A blind spot in city’s heart. A placid getaway in midst of madness. A graveyard dead by no means. An evidence of Karachi’s diversity: British, Polish, Chinese, Protestants and Catholics, the cemetery has accommodated them all. Situated on the busiest city road. Millions cross it each day. Very few choose to have a closer look. To read the tombstones, witness the artwork, relish the silence, savor the solemn stillness and feel our collective apathy to the landmark. Choose to have a closer look. At least once in your city life.
Gora qabrustan, or Gora Cemetery, literally ‘White graveyard’ was founded by British in 1843 to cater to significant British population in and around Karachi. After partition local christian bodies supervised the affairs of the cemetery. It is still active and been used by locals and foreigners alike. Enter from the front gate (on Sharah-e-faisal) The caretakers are kind but they will be hesitant if you take the camera out. Tell them that you don’t belong to any newspaper. They will happily let you visit. On the left side is the place for foreign burials. The area to the right is in the worst condition for constantly being inundated under sewerage water. The tombstones’ color and style are remarkably different from rest of the graves. The condition does not improve much as you move forward. Four five feet long weed and encroachment on the eastern side of the cemetery has dilapidated the graves but still they have an aura attached to them. Quite a few graves from British era had immaculate sculptures shadowing them. Sadly, many of them have been broken, or stolen. The cemetery has been plundered for long but sporadic release of funds from Govt. and constant guardianship of CARE has helped revive it a bit. Now a paved pathway has been built and a boundary wall and two gates have been installed which keep intruders away. There is a Polish memorial in the remembrance of 58 Polish citizens who died in Karachi in the 1940s. Karachi had a significant Polish population which fled Poland in early 40s due to German invasion of their country.
Visit the place next time you head to Sharah-e-Faisal. It will help you visualize the city our generation did not inherit.