Quaid-E-Azam House (Flag Staff House), Karachi
Quaid-e-Azam House Muuseum is situated at the crossing of Shahrah-e-Faisal and Fatima Jinnah Road is a gorgeous yellow stone double storeyed building in the middle of a Vast open piece of land which is popularly known as the Flag Staff House.
History: The house build in plot No.241, Staff Lines, Karachi Cantonment, the House was purchased by Quaid-i-Azam for Rs.1,15,000/- with a down payment of Rs.5,000/-. The sale agreement was made on 14th August, 1943 with Mr. Sorab Kavasji Katrak, a former Mayor of Karachi. At that time the house was shown as being situated at Bonus Road, an extension of Elphinstone Street which are now called Fatima Jinnah Road and Zaib-un-Nisa Street respectively.
It is not known when this house was built, except that it was in the fading year of the 19th century. Available records show that until 1922 the owner was Mr. Ramachand Hansraj Kutchi Lohana. The house was later obtained on rent by the British Indian Army. From 1940 onward, Brig, Hartwell, Major Gen. C. Durnfort, Maj. Gen. N.G. Hind and Gen. Douglas D. Gracy who later became the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Pakistan Army have resided here.
Obviously, from 1943 onward, these army commanders were tenants of the new owner. Rent receipts have been retrieved which show addressed to Quaid-i-Azam (between January and April of 1947) by the then General Officer Commanding, Lt. Gen. D.D. Gracy. The one dated 18th April, 1947 is interesting.
In September, 1947 a month after the creation of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam’s personal belongings were transferred to Flag Staff House from his house at 10-Aurangzeb Road, New Delhi, where he had lived during the intense political activities leading to independence from British rule.
At the time of sale to Quaid-i-Azam, the Flag Staff House was owned jointly by Mr. Sorab Kavasji Katrak, his wife Mrs. Dina Sorab Kavasji Katrak and daughters Virbaiji, Khorshedbai and Parinbai. In the Deed of Sale, Mr. and Mrs. Katrak and their eldest daughter, virbaiji, were shown as the trustees duly registered under an Indenture of Trust dated 31st May, 1931. It was from these Trustees that Cantonment Board the had rented the house for residential use of the rental as being Rs.435.50. there are letters army to brass.
The Quaid, Mr. Mohammad Ali Jinnah, did not get time to live in this house, there is no authentic record as would show when he visited this place but there are otherwise reliable traditions indicating that he visited this house quite often.
After his demise, his sister and political companion, Mohtarma Fatima, Jinnah, who had lived with him in the Governor General House, moved in Flag Staff House on 13th September, 1948. She lived here until 1964 where from she shifted to her own house, the “Mohatta Palace” (Qasre-i-Fatima), in Clifton. The Madir-i-Millat, Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, died on 9th July, 1967. A commission was set up, by a Presidential Decree, to identify the Quaid’s personal belongings of historical significance. The identified relics found in poor state were scientifically treated and restored for public display.
With the death of Quaid-i-Azam’s last surviving sister Shirinbai, responsibility of Flag Staff House reverted to the reconstituted “Quaid-i-Azam Trust”, comprising Mr. Hashim Raza and Mr. Liaquat Merchant. From these Trustees the Rs.51,07,000/- by a Deed signed on 14th February, 1985. Restoration and renovation work was taken in hand earlier on le June, 1984 and the Quaid-i-Azam House, as it is now named, has been declared open to public 25th November, 1993. Spread on 10,241 sq.yds. the building itself is not too large. There are three rooms on the ground floor and three rooms in the first. Two exterior rooms are 16 feet 10 inches wide. The same dimensions are of the rooms on the first floor, each with openings to the verandah. There is an annexe, which is now converted into an auditorium-cum-exhibition hall for debates, educational lectures, audio-visual shows etc.
There were also 18 out-houses, 4 garages, 3 guard rooms and a kitchen which have now been converted into the administrative offices.
The structure is built in lime-stone masonry with wooden trusses supporting the roof. Red ceramic Manglore tiles are used at the top to cover the roof. The staircase is all wooden and is in dark brown color. Beautifully colored tiles are used at the ground floor and wooden planks are used on the first as floor covering.
Each room is decorated with those relics which Quaid-i-Azam used during his lifetime. A finely carved cigarette box of good quality sandalwood is one of the antiques now placed in the house. A big camphorwood box which is skillfully carved on the sides is also placed in the bedroom on the first floor. The sofa sets are preserved in their original form. The study room consists of a reading table, chairs, table lamp and some stationery items. A resting sofa is placed at on corner of the room. The shelves made of wood and fine quality glass are decorated with high standard crockery which were used by the Quaid-i-Azam.
The Quaid-i-Azam House is now renovated. It is centrally air-conditioned and there is a full fledged fire extinguishing unit. Other facilities include burglar alarm system, close circuit TV and film projection facility.
The Department of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Pakistan and Public Works Department jointly prepared a comprehensive scheme for the renovation and restoration of the Quaid-i-Azam House. The scheme was approved by the Government of Pakistan for an estimated cost of Rs.18.666 Million. The approved scheme envisaged the following items of works.
1: Cost of the Acquisition of House.
2: Protective works like termite control and moisture resistant treatment.
3: Complete Renovation/Restoration of Building.
4: Re-electrification of the House.
5: Central Air Conditioning of the House and Annexe.
6: Conversion of Annexe into an Auditorium and Projection Room.
7: Provision for security arrangements like fire alarms and fire fighting systems.
8: Landscaping and development of house garden and lawns.
9: Setting up of House Museum. Purchase of Quaid’s relics where ever available.
The Pakistan P. W. D. was assigned the major items of works as at b-h above and Department of Archaeology and Museums was made responsible for i and j above. Mrs. Yasmin Lari an outstanding Architect of Karachi was appointed as Consultant Architect to supervise the entire work of Quaid-i-Azam House.
THE MAIN HOUSE:
The main House has been completely renovated and restored but its general character or profile has been maintained intact. Only the roof of ground floor was changed and laid in cement concrete but was provided by refixing the false wooden ceiling and wooden floor on top similar to the original design, using almost 80% old material. The roof over the 1s1 Floor has been done according to its original plan and finished with red clay tiles. On the exterior, missing and damaged portions of columns baluster and baluster and balconies have been restored to match the original style and color. Damaged stone members of the building have been replaced with new ones to strengthen the structure. The main building has been made centrally Air Conditioned and concealed electric wiring has also been provided with old original style fittings. All electric controls have been placed in two control rooms where fire alarm systems will also he monitored.
The Annexe originally consisted of four small rooms with a verandah provided access to the rooms. The flat concrete lintels in the verandah indicate that it was added at some later date. The dividing walls of the rooms have now been removed to provide a large Hall to serve as an Auditorium and Projection Room. The verandah has been retained which opens towards the front garden. Though the roof has been changed, it follows the original profile of the slopping roof and has been finished with clay tiles.
The roof profile and clay tiles finish has been maintained according to the original construction. The front verandah has also been maintained as in the original building. The Out House have been converted into reserves, offices, library etc.
A small library, containing books about Quaid-i-Azam and Freedom Movement has been established in July, 2003 to facilitate visiting Schollars and Students.
Garden in front and in the back of the Quaid-i-Azam House has been redesigned to serve the requirement of Museum visitors. It has been laid after due repairs and restoration of water supply system. A number of lights have been provided in the garden for security and also for its use on special occasions.
- Visit hours:Summer: 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Winter: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
- Virtual Tour:Video Documentary of Quaid-e-Azam House
Bedroom of Quaid-e-Azam (Father of Nation) Muhammad Ali Jinnah
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