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  • Malkiat Singh Duhra

Rai Bahadur Sir Ganga Ram

Rai Bahadur Sir Ganga Ram (April 13, 1851 - July 10, 1927) was an Indian civil engineer and architect. Khaled Ahmed describes him as the father of modern Lahore due to his extensive contributions to the urban fabric of Lahore. Sir Ganga Ram, a brilliant engineer who, despite his accolades, was an empathetic human. Governor of Punjab (1924-1928) said Ganga Ram won like a hero and gave like a saint.

Ganga Ram was born in the village Mangtanwala near Lahore. His father, Doulat Ram, was a sub-inspector policeman in Mangtanwala. Ganga Ram passed his matriculation from Government High School Amritsar and joined the Government College Lahore in 1869. He joined Engineering College Roorkee in 1971 and passed the final lower subordinate examination with a Gold medal in 1873. After service in PWD, he devoted himself to practical farming. He obtained, on lease from the government, 50000 acres of barren, unirrigated land in Montgomery District, and within three years converted that vast desert into smiling fields, irrigated by water lifted by hydroelectric plant and running through a thousand miles of irrigation channels, all constructed at his own cost. This was the biggest private enterprise of the kind, unknown and unthought in the country before. Sir Ganga Ram earned millions most of which he gave to charity.

In 1990, Ganga Ram was selected by Lord Curzon as Superintendent of works in the Imperial Durbar and he retired prematurely from service in 1903. He received the title of Rai Bahadur in 1903, and on December 12, 1911, was appointed of the Royal Victorian Order.

He designed and built the General Post Office Lahore, Lahore Museum, Aitchion College, Mayo School of Arts, Ganga Ram Hospital Lahore 1921, Lady Mclagan Girls School, the Chemistry department of the Government College, the Alvert Victor Wing of Mayo Hospital, Sir Ganga Ram High School, the Hailey College of Commerce, House for disabled, Ganga Ram Trust building, lady Maynard Industrial School, Model Town and Gulberg Town in Lahore, the Power house at Renala Khrud, railway track between Amritsar and Pathankot, Moti Bagh Palace, Secretariat Building New Delhi, Victoria Girls School, and Ghoda Train (horse-pulled train) from Bachina Railway Station to Gangapur village.

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi was made in his memory in 1951.

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