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Explore Pakistan | Cities | Gujrat  گجرات

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GujratGujrat is a district of Punjab Province in Pakistan. It is an ancient district located in between two
famous rivers, the Jhelum and Chenab. Because of its proximity with the rivers the land is good for cultivation with rice and sugar cane as main crops. It is bounded on the northeast by Mirpur, on the northwest by the River Jhelum which separates it from Jhelum District, on the east and southeast by the Chenab River, separating it from the districts of Gujranwala and Sialkot, and on the West by Mandi Bahauddin. District Gujrat is spread over an area of 3,192 square kilometres, and is divided into three tehsils, Gujrat, Kharian, and Sarai Alamgir. There are many historic villages and towns in the district such as Chakdina, Kunjah, Dinga.

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Gujrat is situated on the bank of Chenab River, situated about 120 KM north of Lahore.Prominent nearby locations include Jhelum, Gujranwala, Mandi Bahauddin, Sialkot and Bhimber-Azad Kashmir. The city is surrounded by many villages which supply a significant Labor to the local market.

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Ancient History

According to the Imperial Gazetteer of India:

“ GUJRAT Town itself is a place of some antiquity, and the District bounds in ancient sites.The district formed part of the kingdom of Porus, who was defeated by Alexander, probably in the Karri plain beyond the Jammu border, in July, 326 B.C. ; but four years later was conquered by Chandragupta Maurya in the national rising which took place on the death of Alexander. It remained under the Mauryas until shortly after the death of Asoka in 231, and about forty years later came under the sway of Demetrius the Graeco-Bactrian. The overthrow of the Bactrians by the Parthians in the latter half of the second century brought another change of  rulers, and the coins of the Indo-Parthian  Maues (c. 120 B. c.), who is known to local tradition as Raja Moga, have been found at Mong. At the end of the first  century A. D., ie whole of the Punjab was conquered by the Yueh-chi. For several hundred years nothing is known of the history of the District, except that between 455 and 540 it must have been exposed to the ravages of the White
Huns. Dr. Stein holds that the District formed part of the kingdom of Gurjara, which, according to the Rajatarangini, was invaded between 883 and 902 by Sankara Varman of Kashmir, who defeated its king Alakhana. This may be the Ali Khan to whom tradition ascribed the refounding of GUJRAT.”
However the foundation of the capital, Gujrat, according to the Ancient Geography of India:

"is ascribed to a king named Bachan Pal of whom nothing more is known ; and itsrestoration is attributed to Ali Khan a Gujar, whose name is strangely like that of Alakhana, the Raja of Gurjara , who was defeated by Sangkara Varmma between AD 883 AD 901."

Lodhi-Mughal Era

Authentic history commences only in the Lodi period, when Bahlolpur, 23 miles (37 km) north-east of Gujrat, was founded in the reign of Bahlol (1451-89). Khwas Khan, governor of the Rohtas under Sher Shah Suri, founded Khwaspur near Gujrat. The settlement of the tract was completed by Akbar, who built a fort and compelled the Gujars to settle in it. The tract was then named Gujrat and formed into a separate district. Revenue records have been preserved in the families of the hereditary registrars (kanungos), and these exhibit Gujrat the capital of a district containing 2,592 villages, paying a revenue of 16 lakhs. In 1605 the famous Saiyid Abdul Kasim received Gujrat as a tuyul or fief from Akbar. On the decay of the Mughal power, Nadir Shah ravaged the District and destroyed Gujrat. The country also suffered at the same time from the ravages of Ahmad Shah Durrani, whose armies frequently crossed and recrossed it.

Sikh Era

Meanwhile the Sikh power had been asserting itself in the Easter Punjab; and in 1765 Sardar Gujar Singh , head of the Bhangi confederacy, crossed the Chenab, defeated the Gakhar chief, Mukarrab Khan, and extended his dominions to the banks of the Jhelum. On Gujar Singh's death in 1788, his son, Sahib Singh , became involved in a war with Mahan Singh, the chieftain of Gujranwala, and afterwards with his son , the celebrated Ranjit Singh. After a few months of desultory warfare in 1798, the Gujrat leader found it well to accept a position of dependence under the young ruler of Gujranwala. At length, in 1810, Ranjit Singh, now master of the consolidated Sikh empire, determined to depose his tributary vassal. Sahib Singh with drew to the hills without opposition, and shortly afterwards accepted the Bajwat territory in the present Sialkot
District conferred on him in jagir.

British Era

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. Two years later, the District was the scene of some of the battles which decided the even of the second Sikh War. While the siege of MULTAN still dragged slowly on, Sher Singh established himself at Ramnagar on the Gujrawala side of the Chenab,22 miles (35 km) below Gujrat, leaving the main body of his army on the northern bank. Here he awaited the attack of the British, who attempted unsuccessfully to drive him across the river, on November 22, 1848. Lord Gough withdrew from the assault with heavy loss ; but sending round a strong detachment under Sir Joseph Thackwell by the Wazirabad ferry, he turned the flank of the enemy, and won the battle of Sadullapur. Sher Singh retired northward, and took up a strong position between the Jhelum and the Pabb Hills. The bloody battle of Chilianwala followed (January 13, 1849) a victory as costly as a defeat. On February 6 Sher Singh again eluded Lord Gough's vigilance, and marched southwards to make a dash upon Lahore; but the British pressed him close in the rear and, on February 22, he turned to offer battle at Gujrat. The decisive engagement which ensued broke irretrievably the power of the Sikh. The Punjab lay at the feet of the conquerors, and passed by annexation under British rule.

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Historic Remains

There are many historical buildings and ruins in and around Gujrat. The Grand Trunk Road commonly abbreviated as G.T. road built by emperor Sher Shah Suri also passes through Gujrat. The road still exists today, along with its period stone wall. The nearby towns of Jalal Pur Jattan,Pindi Miani, Shadiwal, Kalra, Tanda, Adowal, Gandra Kalan, Kotla, Dinga, Kunjah and many more have historical buildings and ruins.

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Gujrat is an ancient city of Pakistan located between two famous rivers, Jhelum River and Chenab River. Because of its proximity with the rivers, the land is good for cultivation of rice and sugarcane as main crops. It is bounded on the northeast by Jammu and Kashmir, on the northwest by the Jhelum River, on the east and southeast by the Chenab River, separating it from the districts of Gujranwala and Sialkot;and  on the west by Mandi Bahauddin District.

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The district has a wide political importance. It has produced many historic names like Major Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed (Nishan-e-Haider), Maj. Shabbir Sharif Shaheed (Nishan-e-Haider) and Majar M. Akram Shaheed (Nishan-e-Haider).

Ch. Innayat ullah Akbar, founder of Taleem ul Islam High school Murarian, ex Haakim e Aala Khaaksaar  Tehrik West Pakistan. He was the son of Ch. Fateh Mohammad, VCO in Royal Indian Engineers.His brothers, Ch. Rehmat ullah and Ch. Nazir Ahmed also did serve in Royal Indian Army in the Engineers Regiment.

A big name in the history of Gujrat is Khan Bahadur saab he was one of most respected and feared person in gujrat one of the biggest zamendar of gujrat with his support his younger brother had made is mark also Nawab Sir Fazal Ali ,the head of the Nawabzada family of Gujrat and also the founder of the Zamendara College of Gujrat. Nawabzada Gazanfar Ali Gul, ex-MNA is from Nawab family.

Prominent leaders include Chaudhry brothers from gujrat. Ch. SHUJAT HUSSAIN is the leader of PML(Q), big political party of pakistan. He is also the former prime minister of Pakistan. His brother Chaudry Pervez elahi is former chief minister of Punjab. Another brother Ch. Wajahat Hussain also known as Gujrat´s "commander" is elected MNA from Gujrat district. The smallest brother Ch Shaffat is nazim of District Gujrat.

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Economy / Industry

Gujrat is also known for its clay with which the locals have, for long, produced quality pottery. The city also produces fine furniture. Over the last few decades, Gujrat has also attained a name in the manufacture and export of Electric Fans. Gujrat is also home to one of the two largest shoe manufacturing companies in Pakistan, namely Service Industries, which runs a large shoe factory in the city. There are about  1,059 cottage level and small to large scale industrial units operating in the district. Rice production and export is another major product of  Gujrat. There are many other factories engaged in manufacturing of electrical goods, electric motors and rice cleaning mills. Most are cottage industries, providing employment to a large number of people and accounting, in aggregate, for more than 90 percent of the domestic market.

The story of the emergence of the electric fan manufacturing industry in Pakistan started with a few enterprising individuals in the early 1940s, struggled against all odds, and created, without government or foreign help, resulting an efficient industry. There are now over five hundred fan factories in Gujrat, Gujranwala, Lahore and a few other cities. Most of the Fan Industries are in Gujrat.

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A university UOG was established in 2003, just near the Govt College for Girls. The main campus of the University is called Hafiz Hayat Campus. Hafiz Hayat is an ancient legend for the Gujrat city. At the same time there are two more Govt Colleges in the city but to complete the lack of hunger for knowledge there are so many private colleges. These colleges cover some special subjects for each. As the population of  the city was increasing day by day so there was great need for Elementary, Middle and High Schools too.As the Govt had not a lot of resources to cover this whole need, so private schools started to born. Buthaving Govt and Private institutions in the same city dosen't mean that the standard of education is low.But a competition can be seen between them which encourages the students as well as the teachers to go beyond the limits of theoratical studies. So students can learn more not just by understanding the material but also by practicing it.

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According to the 1998 census of Pakistan the total population of Gujrat district was 2,048,008 of which 1,026,000 are males and 1,022,000 are females, with a population density of 642 persons per square kilometre. Over 25.62% of the population was recorded as being urban.

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Gujrat produces low temperature pottery ceramic goods, Hukkas , artistic handicrafts, flower pots, "Changairian" (made from the leaves of  palm and date trees), cotton mates and woollen shawls. Sohni Mahiwal is a famous folk tale of the Punjab region. The heroine of the story,
named "Sohni" (a Punjabi word, meaning "beautiful"), came from the Gujrat region. She used to meet her lover "Mahinwal" by crossing the Chenab river, sitting on a pitcher. The tale is still told to this day, and is an essential part of Punjabi culture. The anniversary of Kanwan-Wali Sarkar near Karuan wala Gujrat is celebrated with a fair in August every year. He is known as the one of the greatest saints that ever lived. A famous miracle was when water in a well actually turned to milk for a period of time. The well is still there. The locals have a myth that it rains heavily at the time of fair (but actually the rain falls because of monsoon)and "Wengi Wali Sarkar" anniversary in 5 january every year at village Haji Wala near Karianwala Tehsil and District Gujrat.

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Major Tribes

The principal tribes of the districts are Gujjars, Jats, , Mughals, Syeds, Rajputs, Kashmiris, Arians and Awans.

The principal Gujjar zClans are:

  • khatana

  • Maher

  • Mahrana

  • Kalo

  • Chachi 

  • Thikria

  • Tinday

  • Paswal

The principal Jat Clans are:

  • Bagril

  • Bangial

  • Badhan

  • Chadhar

  • Cheema

  • Dhillon

  • Dhotar

  • Gujjral

  • Ghumman

  • Gondal Jat

  • Heer or Hayer

  • Hanjra

  • Kang

  • Khokhar

  • Langrial

  • Mangat

  • Sahi

  • Sarai

  • Sipra

  • Tarar

  • Sandhu

  • Sial

  • Tatla

  • Thathaal

  • Virk

  • Waraich

  • Malhi

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The district, with 1,019 kilometres of road, is linked with Gujranwala, Jhelum, and Mandi Bahauddin districts through metalled roads. The main Peshawar - Karachi railway line passes through the city and it is amongst an important railway stations of this route. The district is linked with Jhelum, Mandi Bahauddin, Sargodha and Gujranwala districts through Pakistan Railway Network. Daewoo Express has a terminal at GT Road Gujrat, started on May 14, 2004 and connects Gujrat with Lahore. Gujrat airport does not host any commercial flights,and people use the nearby Allama Iqbal International Airport, Lahore and Sialkot International Airport for domestic and international flights.

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