Maharaja Ranjit Singh Fort, Phillaur
The Phillaur fort has a fascinating history behind it. Situated on the Grand Trunk Road, it has a great historical background. The town of Phillaur in which the fort is located owes its origin to a Sanghera Jat, Phul, who named it after himself as “Phulnagar”. The Naru Rajputs of Mau, a nearby township, had cast covetous eyes on Phillaur and eventually under their Chief Rae Shahr they wrested it from the Jats. Rae Rattan Pal, the son of Rae Shahr, liked it so much that he abandoned Mau and settled in Phillaur. The Jats then left the place.Later, however, at some period unknown, the Rajputs also deserted it. Nothing is known thereafter until the reign of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (1627-1658) when an imperial Sarai was built at Phillaur. Later, the town was occupied by Kakarah Sikhs and held until Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) seized all the Kakarah Estates. After the collapse of the Mughal Empire, Maharaja Ranjit Singh sent Dewan Mohkam Chand,about the year 1809, to take possession of the Imperial Serai and converted it into a formidable Fort with the help of his French and Italian officers, namely Generals Ventura, Allard, and Avitabile. It was built in reply to the British who had built a small Fort at Ludhiana on the remnants said to be of an old Lodhi Fort, and to guard the ferry of Phillaur. The British occupied this Fort in 1846 after the Sikhs were defeated in the battle of Aliwal. Phillaur, thereafter, became a Cantonment and Fort remained under the charge of Army authorities till 1890 when it was handed over to the Civil authorities and has been used thereafter for police training purposes. The fort was renamed as ‘Maharaja Ranjit Singh Fort’ by the Punjab Government by a notification dated 6th April, 1973.
The fort enshrines under one of its domes the mausoleum of a saint fondly remembered as Pir Baba Abdullah Shah Ji. He had sacrificed his life to uphold the human values of love and kindness as per the following legend. A wall of the fort constructed during day time under orders of Maharaja Ranjit Singh would mysteriously collapse during the night and thus affected the work. The Maharaja was advised by religious heads to offer sacrifice of any male person belonging to the priest class who should be the only son of a widow. A Brahmin boy of Phillaur, who fulfilled these conditions, was brought before Maharaja Ranjit Singh for the sacrifice, The wails and lamentations of a boy’s mother attracted the attention of Pir Abdullah Shah who lived nearby. The Pir offered himself for the sacrifice and petitioned to the Maharaja to accept him as he fulfilled all the conditions. The Maharaja agreed to the offer and the boy was released. Pir Abdullah Shah, it is said, was then immured alive in the northeastern wall of the fort and the construction of the fort was thus completed. The Mazar, over the years has been a source of great spiritual inspiration to the police personnel and the people who come from near and far away places to pay their respects to the revered Pir and his legend.
Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur
Prior to the enactment of the Police Act of 1861, the Punjab Police was known as “Military Police Force” and it consisted of 8100 men. Out of these, 5400 were infantry divided into six Battalions and the remaining 2,700 were the cavalry. The Punjab, the sword-arm of India, however, needed a superior force for its internal administration. The Police Act of 1861came into force in Punjab with effect from the 1st January, 1890.
Soon thereafter the Provincial Government got serious about the training of the police. Earlier the art of prevention and detection of crime, an essential attribute of a police officer was more or less left to the school of experience. The contemplated force had, of course, to be rough and tough to match the turbulent, strong, hardy and proud people of this land. At the same time, it had to be amiable and well acquainted with the knowledge of the law of the land. Thus arose the need for a Police Training School.
Police Training School
The Police Training School was established in the Phillaur Fort by a Home Department notification dated the 9th September, 1891, with a meagre staff under Mr. J.M. Bishop, I.P., Assistant District Superintendent of Police. The School started functioning with effect from the 1st January, 1892. Thus Punjab became the first state in the country to establish such a school. Most of the other training schools were set up after the report of the Police Commission, appointed in 1902 by Lord Cuzon.
Thus, it is the oldest police training institution in the country.The school was created to cater to the training requirements of officers and men from North-Western Frontier Province, Punjab & erstwhile Princely States. The officers selected in the Indian Police were also given training in this institution. The training curricula laid great stress not only for physical fitness or drills, but also on special spheres of work like patrolling, investigation of crime and a host of other duties. The erstwhile princely states sent their princes and senior officers for training. Late Maharaja Yadvindra Singh of Patiala also received this training from this school. The billiards table in the officers mess was donated by his father at that time. Many I.P officers who made a mark in Police Service also passed out from the portals of this institution. This included Sardar Sant Parkash Singh, the 1st Inspector General of Police of Punjab after independence, Mr. Kurban Ali, who subsequently became Governor in North Western Frontier Province, Pakistan, Nawab Itzazuddin, a Police officer of great repute in Pakistan and Shri Ashwani Kumar who occupied very important positions in the hierarchy of Police organizations at national level.
Mr. F.H. Duheaume remained Principal of this institute four times in 1934, 1938, 1939 & 1942. The laying of roads inside and outside the college, which is spread in about 250 acres of land, was done by him. The fauna and flora which are in great abundance in the campus and which include some rare varieties of trees, was also planned and planted by him.
Another British officer Mr. H.W. Hale was the Principal of this institution in 1938,1939,1942 & 1947. He set high standards of discipline in the school. It is said that one day he reached late by 15 seconds for inspection of the general parade. Nobody noticed this delay, However, when he came back from the parade, he started running in the scorching sun of hot summer and kept doing so for about one hour. When asked the reason for his doing so, he replied that he had probably become slack and was, therefore, disciplining and punishing himself to shed the lethargy. His personal example, helped in setting up high standards of discipline & punctuality and also built up this institution in the country as a premier Training centre. Sh. Ashwini Kumar, I.P. was the first Indian Principal, who succeeded Mr. W. St. Hodder, I.P. in 1947.
Police Training College (PTC)
The school was upgraded as a Zonal College in 1967 with Mr. B.S. Danewalia, IPS, as the first Principal in the rank of DIG. The institution is now around 120 years old.Police Training College, Phillaur occupied a pre eminent place amongst training institutions in the country and it had been possible to achieve and maintain this prestigious position mainly due to the ever high standards of indoor and outdoor activities. The Centenary celebrations of the Police Training College, Phillaur, were held from 29th March to 31st March, 1992. The highlight of the celebrations was the Punjab Police Colours which were presented by the then Home Minister of India, Sh. S.B. Chavan on 29th March, 1992.
Punjab Police Academy (PPA)
The present new academic look was added in April, 1995, when the institution was christened as Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Punjab Police Academy and it was affiliated with Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar in 1996 It caters to the training facilities of not only Punjab but also for as many as 12 other Indian states and union territories as well as central police organizations. The countries of Bhutan, Maldives, Afganistan, Palestine, etc. also send their police personnel for training here. The Academy is in partnership with British and Ethiopian Police organizations in the fields of research, academics & specialised training.
The Academy has latest training infrastructure backed by modern structural layout and specialised police training programmes. The Academy is the first police training institution in the country which in collaboration with Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar started imparting the instruction of M.A., M.Phill and Ph.D. degree programmes in the discipline of Police Administration a feature which has been appreciated at National and International levels.