Land of Five Rivers

A Summary on the History and Culture of The Punjab: The Majestic Land of Five Rivers

Traveling to Pakistan in 2019

The Punjab, also spelled and romanised as Panj-āb (Translated as the Land of Five Rivers), is a geopolitical, cultural and historical region in South Asia, specifically in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, comprising areas of eastern Pakistan and northern India. The boundaries of the region are ill-defined and focus on historical accounts.

The history of the Punjab can be traced back to 3000 BCE, experiencing different rulers from diverse origins. On this point, it seems pertinent to mention that Ibn-e Batuta was the first known person who referred about the Punjab in his writing, Tuhfat al-anzar fi gharaaib al-amsar wa ajaaib al-asfar [A Gift to those who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Traveling].

That title is a bit of a mouthful so the text is generally called Ibn Battuta’s Rihla, or Journey. Then, Therikh-e Sher Shah Suri [Persian: History of Sher Shah] dating 1580 CE, a historical work compiled by Abbas Khan Sarwani is proved to be a source to make the term Punjab to be used for this particular region. After him, writers of the Mughal era used the word Punjab to mention this piece of land in their historical accounts.

Literal meaning of the Punjab is the Land of Five Rivers, referring to the five rivers which pass through it. Being the land of rivers; it got the potential of the high agricultural production that also attracted different invaders including the British.

Through archaeological discoveries, it is evident that by about 3000 BCE small communities were settled around Indus Basin which gave birth to the Indus Valley Civilization. One of its prominent archeological remains is Harrapa (near Sahiwal in the Punjab, Pakistan).

This region also remained under the influence of Aryans and Buddhist traditions. Alexender also came to this region. Sultans of Delhi and Mughals also influenced this region which was followed by the British.

The end of British rule culminated in the division of the Punjab between India and Pakistan. Keeping in view the diversified aspects of the history of the Punjab, a conference on the History and Culture of the Punjab is planned to focus its historical tradition which the present generations share with the previous ones.