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History Of The Punjab - Volume 3 - Book By Fauja Singh
Foreword To 'History Of The Punjab - Volume 3' By Fauja Singh
All through the centuries the Punjab has played a very significant role in the history of our country. Recent researches have shown that it was probably the first place in India to have any human habitation. According to the present state of our knowledge, the first civilization to rise in India was the Indus Valley Civilization in which the Punjab constituted a major territorial unit. The Indo-Aryans, the most important of our ancestors, on their advent into India, settled first of all in the plains of the Punjab and it was here on the banks of the rivers that the first Vedic hymns were composed by the maharishis of those ancient days. After some centuries came Persians and Greeks. When Alexander the great made his invasion, his experienced dogged resistance at every step in the Punjab and had to return from the banks of the Beas. This was quickly followed by the rise of Chandragupta Maurya who, with the help of the Punjabis, conquerred the whole of northern India and established the first great empire of India with its north-western frontier extending far beyond the confines of Kabul. The post-Mauryan period was marked by a long series of inroads by certain central Asian tribes like Sakas, Scythians, Kushans and, after a few centuries, Hunas. Naturally, they caused a good deal of devastation in the Land. But they had not come to go back, and after a time when they settled down, they did make a contribution to the variegated Punjabi life. At the end of the ancient period of our history, the Punjab witnessed the establishment of the powerful and extensive Hindushahi Kingdom which put up a heroic resistance to the tide of the Turkish invasions starting from the tenth century.
With the advent of the Turks, the Punjab passed under the influence of Islamic civilization. The mutual comflict or contact of the two civilizations, Hindu and Muslim, led to several significant changes in the life of our people, of which by far the most important was the birth of the Sikh movement in the later half of the 15th century. On the foundations laid down by Guru Nanak and his eight successors, Guru Gobind Singh, the last of the line, raised the revolutionary organisation of the Khalsa. This Khalsa, as is well known now, valiantly faced all the terrible ordeals into which the hostility of the Mughal government of the Punjab and the Afghan invaders from the north-west had thrown them, and ultimately came out successful and set up their independent rule which is commonly termed the rule of the twelve Sikh Misals. Some years later, Maharaja Ranjit Singh rose as the lion of the Punjab and established a powerful sovereign state comprising, besides the Punjab plains the tracts of Kohistan, Kashmir, Ladakh and Peshawar.
In 1849 the Punjab was annexed to the vast British empire of India. Henceforward till the end of the British sway in 1947, the people of this region earned the reputation of being the sword-arm of India on the one hand and on the other were second to none in making supreme sacrifices in the cause of the country's freedom from foreign domination.
The above references to the historic role of the Punjab, though very scanty, Should be enough to underpin the urgent necessity and importance of the subject. In view of this the Punjabi University has decided that the entire history of the Punjab should be studied in a detailed and systematic manner and that on the basis of the results thereof a multi-volume comprehensive history should be produced which, by discovering new data and posing fresh problems, may pave the way to still higher studies in the same field. The present book is the first concrete step on the road to that goal. Seven more books of this type are under preparation. It is hoped that the entire project of eight volumes of Punjab history will be completed in the next five years or so.
The present work relates to the 500 year-long period of the sultanate of Delhi. It occupies a most important phase in the long and chequered history of the Punjab, because it was during this that a new civilization entered the country and made a profound impact upon the mode of living and thinking of our people. The changes that appeared as the result thereof in the diverse spheres of life-political, administrative, social, religious, economic and artistic-have all been examined, in greater or lesser degree, in this book. To the best of my knowledge, there is at present no other book on the subject having the same elaborate detail and anaylsis.
It is but to be admitted that there will be several short comings in this work, but such shortcomings or not unnatural in a pioneer work of this kind. Despite all the shortcomings that may be there, I am firmly of the opinion that the work will be of immense value to students, general readers and research scholars. For this successful attempt Dr Ganda Singh, who prepared and launched the original plan and Dr Fauja Singh, who has brought it to the successful conclusion, deserve my heartiest congratulations. I do hope that the momentous task undertaken by the Department of Punjab Historical Studies will be completed in the next few years.
Table Of Contents For 'History of The Punjab - Vol 3' Book By Fauja Singh
|Foreword||Sardar Kirpal Singh Narang, Vice Chancellor, Punjab University, Patiala||(v)|