HISTORY OF LAHORE
Lahore A Historical Perspective
Some places carry the essence of human origin and the geniuses of human growth. Such places become significant for those who like to enjoy the nostalgia of old thoughts. The city of Lahore can truly be regarded as such a place. Having seen so many ups and downs of history and cultures, Lahore in itself is now a whole world carrying a multitude of the past and the willingness to excel in the future. From Rudyard Kipling to Abu-Rehan Al Bairooni, from Victorian era to Mughal era, from buildings and gardens to forts, the diversity of Lahore is some times unbearable, yet the bliss is eternal.
Dating The Origin
It is quite difficult to judge the right date of origin and how the name Lahore was originated. There are different traditions carrying totally different origins and explanations. In the old writings we can find different shapes of the name of Lahore, of which some are listed:
According to the Hindu mythology the city of Lahore is named after the son of prince Ram chandar whose name was “Loh” and who originated this city (James Taad 1883; Kanhya laal 1882; Sir Richard Temple 1884; Tahqeeq-e-Chisti 1867). There is also a tradition that it was name after “Lohaar chand” who was the nephew of prince Deep chand.
In the written history the oldest book in which we can find Lahore is “ Tareekh-ul-hind” by Abu-Rehan Al Bairooni, who traveled to India in the 11th century. In his book he remembers Lahore as an area not as a city whose capital was “Mandhor kor”. The famous Sufi saint of Lahore Hazrat Data Gunj Buksh who died in Lahore in 1088 A.D has also mentioned the city Lahore in his book “ Kashf-ul-Maajuub”. Abul -Farj who was a poet in the Ghaznavi period has written the name as “Loha-wr”. An Iranian scholar “Tahir Marozi” of 11th century in his book “Nazhat ul Mushtaq Fe Akhteraq ul Affaq” has mentioned Lahore as “ Laha-wr”. Ameer khusro in his masnavi “Quran ul Sadeen” has written the name as “Lao-hore” in 13th century when he portrays the attack of the Mughals.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica the famous Chinese traveler Yowang Chowang has mentioned the city Lahore as the great city of Bahamans.
The Greek geographer Batalemos (Ptolemy) of the second century has mentioned an area “Labokla”. In his maps he has referred a place Kasbeera (Kashmir), near river Badistan (Jehlum) and river Adres (Ravi). Here is a place called Labokla between Attock and Bahami bothra. Wilfred and Kingham both hold the theory of Labokla being the old name of Lahore (The comparative study of India by Wilfred, page 20; the Geography by Kingham, page 225-228). We can conclude the study by the following facts.
Lahore was called by different names in the ancient times. Religious history interprets Lahore as the city created by the son of Ram chandar. The old writings tell us about the origin of a definitive city in the 10th century. There were no Muslim dwellers before the 10th century. The city was of no historical significance before the attacks of Mahmood Ghaznavi in the 11th century. Lahore was of great significance in the Mughal era.
Major Historical Events
The city has had a turbulent history. It was the capital of the Ghaznavid dynasty from 1163 to 1186. A Mongol army sacked Lahore in 1241. During the 14th century the Mongols repeatedly attacked the city until 1398, when it fell under the control of the Turkic conqueror Timur. In 1524 it was captured by the Mughal Babur’s troops. This marked the beginning of Lahore’s golden age under the Mughal dynasty, when the city was often the place of royal residence. It was greatly expanded during the reign of Shah Jahan (1628-58) but declined in importance during the reign of his successor, Aurangzeb.
From the death of Aurangzeb (1707), Lahore was subjected to a power struggle between Mughal rulers and Sikh insurrectionists. With the invasion of Nadir Shah in the mid-18th century, Lahore became an outpost of the Iranian empire. However, it soon was associated with the rise of the Sikhs, becoming once more the seat of a powerful government during the rule of Ranjit Singh (1799-1839). After Singh’s death, the city rapidly declined, and it passed under British rule in 1849. When the Indian subcontinent received independence in 1947, Lahore became the capital of West Punjab province; in 1955 it was made the capital of the newly created West Pakistan province, which was reconstituted as Punjab province in 1970.