Pakistani Truck Art

One thing that defines Pakistani culture around the world is the Truck Art seen on Pakistani vehicles. Truck, rickshaw, van, and bus owners usually paint elaborate designs and decorate their vehicles in ways that express them. Some trucks have calligraphy, geometric shapes, patters, traditional art work, poetry, or jokes intricately designed on them. When I was visiting Pakistan a few months ago, I got to see and photograph some of the artwork on these vehicles, as well as captures some funny photographs. These photographs showcase the rich culture and creative side of Pakistan.

P.S. I heard sometimes the art work costs more than the vehicle itself and the owners have competitions amongst themselves for who has the best decorated vehicle! It is something they are extremely proud of!

Visit http://www.PakistanTruckArt.com for a collection of pictures and information on Pakistani Truck Art culture.

Camera: Nikon D5200

 

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Pakistani Truck Art 2014

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Animals, like these cows, are often transported on these trucks. Pakistani Truck Art 2014.

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A tractor on the field is also decorated with vibrant colors and designs. Pakistani Truck Art 2014

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School boys ride on top of a public transportation Coach bus in Islamabad.

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A man looks at my camera curiously as I try to snap a photograph from inside our car. The man is seated inside a passenger van that is also decorated elaborately. Pakistani Truck Art 2014.

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The back of truck and a coach bus on our way to Islamabad. Trucks are usually expressive of their owners; some have pictures, designs, poetry, quotes, or funny jokes written for the amusement of the reader.

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Pakistani Truck Art 2014.

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A van/pick-up truck in Rawalpindi used to transport marble. Pakistani Truck Art 2014.

All photos shown were taken by me. All photos are the property of wanderingderwish.com.

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Dear Shahid Afridi

Everyday a new video, photograph, quote, news piece, or meme circulates social media and becomes the “trending topic.” Recently, a video of Pakistani cricket star, Shahid Afridi, was made public and became the topic of discussion all over social media.

Shahid Afridi, whilst giving an interview on a Pakistani news media channel, made a comment about how the women of Peshawar, Pakistan (his home town) were better off cooking in the kitchen, instead of trying out for sports like women’s cricket. My first reaction: “He is such a jerk!” I was and am absolutely outraged that a man of his position would say something like that!

Shahid Afridi, sometimes known as “Lala” or “Boom Boom Afridi” is a an internationally renowned Pakistani cricketer. He has been playing cricket for Pakistan’s national team for over a decade and has been a favorite, especially amongst the youth, for his good looks and style of hitting 4’s and 6’s (4 point hits and 6 point hits) in a match…usually when the team is doing not-so-well. He comes in and makes the game look so easy, scores a bunch of points, restores peoples’ faith in their team and leads them to victory. Good for you Afridi, you make Pakistanis proud. You make Pakistani men, women, boys, and girls proud.

Shahid Afridi, a renowned international cricketer

I am writing this blog after being inspired by a post on a Pakistani news website, written by a Pakistani woman as a direct letter to Afridi. It is titled: “Why I Won’t Be Cheering For Shahid Afridi Anymore.” So, I need to vent out my feelings to Shahid Afridi and the world, therefore, I am doing the same thing–writing a letter to Afridi. (I hope that somehow, in someway, he reads it someday).


 

Dear Shahid Afridi,

You are the hero of Pakistan, the hero of cricket (the most popular sport in Pakistan). You bring joy to a nation that has a lot going on right now, a nation that is doing a lot of growing up right now. While I am very happy and proud that you help Pakistan win cricket matches, I think that you need to understand that with fame and heroism comes great responsibility. You become the face of the nation and you become the person young boys and girls look up to. You are the person the youth look up to. You are the new and current sensation.

Do you know how many young boys want to be a batsman or a bowler like you? Do you know how many boys want to have hair like yours? Do you know how many boys want to make their family and country proud like you do? Do you know how many boys want to be you?

Do you know what this means? This means that whatever you do, they will want to do. Whatever you encourage them to do and however you encourage them to think, they will want to do that and think in that way.

So, when you go on a TV channel for an interview and the anchor recounts, with extreme pride, that the girls of your hometown, Peshawar, are trying out for cricket and how everyone is so proud that women of Peshawar and Pakistan are entering the sports world (and that Pakistan is continuing to progress), you DO NOT snub him by declaring that “our women have good taste in their hands” and, thus, belong in and should remain in the kitchen.

Shahid Afridi, who are you to take the limelight away from the women of Peshawar and Pakistan? Who are YOU to declare that the women of Pakistan are better off in the kitchen of their homes? YOU, Shahid Afridi, have no right to speak of what a woman can and can not do. The women of Pakistan can decide themselves how they want to represent Pakistan. They can choose if they want to be a teacher, a doctor, a secretary, a politician, an engineer, an accountant, an entrepreneur, an actress, an author, an athlete, or stay home (and cook/clean/do the laundry, or do nothing at all).

Continue reading

Islamabad: Part II

This gallery contains 9 photos.

Islamabad: Part II Earlier this year, I showed you pictures of the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad: Part I. Here are more pictures of buildings, important places, roads, and sunsets of Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. Camera: Nikon D5200   © wanderingderwish.com 2013-2014 Click here for Copyright information. All photos shown were taken by me. All photos are […]

Nusrat – the helper

Date: January 13, 2013

This one is about the domestic help at my grandparent’s house, Nusrat. She, like Maria, is one of many Pakistani women who work to support their families. But her story is slightly different. Nusrat, whose name means “the helper” is working hard to not only feed her kids but also educate them.

One day, I decided to follow Nusrat around the house as she worked on her chores. It was a sunny day and I was at home with my aunt. The power had gone out for one hour, as it does every two hours over there so the house was calm and quiet. I started by asking for her permission to write her story and take her photograph. She started smiling and said “Sure, why not!” (in Urdu, of course).

Nusrat has no idea when she was born, just that she was about 14 when she got married. She was born in Mardan, a town in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province. She migrated to Karachi, Pakistan shortly after getting married. Karachi is a long way and a completely different setting from her hometown of Mardan, but Nusrat said that she enjoyed her time in the Sindhi port city. She said that the air in Karachi was a lot better and the lifestyle was faster paced. According to Nusrat, she had little to worry about in Karachi, she felt more relaxed there.

Nusrat identifies herself as a Pathan, someone from the KPK who speaks Pashto, but because she has spent a long time in Karachi and now Rawalpindi, she can speak Urdu very well. She has five children, four sons and one daughter:

  • Adil – son, 18 years old – works as a driver
  • Salman – son, 14 years old – works as a tailor
  • Nauman – son, 12 years old – student
  • Layba – daughter, 10 years old – student
  • Sameer – son, 8 years old – student

Next, I asked her questions I was most curious about but I was slightly nervous because of the sensitivity of the topic – women’s rights and status in Pakistan. So I started by testing the waters and asked, “Nusrat, do you do parda?”

Parda is an Urdu/Farsi word that literally means “curtain” but can be used to mean veil or a cover worn by a person. In Islam, men and women are both asked to cover their bodies. For women, the parda includes covering their head with a hijab, or headscarf; basically, only the face can be shown. While it is not required in the religion, some women cover their face revealing only their eyes (called niqab) or cover their entire face with a see-thru veil that allows them to see the outside but people cannot see them (called burqah).

The matter of parda is one that is religious, cultural, but also personal; therefore, it is much debated and highly sensitive.

“Mein parda karti hu (I stay in parda)….” Nusrat took a long pause to think and continued, “aur mujhay acha lagta hai (and I like it).”

I asked her if she chose to cover and how much she covers and she told me that she covers because her husband asked her to, otherwise she would not be allowed to work.

I hesitantly continued, “Would you cover if your husband did not ask you to?”

Nusrat said, with such certainty that I was surprised she didn’t wait to think this one through, “Yes, I would, because I feel safe and protected with my chador over my head.” Continue reading

Holiday Lights

Eid Milad un-Nabi

What’s that?

Eid Milad un-Nabi is the day Muslims celebrate the birth of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Eid Milad un-Nabi is celebrated on the 12th day of the Islamic month Rabbi-ul-Awwal.

In Pakistan, this Eid is a public holiday and people celebrate it with utmost respect. Building and homes are lit up like they are during the Christmas holidays in the US and all day people hold religious gatherings to talk about the life and teachings of the Prophet (pbuh).

Many people get together for milads, where they sit and recite naats about the Prophet (pbuh); some people even hold naat competitions to judge who has the better voice. I myself competed in a few as a child and somehow placed in the top three (I do not think I have a good voice at all— at least, not anymore).

On Eid Milad un-Nabi, people make sweets and desserts and distribute amongst family, friends, and especially neighbors to exhibit their happiness for the birth of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

The feeling around town today was of nothing but celebration. Children were happy to be off from school, women were busy cooking kheer and saviyyan, and mosques were hustling and bustling with people offering prayers, reciting naats, and holding milaads. People in our local mosque were reciting naats all day on the loud speakers.

So this was a quick run through on what Eid Milad un-Nabi is.

I, for one, was very excited to see all the lights on the buildings! I felt like a kid again!
I got to go into a small street in downtown Rawalpindi where the local boys had been working for weeks to decorate their homes and small street. They did everything themselves, including figuring out the electrical work (difficult to do in Pakistan) and the designing the deco; the love and dedication is appreciate guys!

The following are pictures of various buildings in RWP and a street in downtown.

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All photos shown were taken by me. All photos are the property of wanderingderwish.wordpress.com.

Shah Faisal Mosque: Islamabad

This gallery contains 17 photos.

Islamabad Part I:Shah Faisal Mosque, Islamabad is one of the largest mosques in the world. Located in the foothills of Margalla Hills, it stands out because of its exquisite and geometric architecture and pure white color. Four very tall minarets surround the pyramid shaped main hall and give the mosque a towering feel. What I […]

Maria, the trash collector

Maria is a young woman who fills the stomachs of her 3 boys whilst keeping the streets of Rawalpindi clean.

When hunger strikes, men and women come up with innovative ways to keep themselves and their families fed. When her husband’s income was not enough for their family of five, Maria put on a dupatta (scarf) on her head and headed out to help him. She got a donkey and attached a wheelbarrow type cart to it and started collecting trash from people’s homes. She has been doing so for 4 years.

Maria gets out in the morning and goes door-to-door with her sons who call out loudly on the street for people to dispose their trash in Maria’s wheelbarrow. (Also, she is from a part of the city called Bakra Mandi which is about 30 minutes drive from where I am). The trash is then transported by Maria and her sons to the Rawalpindi Cantonment dumpsters, where the Cantt Waste Management picks it up.
Because the streets are often crowded or narrow, the Cantt trucks can not go to the inner parts of communities. This is where Maria, her sons, and their handy donkey comes in.

If it weren’t for Maria, people had to drive their trash to the dumpster sites to rid of it and more often than not people get lazy and dump it in a sewer or any unoccupied piece of land nearby. This leads to a huge trash problem in the country and makes an unsanitary environment.

Now, people hand over their trash to her and pay her a monthly fee to transport it.
Maria said that the income from trash collection is enough for them to barely make it through the month. Sometimes, though, when they do not have food some of her employers graciously feed her family.

One thing I really appreciate about Pakistan is that even though there are many poor people, the ones who have money try their best to feed and help out as many poor people as they can. It is a beautiful trait of the Pakistani people that they are very charitable and helpful.

When asked do your kids attend school, she made a helpless face and said in Urdu, “Kahan??! Fees hi itni ziada hai!” (How??! The fees [for schools] is too expensive!)

Her youngest son was looking up at me with big brown eyes. He was very excited that I was taking his photos with this big black device and even posed happily with his donkey. It broke my heart when I realized that he would one day follow his mother and father’s footsteps and live the same cycle again.

Maria went on to say that the only education her kids receive is from a women who comes to their house to teach them Arabic. Most Muslims do not charge for teaching Arabic to read the Quraan because in Islam it is a charity in itself to teach a person to read and understand the Quraan.

When I see and meet these people, I am thankful for the life I live but I also feel embarrassed because I don’t think we are doing enough for the poor people of the world. Poverty is a problem every where, not just in Pakistan and it can be ridden of with one thing: Education.
These people continuously inspire me to go on ahead with my goal of an educated Pakistan and an educated world.

Maria is a Pakistani woman who is free and working hard. I thank her for efforts in keeping my native city, Rawalpindi, clean.

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All photos shown were taken by me.  All photos are the property of wanderingderwish.wordpress.com.