Goans in Karachi: 1900-1947: Goans in Judiciary, Civil Services, Municipality

Menin Rodrigues | AUGUST 05, 2022, 07:30 PM IST
Goans in Karachi: 1900-1947: Goans in Judiciary, Civil Services, Municipality

In the first quarter of the 20th century, Goans in Karachi were a formidable community. Acquiring good education was top of the agenda amongst families who ensured that their wards read well and contributed to church, society, and the city. Qualifying in jurisprudence was a foremost goal of some young Goans and to be called to the Bar.

A handful of Goan lawyers emerged and excelled; while some were skilled in litigation processes to become registrars of the courts, others stood out as outstanding arbitrators and judges. Among them was the highly competent Justice Edward Raymond (1865-1928). He was the first Indian to be appointed by the British in 1918 to the Bench of the Judicial Commissioner’s Court in Sindh Province.

One of his sons, Justice Herman Raymond (1907-1978) became the Chief Prosecutor of Sindh and Baluchistan and a Judge of the West Pakistan High Court. His brother Gerald Raymond was an official assignee of the High Courts. The Raymonds were an eminent family, another brother Maurice was the first Pakistani General Manager of the Karachi Port Trust, while the Most Rev Leonard Raymond, the Archbishop of Allahabad. Fr Stephen Raymond (Oxon) was the Principal of the legendary St Patrick’s School.

Justice Charles M Lobo, another Goan with jurisprudence distinction, was a Judge of the Sindh High Court and Chairman of the Public Service Commission, post-partition. He was also a music aficionado and conducted the grand choir of St Patrick’s Cathedral. He composed the hymn “Rise India” which was arranged especially for the inauguration of the Christ the King Monument in 1931.

Earlier in 1902, Aloysius de Mello, Bar-at-Law became the first Goan to be appointed to the colonial civil service, and later in 1925, Barrister Bruno de Sa became the Registrar of the High Court of Sindh. His elder brother Louis A de Sa, a 1923 graduate of the London School of Economics also practised law in Karachi.

Goans were also an integral part of the municipality in Karachi. They were at the forefront of civic responsibilities and sat on numerous municipal committees to contribute to the city’s reputation as one of the glamorous cities, east of the Suez. Several were municipal councillors, including Latin Britto, CB Cabral, APR Pinto, Joseph Castellino, Manuel Misquita, Hermen Drago, Jerome D’Souza, and A B Fonseca, respectively.

While the municipality named one of the main thoroughfares of Karachi after Latin Britto (a popular artery to this day, called “Britto Road”), Manuel Misquita was elected Mayor of Karachi in 1946, at a time when the streets of Karachi were washed every morning! Several roads in Cincinnatus Town were named after Goan municipal pioneers.

Karachi was one of the most beautiful cities of that time, it attracted multi-cultural people from everywhere, including several hundred Goan families from Portuguese Goa. They found Karachi to be an attractive economic option and started arriving here in hordes. Before long, they had established themselves to be among the founding fathers of a city that was beautiful, vibrant, and entertaining!

General Charles Napier (1782-1853) who captured Sindh in 1839 and annexed Karachi in 1843, wrote back after his return to Britain, “You will yet be the glory of the East; would that I could come again, Karachi, to see you in your grandeur.”

Next: 1900-1947 – Healthcare, Medicine, and Doctors

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