Father of modern Karachi
Courtesy: Daily Dawn, Tuesday, 26 May, 2009
By HASHIM ABRO
BORN in an affluent Hindu business family, Advocate Harachandrai (1862-1928), the pioneer of modern Karachi, was a paragon of virtue. He was honorary secretary of the Karachi Bar Association from its very inception in 1880 till his death in 1928. It is also a matter of historical significance that the founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, was his pupil.
Harachandrai inherited and maintained the tradition of service to humanity. Sindh, especially Karachi, owes him a great debt of gratitude. When he entered public life, Sindh was in the backwaters of politics in the subcontinent. By the time he died, Sindh was among the leading provinces in mainstream politics.
Harachandrai was one of the pioneers who sold the idea of separation of Sindh from the Bombay Presidency. The motive behind this move was the realisation that the administrative and social problems of Sindh could be solved only after it acquires the status of a separate province.
In the annual session of the All-India Congress in 1913, Harachandrai raised this demand in his address delivered in the capacity of chairman of the reception committee.
He was an apostle of Hindu-Muslim unity, gentle and generous, erudite and emancipated, persuasive and polite.
We owe it to Sindh to honour him and to perpetuate his memory. A book titled ‘Harachandrai: Father of Modern Karachi’ is a small effort towards that end. It will lead to a detailed research on his life and work. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Khadim Hussain Sommro for his commendable efforts in both preserving and promoting the history of Sindh.
This book is, indeed, a must read for all those who care to know about the origins of modern Karachi.
In the words of Justice Syed Afzal Haider, judge, Federal Shariat Court, all of us owe a debt of gratitude to these noble souls without whose efforts the independence movement would not have borne fruit in August 1947.
The Sindh government and the Karachi city nazim must build and install Seth Harachandrai’s statue in front of the Karachi Municipal Corporation Building and some other appropriate venues in the historic capital city of Sindh, Karachi.