When it rains in Karachi, check your privilege

It’s not rainbows and pakoras for everyone

When it rains, it pours. When it pours, it floods. And while it brings some relief to water-starved Karachi, it also exposes the city’s failure and inability to handle rain.

Rain in this city is an unmitigated disaster, causing roofs to collapse, drains to overflow, and prolonged power outages. A heavy downpour can cause the city’s power and drainage system to wilt. If you’re privileged, you have generators or a UPS that can provide some relief from the hot weather. Most people do not enjoy that privilege.

Rain is a stark reminder of the privileges the rich enjoy, and the indignities the underprivileged are subjected to. For the rich, rain is entertainment, an excuse to go out for a long drive, eat pakoras and sip chai while enjoying the view of your newly-cleaned plants from the comfort of your living room. For the poor, rain is devastating, almost apocalyptic.

Rain floods in Karachi aren’t just an inconvenience for when they enter your drawing room and ruin your Afghan carpet. They can be devastating and oftent fatal for the underprivileged class. 

The last rainspell in Karachi a few weeks ago caused at least 6 deaths, as the roofs of many homes collapsed in various areas of Karachi. An entire section of building tiles were ripped off, landing on incoming traffic in Karachi. Last year’s monsoon season was no different. You may recall videos that went viral showing three young men losing their lives as their motorcycle slipped in a flooded street of Karachi’s DHA area. They were electrocuted by fallen wires in the water, as bystanders looked on helplessly. 

That same year, 24 others lost their lives as a result of rain.

Enjoying rain should be a right not a privilege but that’s a long shot till elected representatives and the privileged class take action to make a system whereby Karachi is liveable.

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