Panjab (Persian, “five, water”; land of five rivers) is the homeland of the Sikhs. The present NW Indian state of Punjab was created in 1966, excluding former areas that now compose Himachal Pradesh and Haryana. The state language is Panjabi, and the Sikhs outnumber the Hindus. Previously, in 1947, the much larger British Punjab was partitioned between Pakistan and India, with the boundary dividing Amritsar. Thousands of Sikhs moved from east to west but remained anxious for free access to the holy places in a relatively, if not completely, autonomous homeland. Panjab’s geographical position, as a gateway for successive invasions of India to the far west, and its extremes of climate and relative fertility, have molded an enterprising people. A.G.H.


Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 729