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Importance of Karachi in Pakistani literature Essay

Discuss the connection between 1947 partition and the fiction of second generation writings. In 1947 partition when people started to migrate most of the Urdu speaking settled in Karachi. The local Sindhis were not very literate but laborers, workers etc but when the Urdu speaking migrated, most of them were highly educated, thus the white collar jobs were given to them. This gave rise to a major conflict between the local Sindhis and the Muhajirs. Mujajirs were looked upon with hatred because the local people thought they’ve snatched their rights. There was a tussle between the two groups. Karachi was becoming the battleground of ethnicity. Karachi is the biggest metropolis of the country with its economic, industrial and financial hub and the main commercial port. According to past census, half of Karachi’s 8.9 million populations had Urdu as its mother tongue, another quarter was made up of speakers of Pashtu and Punjabi while Sindhis were just five per cent of the population of the capital of Sindh, and half of them lived in the suburban area of Malir.

On the other hand, Karachi had more Pashtuns than Peshawar, the capital of Pakhtunkhwa! In late 70s and early 80s there were economic issues over the country and the workers from different areas migrated to Karachi, especially the Pathan and Punjabi purely of economic reason. Most of the transport system was dominated by Pathans so it was a blow for the local Sindhis that these strangers are coming to our cities snf tking jobs that belong to us. Same was the case with the Punjabis. They were laborours who used to work on low wages but the main thing was that they were employed. Karachi is a multiethnic, multilingual, multicultural and multireligious metropolitan city. There are many communities in Karachi.

There are: Ethnic minorities

Sectarian minorities
Religious minorities

Same thing was happening with the karachians as it was with Bengalis. Bengalis were immigrants on 1947 but in 1971 they were once again asked to leave the country and move to Bangladesh. There was ethnic crisis in Karachi in 1980s and 1990s. It was really hard to live there at that time. Every single day people were massacred. When you have grudges in your mind, it multiplies, you can’t forget about it. These conflicts are highlighted in Kamila Shamsie’s novels as well as in Tawfeeq Rafat’s poems. In his poem “Karachi 1968” he writes,

“No, I do not think I shall come in terms
With this grey place. It shortens my breath

And pinches my eyes.”According to Tawfeeq Rafat, Karachi is a dead city. There is no activity there except that of violence. There is eco melancholia everywhere. Jonathan Raban has described city into two types.

Hard city: Material fabric of built environment.
Soft city: individualized interpretation of city.
So when the karachians dream about Karachi, how it will return to its normal place is example of soft city. Likewise Tawfeeq Rafat talks about a positive region. “Children salute smartly as we pass,

And the old women gathering faggots
Have a smile to spare for the stranger.”
The people of Karachi never truly got independence. They are suffering from 1947 till now. All they do is hope for a positive region where they can live happily, where they are not taunted for being a muhajir, where they can live a peaceful life according to their own will and all these things are highlighted by the second generation writers. They refer back to 1947 because all of this started from that point.

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