0000 à1469 : ETHNOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE: '5 - AAB': PUNJAB :
ANCIENT LAND OF THE FIVE RIVERS.
PUNJAB: Yields to no other Province in ethnological interest and variety.
Consisting for the most part of the great plains of the five rivers and including some of the most and
some of the least fertile tracts of India,
- and stretches up to and beyond the peaks of the Central Himalayas
- and embraces the Tibetan valleys of Lahul and Spiti;
- and while on the east it included the Mughal capital of Delhi;
- and the western borders of Hindustan;
- and on the south encroaches on the great desert of Rajputana,
- and on the west it embraces, in its trans-Jhelum territory, a tract which except in respect of
geographical position can hardly be said to belong to India.
- Nor are its inhabitants less diverse than its physical aspects.
- It does not indeed contain any of the aboriginal tribes of India,
- at least in their primitive barbarism ;
- and its people, in common with those of neighbouring Provinces,
- include the peaceful descendants of the old Rajput rulers of the country,
- the sturdy Jat Peasantry form the backbone of the villages of North-Western India,
- and the various races which are allied to them.
- But the nomad and still semi civilised tribes of its great central grazing grounds,
- the Baloches of its frontier,
- so distinct from all Indian races,
- the Khatris, Aroras, Suds, Bhabras and Parachas who conduct its commerce,
- and the Dogras, the Kanets, the Thakurs and Ghirths of its hills,
- are almost peculiar to the Province;
- while the Gakkhars, the Awans, the Kharrals. Kathias, Khattars
- and many other tribes of the Rawalpindi and Multan Divisions
- present a series of problems sufficiently intricate to satisfy the most ardent ethnologist.
Three distinct varieties of the great Hindi family of languages are to be found here,
- two of them peculiar to the Punjab;
- while Balochi, Kashmiri, Pashtu,
- and many -of those curious bill dialects
- which are often not separate languages
- only because each is confined to the valleys of a single stream,
- have their homes within its borders,
- and Tibetan is spoken in the far mountains of Spiti.