Ranpreet Singh Bal ji has sent this exclusive post for Lahore Nama. I am most excited about the fact that Lahore Nama is inviting contributions and increasing readership. Raza Rumi
Ganga Ram was an engineer who designed majestic buildings of Lahore, Amritsar, Patiala and other cities in joint India. He had his early schooling from Amritsar.
This fact has been highlighted in his biography “ Sir Ganga Ram” A man for all seasons, authored by Dr. F.M. Bhatti and reprinted by Sir Ganga Ram heritage foundation Lahore.
While Sir Ganga Ram is still an icon for the residents of Lahore where he got higher education and constructed beautiful structures there.
Ganga Ram was born in 1851 in Mangtanwala about forty miles from Lahore and fourteen miles from Nankana Sahib, his father who was Assistant Sub inspector at a Police station later moved to Amritsar.
He was sent to nearby private school near Darbar Sahib in Amritsar. Sir Ganga Ram mastered in calligraphy and Persian. He passed his matriculation from Government High School and joined the Government College Lahore in 1869.
Afterwards he obtained a scholarship to the Thompson Engineering College Roorki in 1871, where he passed with the Gold medal in 1873.
He was appointed Assistant Engineer and called in Delhi to help in the building of Imperial Assembly.
Impressed by his work Lord Ripon sent him to Bradford, UK to get further training for two years in water works and drainage system.
He was a promising agriculturist too. He leased thousands of acres of barren land in Montgomery and Lyallpur districts from Punjab Government and by using engineering skills and modern irrigation methods turned the barren land into fertile fields.
He designed and built General Post office, Lahore Museum, Government College, Aitchison College, Mayo Hospital, Ganga Ram Hospital, Sir Ganga Ram High School (now Lahore College for Women) He also constructed Model Town one of the best localities in Lahore.
He built Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Lady Mclagen School and Renala Khurd Power House with his own money.
Sir Ganga Ram retired in 1903. He died in London on July 10, 1927. His body was cremated and ashes were brought to India, a portion of his ashes were immersed in river Ganga and the rest buried in Lahore on the banks of Ravi.
The great Urdu writer Saadat Hassan Manto who lived in Amritsar sometime before partition, wrote an event about Sir Ganga Ram. In the riots of 1947 a group of mob attacked the statue of Sir Ganga Ram, by throwing stones. When the police came some people were injured in the clash and the leader of the group was taken to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. When he recovered and came to his senses he saw a big picture of Sir Ganga Ram hanging in front of him in the ward.
Sir Ganga Ram earned millions, most of which he gave to charity.
Sir Ganga Ram Heritage Foundation Lahore tries to enlighten the next generation about the contribution of great sons of Punjab by highlighting their work.