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!

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Manora Lighthouse & St. Paul’s Church

August 21, 2019

We live in a City but hardly go to visit the sites therein…and Karachi has plenty to see!

So, off we went some years back to see Manora’s Lighthouse and St. Paul’s Church, both located in the Karachi Harbour and both which we pass regularly when sailing. 

This is not only the second oldest lighthouse (1889) of the British Raj but, we were told, ONLY one of two lighthouses in the WORLD which are still cranked by hand (and not battery operated).  The other lighthouse is apparently in Chennai, India.

There is still a lighthouse keeper … and every 50-odd minutes, he has to physically crank the lever that rotates the light, dusk to dawn!

Crank
Lighthouse steps

Hats off to the Karachi Port Trust in maintaining this iconic structure and the traditional art of operating the lighthouse successfully for the last 130 years.

The still-active 1865 Church, St. Paul’s, stands adjacent to the Lighthouse – and maintains a weekly Mass every Sunday for the Christian residents of Manora Island.

According to https://www.ibiblio.org/lighthouse/pak.htm, the British captured Manora in 1839 and made it their initial base of operations in what is now Pakistan.  The lighthouse & Church are located on the southeastern tip of the peninsula facing the Arabian Sea. 

Not only was this our first visit ever to both these legendary icons but a first for us on Manora Island itself.

Manora Island and Karachi Harbour