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How did Karachi get it's name?

Updated: Oct 2, 2023



Once upon a time, in an era when the gods were a tad less benevolent and life was about as tough as it gets, there thrived a community of fishermen along the Arabian Sea's rugged coastline. These fearless fishermen faced not only the tempestuous waters and relentless winds but also the wrath of the very deities they worshipped. In those days, men and women toiled side by side, sharing a unique and cherished state of being known as equality.


In this quaint fishing village, resided a woman who adored her husband as deeply as he cherished her – a mutual love, a rarity in those times. This devoted pair, along with their fellow fishermen, would embark on their daily fishing expeditions before the sun even dared to peek over the horizon. It was during these early hours that the fish would venture close to the shore, teasing the surface of the water. The husband would wade into the waves, braving the depths to wrestle the fish from the sea's embrace, while his wife, no less skilled, would deftly scoop them up, gripping their throats firmly, and deposit them into a basket crafted from woven palm leaves. This ensured that the slippery creatures wouldn't slip away and return to the watery depths.


One fateful evening, a relentless storm descended upon the village, unleashing its fury for an agonizing seventeen days and nights. Storms were seen as the wrathful curses of vengeful gods in those days, and during this tempest, the villagers dared not approach the perilous waters. As the winds howled and the sea roared like a rabid beast, their main source of sustenance, the fish, remained out of reach. The villagers found themselves without their beloved fish, their primary source of sustenance.


However, the wife, both loving and beloved, was expecting her first child, and her need for nourishment grew urgent. This drove her husband to consider venturing out to sea, despite the warnings and pleas of the other fishermen. Desperation gnawed at his belly, and he explored alternatives to satisfy his hunger. However, with winter's icy grip, their options for food had dwindled to rotten fish or the ever-depleting stores of dry dates and palm. Despite the warnings and pleas of the elders, the husband felt he had no choice. Desperation gnawed at his belly, and he resolved to venture out into the unforgiving sea, ignoring the counsel of his elders.


As he stepped into the cursed waters, the entire village watched in disbelief. Someone was daring to defy the gods, a transgression that was met with deep disapproval in those times. . Pressing forward without even a backward glance at his wife, he ventured into the deep waters where the fish had sought refuge in the bottomless depths. The water god, affronted by this audacious act, unleashed his mightiest waves, but the ambitious man paid them no heed. He persisted, further and further, until he could go no more. The water surged, forcing him to falter, rise, stumble, and then rise again. Ultimately, he succumbed and became a tragic tale of the gods' cruelty.


She cried out, her wails echoing across the storm-tossed sea, but none among the villagers dared to join her in the water. They believed her husband was lost, that the gods were not to be trifled with, and that she should return to her child and remember her husband in her heart. But this woman, known as Kolachi, would not yield. She leaped into the ever-rising waves, determined to save her husband. She was willing to sacrifice her life, but she had her unborn child to protect. And so, she swam, and she swam, against the relentless onslaught of the sea. The water tossed her about, making her falter and stumble, but she rose, she fought, she dived, and then she ascended, only to dive again.


When the villagers laid eyes on her once more, she had her husband with her, unconscious but alive. She swam them both to the safety of the shore and emerged from the water, her strength and determination casting her in a divine light. She was no longer just a woman; she had become a goddess.


Kolachi would live on not just in memory but in the very name of the city that grew in that place – with her name morphing into the word "Karachi". It stands today as the largest city in Pakistan, perched on the shores of the Arabian Sea. This is how the port city got its name, not through the exploits of a merciless emperor who made his mark by spilling the blood of countless souls, but through the indomitable spirit of a woman who refused to surrender to the whims of the gods and would take no nonsense from anyone.

 

Submitted by: Ahmad Ali

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