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Rahat Mahmood
1975



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Imran Ahmed Patel
1996



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 Early History

ANCIENT HISTORY - 766 A.D.
 

Though 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 mentions

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

Gujarat, 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.

For 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.


EARLY DAYS OF PARSIS IN KARACHI - 1847

The 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.

The 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.


The 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.

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