the records of Darius the Great show that the Persian Influence and
Empire dominated at one time the Valley of the Indus, it is not known
whether Parsi Zoroastrians lived long in this country. The remnants
of the Fire Temples at Uch may inspire some to believe that they did.
But we cannot tell with certainty how far this influenced the community.
The Pilgrim Fathers of the Parsis who left their ancient land of Iran
in search of safety and shelter landed not far from Sind. But
as history recounts, these Persian refugees who landed at Div
Bunder in 766 A.D. moved towards East Sanjan. As Kiss-e-Sanjan
Jayadeva or Jadi Rana gave refuge to these men and women
who called themselves "Goura Sura" strong and courageous
people, in the city of Sanjan in or about 785 A. D
and the villages of Gujarat, particularly near Bharuch and Surat,
became the main centres of Parsi Settlements. The rise of Bombay
in 1664 attracted the enterprising element in the community to this
great big beautiful city, and within a short time, Bombay became
the centre of the Parsi Community.
two centuries till 1820 we cannot trace any Parsi settlements in
the North- West part of India, now known as Pakistan. Parsi Prakash
mentions the existence of the business-house of The Jassewallas
in the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province and Sind. The probable
data is 1826. From the existence of the Aramghas (Burial grounds)
at Sukur, Hyderabad (Sind) and Karachi it appears that the Parsis
settled in some numbers in Sind after 1839.
DAYS OF PARSIS IN KARACHI - 1847
consecration of the first Dokhma (Tower of Silence) in Karachi is
dated 22nd April 1847. On 25th January 1848 when this Dokhma (Ghadialli's)
was completed, the Hirjikaka Agiari, Fire temple, situated in the
Saddar Bazar, was also commenced. This shows that by the middle
of the nineteenth century the Parsi Community in Karachi had settled
in appreciable numbers.
first available census figures of 1872, show that there were only
777 Parsis 427 males and 350 females. The child population must
have grown considerably, for within ten years of the opening ceremony
of the Hirjikaka's Dare Meher, on 3rd May 1849, a move was made
to open a school for the Parsi children of Karachi.
second volume of the Parsi Prakash, of Seth Bomanji Patel, mentions
as foot-note the following :
"The Zoroastrian residents of Karachi feeling the need of imparting
religious education and a knowledge of Gujarati, commenced collecting
donations and subscriptions from the members of the community and
opened on the 23rd of May 1859 'The Parsi Balakshala'. The
lead in this matter was taken by Seth Nanabhai Framji Spencer, who
for the first three years was its Secretary. In the month of June,
when Seth Nanabhai Spencer had to return to Bombay, the Parsi Zoroastrians
of Karachi, presented to him an address of appreciation on 23rd
June 1862. In place of Seth Nanabhai, Shapurji Hormusji Soparivala
was appointed the secretary and Seth Pestomji Byramji Kotwal the
Joint Secretary so that he could look after the school daily."
In 1875, the school became an Anglo-Vernacular school, as English was now taught in the higher classes and in 1898 the Kindergarten was introduced as well. The school had by now expanded and finding the Frere Street house too small, the founding family purchased the present piece of land from the Karachi Municipality and constructed a new school building consisting of a ground and first floor. The foundation stone was laid on 10th October 1904 and Seth Khursedji Shapurji Soparivala on 24th March 1906 (the eleventh death anniversary of the Late Seth Shapurji Hormusji Soparivala) commissioned the building.
From 1922, English was also taught in the primary classes and the school now became a High School, and was renamed the "Bai Virbaiji Soparivala Parsi School" in July 1922.
In 1924 the Soparivala family added a second story to the building and that is how the school stands today.