The passionate Parsis

“The Parsis were known as the ones who made Pakistan. When they migrated here they owned almost everything: real estate, shipping, hotels, cinemas — Paradise and Capital — a maternity home, a hospital, schools and even a university. The Parsi-owned Hotel Metropole and Beach Luxury, with their swinging night clubs and risqué cabaret, were the places to see and be seen by the upper crust of the Parsi community. A lot of foreigners, especially the flight and crew members of international airlines stayed here as well. Then there was the Grand Hotel, located beyond the airport, far from the hustle bustle of the city which was a great get-away spot for the entire family.

“On Sunday evenings, the Parsis used to throng places like Kothari parade, Frere hall, old Clifton and the Karachi Parsi Institute (KPI). The KPI, especially was popular with the youngsters as it provided facilities for tennis, cricket, billiards, swimming and weight lifting which many of the youth indulged in. Going to the races was another popular occupation and some of the better-off Parsis owned and trained horses as well; there were some Parsi jockeys too.

“The Parsi youth were famous athletes and swimmers, so much so that they used to take part in swimming marathons beginning from Kemari to Manora Island. Apart from this they had a great talent for drama and theatre and even had performers coming in from India, who acted in stage plays”, remembers Nauzer.

“Katrak Hall, Khursheed Bai chawl, Rustum chawl, Jamshed Bagh, Parsi Punchant…” Nauzer recites the names of some of the main Parsi colonies of the city during the 60s and 70s in a fond voice, almost as if speaking of old friends. Bohri Bazaar was a main centre of activity as many of these colonies were located in or around that area; while many of the Parsis have moved to different locations or gone abroad, the old fire temple still stands tall.

Nauzer Commissariat is one of the many Parsis who remembers those halcyon days with wistful joy.

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