Essay on Karachi

1116 Words Mar 19th, 2012 5 Pages
‘The city consists of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past…A description of Zaira as it is today should contain all of its past. The city however does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps…’ (Calvino, 1974: 10-11)

Like the city of Zaira, Karachi contains its past between layers of memories, each having a narrative of its own replete with personal history and anecdotes that help us understand the city for what it was and how it has changed over the years.

In his essay on Karachi, In the Eye of the Storm, the author introduces us to the Saddar of his youth. His essay reveals a
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What brought about this transformation of Saddar? The present degradation of Saddar and its environs did not occur overnight but was a result of the changing socio-economic and political dynamics of the city; ‘As the wave from memory pours in, the city soaks it up like a sponge and expands.’ (Calvino, 1974: 10-11) As the city grows in some places it atrophies in others for decay is a product of evolution.

Post-Independence of Pakistan in 1947 refugee migrants poured into Karachi from India settling in with their families in Saddar district. By the 1960s the population explosion in the city center nessacitated the development of housing colonies at the periphery of Saddar and its environs. As a result some of the oldest families in the district slowly moved out into the housing colonies abandoning some of the most beautiful period mansions of the colonial era or selling them off for commercial use. Even today a walk downtown saddar one is pleasantly surprised to find rundown period buildings above street level, behind banners of commodity stores that almost entirely cover the ground floor level of

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