Beautifully Carved. Elegantly Designed. Adorned with Mysterious Motifs. Merewether Tower is a well-known landmark. Or rather, a very well-heard one. Thousands pass by the intersection between MA Jinnah and II Chundrigar road where it stands proudly reminding us of Karachi’s glorious past. Very few ever take a second to contemplate on its existence. Why is there a David’s star on it? What are the two faces carved out on each side signifying?
Merewether Tower, or Tower as the conductors shout, cannot be missed by anyone coming from KPT building. It stands tall at the intersection leading to two of most famous and busiest thoroughfares. It was commissioned as a memorial for Sir William L. Merewether, who served as Commissioner of Sindh from 1867 to 1877. Few contest that it was built to honor Freemasons present in Karachi at that time. It was designed by a Municipality Engineer James Strachan and the foundation stone was laid by the Governor of Bombay, Sir James Fergusson in 1884. After eight years of construction, it was opened for public in 1892. The Memorial Tower stands on a platform 44 feet square and rises to a height of 102 feet. The clocks are 70 feet from the ground where each of the clock’s four faces is seven feet in diameter. The larger bell at the top announced hour mark while the smaller bells range at each quarter. They don’t. Anymore. Even if they had, it would have lost in the cacophony orchestrated by street vendors, bus drivers and conductors.
Come here on a Saturday or Sunday if you want to have an idle look at the monument. Park your car in one of the smaller streets on M.A. Jinnah road. Make your way past the vendors. Enter the gate and ignore the complaints of gardener if he makes noise. Technically no one can stop you from visiting the place. Feel the tyranny of time the landmark has endured. See the most prominent symbol of Judaism marked proudly on the monument and graffiti below it. Announcing that the writer does not acknowledge its existence. Different ways of different people making their point. The David’s star may not have to do anything with Judaism and might be just another motif. The way its been used by Persian craftsmen on Mughal monuments like Agra fort and Humayun’s tomb. A small lawn is maintained by couple of gardeners. Sporadically a passerby decides to explore it. It has been repaired during Naimatullah’s nazimship. But it does not stop it from suffering from the pollution.
Visit it. It may force authorities to take better care of the landamark.