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Who is Sir Ganga Ram and why his legacy lives on in India and Pakistan?


[Image: _126277888_gangarampowerstation6.jpg]


There are few personalities in India and Pakistan who left a legacy as lasting on both sides of the border as iconic engineer and philanthropist, Sir Ganga Ram.

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Hospitals in Delhi and Lahore - built by his trust and family in his name - continue to uphold his legacy to this day.

While Pakistan's Lahore city was his home, during the 1947 Partition of India, his family moved to Delhi in India.

In August 1947, India won independence from British rule and the country split into two new nations - India and Pakistan. Between half a million and a million people died in religious violence and 12 million became refugees.

Ganga Ram died in 1927, but writer Sadat Hasan Manto's short story, The Garland, summed up just how much the man and his legacy is intertwined with the city of Lahore.

In the story, said to be based on a true incident during the Partition, a mob attacks Ganga Ram's statue in front of his hospital to wipe out his Hindu name. But when a man is injured, the mob shouts, "Let us rush him to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital."

A strict disciplinarian, Ganga Ram was also known to be a kind-hearted man. His contributions spanned the fields of architecture, engineering, agriculture and women's rights. He specially focused on the welfare of widows.

Much of what we know about him comes from the 1940 book Harvest from the desert, the life and work of Sir Ganga Ram by Baba Pyare Lal Bedi.

Ganga Ram was born in 1851 in Mangtanwala village, about 40 miles (64km) from Lahore.

His father Daulat Ram had left Uttar Pradesh, a northern Indian state, and worked as a junior police sub-inspector there.

The family later moved to Amritsar in Punjab province where Ganga Ram studied in a government-run high school.
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