by Prabal Pramanik
writing about the history of a city like Pathankot, that has existed since the ancient
times as human habitation, yet has retained very few early historical relics, it is of
utmost importance to limit ones observations to accepted and tested proofs as source
History is not story telling, so the study of history should be devoid of fictitious
romanticism. Only the presentation of facts based on reliable source material can be
Pathankot, since it is situated at a vital position of strategic importance on the route
to the plain-lands of the sub continent, undoubtedly had to face external pressure several
times since the settlement came up. It is not possible to have any clear idea about the
amount of dis-tabilization that resulted from these pressures. It is not possible to give
any definite historical data about the early tribes that may have lived here, due to the
lack of historical evidence, yet, it is quite certain that the present town is built on
the elevation consisting of several layers indicating different phases of the human
civilization at this place.
It would be quite controversial to mention the name of any definite tribe who may have
lived here before the earliest coins were discovered here.
The names and exact geographical locations of several tribes of northwestern Indian
subcontinent can not be properly ascertained just by some mentions in some Greek annals
that refer to the military campaigns Alexander.
Any story telling will lead to controversy only. In this chapter of the web site we have
presented material based on accepted facts only and the undisputed source material is
mentioned whenever we found it necessary to do so.
The medieval history of this area is much better defined, as the records of Islamic
historians provide a wealth of information and the folk records are also available.
Still this data has to be screened and analyzed as rumours and stories tend to get mixed
up with historical information at times.
Some British historians took serious interest in analytical research work of this area.
They too some times faced difficulties in their work of joining the pieces of information
in this jigsaw puzzle of the past, and had to review their own work several times.
One thing is certain, that this area went through petty and major strifes due to the
clashes between various tribal warlords or between tribal warlords and the power in Delhi
It must have been an important trading centre even at that time and may have been an
important halting place for caravans that came from central Asia and from the area beyond
The canals bear a testimony for the concern of the rulers of this area for agriculture.
The fertile lands around this town must have supported the town people with most of the
basic suppliers. The basic industry must have been based on cottage industry as in other
parts of India before the industrial revolution.
The old town spread around the fort but it is not possible to recreate the plan of the
settlement here in ancient times due to the lack of archeological evidence about this.
We can infer that Paithan or Pratisthan in the past must have been a busy place with
traders, soldiers, horsemen, camels and carts transporting goods.
Hard reality of life demanded tough and practical qualities in people who lived here
withstanding pressures of time.
Pathankot today is not a heritage conscious place. Neither the people living here in
general, nor the administration care to have any concern about the past of this place and
the need to conserve in a systematic way the few decaying relics that still may exist.
We have tried to present detailed photographic records of old decaying structures that are
likely to destroyed due to the pressures of commercialization. These presentations would
perhaps be the only records of there places available for the posterity.
© Prabal Pramanik
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