Punjab, state of India, located in the northwestern part of the subcontinent. It is bounded by Jammu and Kashmir union territory to the north, Himachal Pradesh state to the northeast, Haryana state to the south and southeast, and Rajasthan state to the southwest and by the country of Pakistan to the west. Punjab in its present form came into existence on November 1, 1966, when most of its predominantly Hindi-speaking areas were separated to form the new state of Haryana. The city of Chandigarh, within the Chandigarh union territory, is the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana.
The word Punjab is a compound of two Persian words, panj (“five”) and āb (“water”), thus signifying the land of five waters, or five rivers (the Beas, Chenab, Jhelum, Ravi, and Sutlej). The word’s origin can perhaps be traced to panca nada, Sanskrit for “five rivers” and the name of a region mentioned in the ancient epic the Mahabharata. As applied to the present Indian state of Punjab, however, it is a misnomer: since the partition of India in 1947, only two of those rivers, the Sutlej and the Beas, lie within Punjab’s territory, while the Ravi flows only along part of its western border. Area 19,445 square miles (50,362 square km). Pop. (2011) 27,704,236.