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The Forgotten Legacies Of Ganga Ram 1851-1927

The Forgotten Legacies Of Ganga Ram 1851-1927

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  • Author Name : Tahmina Aziz Ayub 

Rai Bahadur Sir Ganga Ram (13th April 1851-10th July 1927) was a renowned Indian civil engineer and architect. His extensive contributions to the urban fabric of Lahore prompted Khaled Ahmed to describe him as the Father of Modern Lahore.

His birth had taken place in a small village in Nankana Sahib district of West Punjab into a Punjabi Hindu Baniya family of Agarwals who had migrated from Uttar Pradesh. On completing his school years in Amritsar he managed to secure scholarships to two of the best institutions of the country, Govt College Lahore and Thomason College of Engineering Roorkee. His stellar academic records here enabled his entry to the Public Works Department Lahore, something still rare and unusual for native engineers. His 12 year period as the Executive Engineer witnessed many outstanding contributions to the urban landscape of the city of Lahore and is oft referred to as the Ganga Ram Architectural period. The early structures built by him were the famous Mayo School of Art-1880 and the Aitchison Chiefs College-1886. This was to be followed among many others by the Lahore Museum in his trademark redbrick style as was the ornately structured Lahore General Post Office.

His feats in agriculture and his philanthropic endeavors were to follow on the heels of his retirement in 1903, and are delineated in detail in this biography. But sadly for most people in Pakistan his story is lost in the obscurities of time and his name seems to be now solely associated with the hospital in his name. That is the case in India too and here the hospital named after him was built by his family in the 1950s but little else is known of him or remembered. The hope with which I embarked on writing this biography was to revive these forgotten legacies and to honor him as an integral part of the precious heritage of our shared history.