Rai Mela Ram And His Building At The Mall

At the Charing Cross on Mall, at this central location where now stands the WAPDA House,  were Mela Ram Building having a number of shops in it. This building was pulled down in early 60s & Wapda House was constructed at that piece of land.

According to sources Mela Ram Building was measuring, 21 kanals, 5 marlas and 190 square feet, comprising buildings and open site and vacant site measuring 3 kanals and 2 marlas. The area from Mall Road to backside till where we see PTCL Building now, was Mela Ram's property.

Rai Mela Ram, a popular socialite and 19th century businessman a major role as contractor in the laying of the Lahore-Amritsar Railroad in 1880. His son Rai Bahadur Ram Saran Dass, a great patron of the arts, celebrated all major Hindu, Muslim and Sikh festivals with great fanfare at his residence.

Rai Bahadur Mela Ram owned and lived in a Haveli, inside Bhati Gate, Mohallah Shish Mahal - Haveli of which nothing now remains. It was one of the splendors inside Bhati Gate.

The Rai Bahadur and his son Rai Bahadur Ram Saran Dass, were followers of the “Sanatam Dharm” and were widely respected. The son, was a great patron of poets and writers in 1880, when Lahore was linked with Amritsar by rail, the Lahore Railway Station was built by Mian sultan of landa Bazar, Mian Muhammad Bakhsh Dol Gar of Mochi Gate and Rai Bahadur Mela Ram, were noted contractors of those days. Rai Bahadur Mela Ram and Rai Bahadur Ram Saran Dass used to celebrate every Hindu, Sikh or Muslim festival with great ceremony. Every Sunday there used to be a musical soiree at Rai Bahadur Ram saran Dass’s bungalow outside Bhati Gate, according 5to one account. Invitees belonged to all creeds; prominent among the participants were Allama Iqbal, Sir Abdul Qadir, Sir Shahabud Din., Mian Sirajud din, Raja narindranath, Raja Sir Days Kishan kaul, Nawab Liaqat Hayat Khan, Nawab Ahmed Yar Khan Daultana, Sikandar Hayat Khan, Mian Muhammad Nasirud Din, Khan Bahadur Suyed Maratab Ali Sardar Sundar Singh Majitjia and Sardar Joginder Singh.

Mela Ram Road in Lahore is named in his memory. There used to be Mela Ram Textile Mill on this road. That mill no longer exists. The present Lahore zoo (named Chirya Ghar at that time) is also land donated by Rai Mela Ram in late nineteenth century.

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