A memory not yet obscured or clouded by life’s heinous labyrinth, firmly imprinted in my hippocampus for a decade now, occasionally flashes in idle times and reminds me of a little girl and her vivacious dreams; writing in her lilliputian diary about all the possibilities her future promised to hold. She’d jot down her career options and go by them meticulously, pensively pondering over each vocation till she came down and settled upon the one that started with a ‘D’ and apparently went with a starched white coat and a shiny stethoscope. One day the same little girl heard the name ‘King Edward Medical College’ from a clan of adults, for the very first time. Little did she know about the institution except for what she had gathered during her little episode of eavesdropping, that it taught how to treat and cure the sickly, but enough to spark her curiosity. So she decided to dig deeper into the matter and ended up asking her parents of what this enigmatic place was and why was it often mentioned with such genuine reverence and awe-stricken eyes. The answer wasn’t surprising at all because it heralded the same details that her tiny mind conjured up on its own from people’s general reaction to the name, ‘Wahan mulk kay sab se laiq log jatay hain. Is jaga ka buhat azeem mazi hai.’

The little girl grew up to be one of its inhabitants – a student of King Edward Medical University but the fire of ambition to hunt down its history and lay it out in front of everyone to admire and gasp, hadn’t doused and so she let the fire burn so bright that one day she finally came up with answers to some of her mental riddles.

Do you care to take a ride with me down the prestigious memory road to our esteemed institution’s glorious past?

In the middle of 19th century a proposition for the construction of medical schools in east of Subcontinent were put up but could not follow through on account of the renowned War of Independence. However when matters cooled down to luke warm a medical institution named as Lahore Medical College was constructed in the year 1860 near the artillery barracks  at the present site of GCU while the affiliated hospital was located a mile away near Tibbi police station in Taxali gate. LMC won an honor of being the second seat of medical learning in subcontinent after one being set up in Calcutta.

J.B Scriven was the first principal of the institute who had been moved from Calcutta College to take charge of this newly born school, with only one professor, Dr. T.E Burton Brown, to back him up as the faculty staff. The conditions were dire on account of the fact that people back in the day were comfortable with visiting local Hakeem’s or treating themselves with staunch religious beliefs rather than visiting hospitals or professionals.  The hospital as well as the school earned a boost up when a pack of able students treated cholera in the local region and restored people’s faith in medicine and their practitioners.

Back in the old times the lowest qualification for admittance into the college was set at passing and clearing one’s matriculation however, the laws were changed later between the years 1893-94 that allowed admission only to f.sc graduates.

Initially LMC housed 49 students in total; 44 being Indians and 5 being foreigners. In order to accommodate the versatile student body two separate study courses were initiated one in Hindi and the other in English.

In the year 1870 construction of attached teaching hospital was completed. It was named after the then viceroy of India, Lord Mayo. Mayo hospital was built on a similar style as that of LMC; Italian styled, double staired and bricked with special Delhi stone brackets.

It was in the same year that LMC recruited women students, however this custom somewhat impeded after establishment of Fatima Jinnah Medical College for women in 1948.

In 1911, LMC was renamed to King Edward Medical College after the reigning king of Britain Edward VII.

Before partition KE received admissions from all over the un-divided Punjab as well as from outside the province such that 30 students from outside Punjab and 70 living within Punjab sought admission here, every year making a class of a 100 in total. Muslims who made 52-53% of Punjab’s population comprised barely 5-10% of Muslim students, not because Muslims were dim-witted and did not make it up to the merit but because they were socio-economically backwards compared to the Hindus and Sikhs and hence purely on affordability basis lagged behind on the success road. However by sheer efforts of battling profound Hindu opposition some great visionary minds succeeded in increasing the Muslim quota up to 40%.

It will be surprising to know that domiciles were not required in that time and that the top positions were almost always secured by Muslims. Students used to address each other as ‘doctor sahab’ and used to dress elegantly for school. *Such were the customs of old K.E* 
Expensive English edition books such as Atlas or Gray’s Anatomy were available in the libraries from where they could be issued primarily on one’s serendipity since it was hard to get by a book in time for tests or proff because they were almost always issued to another because of their lesser number and higher demand. *Times weren’t always as easy as ours*
In those days, only one subject was taught in 3rd year:Pharmacology and Therapeutics while in 4th year Pathology was taught as one subject and Forensics and Community Medicine were regarded as half subjects each. MBBS was completed in 7 years instead of 5.

Before partition the entire KE staff consisted of Hindus except for two members; Lt. Col Elahi Baksh who became the principal of KE after partition and Dr. M.A.H Siddique who became the professor of Anatomy and later the professor of Surgery, so it may not come as a surprise that when all the Hindu staff returned to India after 1947, conditions for KE weren’t good. But holding true to its traditions, KE came up with solutions to its problems and overcame them with utter dedication and devotion. Soon it rose again as the most prestigious institute known for its ability to produce the world’s most able and talented doctors of all times.


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