A Visual Treat: Karachi in the 1940s

Posted on February 27, 2011
Filed Under >Adil Najam, History, Society, Travel
Total Views: 84311

Adil Najam

Links to this historic video from Karachi as it was in the 1940s (not much after 1942 but probably well before 1947) have been floating into my email inbox recently. I now have had nearly a dozen readers suggest that this would make a good post for All Things Pakistan.

I agree. It is a most fascinating and quite rare glimpse into what life was (as seen by a British colonial soldier) back before 1947. It is a remarkable video precisely because it is done by an amateur and not for a newsreel. It is remarkable also for the many thing it shows that one had not seen before. And for all the things that it does not show. Obviously the soldier doing the filming was traveling through Karachi and onwards towards the Middle East. One would love to learn so much more about what he saw and thought of the lands he traveled through. But what little one sees here is itself a treasure trove.

I realize that some of you would have seen this already. If you have, and if you are like me, you might want to see it again and maybe share your reaction and thoughts on this. Those who have not already seen this, I hope you find it as interesting as I have.

14 responses to “A Visual Treat: Karachi in the 1940s”

  1. Alf says:

    What a wonderful treat. Enjoyed this very much.

  2. fuzair says:

    Thank you for posting this clip, and Owais’s earlier clip about Karachi trams. I remember riding them occasionally with my mother and aunts in c.1970-71-72 when we’d be in Karachi for summer holidays. IIRC, there used to be one that would take us to Gandhi Gardens (Zoo). Karachi has changed so much–and for the much, much worse–since those days. My mother’s memories of pre-Partition Karachi are growing dimmer now but this brought some of her tales to life!

  3. Athar Saeed says:

    Video is very precious and rare. It has captured that how the life was in 1942. Unique experience!
    It must have passed from different sources and finally reached the internet. Finding that how this video actually came out of the video camera of movie maker and reached the global village (Internet) is another interesting thing to know.

  4. Azra says:

    Enjoyed this. Seems like the soldier was playing with his camera on a long trip. It could actually be that he was in both Karachi and then in Bombay. Certainly was in Egypt later. Great find.

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