Punjab: A History from Aurangzeb to Mountbatten,a book put together by Dr Rajmohan Gandhi,a renowned scholar and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi,was launched on Wednesday morning by Aleph Books in collaboration with Aitihasiki- the Alumni Association of Panjab Universitys History Department.
Tracing the history of Punjab,Dr Gandhi said that broadly,the period can be divided into three phases: post-Aurangzeb,Maharaja Ranjit Singh and British Punjab.
While researching for the book I came across several interesting aspects of that period. The army men thrown out after the Mutiny were at the forefront of providing arms to those fighting the British. Also the reason why Sikh forces,working mainly with religious fervour,were able to defeat the Muslim forces was because they used Punjabi,while the Muslims used Arabic, said Dr Gandhi as he read excerpts from the book.
Talking about the partition,Gandhi added that his research shows that leaders of Punjab did not put in enough effort to improve the situation.
The book,researched in India,Pakistan and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,narrates a 240-year-story of undivided Punjab,beginning with the 1707 death of Emperor Aurangzeb and ending with the 1947 division.
Neighbours should sort out their problems amongst themselves and not look towards others for resolutions, said Dr Gandhi referring to India-Pakistan relations.
Neither the USA nor China can help. If relations between neighbours have to be improved,we have to do it ourselves. No Nehru,no Gandhi can do it for us, said Rajmohan Gandhi.
Launching the book,Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil said the area of undivided Punjab had played a significant role in the history of India.
This was the gateway to India,starting with the Aryans and Alexander, he said.
He went on to say that If you have to know the history of an area you will have to know its geography and the socio- psychological outlook of the people. Religion was an important factor affecting history during the medieval times and will continue to do so. But in times to come,science and technology will also have its impact on history, said Patil.
He added that in the history of every nation,two forces remained at work the unifying and the divisive.
The divisive forces destroy and the unifying forces lead to progress. We need to focus on the unifying forces, he said.