Eradication of Poverty? …. SIMPLE!

November 27, 2020

               … remove MONEY (in letter & spirit) as the operating policy of life as we know it!

(Photo credit- https://images.app.goo.gl/FsakSmJTzKLm3AZw9)

From the beginning of time, when barter used to be the means of exchange, humankind understood the a physical item or service had a certain value attached to it.  Barter exchange evolved into money exchange and the importance of commerce and economy developed.

However, what if money is not the defining aspect of life?  Why can’t ALL goods & services be available freely to anyone?  The value of special interest groups, big business, wars for “oil”, smuggling & exploitation, etc will become inconsequential & redundant!  The concept of exploitation of the world’s natural resources would be over.  Beggary would stop.  There would be no such thing as Poverty – because every ‘social class’ will have access to the same services & facilities as everyone else.

(photo credit- https://images.app.goo.gl/6RvBqpCHpaM6NmcU9)

The idea of a community, in my book, should not be defined by what economic or monetary benefit each can give the other.  No siree bob!  Under this [fairy tale’d] ‘poverty-free society’ concept, a community would provide each other goods & services with no monetary benefit because each and every one benefits from the exchange.  There would be a 1 to 1 exchange – there would be no value attached to an item or service anymore. 

The person providing a good or service is doing so for the community at large; she would be using her trade & knowledge to provide for her own family and others; and in turn would receive goods & services required by her family completely gratis.  If I become sick, I go to the hospital and get the same medical care, treatment and medication our prime ministers & presidents would get with no concept of compensation.

If money is not needed to survive, there is no “poor” person or “rich” person.  The thirst for life should move from monetary gain to a knowledge-based motive (https://dinshawavari.com/2019/06/14/what-does-a-government-do-for-us-%f0%9f%a4%94/), a quest for adventure & intellect and a thirst to live life in the true sense of LIVING & enjoying what God has given us, and to us.

Too idealistic … a pipe dream, you say? 

Yes, here & now, in our lifetime …

but hopefully not for future generations.

For Some…LIFE STILL GOES ON

November 20, 2020

               Let see … Women on Wheels

                                                            SaafBath

                                                                           What next ????

While the world is mired in Covid, Conflicts, Disease, Poverty, Economic Crunch … for some people, life goes on in helping other HUMAN BEINGS – regardless of class or status.

Last March I learnt of Salman Sufi (https://www.vitalvoices.org/people/salman-sufi/) & the Salman Sufi Foundation’s (https://salmansufifoundation.org/) initiative of “Women on Wheels” – empowering women to become mobile on bikes.  What a fabulous venture.  While most of us “talk” about women empowerment, people like Salman Sufi actually “implement” it … he’s making Pakistani women MOBILE.

As the World Bank’s Pakistan Country Director, Ilango Patchamuthu, puts it “60% of women in #Pakistan cite transportation cost as a major issue which hinders their #mobility. To bring real change, we have to step out of policymaking & address the basics.”  Well, Salman Sufi Foundation is doing just that … addressing the basics!

Then you come to another public facilitation project … the SaafBath project (SaafBath@salmansufifoundation.org), ‘a public toilets initiative’.  Dawn & Pakistan Today’s articles spell it out – https://www.dawn.com/news/1591201 & https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2020/11/19/saaf-bath-aims-to-boost-privy-parity-in-karachi/.

Cyril Almeida comments “According to the international charity WaterAid, about 40 percent of Pakistan’s population of roughly 210 million lacks decent toilets.

I first came across this concept of a “public toilet” in Mumbai – that too, smack adjacent to Mumbai’s iconic “Gateway of India”.  What struck me was the concept of a public toilet – and I thought it was fantastic.  We even went in – it was relatively clean (quite smelly) but the fact that such a facility was available to the passerbys near Colaba was awesome.

This public toilets project is long overdue … and should not have been initiated by a private citizen or NGO – but like the rest of the [lack of] public & services infrastructure in Pakistan, it’s the private citizen who comes forward to implement what should be government-led projects.

I don’t see any government in Pakistan ever looking after the social needs of the people on a micro level – it will always be private NGOs and citizens who not only take the initiative but implement public health, education, philanthropic & other social services projects – whether the Edhis, the Salman Sufis, Agha Khans, TCFs, UNICEFs, ABSAs or the I Am Karachis of Pakistan (to name just a few of the myriad of NGOs doing so much good in Pakistan). 

A humble thanks to Salman Sufi for helping to ease life for the citizens of Karachi!

 

We Are Who We Are Because Of Our Forefathers (FINALE)

Nov 12, 2020

(So, the final part of my grandfather’s history and advice on life- I’ve amalgamated last two parts together)

REPLY ADDRESS BY MR. DINSHAW B AVARI ON THE OCCASION TO COMMEMORATE HIS 85th BIRTHDAY on NOV 5, 1987-

I am now 85 years old. Since twenty years, I have delivered my three hotels and my other businesses to my son, Byram, to run for our family for the last 20 years but he brings the Report to me very day about it their progress. What I and my family have learnt with the Hilton Hotel incident/case is that Never Ride a Horse Who’s Reins you Do Not Control. So my friends, my advise to you is that Never give your business away to somebody else to run for who’s losses you will be responsible.

Also remember, whatever happens in this world, happens for the Best, because it is God’s Wish that it happened that way; but Man makes his own Destiny and it is up to you to change your life and to make it or break it, so don’t blame others as you are solely responsible for what you want to become.

((late) Dinshaw Avari at the opening of Avari Towers- April 1985)

My life’s Philosophy has been always to give a helping hand.

Listen to everybody because even the beggar has something to say from which you can benefit if you keep an open mind. So keep your mind alert and assimilate fresh ideas thrown to you.

To all my old friends I strongly recommend that you make your Will without fail. For Parsi Wills, no probate is necessary. Whatever jewelry and other items you have you must specify what goes to who so that there is no misunderstanding or fights later on among your loved ones. For each jewelry piece, you must write the description in Gujrati or English and specify in your Will who this would go to.

((late) Khorshed Avari at grandchildren’s Navjote ceremony- 1977)

Don’t demand respect- command respect; reflects the life I have lived.  This comes from not letting my past dictate who I am, rather letting it become a part of who I will become.

My last advise to you is that you must always pray to God without fail. Remember what Tennyson said: “More things are wrought by prayers than this world dreams of”. The real secret of my success in life has been my sincere selfless prayers to God.

(Goshpi Avari receiving Pride of Performance Award in 2011 from Governor Sindh for winning Asian Games Gold Medal for Pakistan in sailing in 1982)

At this function I can only say that my success has also been because of my kind wife, Khorshed, who stood by me through thick and thin and together we grew from humble beginnings to this happy stage today. If it were not for her, I do not think I would have been able to achieve the same extent of success. I must say that my son, Byram, and his family are looking after me very well and we do not have a father-and-son relationship but have the relationship of two good friends.

(Byram D. Avari with Blondie, Barney & Buddy)

I must thank all of you once again for having come to wish me for my 85th Birthday and for all the years of affection, friendship and love shown to me and my family and all I can wish you with the sincerity of a man 85 years old is that May God Bless You, may He, in his Infinite Kindness, look after all of you and your families and may you have health, prosperity, happiness because HAPPINESS IS UNTO HIM WHO GIVES HAPPINESS TO OTHERS.

CONCLUDED

(Byram & Goshpi Avari – at the Karachi Yacht Club)

End note-

So, friends, it’s only because of our forefathers’ hard work, sweat, determination, vision, perseverance that “we are who we are” today.  Sole credit goes to my grandparents (Khorshed & Dinshaw) and my parents (Goshpi & Byram) for what we are today … Thank You!

(previous (10th) post- https://dinshawavari.com/2020/10/15/we-are-who-we-are-because-of-our-forefathers-10/)

(Byram & Goshpi Avari with Gold Medals at Beach Luxury Hotel- 1982)

REALITY CHECK

October 21, 2020

               I just returned from a very short trip to Dubai. 

Besides being subjected to three PCR Nasal swabs (including 1 throat) in four days (our nostrils now stand permanently ‘flared’ 😊), I thought I would dabble in some self-made poetry …

               We visit Dubai –

                                             Built on sand

                                                            Sand as far as the eye can see

                                                                           … and not a spec of sand on the roads!

(Photo credit- https://images.app.goo.gl/YqWJSqHkHEJf9f2CA)

               We live in Karachi –

A concrete jungle

                                                   … with sand (dirt, debris, you name it …) everywhere!


(Photo credit: https://images.app.goo.gl/pV22ozm7qdkKJhsu6)

(Sad but true … sigh!)

(End note:

It is criticism … it is feedback … censure me if you must … but this is the reality we live in! As citizens, we need to own our City … which we don’t, sadly!  https://dinshawavari.com/2019/08/30/ohthe-clean-clean-not-streets-of-karachi/)

We Are Who We Are Because Of Our Forefathers- 10

October 15, 2020

(10 of 12)

REPLY ADDRESS BY MR. DINSHAW B AVARI ON THE OCCASION TO COMMEMORATE HIS 85th BIRTHDAY on NOV 5, 1987-

My instructions which are today even being repeatedly conveyed by my son Byram to all our Executives and our Organisation, are that sometimes you may be short of money, so call the persons and explain to them about this and even pay interest on the delay but never deduct a bill wrongly by even One Rupee and if a supplier has made a mistake in his calculations, then correct it and pay the sum but do not pay One Rupee even less as you will have to pay a thousand times more because remember ‘KHODAI KI LATHI NU AWAJ NATHI’.

In life, you must do Charity but Charity always begins at home and you must never give up your money which is yours by right nor should you try to take undue advantage of claiming monies which are not yours.

In my life, I have found that being practical has made me successful. Adjust to the times and do not fight the situation.

At one time in the Hotel, we found that in the Washing department, we were suffering losses through theft of Silverware. My Managers told me to put on Chowkidars and Security Guards. Instead I increased the salaries of the staff by Rs. 25/- per person. In the 1950’s this was a lot of money. The Chowkidars were not needed, the thefts stopped and the staff were happy. This was yet another example of being practical.

I learnt long ago to be humble.   My first example was when I was the top insurance agent in Sun Life Insurance, I became proud that nobody could do my job and submitted my resignation to Sir Phiroz Sethna (thinking I am irreplaceable). He immediately accepted and I   learnt my lesson. I eventually withdrew my resignation but this example of humility I have learnt & subsequently practiced and I have taught my son and my grand children.

(Jamshed Nusserwanjee Mehta- Photo credit- https://colnect.com/en/stamps/stamp/480344-Birth_Centenary_1986_of_Jamshed_Nusserwanjee_Mehta-Pakistan)

I followed the noble examples of great Parsis of Karachi like Late Mr. Jamshed Mehta, Khan Bahadur Ardeshir Mama, Sir Cowasjee Katrak, Edulji Dinshaw and family and more particularly my friends Hoshang, Minoo and Dinshaw Dinshaw, Mr. Shapurji Supariwala, Mr Minoo Spencer, Mr Jehangir Punthaky and Mr Cyrus Minwalla, who were the pioneers of the Parsi Community.”

(Jehangir Kothari- Photo credit: https://images.app.goo.gl/jRv5usBQdJzvRD8W9)

(to be cont)

(previous (9th) post- https://dinshawavari.com/2020/09/16/we-are-who-we-are-because-of-our-forefathers-9/)

(Khan Bahadur Ardeshir Mama- Photo credit- https://images.app.goo.gl/wWNCd7sTQp1kffMW6)

PRINT … SOCIAL … what next … HOLOGRAPHIC???

Hotels [rooms] marketing used to be so much easier- you put an advert in the newspaper or magazine to promote your product or facility or promotion.  That’s IT!

(Photo credit- https://images.app.goo.gl/kh4nzcBrg6QNPPXT8)

TV was around but one of the most expensive mediums to market a hotel- and only the large Hiltons, Hyatts and Sheratons of the world used it.

Then came the ‘90s email usage on a commercial basis, so we started emailing clients and guests.

Close on its heels came the WWW … followed by our “friend”, SOCIAL MEDIA in the last decade!

Very very confusing … not only to customers – with the JUNK being posted daily – but also to hotels. 

(photo credit- https://images.app.goo.gl/a8AAHSrANiKYjAwu9)

Where & who do we market to? 

When will our customer be “online”?

Who will see our advert in the clutter & junk of the information

available on the Web & Social?

Newspapers officially have a shelf life of 24 hours … in practice, it’s a few hours – the moment the paper is put back on the coffee table, that’s it. 

Magazines fare a little better (with their “official” shelf life of a week or month- depending on its publication).

We dabble in WhatsApp and SMS content too … not very satisfying!

…and SOCIAL … the amount of information explosion taking place is phenomenal and mind boggling.  A tweet is literally lost in seconds.  Few years back I actually experimented one day to see how many tweets used to go through on my account – I lost count after 800 or so!  Say a 1000 tweets in 9 hours!  That was when I had just started on Twitter.  I don’t even want to try a similar experiment today.

(photo credit- https://images.app.goo.gl/4NAGrhXshNhZzeoJ8)

What’s the best platform for hotel services marketing then? 

I REALLY DON’T KNOW

Only time will tell how to really market the hotel industry.  For now, we dabble in FB, IG or Twitter; maybe an advert in a newspaper; some messaging from time to time – but I am at a complete loss as to what is the future of advertising & marketing a hotel is in the 2020s and beyond!

Any guesses?  Ideas?  Suggestions?

(Photo credit- https://images.app.goo.gl/UamemvWdAT9yEPVs9)

MY FINAL TESTAMENT (“A Parsi’s Will”)

(Author Unknown)

September 23, 2020

I am a Parsi (“bawa”) – and I love the eccentricities & quirks, we, as a community, display…and I love poking fun at ourselves (as do most of us bawas)!  Those Parsis who disagree, my humble apologies in advance.

I received this by email and it was too funny not to post.  Read on for a ‘deep-belly’ laugh and if you know us Parsis, you too will tend to agree with our idiosyncrasies, accept them and take them in stride 😊.

(I don’t claim credit for this masterpiece- and I give full marks to the unknown author!  “Mumbai” based and minimal gujrati language knowledge may be required 😊)

QUOTE

This is hilarious stuff, especially for people who have exposure to it’s Parsi culture.

Whoever wrote it, thanks bawa….

I, Tehmuras Tehmpton Tarkariwalla (alias T3), being of sound mind [one and only time] and solid body [Dara singh no baap], do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means. Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of pinhead politicians who couldn’t pass 9th grade biology if their lives depended on it; or doctors, who can barely treat my pet Bruno, but are interested in simply running up his bills.

If a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to ask for at least one of the following:

(Sali par Eedu: https://images.app.goo.gl/HdNKvGfEe5tcJ9Q69)

Char Double fried eeda with crisp [jalela] brown toast

Murabbo

Bhida par eedu

Dar-ni-poori

Marghi na farcha

Ek dajan taajah boomla

Akoori on toast

Dhanshak anne Kachumbar [tarela kabab sathe]

Kolmi no Patio

Chai with leely Chai & Fudino

Sali-ma-gosh with fresh chokah ni rotli

Duke ni raspberry

Lagan nu custard

Kulfi from Parsee Dairy Farm

Hafooz Mangoes

Belgian Chocolate

Scotch with soda

Patra ni machi

Kayani ni pastry

Victory na wafers

Paris Bakery ni butter khari biscuit…

…Then it should be presumed that I won’t ever get better.

(Morris Minor 1952: https://images.app.goo.gl/bAVv8z3H28WtqosD7)

When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my appointed person [“BOY” – the kalia who has been my faithful Man-Friday from Billimora] and Soli, my solicitor, to ensure that the attending physicians pull the plug, reel in the tubes and call it a day.

I have lived a good life and am looking forward to meet my Maker… Boy should go to the Cama’s at Mumbai Samachar and ask them to print my departure. And don’t forget to inform all the Ghelchodiyas & Gadheras who I used to drink with at the Parsi Gymkhana, otherwise they will curse me all the way back to Behram Baug.

A dinner must be organised at Dotiwalla Baug for my carrom gang with Godiwalla’s catering and whisky from Parson & Co. [the 1st licensed liquor shop in Bombay, license No.1] and call apro Gary Lawyer [who is not a lawyer but a besooro singer] and ask him to sing “Besame Mucho” for me at the dinner. Most of the carrom gang are deaf and don’t have an ear for music anyway.

(Paatra ni Maachi: https://images.app.goo.gl/g8EdzfX4KKem9TEU9)

Boy should continue to look after my Bruno from the money I leave behind in Central Bank nu khatu.

My Morris Tiger [1949] should be given to Soli, my solicitor and my horse “Knightsbridge” should be sold to a ghorawalla from Matheran and not to a ghoragariwalla in Mumbai or a ghorawalla in Mahabaleshwar as I don’t want the poor animal to gallop on daamar [asphalt] na rasta.

The furniture and fixtures should be given to Pundole’s to auction and the sale proceeds to be donated to the Bai Sakarbai PetitAnimal Hospital.

The Rani no photo should be sent to apro Prince Charles, who is now the husband of Kamaal ni Camilia.

sd/-

T3. [i.e. Tehmuras Tehmpton Tarkariwalla]

(In the presence of salo dukkar doctor Soli Saklatwalla and fatakadi nurse)

UNQUOTE

(Boomla (fish): https://images.app.goo.gl/LESFgxXMjM1hWftY6)

We Are Who We Are Because Of Our Forefathers- 9

Sept 16, 2020

(9 of 12)

REPLY ADDRESS BY MR. DINSHAW B AVARI ON THE OCCASION TO COMMEMORATE HIS 85th BIRTHDAY on NOV 5, 1987-

God has been kind to me.

I made money from Beach Luxury Hotel and eventually bought a Hotel in Lahore (Nedous Hotel) on Public auction which I converted from Nedous Hotel to Park Luxury – and I was about to convert it to build the Lahore Hilton.

(Model of Nedous Hotel – presented to my grandfather by his staff – in our office)

By this time, my son Byram & I had discussed whether we were content in running the Beach Luxury or wanted to grow (and naturally we chose the latter).  

This then propelled me to say that success does not come without pains or losses… 

The Beach Luxury in the 50s and early 60s (when we spoke), made its money through cash sales which were not recorded because of the high taxation- and actually became our capital.  We agreed that firstly we have to bring all our businesses on the books because without a strong balance sheet we would not be able to leverage our business.  This meant having to pay taxes and have less disposable cash. 

(Beach Luxury in the 1960s
Picture credit- unknown photographer, with thanks)

The second decision we made with this move was to get professionals to join our Company so as to make it grow.  This business dilemma proved a success and is part of the learning discipline we instilled in my grandchildren.

However, the Lahore Hotel got requisitioned (once again for our family )because I had been asked to give a portion of the Hotel, free of charge, to an high official, which I had refused because I believe somebody can  have a free meal or take a pencil from me, but when I have to give away something which is earned with the sweat and hardships of my brow, then I will fight to the end.

Friends, let me tell you life is very difficult.  I have never cheated anybody and God has rewarded me for this.  I have worked hard and honestly with integrity and have never forgotten Ahura Mazda for all his blessings.

I persevered and got the Lahore Plot de-requisitioned and built the Lahore Hilton.

This is to explain to you that persistence and honesty of thought and purpose will always succeed.”

(to be cont)

(previous (8th) post- https://dinshawavari.com/2020/08/18/we-are-who-we-are-because-of-our-forefathers-8/)

Karachi … BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD!

September 8, 2020

In my recent blog (https://dinshawavari.com/2020/08/29/water-water-everywhere-but-not-a-drop-to-drink-the-rime-of-the-ancient-mariner-by-samuel-taylor-coleridge/), I was only concentrating on recycling rainwater for Karachi.  However, the inadequacy of the Karachi’s infrastructure to deal with … RAIN … has created havoc to our City.

Recently I heard Arif Hasan, planner, architect & activist (http://arifhasan.org/about-arif-hasan), on a Samaa News interview (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCb6OIWWsoo).  The interview is an eyeopener and very insightful as Mr Hasan traces the roots of the problem, the history of our formal drainage systems, Karachi’s unchecked sprawl from the 1950s and especially 1970s leading to the drainage & sewer breakdown, we face currently.  In identifying these problems, Mr Hasan implicitly provides the solutions too.

There are two courses of action required –

  • I have already addressed rain water harvesting & recycling;
  • Alongside this, the city’s RAIN WATER and SEWAGE DRAINAGE systems have to be urgently addressed on a professional basis.

Basically, Karachi needs to “get back to the drawing board” by using independent, non-partisan town planners and architects (like Arif Hasan himself).  We have ONE YEAR lead time to fix the city- or at least be able to complete some of the main areas of the City – before the next rains hit us.

There are thousands of little drains – nullahs – (some naturally formed) which should feed into 64 large Nullahs which lead into Malir & Landhi Rivers, which in turn flow into the sea. 

PROBLEM:          When even one of these nullahs are blocked or stopped, it prohibits rainwater to flow into the sea- and instead, it floods the City.  This is the root problem.

SOLUTION:         So, firstly, the Entrance & Exit points of all Nullahs should remain undisturbed from encroachments, unplanned structures and debris.

PROBLEM:          Next, when roads are being built, their drainage is also part of the scope.  However, Arif Hasan points out that when the drains are made, they don’t lead anywhere – they end where the road ends … GO FIGURE!  So, when the [so-called] drains fill up with rain – from the road itself – the overflow goes back onto the roads again … and … the “ROADS GET CONVERTED INTO NULLAHS”!

SOLUTION:         So, the second action is that road drains must connect to the established nullahs, so there’s a formal route for the water to naturally flow into the sea (more on formal drains below).

PROBLEM:          In the 1950s, Katchi Abadis (informal housing settlements) sprang up unchecked.  There was no planning for their sewage drains, so the katchi abadis drained their sewage into Karachi’s nullahs…a practice which continues to this day.  In the 1970s, when the formal housing schemes and neighborhoods were created, they continued the same practice of draining their sewage into rain water drains because no sewage drains or trunk sewers were planned … again, a practice that continues to this very day! 

SOLUTION(s):    So, thirdly, TRUNK SEWERS leading into FORMAL SEWER DRAINAGE SYSTEMS (& NOT into the rainwater drains) has to be planned & executed.

When this is done, all current formal Storm water drains must be cleaned off all the sewage sludge; all sewage outlets leading into such rain water drains removed and capped; and new storm water drains built to accommodate the City’s sprawl (it is massive task and a daunting one, at that).  Storm water drains must ONLY be used for rain water drainage.

Each of these systems has to be physically separate and independent from each other – no one system should be able to lead into another system in case of a breakdown; each of these systems has to have its own failsafe mechanisms in place; have their own access points for repairs, replacements & maintenance in place; and have their dedicated teams ready to fix and clean them.

PROBLEM:          The World Bank funded & completed a successful Sewage treatment plant in the 1990s.  However, it never started operations.  Why … because there were no trunk sewer systems designed or created to capture rainwater which would have flowed into the treatment plants; likewise, nothing was designed to capture the sewage (which instead was dumped into the rain water drains) to drain into such treatments plants either.

SOLUTION(s):    Fourth- once these new Trunk Sewers and formal Sewage system captures all types of drains (be it rainwater or sewage), they should ONLY flow into Sewage treatment plants (plants…PLURAL); and then they should flow into new nullahs connecting to Malir & Lyari rivers.

Malir & Lyari rivers themselves need to be dredged and maintained to accept this drainage.

A recycling solution also lies in utilizing waste from treatment plants (after being treated) for watering the City’s green belts instead of letting it flow into the sea.

PROBLEM:          Samaa interestingly also points out (https://www.samaa.tv/news/2020/08/karachi-rain-water-weather-flooding-monsoon-update-storage-shortage-drought/) that Karachi’s “concrete jungle” doesn’t have the capacity to absorb any of the rainwater so as to shore up valuable ground water.  “The advantage would have been that the water table would have been replenished”.

SOLUTION(s):    So, we need to create large swaths of “green areas”;

We have to breakdown this concrete jungle and rebuild public areas with gardens and trees;

Town planning has to be formalized, professionalized and held accountable;

Katchi abadis may very well have to be relocated (like the successful Lyari/Orangi resettlement project) into new, formal neighborhoods- this can be successfully & mutually negotiated by giving these resettlers title to their new properties, instead of the usurious “pagri” and rental system most of these katchi abadi dwellers have to content with currently;

Lastly, roads and current infrastructure will also have be replanned, replaced or even relocated to accommodate these new services.

So, what is the STARTING POINT of all these actions?

               A long term City & infrastructure Plan has to be created, agreed by all political stakeholders and implemented & monitored professionally.  This Plan will continuously need amendments and updating, which cannot be done without a non-partisan, political approach to addressing Karachi’s problems professionally by the Chief Minister, Government AND Opposition parties working together, instead of the politics of destruction – the destruction to the City of Karachi!

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE … BUT NOT A DROP TO DRINK (“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

(Long Article)

Samaa recently wrote https://www.samaa.tv/news/2020/08/karachi-rain-water-weather-flooding-monsoon-update-storage-shortage-drought/, with very good suggestions for capturing rain water- which reminded me of my post of last year (https://dinshawavari.wordpress.com/2019/03/25/water-water-everywhere-but-not-a-drop-to-drink/).  This is an apt time to re-summarize and add on to these thoughts-

Weather patterns have changed for Pakistan, especially Karachi.  We are seeing colder winters, hotter summers … and heavier rains!  The last I remember of these types of rains were in the 1970s.

Karachi is facing severe monsoon rains for the first time in decades.  It’s a good thing too – it cleans up the city; there is more greenery; the temperature drops; and life is so much more pleasant; and the three major reservoirs supplying water to our City get filled.

Yet, with the rains upon us there is no drinking water in sight!  Like South Africa’s current problem, Pakistan is heading for a water crisis in the coming decade.

Rain is God’s gift to Earth and we are rebuffing this free resource!

The time to act is NOW … with no POLITICS or partisanship involved, through micro & macro means.  The provincial & federal governments cannot do this on their own- we as citizens have to help out too.

  1. Let’s go back to school – literally – and immediately start teaching water saving to all nursery, kindergarten and primary school children! (Long Term Goal)
  2. Water faucets can and should be changed to modern fittings which save water.  I saw a very interesting concept at https://www.alteredcompany.com/ .  Their water aerators/nozzles give a mist giving the same cleaning effects but at a fraction of the water wastage.  Why can’t our domestic companies follow suit and make it mandatory for all faucets to be of this type?
  3. Implement recycling “domestic” water for kitchen & clothes washing and swimming pool top ups;
  4. Implement “waste” water recycling (from WC’s and urinals) for gardens and exterior washings (can be used for washing cars, external patios, etc). 
  5. Implement drip irrigation for all gardens, plants & farms –Middle Eastern countries are proof that such systems work – and theoretically it should be even easier for us to do! 
  6. All watering for gardens & plants should be done at/after sunset;
  7. Domestic staff HAVE to be taught to conserve water (for that matter all our utilities);
  8. Individual water catchment systems need to be created – each building in our cities can easily have their own rainwater harvesting system – it doesn’t have to be expensive.  In our part of the world, Tamil Nadu leads the way!  Brazil, Singapore, Hawaii & Australia are other successful examples.  The cost and process of making a catchment system is not prohibitive or unreasonable.  It can even work effectively with a simple tarpaulin (refer http://www.oas.org/usde/publications/unit/oea59e/ch10.htm as an example).  (Here’s another source- https://outdoortroop.com/how-to-capture-and-store-enough-rainwater-for-your-cabin/).

On the macro side, our federal & provincial governments –

  1. Have to put aside “-1 sum” politics (in this case “-1” referring to provinces) in favour of the citizens of Pakistan.
  2. Like Hawaii, we need to create water catchment areas for rainwater in each province – NO RAIN WATER SHOULD BE WASTED.
  3. Mini DAMS is a must – starting from the north of Pakistan’s main rivers down south to the Arabian Sea – so that our fresh water does not drain into the sea and is instead used productively.  Politicians (not us citizens!) have concerns that water from such dams would not be used equitably – but if Pakistan & India’s Indus Water Treaty of 1960 can withstand the “test of time”, I’m sure our own provinces can also reach comprehensive, equitable & binding agreements.

Not a drop of fresh water in Pakistan should be allowed to flow into the Arabian Sea and instead equitably diverted East & West to all provinces as it flows southwards!

  • The current government’s tree-plantation drive is a correct first step – “growing trees take water from the soil and release it into the atmosphere. Tree leaves also act as interceptors, catching falling rain, which then evaporates causing rain precipitation elsewhere — a process known as evapo-transpiration […] strategically planting trees can bring rain to regions that need it most.” (https://forestsnews.cifor.org/10316/make-it-rain-planting-forests-to-help-drought-stricken-regions?fnl=en). 
  • Desalinization plants – this is a macro project and while some smaller units have been set up in Karachi, they are not being used.  Besides rainwater, ocean water is an absolutely FREE resource- why are we not using it?  We take loans to pay off other loans … and loans for building our arms … why can’t we take loans & grants for providing drinking water to our population?

There is a great need for our governments (plural!) collectively to lead the way in collecting & storing rainwater; promoting households & commercial buildings to create water catchments & reuse rainwater; and teach & implement water saving techniques to the population!

THE WATER IS FREE people … we just need to optimally capture this very very scarce resource and utilize it correctly in & for our Country.