Gujranwala History

It was once a district of Lahore Division, now it is the largest administrative division of Punjab. The division, headquartered at the city of Gujranwala, covers an area of 17,206 km2. It is administratively subdivided into 6 districts.

  • • Gujranwala District
  • • Gujrat District
  • • Sialkot District
  • • Hafizabad District
  • • Mandi Bahauddin District
  • • Narowal District

In 630, the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Hsuan Tsang visited a town known as Tse-kia (or Taki), near present-day Gujranwala; a mound near the contemporary village of Asarur has been identified as the site of the ancient city.

In 997 Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi succeeded his father, Sultan Sebuktegin, as ruler of the Ghaznavid dynasty. He conquered the Shahis in Kabul in 1005, followed by the conquest of the Punjab region. The Delhi Sultanate and, later, the Mughal Empire ruled the region. The Punjab Region flourished during Mughal rule, from the days of Akbar to those of Aurangzeb, wells were scattered over the whole country, and villages lay thickly dotted about the southern plateau, now a barren waste of grass land and scrub jungle. Their remains may still be found in the wildest and most solitary reaches of the Bar. Akbar built a fort in Gujrat and compelled the Gujars to settle in it The Punjab became predominantly Muslim, due to missionary Sufi saints whose dargahs dot the landscape.

Gujranwala evolved as a medieval town, and Sufi missionaries converted the local Gurjar population to Islam. Until the arrival of the Muslims little is known about Gujranwala, except that Taki had fallen into oblivion and Lahore was the chief city. Under Muslim rule the district flourished and then declined. The district gazetteer dates the name "Gujranwala" to about the mid-16th century.

After the decline of the Mughal Empire, the Sikhs occupied Gujranwala and the Muslims were allowed to practice Islam freely under Sikh rule. The Sikhs dominated the Punjab after the death of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir in 1707. Gujranwala became important during the rule of the father and grandfather of Ranjit Singh, who were born in the city. Ranjit Singh, also born there, became the most powerful of the Sikh rulers. Hari Singh Nalwa, military commander of the Sikh army, was credited with building the "new" Gujranwala.

In 1765 Sardar Gujar Singh Bhangi, one of the head of the Bhangi Sikh confederacy, crossed the river Chenab, defeated the Muslim Gakhar chief, Mukarrab Khan,Sardar Gujar Singh Brought Gujrat District under Sikh rule for 81 years.

In 1847 Gujranwala came under British occupation and two years later, in 1849, it was included in the territory annexed after the second Sikh War. A cantonment was established at Wazirabad, which was abolished in 1855. The District formed a part originally of the extensive District of Wazirabad, which comprised the whole upper portion of the Rechna Doab.

In 1852 this unwieldy territory was divided between Gujranwala and Sialkot District. The District, as then constituted, stretched across the entire plateau, from the Chenab to the Ravi ; but in 1853 the south-eastern fringe, consisting of 303 villages, was transferred to Lahore District, and three years later a second batch of 324 villages was handed over to the same District.

At the time the district was divided into four tehsils namely: Gujranwala, Wazirabad, Hafizabad and Khangah Dogran. The chief towns during British rule were the municipalities of Gujranwala, the headquarters of the District, Wazirabad, Ramnagar, Akalgarh, Eminabad, Kila Didar Singh, and the notified area of Sodhra. During the British era the district of Gujranwala was part of Lahore Division.

In 1846 Gujrat came under the supervision of British officials, when a settlement of land revenue was effected under order from the provisional government at Lahore.

In 1846 Hafizabad came under the supervision of British colonial rule, when a settlement of land revenue was effected under order from the provisional government at Lahore.

In 1859, Gurdaspur, Amritsar and Sialkot were placed in the new division of Sialkot. But in 1884, Gurdaspur along with Amritsar again became a part of the Lahore Division.

In 1930, the tehsils of Raya, Daska and Pasrur were split up and parts of these were amalgamated into Gujranwala District. In 1991, the tehsils of Narowal and Shakar Garh (which was tehsil Shankar Garh of Gurdaspur district before partition) were split up and formed into the new Narowal District.

In 1937 the town of Mandi-Bahauddin was given the status of a town committee. In 1941 it was given the status of a municipal committee. In the 1923 master reconstruction plan, all the streets and roads were laid straight and wide. In 1946 nine gates and the wall surrounding the town was completed due to riots. In 1993, Mandi Bahauddin was declared a District H.Q.

After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the minority Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India while the Muslim refugees from India settled in the every District of Punjab. Gujranwala District was governed by a deputy commissioner until it became part of the Gujranwala Division. In 1951 the city became the capital of the district, which encouraged industrial growth. Among its deputy commissioners was Mansur Zaimur Rehman, who served from 1959 to 1962 and began a number of development projects (including the cantonment).