The Hindu community had established itself in the region during the period of Ranjit Singh and controlled most of the trade and business activity. By the end of the colonial era, important Hindu and Sikh communities had grown up in Gujranwala’s Shaheenabad, Baghbanpura, Checherwali, Gobindgargh and Guru Nanakpura mohallas. They were exclusively Hindu and Sikh localities some two miles north- west of the newly developed civil lines areas. They were fairly densely packed and contained both residences and shops. After partition, they were to be occupied by the poorer Muslim refugees from East Punjab. The well-known Sarafa bazaar in the Sialkoti gate also contained many Hindu residences and jewellery and hosiery shops. These are today occupied largely by Muslim refugees from Jullundur, Ludhiana and Amritsar.
The Banias and Jains monopolised the banking services. Aroras were the most educated caste and dominated the city’s educational and professional activities. They formed an important component of the district administration. Their district wide population was enumerated as 35,000 at the time of the 1931 Census. Dr Gokul Chand of this caste group represented Gujranwala in the Punjab Legislative Assembly as Minister for Local-Self Government, Punjab. Khatris were another most important and influential Hindu caste in the region, whose population was enumerated at just over 28,000 at the time of the 1931 Census.24 They were not only traders, controlling the retail and wholesale trades in iron safes, brass and aluminium vessels, but also were big landowners. Overall they owned about forty estates in Gujranwala, six in Wazirabad and sixteen in Hafizabad.