The rich and fertile land of the Punjab was the meeting ground of different
people and races. Its population descends from various stocks and consists
of heterogeneous racial elements. In ancient times it was mostly inhabited
by a race whom the Aryans later called Dasyus. They were pushed
towards the south by the Indo-Aryans. But a small section of Dasyus remained
in the Punjab. Later on, the Persians, the Greeks, the Parthians, the
Scythians, the Kushans, the Huns, the Turks, the Mongols and the Afghans
made successive inroads into Punjab and some of them settled there permanently
and adjusted themselves to the new social system, adopting the customs
and tradition of the conquered land. They soon merged into the indigenous
population and in the process, some of their own cultural traits became
part of the culture of the Punjab. The present inhabitants of the Punjab
are the descendants of the various racial stocks which entered into it
during the different stages of its history.
Sikh Jats, who belong to the agriculturists class, form
the bulk of population of the present Punjabis. They are sturdy, self-willed
and industrious and are among the finest peasants of India. They are generally
tall and muscular, with well-shaped limbs, an erect carriage and strongly
marked and sharp handsome features.
The Khatris and Aroras are next in number. The Khatris,
who are generally energetic and educated, are mostly fair-complexioned
and have good features. Trade is their main occupation. They claim to
be in the direct line of the Kshatriyas of the Aryan race. The Aroras
also claim to be of Khatri origin. Next to them in number are the Brahmans
and Vaishas, who are split up into several such-castes and are found almost
all over Punjab.
Among the minor agricultural
tribes, Sainis and Kambohs are the most prominent ones. They are
admirable cultivators, skilful and industrious. The Sainis claim their
origin from the Rajputs and some of the Kambohs from "Kamboj Desh"
in Afghanistan. The various vagrant tribes of the Punjab, like the Sainis,
the Pakhi- Waras, the Bawris, the Bazigars etc. are aboriginal in their
origin. They have retained their aboriginal customs and beliefs.