History of Sialkot
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Importance and History of Sialkot beyond “Bawa Ji Sialkot”

A few months ago, a TikTok user went viral called “Sialkot Silent Girl”, and many people were introduced to Sialkot for the first time through “TikTok”. Looking at the way people talked, it seemed that there was only one special thing about the city, and that was the famous catchphrase, “Bawa Ji Sialkot”. Some people even said that this is the first time they have heard of Sialkot. Being a Sialkoti, that was PRETTY offensive, trust me.

I contemplated on it, and I came to the conclusion of picking up the pen (yeah, okay it’s a keyboard) and writing everything down that I have ever come to know about my city. Here are some things about both historically, and economically rich city that you never knew or were never told.

Sialkot is one of the oldest cities in Asia and has been the capital of almost all the ancient civilizations in the Indian Subcontinent from 5,000 years ago to about 1,000 years ago before Lahore was settled. The earliest traces of this city in the pages of history are found in Greek literature. 

Sialkot depicted as Sagala in Greek scriptures.

Its history dates back to 326 BC when Alexander the Great conquered the city. Before Alexander the Great, it was the capital of the Madra Kingdom. Alexander the Great, as a warning, completely obliterated the city so that other cities would not resist or fight back the Greek forces. The city of Sagala, home to about 80,000 civilians, was reduced to ashes in an instant.

Battle of Hydaspes (Jhelum River Valley)

Later, the Indo-Greek king Menander (Also known as Milinda in Indian Scriptures), who ruled between 160 and 135 BC, decided to rebuild the city on the site, and shortly after the reconstruction, the city became a great center of prosperity and development. It became globally renowned at that time for the silk trade. According to Buddhist texts, when Menander embraced Buddhism and built a Buddhist temple here, the city became a Buddhist sanctuary.

Debate on Buddhist doctrine posed by King Milinda—i.e., Menander

According to Ptolemy’s historical text ‘Geography’ in the first century A.D, the ancient Sialkot is recorded as the metropolis of Bactrian civilization, called Euthymedeia, which was inhabited around 2500 BC.

Iqbal Manzil, Sialkot

Later, Sialkot remained the home to the Hephalite dynasty. In the Sardar Raj of Kashmir also Sialkot was the capital during the winter period.

  • Sardar Ganda Singh House - An Abandoned Building
  • Forest In Sahuwala
  • A Window of An Abandoned House, Sialkot
  • A very old door of an abandoned house
  • Simple life Of Sialkot, Depiction
  • An old Window In Sialkot
  • A very old lock on an abandoned house, Sialkot
  • Sunset at Sahuwala Canal, Sialkot
  • Shahaban Phatak Railway Track on a Foggy Day. Sialkot
  • An Old Building in Lahai Bazar, Sialkot

During the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb, the city of Iqbal was the center of the academic and intellectual center for Islamic thought.

The Natural Sialkot

For the first time, the glare of Sialkot diminished with the construction and rise of Lahore as the center and capital of the Mughal and later Sikh empires. However, during the British colonial era, Sialkot once again stepped up on the ladder of development and became one of the first industrialized cities in the Indian Subcontinent.

Much Simpler City Life

The first bagpipe industry was set up in Sialkot. Sialkot became the center for manufacturing metal instruments and utensils. The quality of surgical tools industry products manufactured in the city received such a reputation that during World War II, there was a huge demand for it from the British Army and Allied Forces. This tradition lives up to the date as Sialkot stands out as the top producing city for surgical instruments in the world.


Sialkot was one of the first cities in Colonial India to have an electric power supply, their own electric powerhouses.

A colonial era building facing dilapidation

During the Partition of India, factories were deserted due to riots and migration. 80% of the industry was destroyed and the city faced a 90% capital decline. However, this was not something that could keep the city down for long, as it revived and continues to be one of the greatest cities in South Asia.

Made in Pakistan Footballs, featured in Reuters

Eighty percent of the world’s sports equipment is made in the city, with between 4 million and 6 million footballs being handcrafted each year. In addition to sports accessories, the subcontinent’s high-quality musical instruments are also made here, in addition to weaponry, armory, wrestling equipment, Traditional Scottish clothing such as kilts, and motorcycle safety apparel. You will rarely find a thing that Sialkotis cannot produce. 

Only city with private airport and own airline, AirSial

The city is sought to be one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets. Brands such as Alpinestars, Dainese, Adidas, have their production units here. 

As for the people of Iqbal city i.e. Iqbal himself, Abdul Hakeem Sialkoti Faiz, Umairah Ahmed, Sara Naveed, Shahid Zaki, etc., that will require a completely different essay to fill in all the details.

Original article at Penchalk: History of Sialkot – A Tale of 5 Millenia

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