Norman- The Man, The Legend



From rocking the 1970s to reaching 70 years of age, this man, the legend, has
played an unimaginable serenading role in transforming the music scene in
Pakistan like no other in his brand of crooning. He is, without an iota of doubt, an
iconic person and the epitome of ‘western music’ phenomenon in Pakistan. He is
And the good thing is, he shares his glorious 70 years this year with
Norman’s contribution to the ‘popular’ variety of music and singing of the 1960s,
1970s and 1980s has been colossal; he is clearly one of the most popular
personalities of his era and continues to mesmerize audiences. As the lead
singer for some of Pakistan’s original live music bands, such as the Moon-Glows,
In-Crowd, Talismen, Keynotes etc; his voice alone could launch a thousand
people tapping their feet at discotheques, clubs and the party-scenes in Karachi.
When singing his favorite songs, his deep penetrating voice, powerful and soul-
searching, is familiar to the vocal chords of legendary artists such as Louie
Armstrong (What a Wonderful World); Frank Sinatra (My Way); Jim Reeves
(Put Your Sweet Lips); Billy Ocean (Caribbean Queen); Engelbert
Humperdinck (Please Release Me) and Tom Jones (Delilah).
Norman was among the first popular musicians to have been interviewed on
television’s mass-appeal ‘Zia Mohyuddin Show’ in the 1970s and also toured
Singapore with the Talismen, playing at the famed Merlin Hotel as the first pop-
band from Pakistan! One of his fans in the Far-East was none other than the
world boxing heavy-weight champion Joe Frazier! (See Picture)
Music and singing keeps him going. His 3-piece band today, including Gerard
Vanderlowen and Clifford Lucas is in great demand throughout Karachi at music
shows, club-evenings, weddings, family gatherings and special occasions. There
is no other group of musicians that can match this trio’s virtuosity in singing the
delightful songs of the golden era of music.
Above all, Norman has been a family man all through his life; his wife Nancy has
stood by him like a rock and his two girls Narissa and Nicole-Ann have made him
proud. I can recall the beautiful rendering of ‘But You Love Me Daddy’ which
Narissa sang as a 6-year old alongside Norman on the guitar. On the other hand,
the 70th birthday party surprise, aptly called “Vintage Dude” by Nicole-Ann was
indeed, very creative, thoughtful and stunning.
Though he is forever performing at some show or the other throughout Karachi,
he is always there in church lending his echoing voice at the daily morning Mass
at 6.30 a.m. and with his Sunday Morning Choir for the 8.00 a.m. service.
God bless you Norman. Keep going.

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Pakistan TV Karachi Shows in 60-70’s


*Raju Jamil*

“Sach Khedoun Aie Barhamin…Gar Tu Bura Na Maanay
Tere Sanam Kadoun Ke Butth Ho Gaye Puranay”

This famous verse of Allama Iqbal had a whole meaning that one of its line was adopted by PTV-Karachi’s GM Aslam Azhar to create a comedy show—the Frost Report of David Frost kind—-in 1969 as “Gar Tu Bura Na Maanay” which had Mohsin Shirazi as it’s “David Frost” supported by a stock cast of four; Zafar Masood, Mohammad Yusuf, Zahoor Ahmed and Shahnaz Ghani (of “BAMBI” child wear outlet since 60’s).

“GAR TU BURA MAANAY” (GTBNM) was hilarious and a parody of many of our customs held during marriages. It was mostly a satire well presented in a formidable style with boxed laughters and sometimes generating a roar of laughter from the viewers of the only network in Pakistan then.

The ongoing golden jubilee year of television in Pakistan…essentially PTV….has many a tales to talk about and remember–from each of it’s several centres which all–produced some most remembered dramas, talk shows and events which remain as infectious as ever. When the private networks will celebrate their golden jubilee—if they reach that point—all people will remember will be advertisements and political battles with no results they were subjected with …every day but never never on Sunday:)

GTBNM…. ran for several weeks and took a break when Aslam Azhar, the Wizard of PTV left for Islamabad on a higher assignment..later becoming the only and ever MD of PTV and later Chairman of PTV and Radio Pakistan. No one has held such combined assignment at Ministry of in Pakistan. Hail Aslam Azhar! He should be awarded NISHAN e Imtiaz on 26th November, 2014 when (or if) the Ministry of information finds time to celebrate such an important event of this wonderful Nation Pakistan. I am certain to have a million “aye’s” on my recommendation above for Aslam Sahab.

GTBNM…..made a come back in 1970-71 with the same name and this time Neelofer Alim Abbasi, Zeenat Yasmine, Qazi Wajid, Shakeel Chughtai, Khurshid Talat and myself were stock artiste and after a few weeks—my friend the producer Ishrat Ansari told us or rather gave us a surprise that the name of GTBNM has been changed to “Sach Jama Jhoot Battaa Dou” (Truth+Lies/2) which was presented before a live audience at the open air stage of Hotel Metropole. The excitement of East and West separation had gripped the Nation and in order to suitably stage a media war against our neighbours…this stage show turned into a satirical one focusing on our enemy….and indeed it was a success that the live audience was jam packed and the regular telecast was keenly awaited or in today’s nomenclature…the “rating” was very good ( I can never understand this anomaly of the word RATING which appears to be too sacred and pious for some of the networks—:) ha ha ha ha ).

GTBNM….from PTV-Karachi will always remain in the minds and memories of those 50+ who saw that beauty of the sitcom and such sitcom can never ever be produced again…..unless it’s sponsored which is one good thing to mess up something great of the last without risk–:)

Thank you Aslam Azhar Sahab, Mohsin Shirazi (where is he? How is he?) and so fondly the late members of the stock cast; Zafar Masood, Zahoor Ahmed, Mohammad Yusuf remembered. RIP all of them. The then viewers who are around these days do thank you for giving them an entertainment worth every second of watching it.

PTV has carved its name so strongly that it needs to continue with its great deeds well mixed with the achievements of past and the new dawn of current era.

“Sach Khedoun Aie Barhamin…
Gar Tu Bura Na Maanay

Tere Sanam Kadoun Ke
Butth Ho Gaye Puranay”

Raju Jamil,
PTV Drama Debut 2nd Dec-1967

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First Jamaat Khana of Karachi

By Dr. Sohail Ansari

Ismaili merchants made mercantile trips to Karachi in 16th and 17th centuries coming from Kutchh, Kathiawar, Muscat and Gwadar. Whereas they resided in the city, their families were still in their base towns and the community was not as established in Karachi.It was the famine in Kutcch that precipitated the migration from there into Sindh and Karachi. In 1820 a group of some 200 – 250 Ismailis, led by Lutf Ali Alleno, migrated to Karachi and settled in Kharadhar. This was the time when they evolved into an established and organised community of Karachi.

They built the first Jamaat Khana of Karachi which was located in the present Kaghzi Bazaar area and it was made of mud. The community acquired a plot of about 3000 sq. yards for the new Jamaat Khana located in Kharadar (between Harris Road and Imamwada Street). This was made possible under the leadership of Mukhi Ramzan Ismail. As a new Jamaat Khana was being built into five phases, the old Jamaat Khana of Kagzi Bazar moved transiently into a building at the junction of Kassim Street and Khalikdina Street for a few months before taking home in the new Jamaat Khana that came to be used on completion of its first phase in November 1882.Imam Aga Ali Shah passed away in 1885 in Poona. His coffin was transported from Bombay to Najaf for burial. In transit, the coffin was brought to Karachi and kept in that Jamatkhana. The Kharadar Jammat Khana had further development and extensions and in 1946 the Imam declared it as a Dharkhana. Unfortunately on 31st March 1963, an out-worn portion of the Jamaat Khana collapsed resulting in the death of three Ismailis. KDA declared the building as being dangerous and unsuitable for use. This led to immediate vacation of the Kharadar Jamaat Khana on 5th April. It shifted to the ground floor of the new Jamatkhana, which was yet under construction.

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Telephone Service in Karachi

By Dr. Sohail Ansari

We had telegraphy posted recently, and now comes telephone. The first patent of which went to Graham Bell in March 1876. Some may recall the Karachi days of three, four and later five digit phone numbers, trunk calls – waiting for those and three minutes were over in a jiffy, and public call offices. There were locks for telephones to avoid abuse. And there was Nazia and Zohaib Hassan’s fourth album, released in 1987: ‘Hotline’, with its first song being ‘Telephone Pyar’.

The telephone was introduced in British India in 1881. As with the telegraph, the government was initially the sole owner of the telephone which came under the Telegraph Department. Following Calcutta, few other major cities including Karachi got the technology.The main offices of the Indo-European Telegraph Offices complex in Karachi were located on McLeod Road. This was a large complex, designed by Captain P. Phelps and constructed at a total cost of £21,000.At the time of independence, Pakistan inherited a meagre 14,000 land lines.

In 1949, Karachi (which was the capital) had five telephone exchanges in operation: the Cantt Exchange, the Garden Exchange, the Central Exchange on Bolton Road, the Trunk Exchange on McLeod Road, and the Park Capital Exchange at Sabzi Mandi. All had a capacity of up to 1,200 lines. London-Karachi phone with direct telephone service between the two cities opened in June 1949. Three minute calls costed £3. I recall well from 1980’s when calls from London to Karachi cost me £1.10 per minute and the operator often asked me if the ‘long’ call was worth that! In 1949, three regional schools for technicians were planned in Karachi, Dacca and Lyallpur. The center was later to be transferred from Lyallpur to Haripur where the Pakistan telephone factory was under construction. It was initially known as Telephone and Telegraph Department and included the post services.Siemens & Halske (S&H) built the Indo-European telegraph line link (1867–1870). It remained a main player for telephone industry in Pakistan. The Pak Industrial & Trading Corp. Ltd. was appointed to represent Siemens-Schuckertwerke (SSW) in Karachi in 1950. The joint venture Telephone Industries of Pakistan (TIP) was formed couple of years later. S&H and SSW found Siemens Pakistan Engineering Co. Ltd. in Karachi in 1953.We were so impressed with Maxwell Smart’s (of Get Smart) phone in his shoe, but did not imagine that one day we will have a mobile smart phone in our pockets!

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May be an image of 1 person and text that says 'Have you TELEPHONE in your HOME? IF not you are denying yourself the pleasure of communicating with your FRIENDS and running the risk of being unable to call the DOCTOR or the FIRE BRIGADE in time of need. FROM Rs. 121- CHARGESRR12MONTH A MONTH. Bombay Telephone Company, Ltd. Home Street, Bombay. Wood Street, Karachi. Shahpur Road, Ahmedabad'


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Famous Chinese Restaurants of Old Karachi.

Compiled by Amin H. Karim

Photos courtesy of various sources on the web.

HONG KONG RESTAURANT, Victoria Road (Now Abdullah Haroon Road), Across from Jabees Hotel. Saddar, Karachi. 

Mr. Li continued to run it upto 1990’s and by end if the decade one of the most favorite eatery for many of the Karachiites was closed down as he decided to wind up his business and finally left the country for Canada. 
ABC CHINESE RESTAURANT,  Elphistone Street (Now Zaibunnisa Street)

SOUTH CHINA CAFE, Clarke Street (now Shahrah-e-Iraq, close to Paradise Cinema, Karachi) 

The owner, John Liang, then moved to Lahore and opened Cathay Restaurant on the Mall. Later he moved to Florida and opened four restaurants in Miami. He sold all a few years ago and is now retired.His son Anthony Liang also studied at St. Patrick’s High School 
CAFE CANTON Invararity Road close to Zafar Marbles 
KOWLOON CHINESE RESTAURANT, Allama Iqbal Road, Karachi. 

YUAN TUNG Off Tariq Road, PECHS, Karachi 

By Mr. Felix Gois of Houston: The First Chinese Restaurant to open in Karachi was Cafe Canton between/adjacent to Alpha Restaurant n Zafar Marble, on Inveraity Road. The family lived above the Alpha Restaurant which has since closed down. One of the daughter/grand child live in Houston n rest of the family are spread out in Canada, Australia, U.K.The Surname were Liong.

OTHERS CHINA TOWN, Clifton Karachi. 

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KPI Cricket Team 1973-74

By Menin Rodrigues

May be an image of 16 people, people standing and text that says 'Photo Courtesy: Kaiser Lashkari (FB Page: Kids of Parsi Colonies (KHI & Global) KPI 1973- 74 Standing (L to R): Jehangir Mobed, Cyrus Mavalwalla, Homi Ghadially, arosh Collector, Viraf Daroga, Dinyar Irani, Rumi Sidhwa, Pesi Andhiarujina, Noshir Mody, Cowsee Cooper, Sitting: Minoo Mehta, MR-2021 Homi Mobed, Roy Minwalla, Jamshed Gati and Sohrab Sidhwa'

The Karachi Parsi Institute (KPI) Cricket Team 1973-74. Photo courtesy: Kaiser Lashkari, Captions: Aspy Canteenwalla and Sam Mehta. Source: FB Group – KIDS of Parsi Colonies (Karachi & Global). Photo Credit: Pervez Bharucha

  • Kanty Kothary I found this picture of early 1960 when my late brother Bachubhai Kithary memorial cup match was held between Pakistan Hindu Cricket team KPI Parsi team. Memorial Cup went winning team KPI and it was kept at KPI. I don’t know if it is still there. Some KPI player are same as they are in your picture. Many are abroad all over the world and some are no more. Just sharing my picture so we can visit those days and nice lunch served by KPI I was in my teens👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇
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Missing the Malabari Tea

By Dr. Sohail Ansari

Missing the Malabari Tea

The community of Mappilas, the Malabar Muslims, supported the invading military of Haider Ali in 1765. However, the British won the Mysore war against Tipu Sultan. The Mappilas did not gain any favours in the new rule and were reduced into a condition of destitution. As a consequence, a communal war or rebellion arose in 1921 from Malappuram district of North Kerala primarily against the British but included upper caste Hindu landlords. This was called Mappila Revolt. It lasted for about six months and was ultimately brutally crushed with a loss of 10000 lives. This led to a string of migrations. The first exodus of Mappilas from Kerala to Karachi, thus, took place in 1921.The Karachi chapter of Mappilas was born. However, most migrants were fit males who had left their families (wives and children) behind. They regularly visited Kerala, since their families did not migrate. They came with no assets but soon settled in their traditional businesses they were familiar with such as tea shops, timber, and textiles. Some ventured into import and export or even setting up biscuit factories in Karachi.I remember the Malabari Tea houses and the tea boys carrying kettles supplying tea to the stores in Saddar and elsewhere, kind of mobile tea shops. This community has largely lost its Malayalee identity now; few of the city’s Mappilas speak Malayalam. It is believed that about 6000 of them still remain in Karachi. Today most of this community is small-time owners of restaurants and shops. Yet another community at the verge of extinction in the large Metropolis.

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Purani Numaish

By Dr. Adnan Zuberi

Purani NumaishKarachiites are familiar with Purani Numaish, its a name of a Bus Stop. This famous Bus Stop is in the vicinity of M A Jinnah’s resting place ( Mazar e Quaid ). By 1864, after development of a Train Link from Karachi to Hyderabad and then further to Punjab and other parts of Indian region Karachi was established as a developed port and a big trade centre. Many traders and commercial banks were coming to establish their offices in Karachi. In 1869 William Lockyer Merewether then Commissioner of Sindh , decided to arrange an International Exhibition ( Numaish ) in Karachi. This exhibition was planned to boost the local economy and commerce and intent to bring the investment in Sindh. Their efforts bring fruit and many trade offices were opened and traders realised the economic and commerce potential of this port city at Arabian Sea.Here’s a medal of Karachi exhibition. This medal as suggested by Mr Merewether as on one side should be the bust of Her Majesty, and on the other a small group of locals clustered around a bowl and camel behind, with the inscription “Kurrachee Exhibition 1869.”. This silver medal was designed by Mr W A Ingle.William Ashby Ingle joined the Bombay Civil List in 1856 as a canal surveyor at Kurrachee, and rose to the post of assistant settlement officer before becoming deputy collector and magistrate at Shikapur in May 1864 and then at Kurrachee in May 1866. In April 1869 he became commissioner of paper currency in Kurrachee and then deputy branch registrar general in Sind, November 1870. He finished his career with the Civil List in December 1876

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Lost Glory

By Dr. Sohail Ansari

Lost Glory

A news from 2 February 1950:

KARACHI AIRPORT: The Civil and Military Gazette of Lahore writes that modifications to Karachi Airport to enable it to handle the world’s first jet-liner, the De-Havilland Comet, are exacted to be the subject of talks during Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle’s visit to Karachi to discuss jet propulsion problems with the Pakistan Civil Aviation Department’s officials.Karachi is likely to be one of the Comet’s most important refuelling points, and the aircraft, with its average cruising speed of 483 miles an hour would cut the London-Karachi flying time to 13 hours. Karachi airport has been consistently developing to keep up with the latest improvements in air transport, and recently the new lighting system was installed to facilitate night landings.LikeComment

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Inauguration of Sukkur Barrage 1932

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1932: Inauguration of Sukkur Barrage is celebrated at Karachi Gymkhana.
Photo and caption courtesy of Dr. Ghulam Nabi Kazi.

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Minwalla and Avari

By Mr. Sam Mehta

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St. Andrew’s Church of Scotland.

By Dr. Sohail Ansari

St Andrew’s Day – 30th November

St Andrew’s Church of Scotland

Andrew the Apostle, also known as Saint Andrew, was the first disciple of Jesus. He was crucified on 30 November 60 AD.A church was built in Karachi in 1868 by the Church of Scotland for the Scottish presbyterian mission in British India and named after him. Its architect was T G Newnham who was a resident engineer of the Sindh Railway. The foundation stone was laid in February 1867 by Robert Napier, Commander-in-Chief of the Army at Bombay. The building was completed the following year at a cost of Rs. 56,300 of which Rs. 25,000 were contributed by the Government. The church is built in gothic with a blend of Romanesque style with arches. The entrance of the church, by means of the octagonal porch, is unusual in its design. The lighting effect is created by the large rose window, which is eighteen feet in diameter. The nave of St Andrew’s is over one hundred feet long and provides seating for 400 people. The Church is located opposite Jehangir Park (Regal Chowk) in Saddar area and its plot measures 13,723 square yards .It was stated in this property document that land of the church would not be sold in any kind of shape even by congregation or government and that it is totally and finally for Christian prayer services. A letter written by Lamhert Major, the then collector to Karachi to the then assistant chaplain W. Middleton vouches for the mentioned fact, ‘That they will bind themselves forever not to erect any building on the ground except the Church alone, no parsonage or dwelling house of any sort except, if necessary, a gatehouse, and not the latter until after the plan has been approved by the Managing Committee (of Karachi Municipality)’.There is a marble cenotaph in the grounds which commemorates the dead of the Highland Light Infantry stationed in Karachi from 1898 to 1899. Pews in the church commemorate tours of duty of the Royal Scots Fusiliers in the 19th and 20th centuries.Brass plaques, on the back wall of the church, list the names of prominent Scots who died here. Lieutenant Colonel John Stewart Cooper of the Sindh Volunteer Rifle Corps in 1909, James David Wilson in 1919 and Agnes Drummond Carstairs in 1935.The following was a report from 1920:

A special service was held in St. Andrew’s Church of Scotland, on Sunday in commemoration of St. Andrew and those Scotchmen who gave their lives in the war. Masons of the local Lodges under the Scottish constitution attended with regalia in a procession. The service was conducted by Rev. C. C. Pitcairn Hill, who preached an eloquent sermon. The band of the Border Regiment assisted in the service. A large collection was taken in aid of the Orphanage for Scottish children at Bombay, and the Lady Dufferin Hospital at Karachi.Generations were also christened at St Andrew’s. The last name in the cradle roll is a David Malcolm Reed who was born or christened on December 20, 1965.It ceased to be their responsibility in 1970 when Pakistan’s protestant churches united to form the Church of Pakistan. However the Scottish church, as it is locally known, is a monument to its former congregation.

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