Derived from a Persian Word, the name Punjab means ‘Land of Five Rivers’, namely River Indus, Jhelum, Sutlej, Chenab and Ravi. If we look at the residing population within its boundaries, this province gets to be the largest. Upon Pakistan’s formation, this was divided into two parts and one fell under the new country whereas the other was given to India. Before Independence, in the city of the Indus Civilization, Harappa, the cultural influence of Southern Asia and Afghanistan was very dominant.
Due to large geographical spread, Punjab was an easy target for campaigns by the Western Nations. Several rulers and opportunists tried to gain control of the province and waged war after war to achieve that. Till the 19th century, there was a strong Persian influence in Punjab and this was also its official language. After the 19th century, the British initiated their struggle to gain control of the area and eventually succeeded.
However, before the advent of the British era in the sub-continent, Islam as a religion had flourished in this province because of the earlier Muslim rulers such as Mohammad bin Qasim. In the year 711, he conquered Punjab and Sindh and then from 1529 to 1739, the Mughals reigned over the land. They left several art and architectural pieces in their legacy out of which Badshahi Mosque, Shalimar Gardens, Jahangir’s Tomb are a few famous ones.
After the Mughals Era, the Sikhs came into power and took over. Maharaja Ranjeet Singh stayed as the ruler till 1839 after which he died. The arrival of the British in the Subcontinent coincided with his death and from 1857 to 1947, the province stayed under Colonial rule. The British took deep interest in this specific region because it had a strong infrastructure and was well populated. In 1947, upon independence the province was divided between the two newly formed countries, Pakistan and India.
Unfortunately, till the year 1950 the development in Punjab was stagnant due to poor political and economic issues of the country. However, slowly and gradually industries were set up in cities like Multan, Lahore and Wah and then in the year 1960 Islamabad was built in this province which was elevated to the position of being the capital of Pakistan.
Due to the central position of the province, it has also been the battlefield for the Wars of 1956 and 1971. Later, the city of Kahuta in this province was made the headquarters for nuclear program, which led to Pakistan becoming one of the nuclear nations in the world.
Punjab comprises of 36 cities including Lahore, Islamabad, Multan and Faisalabad and so on. Due to the fertility of its land and favorable weather conditions, agriculture is at its peak in this province. It enjoys all four seasons and is known for its seasonal festivals such as Basant and colors.