An Oasis. Spanning on a tract of land larger than you think. Crossed by millions each day. Visited not even in hundreds. National Museum of Karachi poses an important question. A Catch 22. A Chicken and Egg problem. Or whatever you call it. Is it ignored because its not good enough? Or its not good enough because its ignored? Statistics department put number of visitors below a thousand in a month.
It is better than that. Even its park. Each tree in its park.
Drive straight from Ziauddin road leaving II Chundrigar on your left. You will be driving along the park surrounding the museum. To reach the entrance, turn right from next crossroad. Pay twenty rupees to get in. Don’t worry about car parking. Take your car inside. There is a huge space. You can see DJ College from there. National Museum of Pakistan was established in Frere Hall on April 17, 1950. The Museum was shifted to the present premises in 1970. It was inaugurated by Yahya Khan. The museum started with four galleries and has reached eleven now. It encompasses galleries covering ancient Mehr Garh, Moen jo Daro and Gandhara civilizations. Separate galleries also cover Islamic Calligraphy, Miniature Paintings, and Coins.
You may find one or two galleries closed. The museum is short on staff. One or two may be sick or something. The solution simply is to shut one or two galleries off. A new Islamic gallery has been inaugurated recently on ground floor. you have to take your shoes off before entering it. Either out of the respect to the contents of the gallery or for the new imported tiles fitted in it. A senior military officer visited the gallery at the same time. Fit, smart and brave contingent of the senior officer and museum chief officer did not take their shoes off. Either due to the lack of respect to contents or imported tiles.
The most delightful part of the museum is its park. Huge, peaceful and calm. Home to good old large trees. It is not maintained very well but somehow it contributes to a perfect setting of idle melancholy around the museum. It seems as if trees are paying homage to the demise of good old civilizations. There were few people chilling under the trees. The trees are tall. Their shadows, gentle and caring. Take a seat and shut your cell phone off. Take a deep breath and answer the dilemma posed at the beginning of this entry.