FAQ         Help         Contact Us

Gwadar

From Khoja Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
This page is incomplete-please contribute by adding useful information. Thank you. Khojawiki.org

Gwadar is a city on the south-western Arabian Sea coastline of Pakistan, in Baluchistan Province.

The Port is located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, just outside the Strait of Hormuz, near the key shipping routes in and out of the Persian Gulf and it has a good natural harbour.

Gwadar is an ancient city. During the homeward march of Alexander the Great Macedonian, its presence was noted as "the home of the fish-eaters", a Greek rendering of the ancient Persian name for the area "Mahi khoran", which itself become the word "Makran", the old name of Baluchistan. The region came under the Arab-Muslim rule in 643 AD and withstood repeated Portuguese attacks under Vasco Da Gama in the 14th century to finally end up under the rule of the Sultan of Oman until 1958, when it was annexed/purchased by Pakistan. Most of the money for the purchase from Oman came from donations, with the Aga Khan III, being the greatest contributor.

Although Sindhi Khojas have lived in Gwadar for many centuries,initially as fishermen and later as small rekri cart-vendors, most Khojas traders migrated from Sindh, Hyderabad and Bombay around the 1830's. They developed a reputation for honesty and eventually came to dominate the fish trade, which was the most important export of Gwadar. They owned fish trawlers and exported the dried fish to China and Ceylon.

By 1891, they were prosperous enough that they built themselves a splendid jamat-khana community centre that was known as the "Gowar-e-Gwadar" or "Light of Gwadar".

By 1929, according to the British Agent in Gwadar, the Khojas numbered about 400 and had established a fine school and a library in the Jamatkhana community centre. The school had three efficient masters, who supervised 35 girls and 45 boys in classes teaching English, Gujarati, Sindhi, geography, drawing, physical exercises and music!.

(London, British Library, ‘File 22/16 II (A66) Gwadur’. IOR/R/15/1/379)

Gwadar also played an very important role in global diaspora of the Khojas. During centuries before and after Portuguese colonial disruption of the 1500's, Oman was the dominant maritime power on the Indian Ocean and under Omani rule, many Khojas relocated from Gwadar to Muscat, the capital of Oman and then later, made their way to Mombasa and See our Essay" Early History of Khojas in Zanzibar, which were also under Omani rule.

When the British established their rule over India and Oman, these Khojas became British subjects and many have opted to remain in the Middle East until present time.

Presently, there are many Khoja families in Gwadar, taking advantage of the massive redevelopment of the Port under Chinese administration.