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Moriswala School, Karachi

Daud Kamal was an intelligent man and a fine English poet. When he undertook the almost impossible task of translating Ahmed Nadim Qasmi’s Urdu ghazals and nazms into English, many had their doubts about the success of the venture. But one of the couplets that he translated depicts effectively the existence and journey of the Tayyab Ali Alavi and F. C. Moriswala schools situated near the city courts.

The girls’ campus, which is across the street, does not face problems of overcrowding, but the general apathy towards old buildings is evident from a hollowed edifice that’s located in front of the F. C. Moriswala Girls Secondary School whose arched entryway gives an eerie Dickensian look. Though the boys’ school was built first in the 1930s and the girls’ campus after a few years, it is in the latter that you can find objects that make you travel back into the worth-remembering days of yore. For example, there are small sewing machines on which girls in the early days of the institution learned how to stitch fabrics with thread. Then there is an embroidered picture of Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah made by an artist M. Husain whose business card mentions Clifton Road… and quite a few well-kept volumes of Encyclopaedia Britannica.

This is quite strange. The Tayyab Ali Alavi School has nothing do with this: outside the school a bunch of typists clicking away at a fair clip. There are applicants galore getting their applications typed so that they could be submitted to the offices concerned. Click, click, click… not a single application appears to be composed for the conservation of numerous historic buildings that tower over these people like a beanstalk waiting for a Jack to know its worth.

[Source: Karachi Legacies of Empires by Peerzada Salman]

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