For whom the bell tolls

The 16th day of April 1853 is special in the Indian history. The day was a public holiday. At 3:30 pm, as the 21 guns roared together, the first train carrying Lady Falkland, wife of Governor of Bombay, along with 400 special invitees, steamed off from Bombay to Thane.

Ever since the engine rolled off the tracks, there have been new dimensions to the distances, relations and emotions. Abaseen Express, Khyber Mail and Calcutta Mail were not just the names of the trains but the experiences of hearts and souls. Now that we live in the days of burnt and non functional trains, I still have a few pleasant memories associated with train travels. These memoirs are the dialogues I had with myself while sitting by the windows or standing at the door as the train moved on. In the era of Cloud and Wi-fi communications, I hope you will like them.


An old banyan tree stood somewhere around the city. Its shade hooked up the travellers who sat down and retired for a while before resuming their journey. Then, they cut the banyan and those who sat under its shade moved elsewhere. There are trees now but no more travellers. Despite its betraying nature, there are few men who yearn for these shades, and in defiance to the turn of events, they refuse to part with this memory. That, precisely, is the reason that folks as old as that tree, remember Jaranwala with awe. Away from the business capital of Faisalabad, lies the silent yet growing city of Jaranwala, much like a beaming bride, part unaware of her beauty and part conscious about it too. But Jaranwala is incomplete without a few mentions.

Next to Nankana, is the railway station of Buchiana, a small grain market, where life is all about fields and yields. Here, in this vicinity is a village, far more fertile than the lands of the bar. Though, the divinity of Ganga is restricted to the other side of the border, any resident of Ganga Pur can see beyond the futile divisions of colour, caste and creed. This, devout disciple of Ganga and Ram was Sir Ganga Ram, who built Lahore as we see it today.

Fondly remembered as “man of all the seasons”, this Sufi is close to every Punjabi heart. Those who spend their days and night, practicing medicine at the Ganga Ram Hospital and those who wait for their visa to fly abroad know him alike; no one escapes his signature. Whether posting a letter at the GPO or answering a summon at the High Court, visiting the courts of Faisalabad or benefitting from the powerhouse of Renala Khurd, walking around the Saigol Hall of the Aitcheson College or waiting at the Albert Victor wing of Mayo Hospital, the name of Ganga Ram finds a reason to leave a footprint on your heart, just like these buildings.

Born in 1851 to Daulat Ram, a police official in Mangtanwala, Ganga Ram was eldest of his siblings. He spent his initial years at Amritsar and after graduating from Government College, Lahore, joined Thomson Engineering College, Roorki. He was appointed Assistant Engineer at Public Works Department, Lahore employed on completion of his education.

I asked the old man about the definition of “Rizq”, he replied. “Those with the worldly vision take Rizq as mere subsistence whereas, in the actual essence, every good thing that comes your way, be it a fellow passenger, qualifies for “Rizq”.

Whether Ganga Ram thought this way or not, here at PWD, he met Kanhayya Lal Hindi and Bhai Ram Singh. The aristocratic grandeur around the Mall, which now defines the Raj era, was christened by this trinity. These three men were not only gifted in their craft but knew well how to fuse one culture with another duly supplementing the inherent beauty of each.

India, in those days buzzed with the British talent hunt. The Raj looked for able men and Ganga Ram was soon discovered. He was sent to England for advanced training in structural engineering. On his return, he was greeted with luck and fame. Serving as the executive engineer for Lahore, for almost 12 years, he commissioned many monumental works. The National College of Arts, Aitcheson College, Dayal Singh Mansion, Hailey College, Lahore High courts, Lahore Museum, Lady Maclagan High school, Widow House at Ravi Road, and the Lady Maynard School of Industrial Training are a few among them. The lining of trees astride the Mall Road, planning the first sewerage scheme for the city and developing Model Town were also the marvel of his town planning genius. Conclusively, it can be said with convenience, that before Lahore grew into a double story joy-ride, the city owed its beauty to Ganga Ram’s craft.

On retirement, he was made the Governor of the Imperial Bank of India. After a few months, he found it too boring to continue and joined the Patiala State Service. As head of constructions, he administered historical works like Ijlaas-e-Khaas and the new Moti Bagh Palace.

Despite his life in cities, the countryman inside him refused to settle down. Lahore, with all its vastness, had failed to charm him. Far and away, Chenab Colony awaited him and the life he brought along. Originally the revenue record, on that white cotton latha, registers this place as Chak 591 G B (Gogera Branch) but since Ganga Ram acquired it from the British authorities and rehabilitated it, the village has been named Ganga Pur, a tribute to Sir Ganga Ram. This vast expanse of land stretches over thousands of acres laid barren. Gogera Canal flowed through this area but irrigation was not possible because of difference in the water level. After analyzing the situation, Sir Ganga Ram decided to lift irrigate the village through a heavy motor. The machinery was transported through rail from Lahore to Mandi Buchiana but could not be brought to the village. A special 3 km long track was laid which was completed in 1898 but the train that traversed this track was different. Instead of puffing engine, it was pushed by huffing horses. After the motor was installed, the metamorphosis began and within six months, everything turned green. The efforts of Ganga Ram had converted the barren land to fertile fields. These 90,000 acres of arable land were the largest private enterprise of its time.

An engineer at heart, he carved a heart of gold for himself. After he turned the sand into gold, he started sharing the bounties with the lesser children of God. Built in 1921 by an amount of Rs 1,32,000, the Ganga Ram Hospital to-date remains the last hope of many poor patients. Alongside the hospital, he built the first widow house in Lahore and, here too, religion remained a non issue.

Ganga Ram died in 1927 in London. He was cremated there and his ashes were brought back to Lahore, where the whole city mourned this great philanthropist of his time. On the banks of Ravi, a baradari, with a dome atop, marks the burial place of Sir Ganga Ram. It was the site of Baisakhi celebrations, pre-partition. After 1947, however, there is no such gathering. Festivities go on but the spirit has faded away.

On the right side of the track, lies Khurdianwala, a town about to grow into a city. The town has an amusing story. Sher Shah, the Suri King, ordered a well to be dug at the site of the rubble. Once both the words combined, the name of the city was carved. It is now famous for textile mills, heavy industries and a warning shot for Lyallpur or Faisalabad.

Amidst this all is Jaranwala, a 400 years old city, famous for its fields and canals. The history of city is inscribed on a gate called the Pakistani Gate. Amongst other old things, it has a jute mill and a Jamia mosque. The mill has been abandoned and the mosque has grown. Before the partition, the city had three temples. Two of them were razed and the third one, with its frescoes and carvings at the basement, awaits encroachment. Located next to the National Bank, this temple is an archaeological site and can be visited anytime, subject to will. A more deliberate look reveals the demolished Burji’s.

Apart from temples, there was a marhi, which has now been converted into a girls’ college. A sizable population of the city resides abroad. Fewer are those expats whose parents lived here prior to partition and still miss this grain market.

When the train rolled from Ganga Pur to Buchiana, many locals benefitted. The water reached the fields and travellers hit their homes. After functioning for almost a century, it broke down. Residents of Ganga pur looked up in the sky and towards the state but neither the God sent any Ganga Ram, nor the state formed a committee. They decided to help themselves and within a few weeks, the horses pulled it again, last year.

On arriving at Ganga Pur, I realised the difference between the urbans and the rurals. Ganga Ram brought water to this village and the villagers gave up their name for him; he spent his life beautifying Lahore but the citizens could not take care of even a statue.


Listen to this blog in Hindi-Urdu [soundcloud url="" params="" width=" 100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

Muhammad Hassan Miraj is a federal government employee.


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Comments (107)

March 18, 2013 11:44 am
"he spent his life beautifying Lahore but the citizens could not take care of even a statue". why will they? He is not a muslim.
Pranab Roy
March 18, 2013 11:58 am
I am elated to read an article written by Janab Muhammad Hassan Miraj. Still, such honest & noble Muslim exist in Pak-Sar-Zameen. Salute from an Indian... Hassan Sahab.
March 18, 2013 12:02 pm
I am touched by the story you have recounted. I know of another Shri Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi, where even today several Pakistanis, Iranis, Afghanis etc come for treatments such as Liver & Kidney Transplants etc. Most of them are treated by Hindu doctors who do whatever is humanly possible to help the people across the border. Many people owe their lives to their ministrations. It is sad when the world is divided on the basis of religion. Its as if we are no longer human being but rather, Muslims, Christians, Hindus etc. What a sad reflection of today's world. Should the Hindu doctors say No to treating muslim patients and that too from Pakistan? Likewise should Muslim doctors refuse to treat a person if he is a Christian? I wish Pakistanis would recognise and acknowledge the contributions of Sir Ganga Ram not because he was a Hindu but because he contributed immensely to the Lahore you have today..Islam teaches you gratitude, at least honour that!!!
Mohinder sandhu
March 18, 2013 12:06 pm
This is what happens when people are divided. No matter how talented was the person,no matter how much he did for the people of that soil, will be forgotten, just because he belonged to different community.
Raveesh Varma
March 18, 2013 12:26 pm
Beautiful; thank you very much for sharing your knowledge and thoughts with us.
March 18, 2013 12:30 pm
Simply beautiful as always. Totally agree with the last paragraph. Village folk are more appreciative of an kind of kindness and more likely to remember it. I reckon that may be due to the fact that village folk are more capable for such generosity themselves.
March 18, 2013 12:34 pm
people forget hero and patiratic in history some time and don,t remember them
March 18, 2013 12:43 pm
One of the best reads in a long long time. Sir Ganga Ram was a legend, and he needs to be recognised more for this work. The beauty which the Mall Road Lahore is today, is because of this man. Thanks for bringing forward the story of Gangapur, this was something which I was not aware of. Thank you sir. Keep up the good work, your are doing an excellent job.
Atif Amin
March 18, 2013 1:11 pm
Thanks to Sir Ganga Ram for his efforts in making of Lahore. Excellent Article!
March 18, 2013 1:21 pm
Forget about statues, they do not even care about some of their own living legends either. So tragic.
March 18, 2013 1:22 pm
Very well written...Extremely poignant description. especially last line 'he spent his life beautifying Lahore but the citizens could not take care of even a statue.' Hats off to writer and Dawn for publishing such a piece........
Syed Mahboob Husain
March 18, 2013 1:29 pm
We Pakistani's have forgotten our legacy. It is a shame. Mr. M. A. Jinnah wanted a political boundary not an iron fence between our two great nations. The poison of Kashmir has inflicted such deep divisions and negative passions that we manifest our responses in destroying legacies and distorting history. The recent attempt by renaming underpasses in Lahore is great way to remind our citizens of some of the historical figures. Mr Miraj well and keep up the good work.
March 18, 2013 1:40 pm
Thank you so much for your writings, we must not forget our history.
March 18, 2013 1:55 pm
Why do you guys have to sully every noble icon, every beautiful idea by forcing your own communal prejudices into it. Sir Ganga Ram is respected by every Lahori, and the monuments that exist in Lahore today still speak volumes about his contributions.. as far as not taking care of the monuments is concerned, the negligence is endemic and towards every monument regardless of who it was created by, including the fort in Rohtas which was built by Sher Shah Suri (a Muslim). You have to accept that this sort of incompetence is rampant on both sides of the border
Md Imran
March 18, 2013 2:01 pm
Thanks for the article. But isn't it time we move on ? He may have architected the city, but it is also a very important center of islam today, and i think it is about time we let go the ghosts of colonial past and rename the roads and hospitals after Maududi or Iqbal ?
Javed Anwar
March 18, 2013 2:04 pm
Islam teach us brotherhood amongst human beings. No matter Sir Ganga Ram is not a Muslim or no more with us but I as a son of Lahore extend my gratitude & Salute this great personality. Well done Mr. M. Hassan Miraij. Zabardast. May ALLAH Reward you for bringing such an eye opening article. Aameen.
March 18, 2013 2:35 pm
this is amazing effort, i really appreciate the work done. Its glad to some people in Pakistan still know what exactly needs to be written for ordinary man.
March 18, 2013 2:36 pm
Thank you for writing such a beuatiful peice. How easily people on both sides have forgotten our heroes !! I would suggest An expressway to connect Varansi in India to Shahjahanpur to Lahore and Name it Azad-Ashfaq-Bhagat Highway. A greater people to people interaction and student visits in need of the hour. May be a day comes when we can combine India, Pakistan and Bangladesh economically, with a common ruppee, something Europe has done. And that day subcontinent will once again golden bird of world.
March 18, 2013 2:48 pm
Thanks for telling about Sir Ganga Ram and I have been associated with this name many times. Sir Ganga Ram hospital , BHU ; Sir Ganga Ram Hostel , Allahabad University ; Gangaram Hospital Delhi etc
Azmat Khan
March 18, 2013 2:50 pm
Dear I am sure the hospital in Delhi was also built and financed by Sir Ganga Ram.He made other institutions also there. We have much regard for him.A great man and a great philanthropist.
March 18, 2013 2:55 pm
And that is precise reason you are where you are but doubt you can even understand that !
March 18, 2013 3:02 pm
Bless you!
Azmat Khan
March 18, 2013 3:04 pm
Mr. Miraj thanks for writing a beautiful article on Sir Ganga Ram, the wellknown philanthropist. Byt have you ever seen the plight of this man's samadhi in Lahore.It is lying in a ruined, devastated and destroyed shape. A very sad scene.
March 18, 2013 3:06 pm
Kashmir is not the cause of poison Syed Sahib it is result of poison. May like to check history- there are many videos on And that is precise of Pakistan Army men telling truth about Kashmir. Like in 1965 war thousands of soldiers were sent to Kashmir and they were caring two guns each - one to be given to first Kashmiri they say so that he would fight against India. Most of them ended up in jail as Kashmiries handed them to Police !
March 18, 2013 3:19 pm
Which part of the article makes you feel that the author is not honouring gratitude? Please explain in detail. If you cant then please refrain from making such useless remarks in future.
March 18, 2013 3:29 pm
This is the difference between India & Pakistan. Pakistan tend to erase their history under religion where as that is not the case in India. In my city of Bangalore, the then diwan Sir Inayatullah Mekri broadened the road and built a gradual gradient to ease the strain on bullocks pulling the carts as they use to enter from Hyderabad road in those days. Now we have a big Mekhri circle on that road named after him with a big name plate erected by city corporation. People call this Mekhri circle which leads to the new Bangalore International Airport.
March 18, 2013 3:29 pm
If he was alive today, he would have been falsely accused in a blasphemy case and lynched by a mob.
March 18, 2013 3:46 pm
I knew only his name and that my sis-in-law works at Sir Ganga Ram hospital in Delhi. So nice of Mr Miraj for his enlightening write up. Thanks
March 18, 2013 3:57 pm
Mr Roy, Hassan sahab regularly brings these articles in The Dawn.That shows that he enjoys the patronage of not only Dawn but many other intelectuals there. let us salute them also. Regards
muhammad akhtar hussain
March 18, 2013 3:59 pm
Pranab Roy this country is full of Muhammad Hassan Miraj but the only problem is that we donot know them and such is the case in India.The present day media only high lights evil doer,political opportunists, showbiz and those who can make fat payments to it. We are living under dispensation chosen for us by the colonial rulers with a purpose that must serve thier interest. The actual Pak sar zameen is land of saints, sufies and jogies you will find the majority as good natued and loving but they are hardly mentioned at any forum. Roy let us start searching them in both our countries and ignore evil doers. Sure you will find a differant world.
Suraj Thadani
March 18, 2013 4:17 pm
Crocodile tears!! Hindus and Sikhs were just a shade under 50% of Punjab's population before Partition. In Sindh Hindus were 40%. Now that you have driven out almost all Sikhs and Hindus or killed them or forcefully converted them, you even changed Hindu names of cities, towns localities and Streets to Arab names, why these phony tears and regrets? have you Pakistanis no sense of shame? Is the ambition to be slaves of the Arabs your only mission in life?
Asif Ch
March 18, 2013 4:21 pm
this is also our history which is not taught to younger generation in pakistan
March 18, 2013 4:25 pm
Very clean introspection. This writing forces the reader to look inside within us. Thanks for educating us on this. I had heard the name (Sir Ganga Ram), but had no idea about the depth of his contribution.
Masood Hussain
March 18, 2013 4:31 pm
Mr .Miraj has made me cry second time for Sir Ganga Ram,First time was when Statue of Sir Ganga was brought down on express wishes of public and Govt.,as both did not want to keep the memory of a non muslim alive forgetting that this non muslim was builder of this city who had one motto in life"Service to mankind is service to God" How keenly we Lahories want to have another Gaga Ram amongst us.
March 18, 2013 4:47 pm
I am glad to see such a beutiful article. I have been living in US/Canada for last 30 years and I have found indian non-muslim friends who have always been like my brothers. So, religious divide is created by extremists for gaining power.
March 18, 2013 5:25 pm
I request you, very humbly, to read his previous articles. You will come out a changed man.
Krish Chennai
March 18, 2013 5:42 pm
Wonderful article ! When I worked in Muscat, Oman, in the early 80's as a young man trying to make money, my superior was one Mr. Dev Kishen Sood who always said " I was born in Lahore, now I have forgotten where I belong ". Those words make so much sense now, which I could not comprehend then.
Dr. Nagaraja
March 18, 2013 6:48 pm
Great Article. It is important that we remember the contributions of people who have done so much for all of us.
March 18, 2013 6:50 pm
Sorry, no need for this. There are a lot of great Arabs to take inspiration from.
March 18, 2013 7:20 pm
I hope Pakistani academia includes a chapter about him for middle school students. He deserves to be commemorated on a postal stamp.
saeed tahir
March 18, 2013 7:48 pm
great story, salute to sir Ganga ram a true legend
March 18, 2013 7:57 pm
And yes....for the benefit of Pakistanis, Sir Ganga Ram was a Hindu of Bania Caste :-))
March 18, 2013 8:02 pm
i grew up in Lahore with my father telling Sir Ganga Ram's stories all my life and my children will hear it from me. Sir Ganga Ram is a very well known and a deeply respected figure in Lahore even today so your assumption is not correct my friend.
surrinder gill USA
March 18, 2013 8:36 pm
Miraj Sahib, Once again I salute you. I knew Ganga Ram Hospital in Lahore and Delhi and also that Sir Ganga Ram was an engineer but never knew about his contribution to our common love Lahore, Lahore may be politically in Pakistan but it is alive in heart of every Punjabi, even like me who were born after partition (I will not say independence as it destroyed my dear Punjab). I heard of jaranwala but never of Gangpur or Bhuchian. Every time I read I feel I am walking with you on great soil of my Punjab. Tears come to my eyes. I wish to live in Lahore and do law practice there. Long live Miraj sahib, all punjabis and our full Punjab from Delhi to Attock and manali to Multan.
March 18, 2013 9:22 pm
Sad that such a great man is not honoured in the city he gave so much to His statue stands proudly in Sir Ganga Ram hospital in Delhi
March 18, 2013 9:37 pm
Thank You for taking us on the journey of humanism and telling us that before the poison of communalism spread through the land, it was NOT important whether you were a Muslim or a Hindu or a Christian. But, where you a good human and a good citizen who loved your brethren irrespective of their beliefs?
get forward
March 18, 2013 10:21 pm
incuding this chapter in history books wud keep ur coming generations from being religious fanatics...
Amer Chowdhry
March 18, 2013 10:28 pm
As a child name Ganga Ram hospital always use to spark my curiosity. Back then (in the80s/ 90s) there was no Wikipedia. Last year I came across a news article of Ganga Ram Trust planning an expansion to the hospital in Lahore, which again sparked my interest (after almost 20 yrs leaving Lahore). Who was this far sighted man who created a trust which is still performing? I immediately looked up Wikipedia and was surprised to read that it was not just the hospital, most of the Raj era Lahore as we Pakistanis know was built by this brilliant man. Thanks for sharing.
umesh bhagwat
March 18, 2013 11:49 pm
nice article! a nation which forgets its past has no future!
March 19, 2013 12:43 am
Thanks for the history sharing, would visit this plase ASAP..thanks
March 19, 2013 12:54 am
Well said, my friend. Regards B Sharma
March 19, 2013 1:49 am
speaking of old memory here is something on Sir Ganga Ram A marble statue of Sir Ganga Ram once stood in a public square on Mall Road in Lahore. Famous Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto (known for his famous satire "Toba Tek Singh") wrote a satire on persons who were trying to obliterate any memory of any Hindu in Lahore after Pakistan came into existence. In his story “Garland” based on a true incident on the frenzy of religious riots of 1947, an inflamed mob in Lahore, after attacking a residential area, turned to attacking the statue of Sir Ganga Ram, the great Hindu philanthropist of Lahore. They first pelted the statue with stones; then smothered its face with coal tar. Then a man made a garland of old shoes climbed up to put it round the neck of the statue. The police arrived and opened fire. Among the injured were the fellow with the garland of old shoes. As he fell, the mob shouted: “Let us rush him to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital” forgetting that ironically they were trying to obliterate the memory of the very person who had founded the hospital where the person was to be taken for saving his life.
March 19, 2013 2:00 am
But this writing is exactly the opposite: remembering him. Lets, for a bit, look at the positive.
Muhammad Farooq
March 19, 2013 2:00 am
Great reminder of the past. Thank for sharing the wonderful memories. Sir Ganga Ram was a great humanist and benefactor. RIP
Kanwarpal S. Dhugga
March 19, 2013 2:01 am
Wow, what a touching piece of history! Statues and memorials are important for historical purposes but the spirit of the enlightened souls is immortal, regardless of whether we, the subsequent generations, remember their benevolence or not. Thank you, as usual, for another great piece. Keep it up!
March 19, 2013 2:02 am
If there is a statue of him it should be in a museum; but perhaps nice photos or portratits would do. But BEST of all is to remember and acknowledge the contributions.
Wasif M Khan
March 19, 2013 2:05 am
Thanks for a typically informative article. Just to clarify the name KHURRIANWALA...yes, there was a well in a large barren plot and thus the name was Khu (well) Rarhianwala (of the barren plot) ..which combined to give today's Khurrianwala. Certainly no Rarha maidan now as it teems with textile processing plants.
Ranjan Kumar
March 19, 2013 2:17 am
Lahore has been a special city for centuries and one longs to have a chance to visit it in peace and joy. Sir Ganga Ram is but one of the many great children of this city who stood for great causes and have enriched our lives. There is a strand of the old world decency and charm in this article and the places and anecdotes mentioned which tell us what we have lost in drawing boundaries and fences.
Fida Sayani
March 19, 2013 2:57 am
even if he was a muslim, the pakistani will do the same to him what they have done to Ganga Ram. Give you an example of Jaffer Fadoo. First they tear down the wings of Jaffer Fadoo Dispensary in Kharadhar, Karachi. Recently they removed his photo from the Dispensary building. This is how Pakistanis treat their well wisher.
March 19, 2013 3:05 am
Miraj, thank you. It is very nice to see such young generation care to write about the good deeds of older generation even though every one does his duty and do not expect in return.
March 19, 2013 3:34 am
A really good article....Keep it up. But in the name of history, what is being taught in the schools in Pakistan?
Bikkar S BRAR
March 19, 2013 3:38 am
Thanks a lot. Another jewel. Very well written!
A. Khan
March 19, 2013 3:39 am
Even after the birth of Pakistan, Lahore Tonga wallas every morning called out two names loudly at the Lahore Railway Station, Data Darbar and Ganga Ram. As compared to the Muslims, the Hindu and Sikh populations did a lot for the city of Lahore in field of schools, colleges and hospitals.
Mohammad A Dar
March 19, 2013 3:47 am
Gone with the wind, with his masters, imperial British.
Mohammad A Dar
March 19, 2013 3:51 am
Ya, done so well, only locals permitted to be on Mall were gardeners, every one else was beaten by local boot liker, called servants of imperial British. Period of shame for locals, better to be forgotten.
March 19, 2013 4:47 am
jinnah only want state to rule. he cared damn about muslims
March 19, 2013 5:16 am
Awsome... beautiful written article and I am sure not many people know all about what you have written. Its our history, culture and reality many such like places/hospitals ( like Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar, Mayo Hospital Lahore, Muree etc) named after such like great people but no one knows the history. Government should take notice of it and inscribed a little everwhere in all these palces for general public awareness & information. Your article is worth reading, Bless you.
anil tiwari
March 19, 2013 5:21 am
Today, in New Delhi, the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital is a 650-bed multi-specialty hospital. It is the only hospital in the private sector that has maintained nearly 100% bed occupancy. It was established as a tribute to Sir Ganga Ram of Lahore and on the principal 'Aapni Virasat Ko Sambhal Kar Rakhna Chaheye". The hospital's Minimal Access Surgery department was the first such department in South Asia.
anil tiwari
March 19, 2013 5:23 am
Pls see my answer above
March 19, 2013 5:36 am
Nice writing.. such articles helps to realise our history and bring the Pakistan and India closer.
rajendran arulmani
March 19, 2013 6:04 am
i salute for such an informative and emotional article.
K G Surendran
March 19, 2013 6:30 am
Very moving article. Wish the people of Pakistan rediscover their Indus heritage without having to compromise on their faith, this will go a long way in restoring the true spirit of the people there and thereby bring peace and prosperity to the country.
March 19, 2013 6:38 am
Brilliant write up! Hearty congratulations to the author!
March 19, 2013 7:05 am
You are right, Pakistani have forgotten who they were. You were all Hindus who converted at the sword. The Mughals converted you. It is time to return to your original religion, then you will progress
March 19, 2013 8:33 am
This is the difference between a secular & communal society....however I know there are lot of people in Pakistan who wants to live in secular society....
March 19, 2013 8:37 am
Wah........... you are a treasure for Pakistan........ Jeeyo Miraj Sahab. Theres a Ganga Ram hospital in Delhi too,and i alsways wondered who this person was. Now i have got an answer from you.
Diya Rehman
March 19, 2013 8:38 am
Superb effort . There are a lot of stories of non Muslim philanthropists doing stupendous works of welfare and public good in Sindh and Punjab both told and untold . Like the land on which present day Zubaida college stands in Hyderabad was allotted by a Hindu philanthropist , which is now a standard educational institution for women across whole Sindh province.
March 19, 2013 9:22 am
Thank You Mark,
March 19, 2013 9:38 am
Excellent article, very informative. I have read a similar short story by Saadat Hasan Manto which highlights the indifference of people towards this great man. I hope one day we can leave religion aside for a moment and appreciate human beings born for other human beings.
Goga Nalaik
March 19, 2013 9:41 am
Please accept my profound gratitude for your extraordinary work. I salute you for all your efforts to revive our history and cultural heritage. From now onwards, many (including myself) will remember who was Sir Ganga Ram. Keep the jewels coming from your pen!
March 19, 2013 9:41 am
I read it somewhere that a statue of Sir Ganga Ram once stood on Mall Road in Lahore. Saadat Hasan Manto, the famous Urdu writer, in one of his stories on the religious riots of 1947 writes that an inflamed mob in Lahore, after attacking a Hindu residential area, ‘turned to attacking the statue of Sir Ganga Ram, the Hindu philanthropist. They first pelted the statue with stones; then smothered its face with coal tar. Then a man made a garland of old shoes climbed up to put it round the neck of the statue. The police arrived and opened fire. Among the injured was the fellow with the garland of old shoes. As he fell, the mob shouted: “Let us rush him to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital”.
March 19, 2013 10:02 am
Happy to hear the name "Jaranwala". Missing home!!!
March 19, 2013 10:05 am
There is Ganga Ram Hospital in southern city of I know the person behind the name....good boss.
March 19, 2013 10:18 am
Name a few please apart from a couple of Kings and Ameers.
March 19, 2013 10:48 am
Bhagat singh also.
March 19, 2013 10:56 am
you won the prize for writing the best non-sensical post. as i m reading the whole post on this article. congrats to u.
March 19, 2013 11:02 am
Imran, My comment above does not call for such a defensive the 1st line of my comment first, digest it and then speak..if you have any comprehension of the English Language, you might find that my comment simply means that the author's narrative and unbiased views have touched me..unbiased acknowledgement of one's heritage, sans embellishments and selective recognition needs to be commended..My comment says nothing about ingratitude et all but I guess to read my comments in perspective you need to be unbiased..sadly your comment demonstrates that you have completely missed the point I was trying to make..I hope I have been detailed enough in my response.
Pro Truth
March 19, 2013 11:42 am
Another nice article Mr Miraj, Thanks
Arshad Jamil
March 19, 2013 11:43 am
Excellent article, especially the last para. We muslims in Pakistan should learn a bit from non-muslims, about philathropy. Build schools and hospitals, instead of spending money on Umrah every year, which is just not obligatory. That will be a greater service to humanity. Think about it.
March 19, 2013 11:48 am
I remember reading about GANGA RAM JI of Lahore in an earlier article in DAWN, last year . Am i right ? Or, is old age disturbing my memory ?
farideh zivary
March 19, 2013 12:08 pm
Good idea.
K G Surendran
March 19, 2013 12:13 pm
True philanthropists mostly belong to the untold genre.
March 19, 2013 12:20 pm
we enjoy and appreciate your writings
V Singh
March 19, 2013 12:44 pm
Very nice article and a real tribute to the great man. Miraj Saheb, many congratulations!
Iftikhar Husain
March 19, 2013 1:03 pm
Very nice description of this part of the country which I visited in fifties very fertile and green thanks for sharing.
March 19, 2013 1:06 pm
I must tell you Dawn after reading your articles, I have found that the press in Pakistan is much fair and free than their counterparts in India. Indian press is most corrupt press and a stigma on the face of Journalism. Hats off to your journalism. I am Indian. Keep up your good work
March 19, 2013 1:22 pm
I requested you to refrain from making useless remarks. Some people just never learn. Its you who is on the defensive here as is obvious from your unnecessary tirade . You were obviously not expecting such a rebuke. The author has taken such pains to glorify the contribution of Sir Ganga Ram and all you can do is to come along and tar it with religion. And as you can see I have almost no comprehension of English.
March 19, 2013 2:44 pm
I also would like to appraise readers about Sir Mirza Ismail(a Muslim) who hails from Mysore, He was a Dewan under a Hindu King during British Raj later opposed to Jinnah's Partition, one can read more about him in wikipedia, we still have his fond memories and there are many roads named after him. I am proud to say that Hindus Muslims christians and many other religions live peacefully in our town. educated Pakistanis should do their own research in this internet age about our history and learn more about Bhagat Singh Ganga Ram and many others to find out religion has nothing to do with one's good or bad deeds
March 19, 2013 2:56 pm
Although your comments seem extremely harsh, they unfortunately cannot be refuted. The tears are however real. Do you really think the people who have taken part in desecrating the fabric of society according to your description, read this article? No they are in a world of their own making. I think people who do not respect their own history cannot create new history for themselves and furture generations. I dont think shame is an issue becaue it has seized to exist either side of the boundary for a long time. And the whole of the South Asia is the slave of arabs and submit to their black god derived wealth and their rules. We have lost more than one generation who dont know their history and frankly are not interested either. All we have is tears and regrets believe me....I hope its not too late.
March 19, 2013 6:11 pm
My mamu, Dr Razdan marhoom, was an ENT surgeon at Ganga Ram Hospital in Lahore. After partition he moved to Delhi and was instrumental in helping to establish Ganga Ram Hospital there. When I visited Lahore (my birthplace) some years ago I told him that Lahoris had preserved the name of his old hospital unchanged and he was glad to hear that. I salute Miraj sahib on these excellent pieces that preserve memories that need to be kept alive. To paraphrase Faiz's " Ek bar aur, jab phir mere tanha dil ko fikr aa lage gi ke tanhai ka kya chara karen" we may answer that we will read and re-read these pieces to banish the "tanhai."
March 19, 2013 6:25 pm
Thanks for such an informative article. One of Delhi best hospitals is Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, that provides best medical services of international quality at a very reasonable cost. I didn't know he was a Punjabi-Pakistani. I have seen scores of Saudis, afganis, Pakistani except Indians lined up for medical help. It is really unfortunate to see Pakistan has deserted its real heros, just because they didn't belong to politically convenient faith, while created many foreigners/invaders as its heros.
March 19, 2013 6:39 pm
Actually press in India and Pakistan both are same i.e. total crap. Don't count Dawn in that because it is a very exception not just in Pakistan but overall by international standards. In India you have a similar equivalent by standards which is Hindu but Hindu is more like a traditional newpaper and is very straightforward in its reports, blogs and analysis. Dawn on the other hand encourages facts in forms of interesting stories, hence it is more appealing from a literary standpoint.
March 19, 2013 9:50 pm
Miraj You are doing a great job.Keep it up
March 19, 2013 10:58 pm
Atta ur Rehman
March 19, 2013 11:21 pm
I salute Miraj jee and fine article about Sir Ganga Ram who is and will be remembered as the true architect of modern Lahore. It makes us feel closer to non-muslims and ashamed us Muslims as this great man Sir Ganga Ram was.
Rani Shantoo Hukoo
March 20, 2013 12:42 am
That brotherhood is limited to Muslim men. Even Muslim women have a lower status which the Quran clealy confirms. Islam has created the greatest lower caste in history--Muslim women.
AS i m
March 20, 2013 5:46 am
sir ganga ram hospital in delhi too..... one of d bst ones......
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