Karachi Sojourn 1979-1982

Dr. Feroze Ursani
Feb 1979-Sept 1982
PART ONE: Cutting my teeth!
I presented myself at the Principal DMC’s Office on a crisp Wednesday, 21st of February, 1979; for an in-house posting as Demonstrator, my preference was Anatomy as that was what I was doing in LMC at the time of my transfer.
As fate would have it, I was released from LMC by its acting Principal, and reported to DMC’s Principal, the same individual: respected Otolaryngologist  Professor I H Jafri, who I instead of my requested Anatomy posting where I was in LMC, sent me packing to Pharmacology.
The academic block at Dow, looked well after,  and Professor Abdul Hamid was perfunctory when I presented my credentials.
The College was symbolically separated from the Hospital by a small gate, and the Cafeteria quickly became a fixture for me for its homily snacks and fresh brewed tea.
The second place which almost quickly became a favorite of mine was the centuries (exaggeration?) old KMC Workshop. I had to go out the front gate of Dow, and make a right (Baba-I-Urdu Road?) walk a quarter mile and make a right on Lawrence (later Nishtar) Road and there it was! Unassuming from the dilapidated gate, but pretty large and mechanically well populated inside. Why here? A cousin worked there, and the camaraderie was great at lunchtime.
And then there was a lot of anthropology benefits here as I mingled with folks from Lyari, one the oldest settled area of Karachi, the Kutchi Memon and the Baloch; both so easy to befriend!
And then as Zia’s orthodoxy and bigotry started taking hold , I was a sad witness to the gory spectacle of KMC trucks hauling in uprooted statues of Karachi’s City Builders’ to the workshop’s dumping grounds. I spent quite a bit of time there, brooding over the dishonored edifices of leaders and philanthropists who made Karachi what it was, even shedding a tear or two looking for any of my Mom’s Zoroastrian genealogical brethren amongst them.
I also was to enjoy the delectable Vegetable Thalli in the lunch room of a mandir a brief walk from DMC towards the Light House Cinema, frequented by quite a few same-feathered folks like me, in that hot July of 1979; to beat out the vigilante brigades imposing their versions of maintaining the “sacrosanctity” of Ramadan! I can’t say for sure it was the same Swaminarayan Temple which both Muslims and Hindus frequented before partition, and whose dharamshalla (guest house) was “taken over” by the city government!
I do plan to write a few more “parts” on Karachi from my own personal perspective and experience, focused on the period 1979 to 1982: warn you, almost all, anecdotal, amusing maybe, but not to the serious reader of history!

About Amin H. Karim MD

Graduate of Dow Medical College Class of 1977.
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