City Secret – Moriro Mirbahar and his brothers’ graves, Gulbai Chowk

The legend of Moriro and Magarmach is one of the most celebrated ones in Sindhi poetry. It dates back to 11th century, much before Kalhoras, Talpurs and British. Perhaps dating back to Soomro’s rule over Sindh. The story has been written, sung and celebrated across Sindh and beyond. Except that the graves have now become a city secret despite them being at one of the busiest intersections in Karachi.

No one likes to stick around Gulbai Chowk. There’s heavy traffic despite a flyover which has diverted some traffic off the intersection. There are no trees in the surrounding and all you see is dirt flying. There’s an abandoned railway station on the left. You may find some locals there resting briefly before resuming their journey on foot. It’s dark and dingy in there. A little further, under the shadow of flyover, you will find few traffic policemen helplessly managing traffic around Gulbai Chowk. There is very little shade around Gulbai chowk and the temperature must be a notch above due to regular inflow of heavy traffic. Therefore you will find a lot of people taking a brief break under flyover’s shadow. Few people would take note of the graves and stop to offer prayers. A board mentions Moriro’s name and a reference to Shah Abdul Latif’s shah jo risalo.

As the legend goes, Aubhayo was a fisherman who lived in the village of Sonmiani with his seven sons. All his sons were tall and strong, except for Moriro who was short and handicapped. Moriro’s brothers left the village at dawn and went fishing in the open sea. One day they did not come back. Later it was discovered that their boat was caught in a whirlpool – locally known as Kalachi ju kunn – just outside what is Clifton now. A whale (or crocodile) lived in the whirlpool and hunted helpless fishermen. Realizing his brothers’ tragic fate, Moriro worked with iron-smiths to design a cage, large enough to carry him with pointed spikes on outside. This cage was taken to the whirlpool where Moriro sat inside it and asked his companions to lower it in the whirlpool with the help of ropes. The beast smelling of the prey tried to swallow the cage and got stuck. The villagers pulled the cage out along with Moriro and brought it to the shore where they incised the beast’s stomach and found remains of Moriro’s brothers. The remains were brought to present day location at Gulbai.

There are few more graves around the original six. Is Moriro buried here too? Some will tell you that indeed Moriro was buried here too when he passed away. Others will tell you that Moriro was buried a little further from his brothers’ graves.

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Categories: City Secret

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