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[1875-1938] WHO GIFTED M. R. DEGREE COLLEGE TO CITIZENS OF FAZILKA REGION TO BRING HIGHER EDUCATION WITHIN THE REACH OF VOPS Sh. Munshi Ram Aggarwal was born in 1875 at Fazilka in a family of businessmen who settled in this region when it was just known as Bangla in avail the business opportunity this new BARR offered. After gifting and donating the due share from his property and earnings to his near and dears, he gifted several acres of land to Gowshalla at Fazilka as well. He instituted a trust identified as MUNSHI RAM TRUST on February 10, 1937 donating his moveable and immoveable property for the cause of education, which was very dear to him. He had expressed the urge to institute an Industrial Training School, a Maternity Hospital and an Educational Institution of degree level at Fazilka. The M R College Fazilka provided opportunities to whole generation of the populace to reach higher levels in profession and business.

As a memorial to honour his father, a building christened as Sundar Ashram was established in the centre of the town near Oliver Ganj Bazaar in 1938. A temple, a library and a reading room for the benefits of the citizens are still serving the public in general. The Munshi Ram Degree College was installed as per the directives of this benevolent son of this region. He was no doubt a commoner but had the vision of a kind monarch. We, the citizens of Fazilka wish to record thankfulness to this great personality who triggered education in this region. Since 1947, the region which was the most advanced and prosperous Tehsil of Punjab has slipped to lower level after the partition of the sub continent. Now it has become the most backward region of the Punjab due to indifference of politicians and their policies towards education and its growth. The government of Punjab did take over this very wealthy institution from the MUNSHI RAM TRUST FAZILKA, but the Principals and Heads who are appointed reach this place when they are on the verge of retirement and spent cartridges. The first Principal Prof. B. L. Kapoor was the opening batsman who set good traditions of scholarship and quality education. Prof. Sita Ram Didi taught the latest in Mathematics to enable his students to acquire excellence in advanced Mathematics, science and technology. The alumni became army officers, professors, engineers, doctors, businessmen and successful gentlemen farmers. A class mate of Sh. Munshi Ram like Sh. B. S. Bembi who studied at Fazilka where his father was posted as a Tehsildar, (around 1910) talked of good old days which he spent at Fazilka as a boy in a school in Khattiawala Bagh (later named Pratap Bagh after a very efficient ICS Officer Mr. S. Pertab) and recollected company of Munshi Ram. He later migrated to Africa and came back to Roorkee at the ripe age of 95 years and expired in 1988. He could vividly tell about the liberal nature of his friend and people of the town. He described the Khattianwala Bagh in detail where the school for the boys was located. (The schools for the boys was shifted to is present location in 1926 and a part of the Bagh was handed over to the Government Girls School which is still functioning as Govt. Senior Secondary School for Girls Fazilka)

About the Prosperous Region of Fazilka The town was still to become a booming centre for export of raw materials like wool etc reaching its market from hinterlands as far away as Jasselmeir in Rajasthan. The boats sailing from banks (Danda) of Sutlej River transported the raw woolen stuff to Karachi port for further transshipment to Liverpool in England via the Suez Canal (operational in 1869). The goods brought by MG rakes propelled by Steam Locomotives (the MG track had been laid in 1869-81 by BB&CI as the first commercial line from Delhi via Rewari to Fazilka and Jhangar on the river ‘danda’) were shipped on boats to Karachi. The commercial activities boomed at Fazilka and those who had the courage and business acumen prospered at an accelerated rate. The waters of the longest river of the Punjab the Sutlej which carried the boats to Karachi provided an unparalleled money flow to this town and region. (This great River and its associated horse-shoe Badha lake have gone dry at this region after India and Pakistan installed the Indus Water Treaty in 1960) The acumen of the families engaged in business enhanced their money supply from these international export transactions. Some of these business families issued insurance (Jokhon) to these loaded boats carrying goods mainly wool to Karachi for further transport to Liverpool. Fazilka and Prosperity were identified as one word. The BG track from Ludhiana to Karachi via Mcleodganj-Sammasatta railway link stations (now in Pakistan) further opened up opportunities for business. Fazilka Railway Station became a Junction around 1898 when BG track became operational and the boat transport was abandoned. The rail carriers enabled to transport the Fazilka wool to distant destinations in Europe via Karachi. The migrants from Rajasthan, CP, UP. deep southern regions like Sindh reached here. The agricultural adventurers from Swadeshi states like Bahawalpur, Bikaner, Patiala, Nabha, Fairdkot, and Mamdot etc installed their agricultural colonies around this town which are adding even now to the agricultural yield of the region. The limericks like the one here emerged. “Fazilka di Bar, Rajey Khati tey Kumhar” Such raw limerick based poetry came to be sung by bards as a folk lore in the region. The fine human practices and behaviour of Fazilka Nagriks (citizens) has earned them a social standing all over the world which is nowhere to be found during these self oriented social behaviors. These traits make them dear to those who come in their contact and make them successful anywhere on the planet. Shri Munshi Ram gifted all his moveable and non-moveable assets to the MUNSHI RAM TRUST which later established M. R. Degree College Fazilka in 1940 after his death in 1938 with a huge acreage of land and buildings. It was the first degree college in this region of educationally backward but prosperous region of Southern Punjab. It was a boon for this region. The commerce of Fazilka deteriorated after partition in 1947. The areas subordinate to this Tehsil like Mukatsar, have now acquired the status of Districts in present day Punjab due to political influence. But many of the present day political stalwarts studied at MR College. 1n 1940s when higher education was available at Lahore Colleges only, MR College was a source of high class education with quality facilities to the populace of this region with economical fee structure. People from the regions across the Sutlej now in Pakistan such as Pakpattan, Haveli, Okara, Baseerpur, Kanganpur, Arifwala, Renali Khurd, etc as well as from the present East Punjab laboured on the desks of this college. Achievers like Sh. Balram Jakhar

(Governor of Madhya Pradesh and reputed Kinnow Farmer) got their education after Matriculation at this college. With their rich ethical habits the ecology conscious Fazilka Nagriks are suppressing the Global Warming in their humble way by limiting and avoiding the use of powered vehicles and adopting bicycle and ECOCABS as the means for movement in the town. This is the town where car owners do not drive into the Clock Tower Plaza as a gesture of kind attitude towards eco consciousness crusaders of the town as members of GWAF. RESUME of Late Sh. Munshi Ram Aggarwal Year of birth: Expired

1875 1938

Father’s name

Sh Sundar Mal Bansal

Commercial/Business firm

M/s Sundar Mal Ram Chand Lakhpati, Fazilka

Children Daughters: •

Smt. Munni Devi married to Sh. Ram Narain of Kotkapura (4 sons & 1 daughter)

Smt. Shiv Ditti Married to Inder Sain of Bhikhi Distt.Bathinda (5 sons 2 daughters)

Son: Sh. Lekh Raj who expired at the age of about 18. Institutions 1. Sundar Ashram, a centre for social meetings of the Fazilka citizens 2. Shri Munshi Ram Aggarwal Educational and Charitable Trust, Fazilka

About MUNSHI RAM AGGARWAL MEMORIAL LECTURES A memorial lecture series on the latest and growing areas of science & technology like InformationTech, Bio-Tech, Nano-Tech and other emerging sciences is proposed by GWAF速 to be held every year. These lectures are for the benefit of students and public in memory of the great philanthropist of the Southern Punjab. The Memorial Lectures are proposed to be held around February 10 every year. It is the date on which the M R Trust was instituted in 1937. The weather is usually fine and the students are on rolls. Now in 2011, we the members of Graduates Welfare Association Fazilka, wish to commemorate the gifts of MUNSHI RAM MEMORIALTRUST in the form of an Annual Memorial Lecture to honour him. The lecture series will be styled as:

Brief about Late Munshi Ram Aggarwal and Fazilka Region  

First Munshi Ram Aggarwal Memorial Lecture