City Landmarks – Byram Edulji Water trough, Guru Mandir

Karachi makes us resilient. What other choice do we have? The more you get to know about the city, the greater the sense of loss becomes. Overwhelming. You can carry on but with a sense of grief, a baggage that weighs heavy.

As I understand, several water troughs were erected at the popular routes starting from Guru Mandir to Pakistan Chowk, mostly around Bunder road. These water troughs catered to animals that dew carts and carriages before the advent of mechanized vehicles. Most of them are nonoperational now. They were erected as an act of philanthropy, a memorial to the beloved departed souls and have survived due to some philanthropic intervention. I recently saw an executive order issued by Charles Napier for the prevention of cruelty against animals. The order was issued in 1843. There must be one in operation now but what could one do about lack of empathy that is exhibited in everyday life. Animal driven carriages have disappeared with time but who is there to quench the thirst of commoners in Karachi that is warming up with passing years?

We find the trough by chance. While taking a wrong turn. I notice the structure from a distance. It hides behind a tree on far end of a park with boundary walls. This water trough still has flowing water and just like everywhere else, water nurtures life around it. An old tree makes a canopy on top and we find several people using trough’s water. Few cooling their bodies down on a warm day in July and others washing their bikes and rickshaws. I see a crow sitting on trough’s front which is brimming with water. An elderly man fills up his can with water but the crow remains oblivious to the activity around it. This water trough was built by Byram Edulji in 1893. There is a memorial slab in center of the water trough and a warning sign has been put at a later stage. That bathing and washing is strictly prohibited!

There is a small wooden cabin under the tree. An old man runs it. He claims that he has been taking care of the water trough for decades and has to go through several departments to ensure that it remains active. Probably in his 80s, he seems fragile. His voice breaks down and it’s difficult to comprehend his voice. I probably know his story quite well and don’t need to listen to it. I feel I have been privy to his struggle. I feel privileged to find his story and witness this water trough bringing relief to masses that often don’t get acknowledged. But still I won’t come back to it for a long time and he will continue to go through the same journey everyday with his meager resources.

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One Comment on “City Landmarks – Byram Edulji Water trough, Guru Mandir”

  1. July 26, 2019 at 10:30 am #

    Wow! What a find and what a beautiful commentary.
    Can you please share the location link, preferably Google Maps, or direction to this place?
    Thanks Muzzammil

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