Text and photos by Amar Guriro
Sewage water, leaking from the main nullah that flows just beside the Shahrah-e-Faisal, has inundated the eastern side of the historical Christian cemetery, the
The sewage water is pouring in the graveyard through a large outlet from the eastern corner just opposite the Aisha Bhawani School. Several Victorian-era gravestones have submerged under the filthy water.
Despite the passage of three days, the Sindh and city governments or the cantonment board have made no effort to pump out the water.
The leakage of sewage water into the Gora Qabristan and stagnant rainwater have been a predicament for the historical cemetery for several years and caused heavy damage to the graves.
Though the written history of this cemetery is not available that could reveal the exact year of its establishment, but a tombstone set near the main gate in memory of an 18-year-old girl, Maria Cotton, the daughter of Lieut Colonel Cotton HM 28 Regiment, who died on October 13, 1843 shows that the cemetery was established somewhere around that time.
Located in Abyssinia Lines, just beside Bazarta Line, the graveyard has been in a state of neglect since many years.
The compound wall from the eastern side has broken down at several places allowing stray animals to roam freely in the graveyard.
Wild grass has grown all over the graveyard owing to stagnant water. Sometimes, the children of the neighboring settlements of Bazarta Line set the grass on fire, cuasing damage to the graves. Many visitors are also unable to visit certain areas of the graveyard due to the water.
The caretaker of the graveyard told this scribe that the water has damaged several graves, majority of them dating back to the colonial era.
He said occasionally, Christians collect donations to buy fuel for the water suction pump to drain out sewage water, but are unable to continue doing this. “The government has done nothing in this regard,” he said.
Christians are the second biggest religious minority in Sindh after Hindus, majority of them living in Karachi and Gora Qabristan is their largest cemetery.
When this scribe contacted Saddar Town Nazim Muhammad Dilawar for his statement over the issue, he was not available, but his personal assistant advocate Nizamuddin said the Gora Qabristan does not lie under the control of town administration and therefore it has nothing to do with the matter.
“It is under the control of the cantonment board,” he said. When pointed out that the sewage water that has damaged the graveyard comes from areas such as Bazarta Line, which are under the control of the Saddar Town Administration, he refuted this claim.
Thursday, February 11, 2010