KARACHI: Karachi being the coastal metropolis, the largest seaport city and the largest industrial area has been named “The City of Lights” and rightly so for the city once never slept. But there is more to Karachi than seaport, beaches and industries. Old Karachi has offered its dwellers diversity of cultures, markets and ethnicity.
In a past decade so among many other things that suffered in the name of religion, ethnic rights and political justice suffered the intellects of the city. For a city run and inhabited mostly by middle class Khori Garden has been providing the literary bees with the nectar for their honey. It has been fulfilling the appetite of intellects hungry for knowledge coming from beyond the borders yet their bread and butter keeps them on a tight budget.
There was a time when the Garden (it is not actually a garden but rather a street) used to flourish with flowers of wisdom brought through the sea from all over the world. One could find books on any topic and the book sellers used to sell them by author name with a proper archiving system of their own. There used to be more than 20 bookshops and numerous book stands all dedicated to one purpose i-e to cater the needs of the intellects.
Today, the Garden is as good as dead, with only 3 bookshops left and about 8 stalls it is mostly run down by the General Stores, Cheap shampoo stalls and other wholesale day to day item stalls. Due to immense pressure on the booksellers most of them have been forced either to close their shops and find their bread and butter in other items or move to markets such as Urdu Bazar (the main book market of the city).
Another major factor is the rapid growth of technology since most of the books brought to the garden are used books from more civilized societies but yet that is not the basic reason. Today the intellects feel insecure once again for their search in leathered hard back covers that could be the collectors’ items.