Friday, April 30, 2010

Karachiwala; a Subcontinent within a City!!

It was busy day at work; T2F is the place that provides food for thoughts . Last evening one of the stand up comedians Sami Shah performed there. I reached half an hour earlier and decided to explore books and then grab sandwich along with coffee.

I was looking at books I came across an interesting cover page, a book written by Rumana Husain, graphically appealing and thought provoking title “Karachiwala a Subcontinent within a City”!! When I flipped few pages I came across an African descendent Baloch woman’s picture, each page had description such as name and ethnic group of the person in the picture. I came across a funny ethnic group name, it described African descendent Baloch woman as MAKRANI.

To me it is funny that people end up writing books without knowing the basics of an ethnic group. However being a Baloch, my forefathers migrated from Makran to Karachi, born and brought up in Karachi, i am a truly Karachiite but deeply connected to my roots.

When one looks at various definitions of ethnic group, it is described as “a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage that is real or assumed, sharing cultural characteristics. This shared heritage may be based upon putative common ancestry, history, kinship, religion, language, shared territory, nationality or physical appearance".

Markran is a place and people living in that area are called Makrani and ethnically they are Baloch. Similarly I can not call Karachiite an ethnic group, no one describes the ethnic identity of people living in Karachi as Karachiite.

The African convert Baloch were once ethnically from various African origin tribes bought (during slave trade) by rulers of Muscat and various princely states of Balochistan. There was severe drought in Balochistan and African slaves “convert into Baloch; adopted Balochi culture and language” were freed. During 1850s modern port construction work started and most of the slaves got laborious jobs and settled near Liyari.

Unfortunately, we as Pakistani do not interact with each other, don’t understand each others' background, psyche, history, norms, values and to large extent culture and we never try to explore the rich cultural heritage of Pakistan.

At times I feel that in Pakistan we are alien for each other.


Karachiwala said...

Dear Imran Baloch,
My ignorance about the different people who make up Karachi prompted me to take up this project and I am sorry that there are deficiencies. Thank you for pointing this one out.
Rumana Husain

Anonymous said...

Well said, the reason behind disharmony among different ethnic groups in Pakistan is lack of interaction and understanding of eachothers issues. If you see Lyari is an isolated area of Karachi where residents of other localities find impossible to visit and believe all Lyarites are criminals because of the high crime rate of that area but if we meet a common lyarite he is same as we are.

Interaction is the key to bring ethnic groups closer.

Imran Baloch said...

Rumana, thanks alot for the reply...I am glad you taken up the project, overall work is very impressive.

Tanzeel, you are right, we are sort of alien to each other.

Apart from Liyari, even when i talk to people in corporate sector or even at my university (LUMS)....always come across alot of talk about Balochistan....even people dont bother to know the basics (such as geography, history, sardari & tribal system etc) and yet they form expert opinion.

We dont make efforts to understand each other.

Imran Baloch said...

Tanzeel I came across your writing on Balochistan, plz go through following you may get an answer about Balochistan issue;

Anonymous said...

Like many other Pakistanis I am also unaware of the alleged atrocities done by Pakistan Army in Balochistan as I have only witnessed what PTV and other media show . They have banned Balochvoice, Balochwarna as well, this restricts a common Pakistani to know exact situation of this part of Pakistan.

I am throughly reading your links, will respond you there .Thanks !

mehreen said...

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mehreen said...

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karachi is always giving sacrifices but nobody could understand!