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Punjab is a state in northern India. Forming part of the larger Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent, the state is bordered by the Indian union territories of Jammu and Kashmir to the north, Chandigarh to the east, the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh to the north and northeast, Haryana to the south and southeast, and Rajasthan to the southwest. It is bordered by Punjab, a province of Pakistan to the west.The state covers an area of 50,362 square kilometres (19,445 square miles), 1.53% of Indias total geographical area. It is the 20th-largest Indian state by area. With 27 million inhabitants at the 2011 census, Punjab is the 16th-largest state by population, comprising 22 districts. Punjabi, written in the Gurmukhi script, is the most widely spoken and official language of the state.

The main ethnic group are the Punjabis, with Sikhs (57.7%) and Hindus (38.5%) as the dominant religious groups. The state capital is Chandigarh, a Union Territory and also the capital of the neighbouring state of Haryana. The five tributary rivers of the Indus River from which the region took its name are the Sutlej, Ravi, Beas, Chenab and Jhelum rivers; the Sutlej, Ravi and Beas rivers flow through the Indian Punjab.

The history of Punjab has witnessed the migration and settlement of different tribes of people with different cultures and ideas, forming a melting pot of Punjabi civilisation. The first traces of human habitation in India were found in the Punjab region. The Indus Valley Civilization flourished in antiquity before recorded history until their decline around 1900 BCE.

The Punjab has had numerous recorded invasions, starting with the Rigvedic tribes. Punjab was enriched during the height of the Vedic period, but declined in predominance with the rise of the Mahajanapadas. The region formed the frontier of initial empires during antiquity including the Achaemenid, Alexanders, Seleucid, and MauryaEmpires. After the fall of the Maurya Empire, the region was splintered into multiple kingdoms and republics. Punjab was subsequently conquered by the Kushan Empire, Gupta Empire,and then Harshas Empire.

Punjab continued to be settled by nomadic people; including the Huna, Turkic and the Mongols. Circa 1000, the Punjab came under the rule of Muslims and was part of the Delhi Sultanate, Mughal Empire, and Durrani Empire. Sikhism was founded in the 1500s and 1600s by the Sikh Gurus in the Punjab and resulted in the formation of the Sikh Confederacy after the fall of the Mughal Empire and ensuing conflict with the Durrani Empire. This confederacy was united into the Sikh Empire in 1801 by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

The greater Punjab region was annexed by the British East India Company from the Sikh Empire in 1849. In 1947, the Punjab Province of British India was divided along religious lines into West Punjab and East Punjab.The western part was assimilated into Pakistan, an Islamic republic while the east became part of India, a secular state. After the Punjabi Suba movement, the Indian Punjab and PEPSU were divided into three parts on the basis of language in 1966.Haryanvi and Hindi speaking areas (including various dialects) were carved out as Haryana, while the hilly regions and Pahari-speaking areas formed Himachal Pradesh, alongside the current state of Punjab.

An insurgency occurred in Punjab during the 1980s. At present, the economy of Punjab is the 15th-largest state economy in India with ₹5.75 trillion (US$81 billion) in gross domestic product and a per capita GDP of ₹167,000 (US$2,300), ranking 16th amongst Indian states.Since independence Punjab is predominantly an agrarian economy. It is the ninth-highest ranking among Indian states in human development index.The states bustling tourism, music,culinary, and film industries contribute to the states economy as well, and are amongst the largest in India despite the states small size and population, including Indias largest music industry.