of Islamic rule gradually replaced Hinduism as the predominant religion. The majority of Muslims within the country are Sunni, whom mostly fall into the Sufi school due the large number of influential Sufi saints in the history of Punjab, however there is a large population of Shias. Sikhism was founded in Punjab in the 14th century by Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Atheism also has strong presence in Punjab due the communist era.
The current religious demographics are, Sikhism 63%, Islam 29%, Hinduism 4%, Christianity 1%, Buddhism 1%, the 2% either don't identify themselves with a religion or follow another religion.
|Religious group||Percentage of the population||Population|
|Other or Freethinker||2%||931,320|
Kabaddi is the national sport of Punjab. It is a wrestling sport hailing from South Asia, and is also popular in the countries of Bengal, and Dravida. Seeing as Punjab was far more dominant in world affairs in this ATL, Kabaddi is a very popular sport in the world, being exposed internationally much quicker than in the OTL, and it's rules were also standardised much quicker. Punjab have been very dominant in the sport, winning every Kabaddi World Cup.
Introduced by the British trade, Association football is also very popular in Punjab, with the national team being very strong, winning the 2010, 1938, and 1998 FIFA World Cup. Punjab's premier domestic football league Punjabi Pahili Liga is a very popular and respected league in world football. The current Ballon D'or holder is Punjab's Harmeet Singh.
Field hockey, also introduced by British trade, is another very popular sport. Punjab was a very dominant team in hockey, winning the inaugural 1971 Hockey World Cup, and the 1978, 1982, and 1994 World Cups. They also won the first three ASHF Asia Cups in 1982, 1985, and 1989. Despite all this success, their national team has been struggling in recent times.