The Great City of Lahore

It’s not just about our geographic location, although few cities in the world are as energetic, as sustainable, as socially aware, and as open to new ideas and new people, as Lahore is. But there is more to Lahore than its obvious virtues. The City is large and complicated, and with great diversity of ethnicity, class, and income level, it provides an ideal setting for the work of an institute devoted to shaping a better world.

The recorded history of Lahore covers thousands of years.  it has since its creation changed hands from Hindu, Greek, Persian, Muslim, Sikh and British rule to becoming the cultural capital and the heart of modern day Pakistan.

 


A mythological legend, based on oral traditions, states that Lahore was named after Lav, son of the Hindu god Rama, who supposedly founded the city.   Ptolemy, the celebrated astronomer and geographer, mentions in his Geographia a city called Labokla  situated on the route between the Indus River and Palibothra, or Pataliputra (Patna), in a tract of country called Kasperia (Kashmir), described as extending along the rivers Bidastes or Vitasta (Jhelum), Sandabal or Chandra Bhaga (Chenab), and Adris or Iravati (Ravi).

 


The oldest authentic document about Lahore was written anonymously in 982 and is called Hudud-i-Alam. It was translated into English by Vladimir Fedorovich Minorsky and published in Lahore in 1927. In this document, Lahore is referred to as a small shahr (city) with "impressive temples, large markets and huge orchards." It refers to "two major markets around which dwellings exist," and it also mentions "the mud walls that enclose these two dwellings to make it one." The original document is currently held in the British Museum.

In 682 AD, according to Ferishta, the Afghans of Kerman and Peshawar, who had, even at that early period, embraced the Islam.  As the first Muslim ruler of Lahore, Ayaz rebuilt and repopulated the city. The present Lahore Fort stands in the same location. Under his rule, the city became a cultural and academic center, renowned for poetry.

 


Lahore reached a peak of architectural glory during the rule of the Mughals, whose buildings and gardens survived the hazards of time. Lahore's reputation for beauty fascinated the English poet John Milton, who wrote "Agra and Lahore, the Seat of Great Mughal" in 1670.
From 1524 to 1752, Lahore was part of the Mughal Empire. Lahore touched the zenith of its glory during the Mughal rule from 1524 to 1752. The Mughals, who were famous as builders, gave Lahore some of its finest architectural monuments, many of which are extant today.

During this time, the massive Lahore Fort was built.  Shahjahan , extended the Lahore Fort and built many other structures in the city, including the Shalimar Gardens. The last of the great Mughals, Aurangzeb, who ruled from 1658 to 1707, built the city's most famous monuments, the Badshahi Masjid and the Alamgiri Gate next to the Lahore Fort.

Out of the chaos of Afghani and Sikh conflicts emerged a victorious Sikh by the name of Ranjit Singh,  Maharajah Ranjit Singh made Lahore his capital and was able to expand the kingdom to the Khyber Pass and also included Jammu and Kashmir, while keeping the British from expanding across the River Sutlej for more than 40 years.

The British rode into Lahore in February 1846.  The British first introduced Urdu as an official language in Punjab, including Lahore, allegedly due to a fear of Punjabi nationalism.  Under British rule (1849–1947), colonial architecture in Lahore combined Mughal, Gothic and Victorian styles. The General Post Office (GPO) and YMCA buildings in Lahore commemorated the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria, an event marked by the construction of clock towers and monuments all over India. Other important British buildings included the High Court, the Government College University, the museums, the National College of Arts, Montgomery Hall, Tollinton Market, the University of the Punjab (Old Campus) and the Provincial Assembly.  Under British rule, Sir Ganga Ram (sometimes referred to as the father of modern Lahore) designed and built the General Post Office, Lahore Museum, Aitchison College, Mayo School of Arts (now the NCA), Ganga Ram Hospital, Lady Mclagan Girls High School, the chemistry department of the Government College University, the Albert Victor wing of Mayo Hospital, Sir Ganga Ram High School (now Lahore College for Women) the Hailey College of Commerce, Ravi Road House for the Disabled, the Ganga Ram Trust Building on Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam, and the Lady Maynard Industrial School.  He also constructed Model Town, a suburb that has recently developed into a cultural center for Lahore's growing socioeconomic elite.


The city has built a new campus in quieter environments on the Canal Bank, but the old university buildings are still functioning. For the sake of entertainment, the British introduced horse-racing to Lahore. The first racing club, established in 1924, is called LRC or Lahore Race Club.

Lahore is regarded as the heart of Pakistan and is now the capital of the Punjab province in the state of Pakistan.   The present day Lahore is a three-in-one city. That is why, when one visits Lahore; he findsthree different cities - each distinguished from other in one way or other. The old city - existed for at least a thousand years - developed in and around circular road. Similarly, the British built Lahore covers the area from Mayo Hospital to the Canal Bank on the east.

Unquestionably, third Lahore which includes various posh localities such as Gulberg, Bahria Town, Defence Housing Authority along with several others developed after the independence.

In keeping with our mission, CBA supports and partners with many community organizations for the betterment of the city, and we encourage our students to use CBA as a laboratory for service learning and applied academics. 

In short, the CBA and the City are closely intertwined, both culturally and geographically. Our students benefit from the city, and the city benefits from our students.