On the spring morning of April 22, 1847, when the Siberian migratory birds were singing a fond adieu to Karachi, the city on the edge of the Arabian Sea was welcoming groups of Parsis from across India. It was still six years before India would get its first train, so they all made the journey by cart and boat. They were gathered for the tana ceremony to lay the foundation of the city’s first dakhma or Tower of Silence.
Advertisements about this socio-religious event were published in many newspapers of Bombay including the Jame Jamshed. After the tana ceremony, a jashan thanksgiving ceremony was led by Fareedunji Behramji Jamasp-Asana, who was declared as first dastur or High Priest of the Parsis of Karachi.
This event not only brought together hundreds of Parsis but also consolidated the Parsi settlement of Karachi. It was only three years before, in 1844, that Hormusjee Dadabhoy Ghadially had become the first Parsi to build a home in the city. He had come to the city one year after the British conquered Sindh in 1843. For decades after, the congregation for the tana ceremony remained as the largest gathering of Parsis in Karachi.
By 1849, as the Parsi population began to grow, the Parsis…