City Landmarks – Goan Association Hall

Pride of Goans. Pride of Karachi. A Vestige of Great Goan Legacy. Walking past Karachi Goan Association entrance is like entering a wormhole, jumping into a universe which is oblivious to cacophony of competing voices out on Saddar road. Goan Association Hall is a landmark which still plays an active role in Karachi’s Social scene. The entrance opposite Karachi Grammar School is a humble one and trees, as old as the Gymkhana,  shadow the front facade, or is it the back. Never-mind both are equally impressive.

In 1886, Goans started the Goan Portugese Association which was later renamed as Karachi Goan Association. The design was entrusted to a relatively unknown ‘Moses Somake’. The same man went on to make his mark on Karachi the way no one else did. The hall immediately became a center of social life of Goans in Karachi. It hosted all kind of events for the community. In the beginning it did not have a boundary wall and it graced the sorrounding area. At its peak it held ten days of celebrations where the top Goan bands performed. During World War II the KGA was turned into Senior Officers Club for US Army.

On a regular day you will find few janitors moping the floor, which has characteristic prepartition tiles. The furniture too has been preserved well. The main hall does not have much of seating area but special arrangements are made for Tambola nights and other social events. There is a statue of Mr Cincinattus in the hall. He had been the President of the KGA for a decade and has a residential neighbourhood, Cincinattus Town, Now Garden, named after him. To the right a small part of the hall is used for hosting table tennis tournaments. there is a small library in the left section which also showcases trophies from different eras. To the left is the billiard room. The adjacent room is used for playing cards. Move out and take the staircase which leads to a big dance floor which has been used for a variety of purposes. The hall is used for holding Christmas, New year and Easter gatherings and has been rented members for ceremonies and commercial shooting. The congregation of the hall has dwindled over the years but it remains a social hub for the community.

A seperate post is needed for what Goans have done for Karachi. The thriving community of 1850s has been migrating for pastures green abroad. There are only about 15,000 goans still living in Karachi. KGA celebrated 125 years of existence this year. Menin Rodrigues of Goans of Pakistan wondered how would it look like when they celebrate 150 years of its existence in 2036. The Karachi walla sincerely yearns for a better promise for KGA and Goans. They made a vital thread of pluralistic Karachi social fabric and the enterprising community has contributed more than its share.

A lot of Goans may have left but they have taken a small piece of Karachi with them. Brian Gonsalves, a Goan from Karachi who now lives on the Island of Margarita, Venezuela, wrote to Goans of Pakistan, “My House in Venezuela is called ‘Pakistan’ – how is that for patriotism!!”

About these ads

Tags:

Categories: City Landmarks

Author:thekarachiwalla

Just another Karachi Walla

Stay in touch

Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

37 Comments on “City Landmarks – Goan Association Hall”

  1. GAVIN PAUL D'LIMA
    December 1, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    EXCELLENT SHOTS !

  2. December 2, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    It’s wonderful reading about the KGA. I am heartened to note there are still Goans living in Karachi after partition.

  3. Anonymous
    December 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    Karachi is still waiting to be seen… thank you for those excellent shots..

  4. Anonymous
    December 2, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

    I have great memories of KGA…..

  5. Anonymous
    December 5, 2011 at 12:29 am #

    Terrific post…but what do the 15,000 Goans do for Pork !!!

    • Pork
      February 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

      you get everything here if you have money including pork

  6. December 9, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    This was another surprise post for me. Well written and directed.

  7. CHRISTINE ASSUMPTION [nee MENDONCA]
    December 18, 2011 at 6:38 am #

    As I look at the imposing photographs of the “KGA” of today, I feel so nostalgic for years gone by! As a young girl, I accompanied my uncle, aunt and cousins to all the Christmas and New Year functions, and the KGA dance-floor upstairs is where I first learned to ‘trip the light fantastic’!! I treasure many happy and sentimental memories of the KGA over the years. My congratulations and thanks to The Karachi Walla for sharing these impressive images.

  8. Anthony Shee
    December 18, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    Just wonderful to see and enjoy the memory of Karachi.

  9. Andrew Joseph D'Abreo
    December 19, 2011 at 2:39 am #

    My grand-father Cincinnatus, if he was alive to-day (he died on January 29, 1929), would feel extremely proud and gratified that the institution he helped to found has been restored to its former glory. I remember with great affection the many dances I attended there in the early 60’s plus frequent visits to the reading room…and not forgetting the bar in the corner ( next to the billiard room).

    Whatever became of the Karachi Goan Gymkhana’s grounds ?…a completely under-utilised gem of real estate?

    Thanks for the pictorial memories…Andrew J D’Abreo in Sydney Australia

  10. Hector Inness-Perth western Australia
    December 21, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    Thank you, for the great memories of the KGA,
    although not a Goan,was very greatful to have been and experienced the
    various functions- which were fantastic.in the 60’s.
    Thank you again.

  11. ODELIA ALVARES
    December 22, 2011 at 1:21 am #

    These are great pictures and leaves a very great memory of my childhood days since 1961-1980 where I would spend time along with my dad (Late) J.B D’Souza. I have spent time in each and every room not forgetting the kitchen where I would enjoy the homemade perfect french fries and other items on the menu! My dad being a very social person and to unwind from work stress would spend almost all his evenings with his favourite game billiards and all other activities K.G.A. had to offer. And on a sad note, my dear dad passed away on these grounds of a massive heart attack. K.G.A. will always be remembered.
    Odelia Alvares
    Toronto

  12. Bosco D'Souza
    January 4, 2012 at 6:06 am #

    Yes, I too have some very good memories of the KGA Hall. I attended many dances there and also, periodically, played drums with some band or other. Unfortunately, I also have some not very pleasant memories of the place. For example, a lot of the females would fall over backwards over anyone who was of a lightish complexion. I being dark often times found it difficult to get a dance. And this was from some of our own Goan girls. Unfortunately, Goans like most Indians are obsessed with the colour of the skin in addition to the caste that one belongs to.

    • Bosco D'Souza
      January 4, 2012 at 6:08 am #

      What does “your comment is awaiting moderation” mean?

  13. Leslie Soares
    January 4, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    from Leslie Soares
    Wow the KGA is beautiful. I recall especially at this time of the year the Dec 26 dance and New Years eve dances that were crowded to capacity. The keynotes bands playing the music and all the happy memories of the CSU(Catholic Student Union) dances, the girlfriends we danced with and those last dances. Our children will never know the excitement and splendor of those wonderful days we all enjoyed.

  14. January 6, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE WONDERFUL PHOTOGRAPHS OF KGA. THE RENOVATED BUILDING IS IN EXCELLENT SHAPE AND EVOKES NOSTALGIC MEMORIES. I WAS THE PRESIDENT DURING THE CELEBRATION OF THE COMPLETION OF HUNDRED YEARS. DESPITE THE TURBULANCE IN KARACHI DURING THIS PERIOD THE CELEBRATIONS LASTING A WEEK OF EXCITING EVENTS WERE ENJOYED BY A FULL HOUSE OF MEMBERS. CARDINAL CORDEIRO CELEBRATED THE MASS IN THE KGA HALL FOR THE FIRST TIME AND IN HIS BRILLIANT HOMILY STRESSED ON THE NEED OF UNITY AND BROTHERHOOD ( THE MOTTO OF THE INSTITUION).
    AT THESE CELEBRATIONS DECEMBER 3 WAS DECLARED KGA DAY AND WAS MADE A MANDATORY REQUIREMENT SO MEMBERS COULD GATHER EACH YEAR AND CONTINUE THIS WONDERFUL TRADITION.
    SUBSEQUENT PRESIDENT HAVE ENFORCED THIS REQUIREMENT AND IT CONTINUES TO THIS DAY AND ACCORDING TO THE CURRENT PRESIDENT MR. VALENTINE GONSALVES WILL DO SO IN THE ENSUING YEARS
    VIVA KGA VIVA GOANS.
    MOG ASLEAR UNN UNDE GANTAR LEGUN PAUTA. ( WHEN THERE IS LOVE, FRESHLY BAKED BUNS OR BREAD CAN REACH FAR AWAY PLACES)
    MAURICE COUTINHO
    FORMER PRESIDENT

  15. Maureen LaPorte
    January 11, 2012 at 4:31 am #

    Maureen LaPorte, Toronto, Canada – Thanks for the memories

    • Dolores Taylor
      January 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

      Hi Maureen
      Forgive the unsolicited communication but wonder if you can shed some light on this.

      I saw your surname on this page and as you obviously have a link to Karachi, wonder if you can help me. I was born in Karachi but left when I was a child. I am very passionate about family history and have a black and white photograph wedding photo taken in 1934 in Karachi. There is a little girl sitting in front of all the adults in the photo. Her name is Sheila LaPorte. An elderly lady just titled “Mrs LaPorte” sits in the front row.

      Could this be a relative and if so are you related to the “Cutlers” “Gonsalves” and “Fernandez” “Ross” & “Rose”?
      Thanks Dolores (Fernandez) Taylor, London, UK

  16. Dolores Taylor
    January 12, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    These photographs are beautiful.
    I was in Karachi last year and I wish I had visited the Hall. Will keep this on my list for next time.

  17. Celia Lobo, Burlington, Canada
    January 12, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

    The KGS looks magnificent! The pictures brought back some awesome memories. Thank you so much for sharing.

  18. Peter Dias
    January 17, 2012 at 11:32 pm #

    Served on the committee for a few years around 1988 to 1995 and have to acknowledge that the KGA has never looked better. The photographs posted on this site certainly portrays the KGA in a class of its own. Kudos to the committee!!!!!!
    And all those that unselfishly partake in its upkeep and maintenance on a regular basis.

  19. Lynette Dias-Gouveia
    January 24, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

    Simply Beautiful!! Thanks for sharing.. xxx

  20. Anonymous
    January 28, 2012 at 9:08 am #

    What wonderful memories. Thank You to the Karachi Walla.
    Congratulations to all the Committees of KGA over the past four decades who have selflessly contributed to upkeep the ethos of KGA- “Leisure,entertainment & phydica ldevelopment of the masses.”
    As a teenager i enjoyed the library (especially the comics and hardy boys) and the lovely food of Ramji in the kitchen. Not to forget the cardroom which kept my dad Joaquim, hooked up until the last game at 10pm when we would have to leave with everyone packing to go.
    The dances, the sports in Ramadan, the christmas celebrations, the whist & tambola, the AGM’s -wow Thank YOU KGA for giving me a lovely childhood and helping me realise that in order for others to enjoy life we must burn like candles & give light.

  21. Aloysious Dacunha
    January 28, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    What wonderful memories. Thank You to the Karachi Walla.
    Congratulations to all the Committees of KGA over the past four decades who have selflessly contributed to upkeep the ethos of KGA- “Leisure,entertainment & phydica ldevelopment of the masses.”
    As a teenager i enjoyed the library (especially the comics and hardy boys) and the lovely food of Ramji in the kitchen. Not to forget the cardroom which kept my dad Joaquim, hooked up until the last game at 10pm when we would have to leave with everyone packing to go.
    The dances, the sports in Ramadan, the christmas celebrations, the whist & tambola, the AGM’s -wow Thank YOU KGA for giving me a lovely childhood and helping me realise that in order for others to enjoy life we must burn like candles & give light.
    Aloysious Dacunha

  22. Anonymous
    April 21, 2012 at 5:09 am #

    Leslie Michael

  23. Ash
    June 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    Is there any female English home tutor ?plz reply asap

  24. Mary Gilbert (nee Punchard)
    December 15, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    I have fond memories of the KGS hall and going to many a lovely dance there. I used to go to the Karachi Grammar School practically next door, and past by every day. My cousin, Nelson McLeod used to play the drums in a band called The Rhythm Swingettes. Great days!

  25. January 23, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    Fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

  26. Anonymous
    January 27, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

    your r great peoples

  27. Iftikhar Habib Khan
    April 22, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    I too have fond memories of Karachi KGA and Katrak Hall.
    Only one person has mentioned Tambola.
    Does anyone have photos of Grand Hotel Malir and Grand Hotel on Macleod Road (now I. I. Chundrigar Road).
    Iftikhar
    Sydney Australia

  28. Sun God
    May 13, 2013 at 7:06 am #

    Tell Bosco his comments have been approved

  29. MUHAMMAD ADIL
    July 14, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

    Very happy to read about GOAN HALL.
    I would like to suggest you to post the detail of cloth market kharadar. It was written “Thakur Ramdas Cloth Market”

    Adil
    Oman

  30. Terence L.
    September 5, 2013 at 12:54 am #

    does anybody remember PF Pereira?

    • Francis
      August 6, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

      Yes especially his curry puffs

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. City Landmarks – Goan Association Hall | Tea Break - October 20, 2011

    [...] City Landmarks – Goan Association Hall [...]

  2. Karachi uncovered: website reveals city’s hidden architectural gems | InSindh - August 7, 2014

    […] posting photos and stories on his Karachi Walla website. Articles on meeting houses built for the city’s community of Goan Christians, masonic lodges and Sikh gurdwaras highlight the faded grandeur of the city’s colonial period […]

  3. Discover Karachi's hidden architectural heritage with The Karachi Walla | culture360.asef.org | culture360.asef.org - September 17, 2014

    […] the website, you can read about Karachi’s secret Polish connection, Karachi’s Goan Portuguese landmarks, visit book stalls, churchyards, cafes, temples, kite sellers, hospitals and city […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: