There are articles and documents on websites mentioning
the work of Dr. G.W. Leitner, paying tribute to his contributions,
particularly in the field of education in Lahore. Some of
these are quoted below.
1. Punjab University, Lahore
2. Letter in Pakistan Link
Ravians Recall the Good Old Days
By Intizar Husain
Like the Aligarians, the Ravians, too, appear to be very
nostalgic about their past. How fondly they talk of the
good old days at the Government College, Lahore. They are
easily carried away by the sweet memories of those days,
which now stand transformed into a golden age in their imagination.
It appears that this institution is now struggling hard to
regain that glory, which, as the Ravians say, it had lost
in the riot-torn years of partition. The new publications
I have recently received are very expressive of this sentiment.
Last month, the Ravians - old and the new - gathered together
and solemnly remembered their first principal, Dr Leitner,
the great scholar, who is regarded as the real architect of
their institution. The occasion also saw the launching of
a book, a volume of Dr Leitner’s selected writings compiled
by Ikram Chaghatai and published by the research and publications
society of the college with the cooperation of Sang-i-Meel
But it was not Government College alone, which benefited
from Leitner’s services and turned into an institution
which was much more than a college. As Ikram Chaghatai tells
us in his introduction to the book, the city of Lahore is
indebted to him for all its educational activities. It was
he who saw to it that the Punjab should have its own university.
It was because of his strenuous efforts that the Punjab
University came into being.
But Dr Leitner was not among those educationists who faithfully
followed the line given by Lord Macaulay and insisted solely
on English education. Himself a scholar of oriental languages
and allied cultures, he was aware of the value of these
languages and of their need in education. So after his success
in the campaign for the Punjab University, he came out with
the proposal of an educational institution devoted to the
study of oriental languages. Though the anglicists bitterly
opposed him, he stuck to his proposal and succeeded in founding
an institution which is now known as the Oriental College,
But Lahore is not indebted to this great man for its educational
institutions alone. As is well known, soon after the fall
of Delhi and Lucknow in 1857, Lahore emerged as a center
of literary activities, encouraging new trends, whose chief
advocates were Hali and Azad. For that, too, Lahore owes
much to Dr Leitner. The Anjuman-i-Punjab, which played a
great part in promoting these trends and which revitalized
the institution of the mushaira, was, in fact, Dr Leitner’s
Apart from being an educationist with innovative ideas,
Dr Leitner was a great scholar, who had studied Islam and
the languages related to it, Arabic, Persian, and Turkish.
Along with it, he was deeply involved in the research and
study of local languages and cultures in this part of the
world. A number of articles, which bring before us his research
about the northern areas of Pakistan, have been included
in this volume. His studies in the fables, folk tales and
folk songs of Chitral and his research on tribal religion
and customs, provide precious information to us.
Even after his return to England, his interest in the
cultures and languages of this part of the world did not
wane. There he made efforts and succeeded in founding a
school of oriental studies. And keeping in view the religious
requirements of the students from India, he thought of building
a mosque, a temple and a gurdwara in London. The mosque
he built there is known as the Voking [Woking] Masjid.
Let me now say a few words about another publication of
the Government College, which also speaks of its earnest
desire to revive its academic and literary traditions. The
Ravians had often been seen talking nostalgically about
the Sondhi Translation Society which, in the good old days,
was actively engaged in translating from European literature
into local languages. After lying dormant for long years
it has once again been revived. Here is its fresh publication
under the title, Takhleeq-i-Mukarrar 2001.
An attempt has been made here to introduce to us in Urdu
those distinguished writers who have won the Nobel Prize
during the last ten years. A short introduction about the
writer is followed by an Urdu version of the lecture he
delivered on the occasion of the prize distribution ceremony.
This in a way is an introduction to twentieth century
literature, an attempt to have an access to what has been
acknowledged as the best during the past decades.
Such an attempt on the part of the students is expressive
of the courage to know and to understand. The attempt is
laudable and deserves our appreciation.
3. Cornell University
Sir Aurel Stein was an explorer of the remote mountain regions
of todays Pakistan and Afghanistan, and originated from
Budapest, Hungary, like Dr. Leitner. In Jesus on Heaven
on Earth by Khwaja Nazir Ahmad, two works by Sir Aurel
Stein are cited in chapter 26 Chronology. Within the
above document it is related that Sir Aurel Stein lived in
the Oriental Institute at Woking for a short while during
1884 with Dr. Leitner. For further details, please
search for Leitner in the above document.
4. Sikh website
On a Sikh website (www.allaboutsikhs.com), in the History section
there is an article about the Singh Sabha Sikh Reform Movement
in which it is mentioned: