THE EGERTON CONNECTION
CONSTRUCTION WORK IN LAHORE
The insight of the British administration
There is a busy road in Lahore called Egerton road. No one even remembers who Egerton actually was in Lahore. In biographical data of British officers, we read a lot about Robert Eyles Egerton and his aristocratic background. But few may know that he was responsible for a lot of construction in Lahore, including the Railway Station and the New Delhi Gate Lahore.
The job was being done under Mian Muhammed Sultan Contractor but the person who was actually doing it was namely Raheem Baksh Mimar. R.E. Egerton was at that time Commissioner Lahore. Later he became Governor of the Punjab too. In 1861 this is what he wrote on a certificate for Raheem Baksh Mimar:
“Raheem Baksh also known as Heemoo is in the employ of Md. Sultan, the contractor. He is an excellent Mistree and appreciates the work on which he is employed. I have known him for some years and has always been engaged on important works.”
This photograph was made in Murree by John Burke, who was having a studio in Lahore at that time. Advertisements for photographs used to appear in the Civil and Military Gazette Lahore (newspaper). Strange that in our National Archives we see no photograph of Governor Egerton. He seems to have gone into oblivion. There was a portrait of him in Old Gymkhana around 100 years ago but disappeared with time. Even British records have very little representation of him; although his name does appear in some WHO WHO directories. We know more about him too.
In any case it is good that he is remembered with the name of a road named fer him. Obviously our Slaves won’t change this name ever, although all the Muslim names are getting obliterated with time and obsequiousness of our people to the great Raj.