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. 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 Ghakkar 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 late18th 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.
Sikh Period: 1762-1849 A.D.
The Sikhs established their Empire in the Punjab after the death of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir in 1707. With the death of Aurangzeb the country saw a series of rapid governmental changes that stressed it into the depths of anarchy. Taking advantage of this certain Charat Singh, who was the head of one of the Sikh Clans, established his stronghold in Gujranwala in 1763. Charat Singh died in 1774 and was succeeded by his son, Mahan Singh, who in turn fathered the most brilliant leader in the history of the Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It was this short scattered man, addicted to strong drink, unlettered; blind in one eye who united the Punjab under one flag. His rule stretched from the banks of the Gambian to the Khyber and from Kashmir to Multan. Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the most powerful of all the Sikh Rulers and ruled over for complete 40 years. After his death in 1840 the Sikh Empire was divided into small principalities looked after by several Sikh Jagirdars. This weak situation provided a good opportunity to the British of East India Company to put an end to the Sikh strong hold in the Punjab in 1849.
British Period: 1849-1947 A.D.
The area was annexed by the British in 1849. The Deputy Commissioner of that time Sir Bernardth Rebuilt the "Sialkoti Gate" , "Lahore Gate" and "Khiyaaly Gate". A railway line was built along G.T. Road which then was moved 100 yards towards the Eastern Punjab in 1881. That railway line interconnected Gujranwala with other cities of Punjab and made the commercial trade between cities more convenient. British ruled the city until Pakistan's independence in 1947.
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.
City of Wrestlers
Gujranwala is famous as the city of wrestlers. The City and wrestling run neck to neck. It has produced famous wrestlers of the sub-continent, who have proved their skill and strength. This city is proud to attain fame in sub-continent in this behalf with grand titles ever won by any city of the world. Before the independence of Pakistan The Great Gama was the unbeatable champion of Indo-Pak sub continent, but a Gujranwala Wrestler Raheem Sultani wala wrestled twice with the Great Gama and won the title of "Rustum Hind" or "The Lion Of India".
The famous Wrestlers (grapplers) were: Rahim Bux Phelwan Sultani wala (Rustum Hind), Younus Phelwan (Sitar-e-Pakistan), Acha Phelwan (Sher-e-Pakistan) and many more were there who entitled the city as the "City of Wrestlers" or "Phelwana da shehur ".
Wrestling in Gujranwala nowdays is just official part of History. Still Friendly but often heated competitions (Dungal) are held in throughout Pakistan and Internationally. These matches are attended by thousands of spectators. Both men and boys competed with great excitement and enthusiasm.
Wrestling has always been a famous sport in Indo-Pakistan form several thousand years old. In ancient times, it was trained for combat and self-defense. Archeological findings, dating back to 3000 B.C., indicated many enduring legends describing the wrestling bouts between gods, between mortals and between gods and mortals. In feudal times, wrestling matches were often fought to the death. Over centuries, Wrestling was gradually modified to become a sport. Safety rules were implemented and dangerous techniques were prohibited. Formal training methods were established. Standardized square earth-filled pits (Akhara), measuring approximately 20 feet by 20 feet for training and competition were introduced.
General information about the city
Christian minority is living in FrancisAbad Gujranwala, with complete independence of their religion. A number of churches are there. Also a minority of Sikhs are living in Eminabad where they celebrate their annual "Bisaki" Festival.
City has an Interntional Level Cricket Stadium, Jinnah Stadium formerly known as Municipal Stadium. Many National and International Cricket matches had been held there. Jinnah stadium has a space of 20,000 spectators.
Different industries are working in various fields. Cotton, woolen textile, rice mills, vegetable oil mils, industrial machinery, fan manufacturing, motor industry, washing machine industry of wooden work, electric goods, poultry feed, soap, ball point rubber tire and tube, metal utensils, melamine utensils, cutlery, kitchen ware, ceramics tiles, sanitary wares, sanitary fittings and steel pipe industry are included. Utensils of Gujranwala are famous all over Country. The major exports of the city are Rice, textiles, carpets, transformer, garments, goods of glass, electric fans, sanitary fittings, surgical equipment, hosiery, leather products, metal utensils, auto parts sanitary wares and fittings.
The GCCI (Gujranwala Chamber of Commerce and Industries) promotes, aid, develop, stimulate and protect the economic interest of Pakistan general and of those engaged in industry, agriculture, commerce, trade, banking and insurance, in particular. The GCCI communicates with the chambers of commerce & industry or public bodies within or outside Pakistan concerts and promotes measures for the protection of trade, commerce and manufacturers and the labor engaged therein and to remove mutual hardships. GCCI collects and circulates statistics and other information relating to the commercial, industrial, agricultural and financial interest of the businessman and industrialists.
The GEPCO (Gujranwala Electric Power
Company) supplies the electrical power to commercial and residential sectors.