As the institutions become ancient they become eternal and help install prosperous and healthy traditions. When an organization slowly crosses the upward progression of anniversaries and is poised towards century, it creates a new historical epoch and leaves its mark on the entire history of creation. The history of Sanatan Dharma College has definitely left an indelible imprint on the sands of time and has been able to brave communal thunderstorms, onslaught of the Western Culture and ideas. Impediments on the way have not been able to obstruct its development or wean its supporters from their own tradition, culture and heritage.
The word ‘Lahore’ associated with the college refers to the glorious history of this great educational institution. In 1916, the institution was set up in Lahore, under the dynamic influence of Bharat Ratna Mahamana Madan Mohan Malviya ji, known for his nation-wide enlightenment movements based on culture-preservation, education-dissemination, social-reforms and nation-deliverance. The core inspiration for the establishment of the institute was provided by Bhai Vir Singh ji, the great Saint and social worker of the undivided Punjab. Many philanthropist Maharajas and eminent Sanatan Dharmis provided economic cooperation and finally the institution saw the light of the day. Diligent academicians like Pandit Vachaspati Deendayal Upadhya ji, devoted purely to the pledge of selfless service, have also been instrumental in shaping up the institution.
Sanatana Dharma College Society became a registered society in Lahore in April 1916. Eminent educationists, patriots and honourable men like Rai Bahadur Lala Ram Sharan Das, Diwan Bahadur Dewan Krishan Kisore, Seth Mool Chand, Pandit Rishi Ram, Rai Bahadur Nar Sinh Das and Rai Bahadur Lala Mohan Lal were an integral part of it. Rai Bahadur Lala Ram Saran Das donated his famous Peeli Kothi, which stood in front of the Punjab University sports-field, for college building. Initially, the college had only graduate courses to offer to its students but with the changing times and the need for upliftment of the society, post-graduate courses were included in the curriculum.
Of all the Sanatan Dharma leaders, who aspired for the college to reach the pinnacle of success, Tyagmurthi Goswami Ganesh Dutt ji’s contribution stands above ranks. Tyagmurthi Goswami ji joined Sanatan Dharma Managing Committee in 1926 and in 1928 he became the General Secretary of the College Managing Committee. By 1946, he became a source of inspiration to the college and continued to serve the college all his life. In June 1917, India’s renowned educationist and eminent Sanskrit scholar and Scholar of ‘Etymology’ of Maharishi Yask, Pandit Raghuvar Dayal Shastri, took over as the principal of the institution. A multi-faceted personality, he displayed unparalleled coincidence of administrative skills and practical approach. During his tenure as the principal of the college, he appointed professors of international repute like— Prof. Brij Narayan, Dr Raghuveer, Prof. P. N. Moulick, Prof. Gulshan Rai, Prof. A. N. Ganguly, to name a few.
The partition of India was a huge set back to the institution. However, it goes to the credit of Tyagmurthi Goswami Ganesh Dutt ji, who, rehabilitated and re-established the college in Ambala. In 1948 the Defence Ministry of India provided 14 acres of land in Ambala Cantonment for the college building. The institution was inaugurated by the first Speaker of Indian Parliament, Sh G. V. Mavlaonkar and the students took their initial classes in tents set up in the Sanatan Dharma Mandir Complex. Soon with the help of various philanthropists, the construction for college building was in the pipeline. It is a matter of immense pride that the foundation stone of the college building was laid by India’s first President Dr Rajender Prasad on 3 October 1951. Since then the institute has never looked back.