City Secret – Jewish cemetery in Kutchi Memon Graveyard

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A lively graveyard. Unlike any other in the city. The moment you enter the boundary wall you expect people offering prayers in solemn mood but instead you find a vibrant public space. There is a mosque on the right hand side of the entrance and little further is a green patch where I find families relaxing and kids chasing a flock of ducks. Further is a neat and organized graveyard which is considered to be the oldest in the city. Much older than Mewa Shah. And there is a significant evidence that it originally was a Jewish graveyard.

To the far end of the graveyard, closer to the wall are the remnants of a Jewish cemetery. As we make our way through the graves, I see graves similar to chowkandi graveyard. A passerby tells me that they belong to the soldiers of Muhammad bin Qasim. They however look much recent and most probably belong to the baloch tribes living in Lyari for centuries.

We move past and reach far end of the graveyard. There closer to the boundary wall are signs of a compound wall, fallen and disappeared now. Inside are some tombstones in dilapidated condition. The writings on the tombstone has withered away in most of the cases. As the history goes, a local Memon Kutchi businessman, Haji Bachal purchased and gifted this land to his community before partition and then it converted into a Kutchi Memon graveyard. However Jewish graves remained intact and only withered away with time.

There are hardly a couple of tombstones with legible writings in Hebrew, English and Hindi. I wander around the Jewish section aimlessly trying to find more clues. A young baloch notices us and walk towards us. I sense trouble as I have heard stories of a Balouch tribe fiercely guarding Jewish section in Mewa Shah graveyard. I greet him and ask him if it is okay to take pictures and he tells me to go ahead with it. He says that a lot of journalists have come and documented it but none of them could change the fortune of the cemetery. I sense disdain and helplessness in his voice.

At current rate, we will soon lose this important piece of history. Khakum Budhan. Mere muun mein khaak.

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4 Comments on “City Secret – Jewish cemetery in Kutchi Memon Graveyard”

  1. Saghir A. Khatri
    June 13, 2016 at 7:44 am #

    Where exactly it is located??

    • Anonymous
      July 26, 2016 at 6:15 pm #

      at Cheel Chowk, Lyari, Karachi

  2. June 13, 2016 at 8:40 am #

    I love reading about your explorations in Karachi. Gives me a flavor of the country

  3. Heart of Aries
    July 24, 2016 at 3:30 pm #

    the earliest dates I remember on them which were readable were of late 1800s

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