Artists are the country, rejoice
Over the years Karachi has gone through a major transformation, for both better and for worse. It’s definitely not what it was a few decades ago. For a person who hasn’t visited the place in ten years or so, the place could be unrecognizable. However, you do find shades of the old Karachi in quite a few places. And by old, I mean the colonial era. In areas like Numaish and Saddar, you come across structures that have been there since before independence.
Most of such buildings and structures are not in the best shape. Renovation, at times, costs them their authenticity. It ends up becoming a really tough bargain. Either you see a part of the city rot away or lose their cultural relevance.
This, more than 80 year old house, near the Quaid’s mausoleum, has been converted into a place for all artists to come together
The Dawood Foundation has renovated a house which they are now calling the TDF Ghar. The house is situated in old Jamshed Quarters quite near the Mazar-e-Quaid. Once you enter it, you actually feel like being transported back in time.
The house was originally owned by a woman named, Hanifabai Haji Ghani where her daughter continued to live well after the creation of Pakistan. Later on, it was sold and run as a vocational training center for women.
The building is covered up with yellow tiles as such that it radiates the rich cultural history of Karachi. Inside you have a patio or a ‘sehan‘ where you can just chill out like in the olden days. Have some chai or coffee, might even nibble on some breakfast. There is a Royal Living Room that oozes antiquity, too.
TDF Ghar is not just another cultural heritage site that is meant for the eyes alone. It is open to all as an ‘informal learning space’
With an entry fee of just Rs. 50/-, anyone can come in, hang out and partake in discussions on topics related to art, culture, literature or the mundane things about life, with like-minded individuals.
While the place doesn’t offer any formal classes in any particular disciplines, it does host regular workshops, talks, and other activities where ideas are discussed in a healthy fashion. All the while you get to reminisce about the good old times of Karachi.
Additionally, it has a small library of old books that may be worth your while.
The main idea behind this renovation project was to highlight the rich cultural history of Karachi while at the same time foster learning among individuals
“We wanted to restore this place to reminisce about the glorious history of Karachi”, said Rohail Ahmad a member of the team. He went to add that the purpose herein was also to cater to the learning needs of a wider audience through the exchange of ideas.
“Our purpose is to remind the people of Karachi as it was once before,” he said ” We hope that others will also follow the same and help in reviving and restoring our city. As informal learning spaces play an important role in helping the society to speak in a constructive manner”.