wow … Wow … WOW!!!

February 16, 2021

Last weekend we were invited by our friends Danilo & Antonella on Karachi’s Super Savari tour – imagine, a couple of foreign visitors inviting us Pakis to explore Karachi, instead of the other way around 😊! (I was born in this City but have not seen its history or heritage … very sad!)

It was a very short ride and not the usual 5 hours because their other guests had other engagements on that afternoon.

What we saw, though, was MIND BOGGLING (and I mean that in the most positive sense).

               We started our tour of Quaid-e-Azam Mohd Ali Jinnah’s Mazar (Mausoleum).  The main area above was so clean, peaceful and cool, in spite of the hot sun bearing down around us.  The last time I ever visited Quaid-e-Azam’s Mazar was in the ‘70s, as a ‘wee kid’.

Quaid-e-Azam Mazar (https://images.app.goo.gl/3muca1k1Qcgz4Qyb6)

               This was followed with a tour of the Museum below.  Now, this is something Pakistani’s must see.  In 53 years, I have not seen this type of personal history of the Quaid, his wife Rati and his sister Fatima Jinnah.  Photographs are not permitted however on special approval we managed to get one shot of Rati’s bedroom.

(Incidentally, Rati’s history is almost nonexistent in Pakistan’s history or textbooks 🤔🤫)

               What was mind boggling was the extent to which these treasures and history was preserved by the Mazar and it’s trustees.  I thought I was in some European museum, with the presentation, preservation, level of ……. Which we experienced in the Musuem.  I was truly proud of how, if we put our mind to it, preserve our history, dynasty, culture, etc.  If nothing else as to the current state of our Country, at least these three founders of Pakistan can rest in peace knowing that their history will live into posterity.

               The Quaid’s 1938 Packard and another one have been completely restored by “National Motors Ltd”.   It is amazing to see the level of detail and restoration we have put into preserving his legacy.  Personal effects, photos, paintings, etc from Quaid’s collars to coins to his clothes, etc were on display- immaculately preserved.

               … A TRULY PROUD MOMENT FOR MY WIFE & I.

Due to change in schedule, we then made our way to Quaid e Azam House Museum aka Flagstaff House (his residence in Karachi) opposite Avari Towers.  That’s another “WOW” experience for me!  The Quaid’s furniture from India had been brought, restored & preserved here. 

Flagstaff House (https://images.app.goo.gl/KKV2vJhB5t71Mtsi8)

               Again, I thought we were walking through some foreign Museum.  Here too were two cars on display which had been completely renovated- but were actually Fatima Jinnah’s cars.

(Aside- if any of these cars are on the road today, they structure would make mincemeat of any other vehicle which accidentally “bumps” into it 😊)

There are two other places with with this detail of preservation of Karachi (& Pakistan’s) history –

  1. One is TDF Ghar.  We didn’t visit TDF due to time constraints but we did see it in 2019, which I wrote about- https://dinshawavari.com/2020/03/18/tdf-ghar-https-www-dawoodfoundation-org-tdf-ghar/
  2. Karachi’s famous Lighthouse on Manora Island (please review- https://dinshawavari.com/2019/08/21/manora-lighthouse-st-pauls-church/)
  3. Mohatta Palace (https://mohattapalacemuseum.com/)
Mohatta Palace, Karachi (https://images.app.goo.gl/nbb8qfJfZ77Wfn7p7)

In ending, what I am trying to say is that why cannot Karachi recreate its lost history and culture?  There has been some attempt recently of uplifting places (like the Kharadar walking street, etc).  I Am Karachi and others try to their bit.  However, the majority of our 1800s and 1900s buildings & structures lay crumbling and decrepit; exteriors of old mansions (‘Duarte’ for instance) lie in shambles; the history of Old Karachi (Maripur, MA Jinnah Road, etc) are forgotten.  This is not something only the private sector can do.

This can only start if the various of levels of administration starts taking OWNERSHIP of this City!

@Beach_Luxury @AvariTowers1986 @AvariLahore @AvariXpress @danilogiurdanel @ItalyinKarachi #tdfghar #thedawoodfoundationghar @karachi_biennale @savequaidmazar @MazarQuaid @tdf_studio @DawoodTdf @supersavari #SuperSavari #Karachibustour #Karachisupersavari #Dawoodfoundation #thedawoodfoundation #ahmeddawood #sabrinadawood #tourisminKarachi #karachitourism #Karachitour #karachipublicspaces #lighthouse #lighthouseinkarachi #manoralisland #manoralighthouse #StPaulsChurch #churchesofKarachi #QuaidsMazar #MazareQuaid #QuaideAzam #MohdAliJinnah #RatiJinnah #FatimaJinnah #QuaideAzamMazar #HistoryofKarachi #HistoryofPakistan #PakistanCulture #PakistanHistory #KarachiHistory #QuaideAzamHouseMuseum #SuperSavari #FlagstaffHouse #JinnahKarachirhouse #HotelsinPakistan #hotelsinkarachi #hotelsinislamabad, #hotelsinmultan #hotelsinfaisalabad #hotelsinlahore #BeachLuxuryHotel #AvariTowers #AvariLahore #AvariXpress #AvariHotels #IAmKarachi @iamkhiofficial #KhiBiennale #KarachiBiennale #IAK #IamKarachi

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!

 

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/)

Oh…The Clean Clean (not) Streets of Karachi

Birth_Centenary_1986_of_Jamshed_Nusserwanjee_Mehta-Pakistan

August 30, 2019

I’m visiting “The Big Apple” … and it’s clean!

Jamshed Nusserwanji Mehta was the 1st Mayor of Karachi in 1933.  “…Karachi became the cleanest city in the East. Its broad streets, lights, sanitation and water system, … [ ] … spoke of the city’s progress” (https://www.dawn.com/news/649943/in-memoriam-jamshed-nusserwanji-the-builder-of-modern-karachi).  My grandfather told us how the Mayor ensured the streets were washed twice a day, which he personally supervised periodically.

Look at where we are now … ☹☹☹.  We can have all the latest, mechanized tools but there’s no “system” or “will”, so we might as well [continue] to live in the dark ages.

There is no reason Karachi cannot reclaim this glory.  I AM KARACHI (http://iamkarachi.org/), the social NGO, has proven that keeping city walls clean & painted with street art, ensures no vandalism or defacement of property.  In the same vein, once the city is cleaned & maintained by the Municipality, there is absolutely no reason why we will not maintain the same.  I am not justifying wrong actions but it’s only when our citizens see a clean city will we continue the practice … and there’s no rocket science involved.

Throw out all mechanical tools and go back to Jamshed Mehta’s simplicity – put idle bodies on the roads, give them a broom and bucket each and get them to deep clean the roads, the garbage bins, the nooks & crannies every night from midnight to 6am.  Put a garbage bin on EVERY alternate light pole; on every street corner; at every traffic signal – enabling people a means to throw their daily trash!  Through the day have roving street cleaners who will simply pick up large debris like cans, plastics, etc.  You will create EMPLOYMENT. 

You will give an honest day’s wage to the unemployed and a meaning to their lives.  Infant mortality will increase.  You will eradicate mosquitos, disease and other scourge of pollution.  These are not simply PR words – this can happen!

In return, we will get a clean city and healthy citizens. 

The Real Father of Karachi- https://www.dawn.com/news/1113332