Punjab was a different country for a large part of history.
- During pre-historic times of Indus Valley Civilisation, the Ganga- Yamuna Basin had a distinctly different civilisation from the Civilisation of Punjab-Sind living in the basin of the SInd – Saraswati river.
- Punjab is mentioned in Mahabharata as an independent Madra Desh and Kamboja Desh, with its borders touching Gandhara (which we now call Kandhar in Afghanistan) and Kuru Raj (of the Kauravs).
- It has also been referred in ancient texts as “PanchaNad” and during the times of the Jan-padas, was an independent republic including areas of Takshsashila.
- During the times of the Nanda Dynasty’s rule over rest of India; Punjab known as ‘Panchanada’ was ruled by an independent king called Purushottama who we know as Porus. The area that was attacked by Alexander .
- It was later the part of the Indo-Bactrian Empires and the Kushan rules. Both of which were largely distinct from the rest of the area we know as India.
- It was at the vanguard of attacks over rest of India over the ages, and was the first to be enslaved and remained under Islamic rule from 1100s to 1700s, first under the Turks/ Persians of the Slave Dynasty, then the Mughals or the Afghans
- The first king to shake off the Islamic Rule over Punjab was Banda Bahadur, whose reign was short lived, but who minted his own coins over Punjab extending from Gurdaspur to Karnal.
- From 1700s to 1790s, a large part of the then Punjab extended from Afghanistan right upto Rewari (now in Haryana) was an independent Confederation of Sikh States from 1700s to 1790s, owing allegiance to the Khalsa flag. It bordered Shah Zaman’s Afghanistan on one side to Maratha Confederacy on the other side. Lahore was a separate seat of power with influence upto the Sutlej for most part of this era.
- From 1795 onwards, almost all of Punjab from banks of Sutlej to the Khyber Pass (near Peshawar) was a part of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s independent country.
- It may be noted that British had won entire India by 1818 (after Maratha Wars); Punjab alone stood as an independent country till 1845 before it lost the First Anglo Sikh War.
In the map above, closely see the colours of the legend at the left bottom of the map:
- Blue is for British Protected States
- Pink is for British Territory
- Green colour is absent from the map – Green was Mahraja Ranjit Singh’s Punjab, Independent of British Rule.
The above map of 1837 has the entire rest of India under British Rule; except for independent country of Khalsa Raj over Punjab.
After 1849; after the Second Anglo Sikh War, Punjab was merged into British India.
In 1947, it was divided, with more than half going to Pakistan and remaining into India.
IMPORTANT FACT: Punjab stood alone as independent of British for around 30 years and was the last Indian state to fall to the British
IRONY: Punjab bore the brunt of partition during independence, punished for contributing the most (in real numbers of martyrs) to India’s freedom struggle. In 1965, it was further trifurcated into Haryana, Punjab and Himachal.
Is dil ke tukde hazaar hue, koi yahaan gira, koi wahaan gira (This heart broke into a thousand pieces, some fell here and some fell there)
FUN FACTS: Vedas were written in Punjab. Most of the Vedic Civilisation is a gift of Punjab to India. Lahore is named after “Luv” – the son of Lord Rama and Kasoor is named after “Kush” – the second son of Lord Rama.
Source of Maps: Indexed with sources at