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Sir Charles James Napier 1782-1853

Sir Charles James Napier 1782-1853

The first governor of Sindh from 1843-7, Sir Charles Napier belonged to a distinguished British family. He was born in London and grew up in Ireland where his military father, sixth son of sixth Lord Napier was garrisoned.

In 1812, Lt. Col Charles Napier took part in war against U.S. in Bermuda. In 1838, he was promoted to General and was given a command of northern England, which frothed with political unrest. He controlled this effectively within the two years and so he was sent to Subcontinent on Lord Wellington’s advice.

Napier came to India in 1841 and was appointed as a commander-in-chief with wide military and civilian powers in Sindh. He came with a view of finding the provoking hostility.

Napier then was appointed governor of Sindh and knighted. He declared Karachi as capital of Sindh and had great visualizations for it as a major city and port in the sub-continent. The town as we know it today, began during his tenure. He developed a cantonment town, the roads and the harbor. He built the vital Napier Mole, connecting the island of Keemari to mainland, which help porters and importers to carry their moves and their imports easily as it took time when shifted via ships. He setup the canal dept. to improve the irrigation of Sindh, and was keen to encourage trade and commerce.

His one undoubted success was the efficient Police force he created for Karachiand. This was later replicated as a model throughout British India and till now this Police system is working in India and Pakistan. Napier sailed from Karachi in October 1847. Two years later, he was recalled to subcontinent as commander-in-chief, during the second Sikh war, to replace Sir Hugh Gough who had suffered some reserves, but the war ended with the final victory before Napier arrived. As Commander-in-chief, Napier planed for the army not to meet with approbation of Lord Dalhousie, the governor General of India of that time. The two men quarreled and Napier resigned in 1851, having lost support from his patron, the Duke of Wellington too.

statue of Charles Napier

 He died in 1853. A statue of him now stands at Trafalgar Square while there are many landmarks in Karachi which continue to bear his name. Napier road is the most popular one.
He will be remembered as founding father of modern Karachi as because of his policies and mass level of construction of Roads and town, Karachi became the mega city for which he planned earlier.

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