History lives on through TDF Ghar and its Vintage Treasures

Sunday, October 15, 2017 Heba Moeen 2 Comments

A couple of weeks ago my colleague and his daughters invited me to join them for a visit to the TDF Ghar which almost made us time travel to an era bygone. Everything on display; from the gramophone to the vintage bookshelf, the vanity table, and chess boards seemed to have a soul within them and were eager to be observed. Everything on display had its origins and information quoted. The kids were quite surprised to see the analogue phone with the rotary dial and the giant radio. Given the spacious old houses, these huge things still appeared small especially considering the high ceilings of the house as opposed to small boxes of apartments constructed these days. 

The Gramophone

TDF Ghar aka The Dawood Foundation Ghar, located in Jamshed Quarters was constructed in the 1930s and now owned by this particular entity that has presented it as a new public place for the citizens of an agitated city. Special emphasis has been laid on restoring the house and presenting it in its original form so that people get acquainted by history in its true essence. This particular society was built by Karachi's first mayor, Jamshed Nusserwanjee into the very heart of diversity where Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis, and Jews lived in harmony while the city's middle class soared. 

The purpose is also to utilise the space for trainings, seminars, workshops, and exhibitions; something like what is offered by T2F and PCCC (Pakistan Chowk Community Centre) however, in a larger space.

"Informal learning spaces play an important role in helping society in using the right to speak in a constructive manner. People can share their ideas and materialise them for larger benefit of the public. Incubation centres and other similar projects are gaining popularity because of their inclusive nature. TDF Ghar, will connect the visitors with the rich and vibrant history of Karachi while giving them a place to talk and discuss ideas," Hiba Zubairi Communication Team Leader, The Dawood Foundation.

Present in the living room are antique artifacts and vintage collectables that one would only see in museums now. The tiles are also handmade and belong to the same era, the decade of the 1930s. Meanwhile, the first floor had almost got its renovation completed till the time we visited, it awaited antique furniture display, some of which was already stacked for its turn.

The Revolving Bookshelf

The Sehan Cafe arranged along the likes of Iranian cafes that existed till the last decade or so (even though some can be found inn Saddar) welcomes the early bird with Hulwa Puri.

As you go upstairs you see a pictorial display of Karachi's history, the time when intellect was widespread and people used to mind their own business, a time of prosperity somehow planned on a different tangent.

The rooftop offers a spectacular view of the quaid's mausoleum.

What we are not taught in history books is something that we found here; the concept and inspiration that led to the creation of this mausoleum. The design was influenced by the Samanid Mausoleum in Uzbekistan. You will find more details when you visit TDF Ghar.

The flora and fauna is quite meticulously arranged on the rooftop.

My colleague, Khurram Zia Khan with his daughters, Nabeeha and Zainab

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  1. An excellent explanation to our visit to this historical place.Enjoyed reading each and every word.Karachi should try and save its history. Few items like like typewriter and rotary phones considered as status symbol in my childhood are now obsolete.Hope more people visit this place to establish connection with history.

    1. Thank you for the great company and for opening a new pathway for me. I'm glad you enjoyed reading the article.