HISTORY OF KARACHI
The Baloch tribes from Balochistan and Makran established a small settlement of fishing communities, many of whom still inhabit sections of Sindh, and called it Kolachi. The modern port-city of Karachi, however, was developed by authorities of the British Raj in the 19th century. Upon the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the city was selected to become the national capital, and was settled by Muslim refugees from India, which radically expanded the city’s population and transformed the demographics and economy. Karachi has faced major infrastructural and socio-economic challenges, but modern industries and businesses have developed in the city, and the population expanded even after the capital was moved to Islamabad in August 1960.
The area of Karachi has been known to the ancient Greeks by many names: Krokola, the place where Alexander the Great camped to prepare a fleet for Babylonia after his campaign in the Indus valley; ‘Morontobara’ port (probably the modern Manora Island near the Karachi harbour), from where Alexander’s admiral Nearchus sailed for back home; and Barbarikon, a sea port of the Indo-Greek Bactrian kingdom. It was also known as the port of Debal to the Arabs, from where Muhammad bin Qasim led his conquering force into South Asia in 712 AD. According to the British historian Eliot, parts of city of Karachi and the island of Manora constituted the city of Debal.
The present city started its life as a fishing settlement where a Sindhi fisherwoman by the name of Mai Kolachi took up residence and started a family. The village that later grew out of this settlement was known as Kolachi-jo-Goth (The Village of Kolachi in Sindhi). By the late 1700s this village started trading across the sea with Muscat and the Persian Gulf region which led to its gaining importance. A small fort was constructed for its protection, armed with cannons imported from Muscat. The fort had two main gateways: one facing the sea, known as Khara Darwaaza (Brackish Gate) and the other facing the adjoining Lyari river known as the Meetha Darwaaza (Sweet Gate). The location of these gates corresponds to the present-day city localities of Khaaradar (Khārā Dar) and Meethadar (Mīṭhā Dar) respectively.
In 1795, the village became a domain of the Balochi Talpur rulers of Sindh. A small factory was opened by the British in September 1799, but was closed down within a year. After sending a couple of exploratory missions to the area, the British East India Company conquered the town on February 3, 1839. The village was later annexed to the British Indian Empire when the province of Sindh was conquered by Charles Napier in 1843. Kolachi was added along with the rest of Sindh to the jurisdiction of the Bombay Presidency.
The British realized its importance as a military cantonment and a port for exporting the produce of the Indus basin, and rapidly developed its harbour for shipping. The foundations of a city municipal government were laid down and infrastructure development was undertaken. New businesses started opening up and the population of the town started rising rapidly. Karachi quickly turned into a city, making true the famous quote by Napier who is known to have said: Would that I could come again to see you in your grandeur!
In 1857, the First Indian War for Independence broke out in the subcontinent and the 21st Native Infantry stationed in Karachi declared allegiance to revolters, joining their cause on September 10, 1857. However, the British were rapidly able to reassert their control over Karachi and defeat the uprising. Karachi was known as Khurachee Scinde (i.e. Karachi, Sindh) during the early British colonial rule.
In 1864, the first telegraphic message was sent from India to England when a direct telegraph connection was laid down between Karachi and London. In 1878, the city was connected to the rest of British India by railway line. Public building projects such as the Frere Hall (1865) and the Empress Market (1890) were undertaken. In 1876, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was born in the city, which by now had become a bustling city with railway, churches, mosques, courthouses, markets, paved streets and a magnificent harbour. By 1899 Karachi had become the largest wheat exporting port in the east (Feldman 1970:57). The population of the city had also risen to about 105,000 inhabitants by the end of the 19th century and was a cosmopolitan mix of Hindus and Muslims, European traders, Jews, Parsis, Iranians, Lebanese, and Goan merchants. By the turn of the century, the city faced street congestion, which led to India’s first tramway system being laid down in 1900.
By 1914, Karachi had become the largest grain exporting port of the British Empire. In 1924, an aerodrome was built and Karachi became the main airport of entry into India. An airship mast was also built in Karachi in 1927 as part of the Imperial Airship Communications scheme, which was later abandoned. In 1936, Sindh was separated from the Bombay Presidency and Karachi was made the capital of the new province. By the time the new country of Pakistan was formed in 1947, Karachi had become a bustling metropolitan city with beautiful classical and colonial European styled buildings lining the city’s thoroughfares. Karachi was chosen as the capital city of Pakistan and accommodated a huge influx of migrants and refugees to the newly formed country. The demographics of the city also changed drastically. However, it still maintained a great cultural diversity as its new inhabitants arrived from all parts of the subcontinent. In 1958, the capital of Pakistan was shifted from Karachi to Rawalpindi and then to Islamabad in 1960. This marked the start of a long period of decline in the city, owing to a lack of governmental attention and development. The 1980s and 1990s saw an influx of refugees from the Afghan war into Karachi. Political tensions between the Mohajir groups (descendants of migrants from the partition era) and other groups also erupted and the city was wracked with political and sectarian violence. Most of these tensions have now simmered down.
Karachi continues to be an important financial and industrial centre for the country and handles most of the overseas trade of Pakistan and the central Asian countries. It accounts for a large portion of the GDP of Pakistan and a large chunk of the country’s white collar workers. Karachi’s population has continued to grow and is estimated to have passed the 20 million mark, although official figures still show a population of around 14.5 million. The current economic boom in Pakistan has also resulted in a new period of resurgence in the economy of Karachi.
CLIFTON KHI, JAHANGIR KOTHARI
ELPHINSTONE STREET KHI..
KARACHI AIRPORT EARLY
Karachi (Urdu: ڪراچي) is the capital of the province of Sindh, and the most populated city in Pakistan, sometimes known as the “City of Baba Quaid-e-Azam”, after Muhammad Ali Jinnah the founder of Pakistan. It is located on the coast of the Arabian Sea in southeastern Pakistan, northwest of the Indus Delta. The city is the financial and commercial centre as well as the largest port of Pakistan.
The site of an ancient community of fishing villages, the modern port-city of Karachi was developed by authorities of the British Raj in the 19th century. Upon the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the city was selected to become the national capital, and was exposed to a massive influx of immigrants from India, which radically expanded the city’s population and transformed the demographics and economy. Karachi has faced major infrastructural and socio-economic challenges, but modern industries and businesses have developed in the city, and the population expanded even after the capital was moved to Islamabad in August 1960. With a population of thirteen million it is considered as the 16th largest city of the world.
Karachi is located at latitude 24° 48´ N and longitude 66° 59´ E. The urban sprawl starts from the westernmost mouth of the River Indus and goes up to the mountains and hills that form the southernmost edges of the Kirthar Mountain Range. The Arabian Sea is the southern boundary of the city. The city is located on the Arabian Sea north west of the mouths of the Indus River.
Karachi is mostly made up of flat or rolling plains with hills on the western and northern boundaries of the urban sprawl. Two rivers pass through the city the Malir River (north east to center) and the Liari River (north to south). Many other smaller rivers pass through the city as well with general drainage being from the western and northern areas towards the south. The Karachi harbour is a protected bay to the south west of the city. The southern limit of the city is the Indian Ocean and forms a chain of beautiful sandy beaches.
The area that now consists of Karachi was originally a group of small villages including Kalachi-jo-Kun and the fort of Manora. Any history of Karachi prior to the 19th century is sketchy. It is said that the city called Krokola from which one of Alexander the Great’s admirals sailed at the end of his conquests was the same is Karachi. When Muhammad bin Qasim came to India in the year 712 he captured the city of Debul. It has been said that Debal was the ancestral village of present day Karachi. Although this has neither been proven or disproven.
It was in 1729 that Kolachi-jo-Goth was transformed from a fishing village to a trading post when it was selected as a port for trade with Muscat and Bahrain. In the following years a fort was built and cannons brought in from Muscat were mounted on it. The fort had two doorways, one facing the sea called the Khara Darwaza or Brackish Gate and one facing the River Lyari called the Meetha Darwaza or Sweet Gate. In 1795 the city passed from the Khan of Kalat to the Talpur rulers of Sindh. Karachi had gained in position as a major port and was hence becoming an important city. The importance of the Indus and Sindh led the British to capture the city on the 3rd of February 1839 starting an era of foreign rule and colonial subjugation that was to end in 1947.
In 1876 the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah was born in the city, and he would later be buried here in 1948. Karachi by now was a city with railroads, churches, paved streets, courts and many commercial centers and a magnificent harbour that was built by the British. Many of these buildings were built in classical British style, and contrast with the “Mughal Gothic” of Lahore. Many of these old buildings continue to stand, and are interesting destinations for visitors.
In 1947, Karachi was made the capital of the new nation of Pakistan. At that time Karachi was a city of only 400,000 people, and it’s growth accelerated due to the new status. Being the capital Karachi became the centre of the new nation and this added to its status as a cultural centre in this part of the world. Although the capital later moved to Rawalpindi and then Islamabad in 1959. Karachi remains the economic center of Pakistan, accounting for a large portion of the GNP of the nation.
Karachi district has the highest literacy rate in any of Pakistan’s districts. The city is home to many universities and colleges. Here is a list of some of the more important ones.
» Karachi University (KU)
» Aga Khan University (AKU)
» Nadirshaw Edulji Dinshaw University of Engineering and Technology (NED)
» Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVSAA)
» National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences Karachi (NUCES)
» Institute of Business Administration (IBA)
» Colleges & Universities in Karachi
Karachi is the financial capital of Pakistan. It is also home to the largest stock exchange of Pakistan: the Karachi Stock Exchange. Most Pakistani banks have their headquarters in Karachi. Most of these are located on the I.I.Chundrigarh Road. The headquarters of nearly all the multinational corporation (MNC) based in Pakistan are in Karachi. Most Pakistani corporations are headquartered in Karachi as well. Karachi also has a huge industrial base. There are large industrial estates on most of the fringes of the main city. The main industries are textiles, pharmaceuticals, steel, and automobiles. Apart from this there are many cottage industries in the city as well. Currently, the Karachi Port is the only large port in Pakistan, and is central to all shipping in Pakistan. The airport of Karachi is also the largest airport in Pakistan and the hub of most local airlines. Karachi accounts for the lion’s share of Pakistan’s GDP. The city is said to contribute about 48% of the national revenues.
Karachi is a melting pot of peoples and cultures. Before 1947, the city was inhabited mainly by people from the areas near the city, the people basically being Sindhis, Baluchis, Mekranis and Gujaratis. In 1947 most of the city’s Hindu population left, and a large number of immigrants Mohajirs came from India. Most of these are from the Urdu Speaking parts of India. But Memons from Gujarat and small quantities of communities from other areas also arrived. Giving Karachi a flavour of all the provinces and parts of British India. After independence a steady stream of immigrants has been coming to the city from different parts of Pakistan and made large Punjabi, Pathan, Bengali and Hazara communities to grow in Karachi. In 1971 there was a large influx of mainly Urdu Speaking people from the former East Pakistan. In the 1980s a large number of Afghan refugees streamed into the city.
Now Karachi has a sizeable community of people from all the different parts of Pakistan. Karachi also has large numbers of people from all the different cultural segments of South Asia and Afghanistan. Karachi also has small immigrant communities from as far off as Africa and Burma. This mixture of peoples and cultures gives Karachi a very cosmopolitan touch. Karachi can be called a melting pot of many different flavours. It is a very cosmopolitan city with different languages and cultures intermingling all the time. The city is a beautiful mixture of the old and the new. Burqa clad women will walk on the same roads that women drivers are seen on. Karachi’s culture can only be described as Karachi’s culture, it is different from the rest of the country but it is not defined, it is changeable with the people.
Telegram from President Truman on
Pakistan’s independence (1947)
On 15 August 1947, Karachi became the de facto capital of the newly independent state of Pakistan. In June 1948, it became the official capital when the Constituent Assembly passed a resolution.
While forging a new path, the city and country did not lose its connections to The Crown (British Monarchy/State). Having achieved independence as a Dominion within the Commonwealth, its first Head of State was HM King George VI (1947-1952) while Quaid-e-Azam became its first Governor General (1947 – 1948) and Liaquat Ali Khan (1947 -1951) its first Prime Minister. Over the next 9 years, Karachi was the centre of the new state, with various political, economic, cultural and social events taking place. On 23 March 1956, it became a Republic under General Iskander Mirza.
My exhibition aims to explore the city’s various aspects: social, cultural, political and economic. Depicting the period, 15 August 1947 to 23 March 1956, it is hoped that visitors will leave with a sense of what the city was like during this time.
Karachi & The Crown: Life in Pakistan’s Capital City during the years 1947 to 1956.
Thursday, 22 August to Saturday, 24 August 2013
Thursday: 9am to 5 pm; Friday: 9am to 7pm; Saturday: 9am to 4pm (same as the Library’s timings)
Location: Slough Museum, Ground floor, Slough Library, 85 High Street, Slough SL1 1EA, UK
Transport: Both the train and bus stations are about a 5 minutes walk.
Karachi enjoys its prominent position partly because of its location on a bay, making it the financial capital of the country. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. It was the original capital of Pakistan until the construction of Islamabad and is the location of the Port of Karachi and Port Bin Qasim, one of the region’s largest and busiest ports. After the independence of Pakistan, the city’s population increased dramatically when hundreds of thousands of Urdu speaking migrants or Muhajirs from India, East Pakistan (later Bangladesh) and other parts of South Asia came to settle in the city.
Karachi city is spread over 3,530 km2 (1,360 sq mi) in area, almost five times bigger than Singapore. It is locally known as the “City of Lights” (روشنین جو شهر) and “The bride of the cities” (عروس البلاد) for its liveliness, and the “City of the Quaid” (شهرِ قائد), having been the birth and burial place of Quaid-e-Azam (Muhammad Ali Jinnah), the founder of Pakistan, who made the city his home after Pakistan’s independence.
Karachi, city (1998 pop. 9,269,265), largest city and former capital of Pakistan, SE Pakistan, on the Arabian Sea near the Indus River delta. The capital of Sind prov., it is Pakistan’s chief seaport and industrial center, a transportation, commercial, and financial hub, and a military headquarters. It has a large automobile assembly plant, an oil refinery, a steel mill, shipbuilding, railroad yards, jute and textile factories, printing and publishing plants, media and entertainment industries, food processing plants, and chemical and engineering works. Karachi airport is one of the busiest in Asia. Karachi has a university and other educational institutions; the national museum, with a fine archaeological collection; and the tomb of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan.
An old settlement, Karachi was developed as a port and trading center by Hindu merchants in the early 18th cent. In 1843 it passed to the British, who made it the seat of the Sind government. Steady improvements in harbor facilities made Karachi a leading Indian port by the late 19th cent., while agricultural development of the hinterland gave it a large export trade. Karachi served as Pakistan’s capital from 1947, when the country gained independence, until 1959, when Rawalpindi became the interim capital pending completion of Islamabad. The political base of the Bhutto family, Karachi has been troubled since the 1980s by violence between local Sindhis and the descendants of muhajirs, the Muslim immigrants who fled to Pakistan following partition in 1947; the lawlessness in the city was further aggravated by Sunni-Shiite fighting in the 1990s. In the late 1990s the government began efforts to suppress the violence, but these have been only sporadically successful.