Volume - 8 : Issue - 4

Published : Oct. - Dec. 2009

Group : Issues


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Surat surprise: Pakistan within India’s boarders

By Yagnesh Mehta

Surat: If you ask a rickshaw at Surat station to take you to Pakistan, he’ll inform you, as a matter of fact, that the journey will cost you Rs.40. Soon, you’ll reach a quite locality no different from other parts of city.

Welcome to the Surti Pakistan, this is home to as many contradictions. For instance, it is part of Ramnagar area and is one of the most peaceful areas of the city. The locality was named Pakistan almost 60 years back when Sindhis came to the city after partition.

Resident of Ramnagar is very happy to have Pakistan in their neighbourhood here. The area has about 10,000 Sindhis households. Initially, only 600 homes were constructed to help migrant Sindhis settle here. Gradually the area developed as Sindhis started playing an important role city’s commercial life, especially in textiles industry.

“Sindhis came to the city in 1950. Some of them were from different villages of Sindh province in Pakistan and refused to be part of the common Sindhi Panchayat. They formed their own Panchayat and gradually started calling the locality Pakistan,” says Sudama Motwani, a local politician who had contested a Surat Municipal Corporation polls. Even local people accepted a Pakistan amid them and soon the name became part of common parlance. “The name became so popular that it was later accepted in Municipal Corporation records,” adds Motwani. “But we have ensured that there are barriers, physically or otherwise, between Pakistan and Ramnagar.”

“Living in Surti Pakistan has changed our perception of the neighbour. It inspires us to improve relation with it,” says Nanak Bijani, diamond trader and shop owner In Surati, who lauds TOI’s Aman Ki Asha drive.


Courtesy: Times of India