History of Gujranwala City
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
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 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.