The Story of Sir Ganga Ram is the Story of Lahore. Sir Ganga Ram is considered to be the ‘father of Lahore.’ He was an extraordinary town planner, an excellent civil engineer and a great philanthropist. He made a good fortune through royal services, business and industrial ventures. Sir Ganga Ram spent all his wealth on the education, health and wellbeing of the common man in Punjab. Sir Ganga Ram was born on 13th April 1851 in Mangtanwala near Nankana Sahib, currently a district of the Punjab province in Pakistan. His father, Daulat Ram, was a junior sub-inspector in a local police station. His family migrated to Amritsar in search of a bright future where Sir Ganga Ram started going to a government school. He was a brilliant student and got admission to the coveted Government College Lahore on a merit scholarship. After 2 years, he reached Thomson Civil Engineering College Roorkee, currently a city in the Uttarakhand state of India. He completed his education by winning a gold medal in 1873. He remained Executive Engineer of Lahore till his pre-mature retirement in 1903.
Sir Ganga Ram designed and constructed the first water supply and drainage system of Lahore. In Lahore, he designed and constructed the Museum, Mayo School of Arts (NCA), Aitcheson College, General Post Office, Lahore High Court, Lahore Cathedral, Chemistry Department of GC, Albert Victor Wing of Mayo Hospital and many others. Model Town of Lahore was also conceived and constructed by Sir Ganga Ram. His tenure as Executive Engineer of Lahore is reckoned to be ‘Sir Ganga Ram Period of Architecture.’He donated a lot of money for public welfare projects and constructed many structures for poors. Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Hailey College of Commerce (currently Hailey College of Banking & Finance), Lady Mclagon Girls High School, Ganga Ram Trust Building Mall road, a Shelter home for widows, Aashram for the disabled, elderly and the helpless. He also established a career society for Hindu students and Lady Maynard Industrial School for Hindu girls and women. He founded ‘Sir Ganga Ram Trust’ to look after his welfare projects. He was bestowed ‘Order of the Indian Empire’ and ‘Royal Victorian Order by the Queen of Great Britain. The title of ‘Rai Bahadur’ was also another feather in his cap. King George V knighted him in Buckingham Palace in 1922. Sir Ganga Ram died on 10th July 1927 at the age of 76 in London. He was cremated and his ashes were brought back to India. A portion of his ashes was consigned to Ganga River while the remaining portion was buried near Ravi river on Ravi Road, Lahore. Written by Awais Hameed. Photos – Various online sources