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Gordon College Rawalpindi: A Jewel in the Crown of Twin Cities

Gordon College Rawalpindi was established 129 years ago by the United Presbyterian Church of America.

When the British established their rule over India, missionaries from all over the world came to India to preach Christianity, one of them being the United Presbyterian Church of New York.

From the formation of Pakistan, till it was nationalized, it was managed by the Board of Directors, but when it was nationalized, its affairs were going on in the courts from that time.

In 1853 he nominated two Farad J. T. Tait and Andrew Gordon as missionaries to India. Andrew Gordon’s father was the pastor of the Alexander United Presbyterian Church in New York.

History of Gordon College Rawalpindi

Gordon College Rawalpindi
Gordon College Rawalpindi 1960’s Batch

Mr. Tait refused to come, but Andrew Gordon accepted the challenge and he and his family arrived at Calcutta on February 13, 1854, from where they reached Lahore and met Mr. Morrison who had already arrived.

Both established a school in 1856 in Rajabazar, Rawalpindi, with a total of 12 students.

There was no college in Rawalpindi till 1893 when the mission decided that it was not possible for every student to study in other cities and hence a college should be established here.

Mr. Rev EE Five was made the first principal of the college and it was named Gordon Mission College after Andrew Gordon, who had died in 1887.

At that time the number of students studying here was 1024. The expenses of the college were met by fees and donations from the church.

English, Mathematics, Persian, Sanskrit, Philosophy, and History subjects were taught till Inter level.

The fee for the first year was Rs.3 and for the second year Rs.4. In 1895, the college was affiliated with Punjab University.

11 students took the entrance exam in the university out of which eight passed. The total expenditure of the college this year was Rs 2,698 while the income in the form of fees was Rs 492.

The deficit was covered by donations from the church. The administration of the college was strict and those students who did not comply were expelled from the college.

Bible Classes in Gordon College Rawalpindi:

From 1893 to 1902 the college had no separate building but the college classes were held in the school building itself.

Teachers also took college classes on a voluntary basis including Bhai Bhishan Singh, Bhagat Google Chand, Topa Ram, Maulvi Badruddin, Pandit Jyoti Ram, Gurja Prashad, Fazal Hussain, Uttam Chand, Bhai Laxman Singh, Avatar Singh, and Mangal Singh.

The first principal of the college was Mr. Fife, five principals changed in the first 10 years.

In 1901, the government decided to separate the school and the college and upgrade the college to BA level, but the construction of a separate building for the college was in progress.

Two Chicago women, E.C. Law, and Anna La donated $12,000, which was used to build a hall, eight classrooms around it, and a dormitory for 35 students.

This new college building was built near Company Bagh, now called Liaquat Bagh, with WB Anderson as the first Principal. In the same year, the third-year classes started with two students.

The fee for the third year was five rupees and for the fourth year was six rupees. Principal Mr. Anderson moved to America due to his medical problems.

In his place in 1903, Rev. JS Morton was appointed as the principal, during which the chancellor and lieutenant governor of Panjab University, Sir Charles Reeves, inaugurated the new college building on 20 March 1903.

Science classes started in 1904. Deen Muhammad and Ishardas were the first graduates of the college. JS Morton was a very sensitive principal. Once he hit a student with a stick and then started crying himself.

Whenever a student fell ill in the hostel, the principal himself would stay awake the whole night at his bedside. He himself fell ill in 1909 and died in America the following year.

Separate eating and bathing arrangements were now made for Muslim, Hindu, and Christian students in the college hostel.

Dr. EL Porter holds the distinction of being the longest-serving principal. He was the principal from 1910 to 1933.

During his tenure, two girls, Miss PB Ponsonby and Miss KDS Bali were admitted to the college in 1917. New blocks, halls, a principal’s residence, and servant quarters were constructed in the college.

Gordonian: College Magazine

The first issue of Gordon College’s magazine, the Gorgonian, was also published in 1915.

In the same year, the name of the college was changed from Gordon Mission College to simply Gordon College. The number of students in the college also increased from 100 to 500.

In 1927, BS Botany and Chemistry classes were started and the college staff also increased from seven to 27.

There was no compromise on management in the college, the teachers were responsible for the curricular and co-curricular activities of the students.

Every student was required to be a part of a literary activity. Sports and co-curricular activities competitions were held among the students in which prizes were given to those who secured prominent positions.

There were separate courts for hockey, football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, and badminton. The college was electrified in 1925 at a cost of five thousand rupees.

Most of the teachers had their residences inside the college and kept a close eye on the students even after college hours. There were 4 thousand 339 books in the college library while 38 newspapers and journals were also regularly visited.

In 1927, the college hostel was extended and now accommodated 120 students. Meanwhile, new science laboratories were also built in the college.

MSc classes in Chemistry were also approved in the same year. During this period, the salary of the missionary teachers in the college was Rs.600 and after seven and a half years they were given a return ticket to go home and a year and a half left.

Accommodation at the college was free and the retirement age was 70 years or 40 years of service. While the salary of non-missionary teachers was between 130 and 300, of which those teaching Sanskrit and Arabic were further reduced to 80 rupees.

The pass rate in 1926 was 55% in FA, 99% in FSC, 91% in BA, and 33% in BSc.

Dr. Porter retired in 1933 and was succeeded by Mr. Ralph Stewart as Principal who remained until 1955.

He taught botany and zoology at the college from 1911 to 1914 but then moved to America where he joined Columbia University.

His most important achievement was his work on the flora of the highlands. He introduced the plants of the subcontinent which nobody knew before to the world and named them.

He was one of the most renowned botanists in the world who collected 60,000 plants from different regions of the subcontinent.

Punjab University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1952 for his research work. He was a supporter of women’s education.

It was during his tenure that girls started getting admission in the first year in 1934, earlier girls studied only in the third and fourth years.
Did it.

In charge of the women was his wife, who was given the title of Kaiser-i-Hind by the government in 1938.

In 1940, M.A. English, M.A. Urdu in 1948, and M.A. History in 1953 were started in the college. In 1950, 62 of the students studying in the college were female students.

In 1946, Saad Haroon, a student of Gordon College, secured the first position in the Punjab University B.Sc. Surjeet Singh of the same college also topped BA.

How Did Politics Come to Gordon College Rawalpindi?

Gordon College Rawalpindi
Gordon College Rawalpindi 1941s First Year Student Catch

Partition greatly affected the teaching activities of the college, as Hindu and Sikh teachers migrated to India. This situation became a big challenge for the principal, Mr. Stewart, which he faced with great courage.

In 1950 the number of students rose to 919 as many students were offered free education. Now Urdu is also taught in the college. The college had four hostels for 225 students. There were 18,000 books in the library and 35,000 specimens of dried plants in the college.

In 1953, Mr. Stewart’s wife died of cancer, after which he married Miss WH Porter, daughter of Mr. Porter, former principal of Gordon College, who taught at Kinnaird College, Lahore.

In 1954, Mr. Stewart retired, but at the behest of the college administration, he remained at the college until 1960, when he moved to the United States.

He served Gordon College for 50 years, for which the Government of Pakistan awarded him the Satara Imtiaz in 1961.

In 1970, the new building of Gordon College was built. When the Punjab government established the medical college in 1974, it obtained permission from the American Mission to use the college building for one year.

After Mr. Stewart, Mr. Cummings became the principal, but after two years he said that now a Pakistani should be the principal, on which Dr. MA Qayyum Daskawi was made the principal in 1957.

Jubilee Hall was built under his supervision and was inaugurated by then-President Sikandar Mirza.

On January 22, 1963, a discussion was held between students and teachers in the college, the chief guest of which was the then Information Secretary Qudratullah Shahab. This debate was won by the students.

From 1963 to 1970, Prof VK Mill was the Principal.

During his tenure, students of the college’s English department, Miss Nilofar Deen and Miss Farhat Salik won the first position in the university, but political upheaval began in the country during his tenure.

An unfortunate incident occurred in the college when Miss Khan, the caretaker of the girls, was found dead in her room one night. It was feared that he had been murdered.

After this, an element of fear entered the atmosphere of the college. During this period, protests against martial law started in the country.

The student union became quite powerful in the college. Its president was Raja Shahid Zafar, who later became a federal minister, Shahid Masood was the vice president and Sheikh Rashid was the general secretary.

There was also an allegation against Mr. Mill that he had made admissions based on political pressure rather than merit, leading to a decline in the college. Due to this, he was forced to retire in 1970.

After that, CA Peters, Dr. Winst, became the principal under Prof. Steven Opp and tried his best to manage the college as there was factionalism among the teachers in the college and the teaching system of the college was in disarray.

Punjab Governor Ghulam Mustafa Khar dismissed Mr. Steven and appointed Dr. AQ Diski as administrator.

Under the new education policy in 1972, the government took over all private institutions including Gordon College, and put Dr. F. Xavier in charge temporarily.

On September 15, 1972, Professor Khawaja Masood, who was a graduate student of the college, was appointed as the principal.

Current Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, General Jahangir Karamat, Former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, Former Federal Minister Pervez Rashid, Sheikh Rashid, Pervez Khattak, Dr. Mujahid Kamran, Dr. Shahid Siddiqui, Justice Shah Deen Muhammad, Actor Rahat Kazmi, Humayun Gohar, And Talat Hussain also graduated from the same institution.

Current Status?

The college was founded by the American Presbyterian Church during the British era.

From the formation of Pakistan, till it was nationalized, it was managed by the Board of Directors, but when it was nationalized, its affairs were going on in the courts from that time.

According to the Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association, in 1987 when the Presbyterian missionaries were asked to vacate their bungalows inside the college as the college was now owned by the government.

On this, he told the court that this college is ours and we are the owner of this property.

The case was filed by the Co-Presbyterian Mission Sialkot, on which the court ruled in favor of the mission. The government appealed, and the court also rejected the appeal.

After the session, the High Court also ruled in favor of the mission. Thereafter the case is still pending in the Supreme Court bearing the number CMA 6676/2022.

But the Punjab government has meanwhile started trying to hand over the administrative control of the college to the Presbyterian Mission America, which also runs FC College Lahore.

Due to this, there is anxiety among the college management and students. He said that the college was established by Presbyterian Mission Sialkot.

In 1993, all these missions were merged into the Pakistan Presbyterian Mission, but now the Presbyterian Mission USA, which has also taken control of FC College Lahore since 2003, has become a party to the case.

“FC College became a party in May this year and judgment came against us in June, although we did not receive any notice and our counsel was not informed,” he said.

“We have challenged this decision in the Supreme Court, but despite this, the Presbyterian Mission USA has started the paperwork to take over the management of the college along with the Punjab government and has asked us for all the details of the college. have been taken.’

He said that in 2003, Pervez Elahi handed over FC College to the American Mission under the executive order, now Gordon College is also being handed over to America during his tenure.

On the other hand, Presbyterian Church USA representative in Pakistan, Brigadier (Rtd) Dr. Nair Firdous, who is also the Vice Chairman of Gordon College Rawalpindi Trust, has rejected the impression that he wants to take over the college.

He said that FC College was also devastated. We took over its management and made it a leading university. Similarly, we want to not only restore the reputation of Gordon College but also want to make it a modern university.


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