City Hangouts – Jahangir Park

The last time I went to Jahangir Park, I found few druggies inside the reading room which was situated in one corner of the park. I found more of them in the park. Therefore it was heartening to see families pouring into the park after its restoration.

The Jahangir Park was donated by Khan Bahadur Behramji Jehangirji Raj Kot Wale in 1883. A fountain was built in the middle. The park was inaugurated on Nauroze in 1893. It was called Behram Bagh by grateful Karachi wallas. A pavilion was added in 1920s and the park started hosting cricket matches for local clubs. With increased political activity in 30s and 40s, it became a hub for political activities. With growing commercial activities in the area, the park slowly drifted away from the attention of citizens and authorities alike.

The park was restored due to personal attention of Chief Minsiter of Sind as people told me. There is an aviary (which even has sparrows for some reason), amphitheater (not sure if it will ever host anything) and lots of dinosaurs (I still fail to understand the fascination of KMC with dinosaurs especially considering dismal state of our flora and fauna). The most pleasing part of the project is the restoration of reading room which was in abject condition and perhaps is the only design element left from previous construction.

There were signboards explaining everything about the dinosaurs but there was not anything which celebrated philanthropy of founding fathers of modern day Karachi including Behramji Jehangirji. There was not any chronological listing of important events which have had happened here in this park. In my two visits, I still have not found the library opened and there was no mention of timings if they did not match with rest of the park. The reading room looked neat and well stocked from outside. The park like most of Govt. projects have been built on raised platform dwarfing Empress Market, St. Andrews and Gulbai Maternity Home, its aesthetically pleasing neighbors.

Gul Bai Maternity home was founded by none other than Jamshed Nusarwanjee, the father of modern day Karachi. It will be fantastic if Chief Minister can take a note of Gulbai Maternity Home’s dismal condition and order its restoration and bring it back in public sphere also.

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Categories: City Hangouts

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