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My Memories of Katrak Parsi Colony of Karachi[i]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sohrab Katrak Parsi Colony of Karachi, Pakistan was established as the first ever Parsi Cooperative Housing Society in the 1920s.

Plots for 1000 yards and a little over were allocated;  and apartments for low-income Parsis were  also constructed by well-placed Parsis.

The community at that time was sizable, and thriving at businesses and in various professions.

Bedawar Library, Karachi

As a young child in the middle and late 1940s, I remember playing in the Sohrab Katrak Park, which is located in the centre of the Colony, and was the focus of many of the activities that took place in our community. The swings and slides were a great attraction for me and my friends after school. The tennis court, where the Karachi Zarthosti Banu Mandal building has now been constructed; was the venue of interesting matches among tennis players. The Bhedwar Library on the opposite side witnessed table-tennis competitions. A lot of sports events were held in the park. A striking feature was a well which supplied water that was pumped by a windmill;  it no longer exists.

Soon after the partition of the sub-continent in 1947, the Parsi community gave a huge welcome to Mr. Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the Founder of Pakistan, in the Sohrab Katrak Park. This was a memorable event.

Today, the first aspect that one notices about this Colony and its environment, is that most of the houses have raised their compound walls and fortified them with spikes or barbed wires, or broken glass pieces on the edges. The lack of security has forced us to take these measures to ward off intruders.

Zarathushti Banu Mandal Building, Karachi

Many of the houses are now lying vacant, some in dilapidated condition; with the occupants having passed away, and their progeny emigrating to other countries. What was once a bustling and lively community in one of the grandest areas of Karachi, is no longer so.

Our thoroughfares are used by smoke-emitting buses and trucks and other forms of vehicular traffic;  serving as conduits for the public when the main arteries bordering the Colony are blocked by ever so many processions and public meetings that have their venues within our proximity.

A redeeming factor is the presence of the Karachi Zarthosti Banu Mandal within the Colony precincts. It has been instrumental in attracting our community members for socials and other such events, thereby helping to foster a feeling of togetherness, that is so essential for a microscopic community like ours today.


[i] This article was posted on vohuman.org on June 15, 2006.  Mrs. Toxy Cowasjee of Karachiís help in facilitating the writing of this article is acknowledged.