Any mention of Ranchor Line is incomplete without including the Salawat community, which occupies
most of its central parts.
Ranchor Line is one of oldest settlements in Karachi. A majority of the residents of this area are from
the Salawat community, who migrated from Rajasthan. This community settled here even before
Partition. Today, the wide roads of Ranchor Line have been reduced to narrow streets by the extensive
encroachments. Here you will see, perhaps to your astonishment, five- to six storey buildings standing
tall on about 120 yards of land. Then, of course, the flats lack even the necessary space for their
“The name of the area is associated with a Hindu named Ranchor. The area was first inhabited by
its occupants in the early days of the British Raj. With time, it became one of the most densely
populated areas in the city. Before the partition, the area was home to a majority of Hindus.
“There were a huge number of Muslim Marwari people living here as well, divided into many a
community. Salawat was the only community that earned a name in Karachi.
14 JULY, 2022
PHOTOS BY; Aisha Diwan
A flower shop owner is about to set up his shop while
making bangles of famous flower “ jasmine”
Known mostly as’motia’ in the subcontinent, the Jasmine sambac plant is a family of
jasmine plants. Although it is perennial, it has flowers that are only seen in summer.
There are many flowers shop in a row selling similar kind of flowers hanging outside
An aged man selling vegetables sitting on the floor
Instead of giving up in this hot weather, he is doing hardwork sitting on the floor without any stall despite of being aged. He had a stall before but during the time of pandemic he has lost it and since then he has been doing on the floor to feed his family.
M. Haseeb, owner of ‘Noorani Tea Store’, standing outside his shop with hand fan.
Because of severe loadshedding in the area, He is not sitting in his shop but standing outside expecting a natural air but the
weather is very hot. He is having this hand fan in his hand. The hand fans are not being used very oftenly nowadays as many
people have UPS’s or generators in their shop. But, Ranchoreline being the old city area also follows the old trends too and
they cannot afford the generators aswell.
A residential building, built in the British colonial period, situated in
The building is nearly 100 years older or more and it is before the partition. The
structure and curtains in the balcony also gives a oldschool vibe.
A child standing in the balcony with kite in his hand.
The structure of this old building is very different from today’s architecture. The buildings are visibly foreign structured giving aesthetic look as
foreign countries still follows this kind of structure in their buildings.
Historical landmark of Karachi Old City, Poonabhai Tower situated in a downtown,
thickly populated area of Ranchor line market.
A grocery shop owner taking out some
wheat from packet.
Earlier, there were only these kind of grocery shops in the streets. Nowadays, Big
superstores are famous where people tend to buy grocery at larger quantity because of the
good quality and do a monthly grocery shopping altogether.
Sufian, A young boy setting up the stall of
This stall has been running by his father since 8 years. These kind of chips get deep fried. They’re beautiful in colors, have different kind of shapes and cheaper in prices.
Abdul Ahad , stitching a dress, owning shop singlehandedly.
From stitching dresses to selling laces for designs, everything they do on their own. Beautiful collection of laces is also visible in the background.
A unique stock of beautiful laces and jewels shop totally aesthetic and
These Laces are used while stitching a dress specially eastern wear dresses. There is a huge collection of
beautiful laces in ranchorline small shops.
A man taking out the green dyed dupatta
In this hot weather where dyeing shops don’t even have fan, It’s a tough task to do as dye
produces heat as well. Dyeing is something which never gets old and these kind of small
shops are best and cheaper
A clay artist with a stall of potteries and different household items
He is an expert clay artist selling potteries and different household items for over more than 20
years. There is a huge variety from kitchen appliances to bathroom use things.
The cereals, pulses and other grocery items with their names respectively in their
columns. Flies are visible on them as well. These type of shops are being overshadowed
when the idea of getting groceries from big supermarkets have become popular.
A chai wala is about serve the chai as it’s ready
It is a famous chai wala in the streets of ranchoreline. It is also a spot for chit-chats in the evening as men sitting in the surrounding of him having fun.
It states the reality of Karachi and it’s bad condition after rainfall where trash and water is all over
the street in the crowded market. The municipal community isn’t taking any action as well. People,
trash, shops, sewerage, vehicle, animals everything in one frame.
Asad, an 8 years old, sitting outside the shop waiting for the customers.
A kid’s duty is to grab attention of the customers and convince them to
come to their shop. This kid has been working here since 8 months.
A child standing in balcony with the basket besides him.
The pulley hanging steel basket is not used frequenty in today’s times
but common in these old areas. The building is very old as if it hasn’t been painted since years.
A man, along with a kid, trying to make the dyed dupatta dry in the sunlight.
These type of scenarios can only be seen in small markets. After the dyeing
process, fabric needs to be dried so they stand like this beneath the sunlight.