Gujranwala History

Gujranwala city appears to be 500 years old. The origin of the name Gujranwala is shrouded in mists of time. The first name of the settlement according to the compilers of the first edition of the district Gazette was khanpur Shansi after an individual of the JAT cast called Khan Shansi who founded 11 villages in the nearby area. For some reason the Jaat Tribe Gujar occupied the land. They reach such dominance that the town came to be known as Gujranwala. It seems likely that the district once contained the capital of the Punjab, at an epoch when Lahore had not begun to exist. We learn from the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim, Hsuan Tsang, that about the year 630 he visited a town known as Tse-kia (or Taki), the metropolis of the whole country of the five rivers. A mound near the modern village of Asarur has been identified as the site of the ancient capital. Until the Mahommedan invasions little is known of Gujranwala, except that Taki had fallen into oblivion and Lahore had become the chief city. ‘Under Mahommedan rule the district flourished for a time; but a mysterious depopulation fell upon the tract, and the whole region seems to have been almost entirely abandoned. The Compilers of the district Gazetteer Gujranwala date this name to Approximately 300 years, giving us a rough estimate of the middle of the 16th century . Other smaller town in the vicinity for example Sohdara Eminabad Wazirabad and Ghakhar have older antecedent than Gujranwala itself. In the indispensable 1969 Essay ” Gujranwala ; past and present ” Dr.Waheed Quereshi names four villages in the Vicinity at the time of Abdalies invasion i.e. in the late 18th century.

  1. Sirai Kachi: a European merchant in the area in 1608 A.D. mentioned in his memorial book a place he calls Coojes Serai. Before finch there is a very little evidence in history of Sirai Kachi . by the late 18th century it was a wagon stop village and a graveyard. Probably the antecedent of Chaman Shah graveyard in existence today.

  2. Sirai Gujran : this village existed in the area inside the current Khiyaaly Gate in the city. Hafiz Abdul haq in his ” Tareekh-e-Gujranwala” and ” Molvi Adbul Malik in his ” Shahan-e-Gujran” mention Sirai Gujran.

  3. Sirai Kambohaan: Charat Singh a Sikh leader built a Mud Fort here in 1758.

  4. Thatta : this village existed between the current railway line and the G.T. Road. Charat Singh son Mahaan Singh develop this village

Sikh Period: 1762-1849 A.D.

The Sikhs established their Empire in the Punjab after the death of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir in 1707. With the death of Aurangzeb the country saw a series of rapid governmental changes that stressed it in to the depths of anarchy. Taking advantage of this certain Charat Singh, who was the head of one of the Sikh Clans, established his stronghold in Gujranwala in 1763. Charat Singh died in 1774 and was succeeded by his son, Mahan Singh, who in turn fathered the most brilliant leader in the history of the Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It was this short scattered man, addicted to strong drink, unlettered; blind in one eye who united the Punjab under one flag. His rule stretched from the banks of the Gambian to the Khyber and from Kashmir to Multan. Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the most powerful of all the Sikh Rulers and ruled over for complete 40 years. After his death in 1840 the Sikh Empire was divided Haveli Ranjit Singh  into small principalities looked after by several Sikh Jagirdars. This weak situation provided a good opportunity to the British of East India Company to put an end to the Sikh strong hold in the Punjab in 1849.

British Period: 1849-1947 A.D.

The area was annexed by the British in 1849. The Deputy Commissioner of that time Sir Bernardth Rebuilt the “Sialkoti Gate” , “Lahore Gate” and “Khiyaaly Gate”. A railway line was built along G.T. Road which then was moved 100 yards towards the Eastern Punjab in 1881. That railway line interconnected Gujranwala with other cities of Punjab and made the commercial trade between cities more convenient. British ruled the city until Pakistan’s independence in 1947.

After Independence

After the distribution of subcontinent India, all the Sikhs and the Hindus migrated to India and the Muslim pilgrims of the Eastern Indian-Punjab moved to Gujranwala.

Gujranwala Today

Gujranwala now is an agricultural marketing center (grains, melons, sugarcane), it is also a commercial and industrial center, manufacturing ceramics,iron safes, copper, brass, and aluminum utensils. The establishment of an industrial park, textile, silk, pipefitting, electric fan, and tannery production increased its importance.  Cultivation in the surrounding area is dependent upon canal irrigation. Wheat, cotton, rice, barley, and millet are the chief crops. World ‘s best Quality Rice grows here. In 1951 the city was converted into the capital of the district which Gave rise to the new industries in the city. The Gujranwala hydroelectric project provides power from the Chanab River. There are also rice and sugar mills and glassworks in the locality. City has an International Level Cricket Stadium, Jinnah Stadium also or formerly known as Municipal Stadium. Gujranwala, chamber of commerce & industry came into being. In November 1978, and the first elected executive committee (Majlis-a-Aamla) took the charge of the chamber. In all over Pakistan GCCI is one of those chambers who have their own building. The credit of construction of chamber’s building undoubtedly goes to its founders. Now apart from the chamber office, the Zonal / Circle offices of Habib Bank Limited, United Bank Limited, Allied Bank Limited and State Bank of Pakistan are functioning in the building. The city has many hospitals and several colleges affiliated with the University of the Punjab.

Humans settlements in Gujranwala have been present since antiquity. According to the Imperial Gazetteer of India the town was originally founded by Gujjars, and renamed Khanpur by the Sansi Jats of Amritsar who settled there; but its old name has survived.Many historians also states that place was named after Gujjars,[4] while they formerly ruled theGurjara Pratihara Empire for centuries.

In 630 the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Hsuan Tsang visited a major town known as Tse-kia (or Taki), which was in the vicinity of modern Gujranwala. A mound near the modern village of Asarur has been identified as the site of the ancient city. Until the arrival of the Muslims little is known of Gujranwala, except that Taki had fallen into oblivion and Lahore had become the chief city. Under Muslim rule the district flourished for a time; but a mysterious depopulation took place and the whole region seems to have been almost entirely abandoned. The district gazetteer dates the name of Gujranwala to approximately the middle of the 16th century.

The Sikhs dominated the Punjab after the death of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir in 1707. The town became important during the rule of the father and grandfather of Ranjit Singh, who was born in the city.[3] Maharaja Ranjit Singh who himself was born here became the most powerful of all the Sikh rulers. It was Hari Singh Nalwa, the great military commander of the Sikh Kingdom, who was credited with having built the ‘new’ city of Gujranwala.

The area was conquered and annexed by the British Empire in 1849. A railway line was built alongside the Grand Trunk Road in 1881 to connect Gujranwala with other cities of the Punjab and made commercial trade between cities more convenient. The municipality of Gujranwala was created in 1867. The North-Western Railway connected Gujranwala with other cities of British India to the far ends of the Empire such as Calcutta as well as Karachi.The population according to the 1901 census of India was 29,224. In 1903-4 the income and expenditure were Rs. 83,100 and Rs. 67,900 respectively. The chief source of income was octroi Rs. 59,700.

Jinnah Stadium (Gujranwala)After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, Gujranwala developed rapidly and is now a leading city of Pakistan. Gujranwala, as a district was run by a Deputy Commissioner until it became a Division. In 1951 the city was converted into the capital of the district which gave rise to new industries in the city. Many prominent civil servants worked as its Deputy Commissioners; renowned among them is Mansur Zaimur Rehman (M. Z. Rehman), who worked as the DC from 1959 to 1962. He initiated many development projects including the cantonment. He is known for his hard work, integrity and honesty. In 1991, the city hosted its first Test match at the Jinnah Stadium as well as several One Day International matches. Since then the city has continued to thrive with improved economic growth and stabilisation.Jagna one of the most famous place of Gujranwala and Pakistan, because it is one of the most beautiful places in Gujranwala.

According to City Mayors Statistics The world’s fastest growing cities and urban areas from 2006 to 2020 Gujranwala rank 27th in the world with the average annual growth 2006 to 2020 3.49% and rank 1st in Pakistan then faisalabad with the average annual growth of 3.32% with rank 33rd in the world. The chairman of the Gujranwala is AHMED NAEEM TEHAMI.