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The Movers and Shakers of Modern Education in Colonial Punjab

Hardev Singh Virk


Punjab was the last province of India to be annexed in 1849. The British Indian government wanted to bring changes in the indigenous education system in vogue in Punjab. An Education Board was created to introduce western system of education. By 1858, 700 primary schools were opened in rural areas of Punjab. In 1864, Government College, Lahore was started, and Dr. GW Leitner was appointed as the first Principal. His aim was to set up an “Oriental University” for promotion of vernacular education and teaching of modern Science and Humanities in the medium of vernacular. Before opening Punjab University, it was envisaged to set up a Punjab University College for promotion of higher education in 1870. Punjab University, Lahore owes its creation in 1882 to the efforts of Dr. Leitner and Anjuman-i-Punjab. The other movers and shakers of modern education in Colonial Punjab were Maharaja Ranbir Singh of Jammu and Kashmir and Maharaja Narinder Singh of Patiala State, and the Nawab of Bahawalpur.


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JF Bruce, A History of the University of the Punjab, Lahore, 1933.

Rawat, History of Indian Education, p. 243.

Punjab Administrative Reports 1856-57; 1857-58, p. 27.

GW Leitner, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Report of Anjuman-e-Punjab, Introduction, p. 6.

Letter No. 296, dated June 10, 1865, from the Secretary, Punjab Government, to the Director of Public Instruction, Punjab (quoted in Bruce, op.cit; p. 11).

Report of Anjuman-i-Punjab, Part 1, p. 3.

Punjab Government Proceedings, November 1868 (Education), p. 9 (quoted in Bruce, op. cit; p. 20).

Letter No. 262; dated Simla, May 22, 1869, from Mr. E. C. Bayley, Secretary, Government of India, to the Secretary to the Punjab Government (quoted in Bruce, op. cit; p. 40).

Punjab Govt. Gazette, Vol. XIV, No.51, Lahore, 23rd December, 1869, p. 1422.

Punjab Govt. Proceedings (Education Department), June 1871, No. 2, p.1.

Punjab Govt. Gazette (Extraordinary), Friday, 13 October, 1882.

Punjab Govt. Proceedings (Home Department), October, 1882.


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