Karachi at the end of the Raj

May 10 2011

“Karachi as seen by a British soldier sometime between 1942 and 1947: lively street scenes, animals, buildings, life in the Karachi Cantonment, followed by the journey back towards Britain on a troop ship through the Suez Canal. The author of the film obviously developed a liking of Karachi and its people.”

We know nothing about him, but feel he had a good attitude to the place. The film has acquired quite a following.

The Karachi streets were still full of animals, including camels, when I first went there in 1978. My first sight on waking up on my first morning in Pakistan and looking out of the window was of a donkey a couple of feet from my bed. There was a great morning stillness and a much deeper poverty than in Damascus, from where I had flown.

I saw a bear being led along an ordinary pavement in Istanbul one cold day in the late ’80s by a peasant who had possibly arrived in the city that morning.

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