yahoodi qabrustan
jewish grave

Yahoodi Qabristan of Karachi tells about the Jewish presence in Pakistan

There is a common impression about Karachi that it remained inhabited by people belonging to different caste and cultures. This did not only include the local people, but also those who served the British rulers, Zionists and Jews. According to Sindh Gazette, the Jewish population in Karachi was based on 428 families as per the census of 1901.

Prominent historian and researcher Mohammad Usman Damohi writes in his book ‘Karachi in the Mirror of History’ that there was only one Jewish cemetery in the metropolis and it was located in the Southeast of Old Haji Camp. It was called the Bene Israel Graveyard. Also, there was a building run under Bani Israel Trust, Magain Shalome Synagogue. It is still known to the people of Karachi as the ‘Israeli Masjid’ or the ‘Yahoodi Masjid’.

The synagogue was situated at the central square of Karachi‘s Ranchore Line, where now in its place stands a tall building called the Madiha Square.

Very few people know that Karachi has another Jewish cemetery or Yahoodi Qabristan that is still in good condition. The cemetery is being looked after by a local Balouch family. They allow no one to enter the graveyard. It is situated next to Mewa Shah graveyard of Muslims.

Yahoodi Qabristan
Yahoodi Graveyard

The cemetery has more than 500 graves and most of them are made of marble stones. Almost every grave has a tombstone that shows some text in English and Hebrew. There is an interesting story about these tombstones that they don’t only show age of the person resting inside the grave, but months and even days are also the addition.

It is still unknown as to how old this graveyard is, however, the Balouch family claims that they had guarded the cemetery for over a century now. Maybe it’s the Balouch family because of whom this Jewish graveyard is still surviving in the Muslims-dominated state. If there was no one to rescue this cemetery, it might have been demolished by the Muslims like the Yahoodi Masjid and the land could have become extension for Mewa Shah graveyard.

Written by Mohsin Soomro

A dreamer and a go-getter, this is how I would define myself. With seven- plus years of experience in Journalism, I have worked with various publications in print and online. With an inclination towards photography, it is my dream to go on around the world tour someday and capture the beauty of nature through my lens. You can write to me at mohsinsoomro10[@] gmail (dot) com)

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