City Landmarks – The Mitharam Hostel

The Manifestation of an Idea by an Educationist ending up as barracks. A Case of Wrong Priorities. A Tragic Irony. Originally built to accommodate students of DJ Science College, It ended up housing Rangers. It saved it from possible demolition, hence a Tragic Irony. But not without its consequences. The building is enduring a slow painful death now. The structure is in shambles. It maybe gone before our generation ever gets a chance to see it. A fitting tragedy indeed.

The building is off-limits to public. It was part of overall DJ Science College compound. It faces the main DJ science building onto the other side of the road. Rangers barricade and High walls make it inaccessible and unseeable. There are plans to put up a museum in the building. Minister for Interior assured that the Rangers would vacate the building in two months. He did that in a press conference two years back in 2009. No one believed him even in 2009. The windows and doors give the most deserted look. The staircase can fall any moment. The roof is falling apart. It still servers the purpose. But for how long? I would not bet for a long period! The most impressive part in both front and back facade is the detail of windows and the gallery. You can’t help taking loads of pictures of windows frames. Some of them open, some jammed, some broken and some disappearing.

The Mitharam Hostel represents the old prevailing Hostel culture in Karachi. Take a walk towards Aram Bagh and you would find Sevakunj Hostel. If you walk in opposite direction, you would reach Jinnah Courts.These hostels provided shelter to students of Dawood College of Engineering and Technology, DJ Science College and Sindh Muslim Law College.

Sadly most of them have been converted into Rangers or Constabulary barracks announcing an end to the era of hostels in Karachi.

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Author:thekarachiwalla

Just another Karachi Walla

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21 Comments on “City Landmarks – The Mitharam Hostel”

  1. Tariq Khan
    April 17, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    Perhaps a concerted efforts should be made to make aware the Alumni of the colleges who were housed at Mitharam Hostel during their poor times. I lived in the vicinity and saw resident students eating in nearby cheap hotels and sharing glasses of tea. Most of the DJ Science College Students have become fairly successful and currently reside in the Europe and Americas. The old cliché; if only these crumbling doors, walls & corridors can talk, so much truth will be revealed about our crumbling city’s history. Hence, these Alumni & ex-patrons has a moral responsibility to give back to the old country (not accusing that they have not or don’t), as Mitharam Hostel not only sheltered and comforted them when they were away from their loved ones; but also house vast amount of history. The demise of Mtharam Hostel will be demise of so many untold stries – save it!

    • Mansoor Mozaffar
      April 18, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

      Thanks Tariq for your comments. Metharam Hostel was my home for 4 years. I just cannot express my feelings when I saw the pictures of the hostel after almost 45 years of leaving it.
      I did not know that it was handed over to no good rangers. A student hostel given up to house rangers was a tragedy by itself.
      The city should chalk out a plan to restore/maintain it. If it does not have fund it should go to those thousands of people who lived there. I am sure they will come forward. I know I would.
      Mansoor Mozaffar
      Orland Park, Illinois, USA

  2. Thassim Akbar
    April 19, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    Thanks for posting these pictures of Mitharam Hostel where I stayed in 1975 when I was at NED.
    Also there was a small mosque in front where we used to pray salat and I often said the Azan. the Imam was from Pakistan Chowk area in front of Dhakni Masjid. He was from Panjgur in Baluchistan and used to sell those wonderful dates.

    Thassim Akbar

    Sri Lanka

    • Zahir Solaiman
      April 27, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

      Thassim

      If you connect to the following words drop me an email.
      Water Works
      Royal College
      Safeen
      Aramco

      Take care
      Zahir

      • Thassim Akbar
        April 29, 2011 at 4:00 am #

        Assalmu Alaikum

        Hellow Zahir, back in Sri Lanka after 1985 stint at Aramco. Now we are rather old people, Senior Citizens. Shafeens still in UK having his own company. What about you?

        keep in touch

        Wasalaam

  3. zaheer ahmad
    April 19, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    Its not only Mitharam hostel, now time to save all our Pakistan , but nobody cares , where its heading !!! pray to GOD , is this ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF PAKISTAN ???, THE WE ARE DEALING / BEHAVING WITH EACH OTHER ,( LIKE ENEMIES, MUSLIM KILLING TO MUSLIMS EVEN )…. and those who can afford leaving Pakistan, to save theirselves only as a foreseen.
    ALLAH REHEM KAREY
    AND NOBODY IS WORRIED ABOUT !!!
    ZA

    • Thassim
      April 29, 2011 at 4:03 am #

      Yeah, Im really sad about Pakistan. A country with so much potential. Unfortunately caught up in the worldwide web of Terrorism and International Politics.
      It will need some really dedicated leadership, strong government and backup from the people to come up.

  4. Abdullah Mahesar
    October 23, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    Dear Sir: I am one of the most beneficiary of these three institutions, the Mitharam Hostel (1963-1969), N. E. D. Sindh Government Science College (1963-65), and N. E. D. Government Engineering College (1965-69). I have un-vanishing loving memories of these institutions carving my life and career. I cannot pay back the debt in anyway that I owe to the founders of these institutions. I now cherish these memories in my dreams. I came from far off place Larkana with average academic record. (i) The Mitharam Hostel provided me excellent living and staying with excellent messes where even outsiders from other colleges used to eat excellent foods and guests used to request for inviting them over Sunday lunches and breakfasts prepared by devoted cooks like; Mr. Deen Mohammad Cook and his assistants. There were about 6 messes including one for foreigners. The meal expenses were calculated on Vella (per meal) basis, charging 1/2 vela for breakfast (1 vela for rich Sunday breakfast), and one vela for each lunch and dinner (1-1/2 vila for rich Sunday lunch), messes used to remain closed for dinner on Sunday. By this way the monthly total velas numbered to about 75 with monthly amounts of about Rs. 60 to 75 called luxurious meals. The hostel provided accommodations to the students of D.J. Govt. Science College, Govt. Commerce College, Dow Medical College generally coming from out of Karachi. The Hostel warden was Prof. Rahu (I regret for short memory for missing the complete name of Mr. Rahu) assisted by Mr. Aziz full time cashier in D.J. College. Prof. Rahu was followed by Prof. Aziz u Rahman ; here also lived the foreign students from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Palestinians , Jordan in good numbers with their own messes. Even in those days, it had swimming pool though not functional because of shortage of water and lack of funds. The hostel had its own Dhobi Ghats and canteen. No doubt the founders had kept a very long vision and sight in their minds in planning, construction and management of these institutions. The structures constructed of long lasting materials like; the sandstone blocks and the timbers used in doors, windows, stairs, roofs and ceilings overlaid with Manglore tiles must have had been brought from far off distances and laid by special masons and carpenters masters in the art of Greek architectures. The vast areas of lands must have had been donated or purchased keeping in view the luxurious living conditions of the standards of any most prestigious institutions oN.E.D.f the world at that times including the sports and religious congregations.

    (ii) I did F.Sc (Pre-Engineering) in the D.J.College under the Principal and Professors Mr. J.B. Sidhwa (Chemistry), Mr. Izhar ul Haq and Mr. Anwar ul Haq (Physics), Mr. Yaqub (Chemistry), Prof. Siddique (English), Prof. Jamali, Prof. Ansari and Prof. Faheem (Mathematics), Prof Abdul Latif Khokhar (Sindhi); and many others including all cadres and ranks from office to teaching staff and faculty.

    (iii) I passed engineering (civil) from N.E.D. Govt. Engineering College, then under University of Karachi. My Professors included Prof. R.E. Mirza (Principal and Engineering Drawings), Prof. Sirajul Haq (Principal and Fluid Mechanics), Prof. Shoaib (Concrete Technology), Prof. Anwarul Haq Chowdhry (Drawings and Sports), Prof. Haider and Prof. Shamsuddin (Surveying), Prof. F.G. Khan and Prof. Kidwai (Mathematics), Prof. A.T. Khan (Soil Mechanics, and Surveying), Shaikh Jamaluddin (Surveying), Prof. Zia ul Hassan (Geology) and many others in engineering laboratories, workshops in all cadres and ranks of the college.

    I request that these premises of Mitharam Hostel, D.J. Sindh Govt. Science College, N.E.D. Govt. Engineering College, be made ‘Hall of Fame’ in memory of the founders, and educators with all relics and artifices and students who excelled in many disciplines in practical life. Regards; Abdullah Mahesar (mahesarabdullah@yahoo.com)

  5. Syed Farrukh Ehsan Bokhari
    October 25, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    Dear All,
    Instead of sharing old memories, get your figure out and do something and save the building. In this age of communication it shouldn’t be difficult to set up face book or other page to appeal those who have some association with this place.

  6. Syed Farrukh Ehsan Bokhari
    October 25, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    *fingure

    • Abdullah Mahesar
      October 25, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

      Syed Sahib is very right but, hard luck with these institutions had, have been that most of the students coming out were from average or middle income families. By all standards, most of these were and are not monied people except very few. These people neither have much say in the government corridors. They are going through last stage of the living life.

      Let’s admit that there are no persons left with us of the calibers of the founders of Mitharam Hostel, D.J. Sindh Govt. College, and N.E.D.Govt. Engineering College and many other such institutions inherited during partition from India. We feel ourselves great through nostalgia of our golden days passed in these institutions. We have gone so much materialist that raising voice for any benevolent cause needs money to reach to the persons that matter.

      The ‘Photographs’ given above are proof that these premises can’t be restored to original conditions due to the obvious financial and technical constraints. Even the concept of education has changed from philanthropy to commercialism. This may be unfortunate but it is fact of the day.

      Our Governments owe the responsibility to preserve these institutions. Therefore, I suggest to keep them as ‘Hall of Fame’ in recognition of the founders and faculties of these institutions, due to whom our country has been the sole beneficiary in the form of intellectual wealth. This intellectual wealth has contributed to the GDP and GNP of our country. This is the lest that we the old students can suggest otherwise, the land mafia may be watching very closely to dip its fingers as soon as possible. The government is the first one in this race to change the purpose of the premises for other than what for these were conceived and intended by the founders and their heirs. I have yet to see any article even in our newspaper(s) on these ‘Unsung Heroes’.

      • Anonymous
        October 25, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

        To an extent I do agree Mahesar Sahib, but even at the expense of sounding neo conservative, Government is not always a solution. The very inception of these institutes tells the story of Philanthropy; I still believe many students from these institutes should come together and do something. First point of contact should be alumni and any old boys association of these institutes.

    • Tariq Khan
      January 20, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

      Finger!

      • Syed Farrukh Ehsan Bokhari
        January 20, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

        I stand corrected

  7. Syed Farrukh Ehsan Bokhari
    October 25, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    To an extent I do agree Mahesar Sahib, but even at the expense of sounding neo conservative, Government is not always a solution. The very inception of these institutes tells the story of Philanthropy; I still believe many students from these institutes should come together and do something. First point of contact should be alumni and any old boys association of these institutes.

    • Abdullah Mahesar
      October 26, 2011 at 10:23 am #

      Bokhari Sb; is right from his love for these institutions. But, purpose of meetings must be settled through concrete plan. I am afraid that the meetings generally result into chaos. The best advices may come from outstanding ex-students/persons within or outside Pakistan, who may not be able to meet in the meetings. How to reach them and solicit their contribution needs to be found through communications with them. I would once again mention that we are very much short of the devoted and committed persons to come forward.I am further afraid that we may see new constructions coming up in these premises non other than by the governments on one or the other pretext but, not for these institutions. The very reason being, “Why these institutions have had not so far been upgraded to the level of Universities on the same premises, speaks itself of the government intentions.” I am however, available for any meeting or for any service that I can perform.

  8. bassit
    December 11, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    i am ahmed call me 03029693831 looking hostel and college
    c

    • Abdullah Mahesar
      December 12, 2012 at 7:26 am #

      Dear Basit: Let me add that the Hostel was used by the students of D.J. Sindh Government Science College, N.E.D. Government Engineering College, and Government Commerce College before dispute arose in respect of the Commerce College and lastly it was closed perhaps in late sixties.

      The Hostel along with the D.J.S.G.S.C had very huge real estate assets within the Hostel premises consisting of large grounds for Dhobhi Ghots, Messes, Lavatories. Play Halls and Swimming Pool. These institutions had a Cricket Ground at the place/back of now the abundant Hayat Regency Hotel. Therefore, it would be very relevant to determine the original assets of the Hostel and the D.J.S.G.S.C.

      It would be your great contribution, if you can trace out the Founders of this benevolent achievement. Honor them and their descendants and heirs living anywhere and in any country. Erect the Memorial at this Great Place dedicated to their pious cause of imparting education irrespective of cast and creed.

      A worldwide invitation could be sent to all those who may be interested to participate on this day of Remembering our Benefactors. Let’s not forget the Principals, Professors, Wardens, Faculty of D.J. Sindh Government Science College who through their strong character maintained the status and the hostel with most minimum financial and government support. Those were the times when education was not for money making. You may fix a cutoff date when the original premises was encroached upon for construction of new hostel within its premises.

      I had mentioned in my previous comments that the passed out persons are mostly under privileged people mostly coming from poor families.

      Regards,
      Abdullah

  9. April 4, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    Thanks for sharing such a nice blog and nice selection of images ..

  10. Anonymous
    April 18, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    Thanks for posting the Mitharam hostel pictures where ilived from 1973 -1976 graduated in1978 electrical engineering. Samir bakr from palestine

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