Tuesday, 8 November 2016

How my experience of Diwali in Karachi took me to a city I never knew.

Karachi is often termed as a dull city, sometimes even dangerous. In a city of 20 odd million, there is a dearth of public spaces and limited avenues for cultural activities.
The much praised diversity has also come under scrutiny, with minorities migrating to greener pastures abroad and those staying back choosing to remain discreet.
The uncertain security situation restricts religious festivities of non-Muslims as well as the nurturing of our communities' collective imagination. Festivals come and go but they don’t manage to make headlines for the right reasons.
But anyone who has lived in Karachi for some time would know that the city opens up to its denizen gradually. There are pockets across the city that light up annually with festivities, religious and cultural, showing a fascinating side of the place that doesn't make the news.
Last week, my friend visiting from London asked me if I had any plans for Diwali.
I suggested we visit the Shri Swaminarayan temple, the biggest remaining Hindu temple in Karachi.