My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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KARACHI, Pakistan, Monday—Because of the fact that I have given so much time to seeing the work of women in Karachi I had seen comparatively little of the economic effort being made by Pakistan. But after lunch on Friday with the Pakistan Cultural Committee, which is composed largely of students, we went to the industrial center that is being established on one side of Karachi. There is another center near by and there are others in various other big cities. But the area we visited yesterday was chosen because of the electric power and water that are available in sufficient quantities for manufacturing purposes.

The industrial area here covers a great deal of real estate, and I was told that there are already about 80 factories, either operating or being built.

We went through a textile mill where American machinery from Pawtucket, R.I., is in use. There were not a great many workers on hand because Friday usually is a half holiday. However, some machines were in operation and it was evident that certain health conditions, which for a cottonmill industry are important, were not being observed.

In the evening when I sat at dinner alongside the Assistant Minister for Economic Affairs, I told him of my anxiety about these conditions. I said that without protection cotton mills could be among the best places to acquire tuberculosis. He had never heard of any preventive precautions being taken and said he would look into the matter immediately.

There also is a General Electric plant in the area, a chemical plant and a plastic firm. In fact, it looks to me as though a good deal of manufacturing could be done here.

Shortages in this region are coal and oil. Coal practically is nonexistent because there is none in this area and it is expensive because it has to be imported from a great distance. There is some oil in the Punjab but not enough, so that oil, too, must be imported. I was told that there is water power available which can be used to make electricity but, as yet, it has not been developed sufficiently.

Like everything else, there is a great deal of promise for the future, but things are just beginning.

In the evening I talked with our Point 4 man, Harry Knaus of Florida, who had just returned from East Pakistan where he had been looking into the agricultural situation. He thinks something can be done about the serious conditions and is hoping to establish four or five agricultural centers that should be of great use in working out some of the problems in this area.

Saturday morning we were all up bright and early and at 5:30 we left the government house. With Mrs. Warren and her sister-in-law, Mrs. Taylor, who met us at the airport, we flew to Sidi in Beluchistan to see Durbar.

In Durbar we witnessed the ceremony that takes place once a year when the heads of tribes—some 70 or 80 of them—come to receive a token in money and a certificate showing that they have carried out their tribal responsibilities. They are proud of the fact when they can be praised for the good behavior of their tribes.

It is a colorful ceremony and we all enjoyed it very much, particularly when the gentlemen wearing flowing white robes appeared. Their faces were handsome and interesting and some of the young men were clean-shaven. Some also wore Western clothes, and I must say they seemed less picturesque.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Karachi (Pakistan) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, February 26, 1952

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.