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
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
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.
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
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.