new1 - Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture

Riaz Ahmed Shaikh, PhD
Head of Social Sciences
SZABIST, Karachi
• German Neo-Marxist Philosopher cum Sociologist Jurgen
Habermas discussed the concept of “Public Sphere” in his
work” “The Structural Transformation of the Public SphereAn inquiry into a category of Bourgeois Society.
• The public sphere (German Offentlichkeit) which
• “An area in social life where individuals can come
together to freely discuss and identity societal
problems, and through that discussion influence
political action”
• “It is a discursive space in which individuals and
groups congregates to discuss matters of mutual
interest and, where possible to reach a common
• In Europe the discursive areas such as Britian’s
Coffee houses, France’s Saloons and Germany’s
Tischgesellschaften are its vivid example.
• In case of Egypt Najeeb Mahfooz in his novel Cairo
has recorded his account of the city’s public
• Karachi emerged as an important sea port during
colonial period. Parsis, Persians, Hindus, Christians,
Jews and other communities made it a
cosmopolitan city in its true sense.
• A vibrant multicultural life emerged in the city
during colonial days.
• Western cultural impacts Karachi during that time in
Education, living style and culturally.
• Several areas had emerged as public sphere
before partition and further change took place
after 1947.
• Karachi’s several café and restaurants truly emerged as
“Public Sphere”.
1- Pauf Restaurant- Located at the crossing of M.A. Jinnah
(then Bunder Road).
2- Café George- Saddar
3- Kwalti Restaurant- Saddar
4- Café Jehan- Regal Chowk
5- Central Coffee House- Near Jabees Hotel
6- Jangyan Hotel- In Chakiwara- Layari
7- Ari Hotel- Baghdadi- Layari
8- Sulaimani Hotel- Chakiwara- Layari
9- Piyala Hotel- Chakiwara- Layari
10- Elfi Restaurant- Near Zaibunnisa Street
11- Zaleen Coffee House- Regal Chowk
12- Café Paradise- Shahrah-e-Iraq
13- Café Al- Hasan- Near Board Office, Nazimabad,
• These restaurants worked as Public sphere where
political activists, literacy figures and students used to
meet at these places.
• Those spaces emerged as the meeting points where
discussions on philosophy, literature and students
activities used to be held regularly.
• Several prominent students activists and political leaders
started their careers from these restaurants.
• Poets, short story writers, novelists and progressive TV
and Radio performers were also frequent visitors of
these places.
• Prominent journalists were also visible / regular
visitors to these restaurants and cafes.
• A clear voice of dissent for democracy, people
rights could be heard at these places.

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