City Landmarks – The Sevakunj Hostel

Mystifying. You can’t take your eyes off it. There is something about Sevakunj hostel which makes you curious. It inspires imagination. The curious and liberal spirit puts up the scene when Dawood College students lived here. The hostel provided inexpensive shelter to students from interior Sindh and beyond. They spent their evenings in the reading room discussing politics and their future careers. Many of the alumni continued living here and other hostels which offered free accommodation. How many places could have been as caring as Sevakunj. The box like structure with exquisite motifs give evidence of care and effort which went in its design. It was more than an Alma mater. It shaped lives of thousands. It did not get much back. The hostel is in desolated state. Its windows are devoid of wooden frames. Doors have been replaced by alien installments. The structure has been strangled by wires. There are few shops on the ground floor. First and second floor are abandoned. Sevakunj did not deserve it. It should have been converted into a museum celebrating Karachi and Karachi wallas diversity and generosity. Alumni could have come back and shared their stories.

But the years passed by and footprints vanished away. The stories were lost.

Only if Sevakunj could speak.

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2 Comments on “City Landmarks – The Sevakunj Hostel”

  1. Thassim
    April 29, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    I stayed at Sevakunj from 1970 to 1973. Downstairs was a tea shop run by some Bahai owners. When we wanted tea we would go to the balcony and shout Baharwallah. Then that man used to come out and we would order tea which he would bring to our rooms. Also a Newspaper reading room where all the English and Urdu news papers were available. The owners of the hostel used to run a free medical clinic down stairs.
    We were from NED and there were many Pakistani students from Punjab, Gilgit, Baluchistan, Sindh, Bengal in this Hostel. There were a number of Defence Nominees as well. There was a mess and cook. those days the charge for meals was Rs 75 per month.
    Across the road was a Doctor Khan. His board read Rath or Din – Dr Khan. Next door was Arambagh Masjid and across the park on the other side, Babul Islam Masjid on Burns Road. A short distance away was Dow Medical College on Bunder road.

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