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Archive for the ‘Pakistan’ Category

Old Fashioned Sweet and Sour Pickle


Eons ago as a teenager I had a delicious pickle at an aunts place.
For almost 4 decades I hunted for it in the aisles for pickles in desi grocery stores, searched for it on family or friends tables. I even asked if anyone knew or made it.
Some friends knew about the pickle but I never had the luck to find it ready anywhere.

So one day I hunted for its recipe on the net. And there it was,  at several places.

To my utter surprise the method of preparation was very simple. So there was no excuse left to not make it myself.  So here it is:

Sweet and Sour Pickle of Carrots, Turnips and Cauliflower with Jaggery.

Ingredients:
Carrots: half pound
Turnip: half pound
Cauliflower: 1 pound
Anise seeds(saunf): 1tsp
Black seed(Kalonji): 1tsp
Fenugreek seeds(methi): 1tsp
Mustard seeds(Rye ): 1tsp
Jaggery (Gurr): 1 pound
Mustard Oil: 2 tbsp
Salt, chillipowder, garam masala powder:  to taste

Cooking method is described with the pictures:

Step 1: Chop washed carrots, turnips into medium thickness sticks and break cauliflower into medium sized florets.pic1

Step 2: Mix half a cup of apple cider vinegar and half pound of jaggery in a pan and leave on slow flame till all the jaggery melts.
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Step 3: Boil water in a large deep pan till it bubbles. Once boiling, add the chopped vegetables and cook for 5-7 minutes until vegetables are blanched. Drain off water and spread the vegetables on a kitchen towel till dry. (I did for about an hour).
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Step 4: Heat 2 tbsp mustard oil in a wok. Add mustard seeds, anise, fenugreek and black seeds and let them splatter for half a minute. Then add salt, ground garam masala and red chilli powder. Finally added the vegetables. Stir fry them.
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Step 5: Stir fry the vegetables with seeds and spices.

Step 6: Add vegetables mixed with spices  & seeds into vinegar and melted jaggery mixture. Cook till most liquid evaporates.
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Step 7: Once cooked and cooled, store it in a sterilized air tight cannister and leave in the sun for 2 days to pickle well. 

Step 8: Once ready(in my case in 2 days) enjoy it with parathas and hot steaming chai. 🙂
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This pickle is a delicacy prepared in winter in Northern India specially because that is the time carrots are available.

Its easy and very delicious. I wonder why did I just keep looking for it everywhere and did  not try it myself all these years? Do try it out in a smaller amount as a trial. You will not regret it.

Happy Pickling !

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Educate a woman and you educate an entire generation…


Recently a photo of a 25 year old Afghan girl Jahan Taab from  a remote poor village Oshto in Daikundi,  went viral when she was taking the college entrance exam called Kankor Exam while breast feeding her child. Later it was confirmed that she has passed the exams and wants to go to college to study Sociology. Photo credits are given to an invigilating lecturer Yahya Erfan. He was so moved by her determination that he posted the pictures on his facebook. Link here

“She got up from her desk when her baby started to get fussy. She sat down on the floor, breastfeeding the infant, and kept filling out the answers to the test.” (Buzzfeed).

She reportedly told the lecturer Mr. Erfan that she is worried about the cost of education and that the University is 8 hours from her residence. It is the power of social media that a Go-Fund was created to support the cost of here higher education.

More about JahanTaab

 

 

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Needless to say, girls’ determination to study is never an issue. The key barrier is the systemic patriarchy in the garb of cultural mores or religious edicts.

Patriarchy is such an omnipresent barrier that hinders women in all communities and all economic strata one way or the other. And here is where the role of men becomes extremely important in bringing about women empowerment by dismantling the walls of patriarchy.

Here I must share my own story too.

(Bear in mind I am an urban educated woman with a strong will power. But even then, had it also not been the supportive men in my life, I may not have sailed through various systemic hurdles that patriarchal infrastructures create at every nook and corner of a woman’s life). 

In the early 1990s, as an Indian medical graduate I had to go through a written and a clinical exam by Pakistan Medical and Dental Council to be certified to practice in Pakistan. I opted Karachi centre. When I received notification for the exam it said the exam will not be held in Karachi as there are no other candidates. The exam will be in Peshawer.

Since I lived in the Middle East, I was supposed to travel with my kids to Karachi where my in laws lived. But before I could even know and panic about how I will travel with kids to Peshawer, my husband first took an emergency leave from his hospital, and then informed me that we are all travelling to Peshawer. 

My husband Fasih and I, with our two kids- a toddler and a 6 month old breast feeding infant landed in Peshawar. It was a 3 day long exam- with a written paper and clinical exam.  From day 1, my husband sat in the lawn of the examination centre, with two babies, as he dropped me for the exam. I would come out to feed the baby every few hours in the breaks.

Funniest incident in the whole saga was when my daughter cried, “Papa potty.”
He ran with the baby in one hand and the toddler in another to the washroom.
As he entered the male washroom the guard said, “Take the girl to female washroom with her mother.”
“BUT mother is busy in exam.”
“Then wait.”
“But this baby cannot wait. She has to go urgently.”
So the guard let him take her to the washroom. And while holding the infant in arms he helped the toddler finish the job and clean her. 
Finally they came back to play and sit in the lawn again. 
And then he smelt the baby has soiled his diaper. He ran again to the same wash room.
The chowkidar got annoyed, “Ap pher se as gaye?” (You have come again?).
Fasih: “Smell this diaper.”
The guard laughed and commented, “Aur parhao biwi ko.”(Let your wife study more).

After day1 the entire examination team knew about my family and when I went from each viva and clinical exam, from Internal Medicine to General Surgery to ENT to ObGyn to Ophthalmology, first thing the professors asked was how are the husband and babies doing? 
Second question they asked was, “Where have you graduated from?”. 
On reply “Lady Hardinge Medical College in New Delhi” every single one of them began the viva with the comment, “So do we really need to test your knowledge?”
No bragging but I passed with the top position. 

The head examiner was Prof Zakaullah Beg who was my husband’s professor in his postgraduate life. He himself called Fasih on phone 2 weeks later in Karachi to break the news.

Moral of the story: Empower a woman and she will make her husband, family and entire community proud.

Sadeqain, the legend~ a special feature in Rung Festival at ROM


Sadeqain needs no introduction to South Asians and to art connoisseurs the world over.

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Born as Syed Sadeqain Ahmed Naqvi  in Amroha, India in 1930, Sadeqain rose to became the most accomplished painter and calligrapher Pakistan has ever seen.

A self taught painter,  who still beholds the world with an awe by his quality and volumes of his artwork. It is estimated that Sadequain painted more than 15,000 pieces of artwork consisting of murals, paintings, drawings and calligraphies.

A man who possessed incredible passion and energy for art, donated most of his works to many friends and places. Though priceless as art treasures, his paintings stand a worth of over $1 billion now.

He is credited to have brought a renaissance, ( the reawakening) in the art of Calligraphy. Calling himself a faqir, and belonging to a family of calligraphers he considered calligraphy as a divine gift to him.

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Asked many times about when did he begin painting, he often said he did not remember how early he started painting. In one of his interviews he remarked, “Perhaps I must be moving my fingers to paint in my mothers womb too.”

His murals cover an area larger than the murals created by Michelangelo and Diego Riviera combined.

The mural titled “Saga of Labor” located at Mangla Dam is credited to be his largest work (approximately 180 x 35 feet). Saga of Labour is Sadeqain’s tribute to the working men and women since early life on Earth. The mural illustrates mankind’s journey from food gatherer to the development of agriculture, handicrafts and machinery. Beginning with Iqbal’s verse on Farhad, this majestic mural ends with Iqbal’s reference to other worlds beyond the stars. It is known to be one of the largest murals in the world.

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Sadeqain painted on the poetry of Ghalib, Iqbal and Faiz.

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He was also a poet, who composed Rubaiyat (quartains),  then inscribed, and illustrated them. There are over 200 such illustrations collected in Rubaiyat-e-Sadeqain.

A recipient of numerous national and international awards like  Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, Pride of Performance, Sitara-e-Imtiaz, Australian Cultural Award, and Gold Mercury Award, he  won the first prize at the prestigeous Laureate Biennale de Paris.

Sadeqain was described by Le Monde, Paris in 1964 as,  “The multiplicity of Sadequain’s gifts is reminiscent of Picasso.”

He painted till the last days of his life. When he passed away in 1986, he was worjking on the “Arz-o-Samawat” (Earth and the Heavens)  for the ceiling of the Frere Hall, Karachi. With 100 panels spanning an area of 3,200 square feet, Sadeqain could only complete 87 of them.

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Sadeqain was immensely popular in India and his work is currently graces many locations in India including Delhi, Aligarh, Benaras and Hyderabad.

His painting are the prized possession of New York Metropolitan Museum, Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Museum of Modern Art in Paris, and many other locales.

Dr Salman Ahmed, Sadeqain’s nephew has formed Sadeqain Foundation in 2007  with the mission to Discover, Preserve and Promote Sadeqain’s immense works.

I ask him what does he mean by discover Sadeqain’s work?

He responds that the painter was extremely generous and gifted away thousands of works to friends and places where he painted. Hence alot of his art sits with individuals, and many of their heirs do not understand the value of it, or are unable to maintain it. Moreover in the words of Anwar Maqsood, “Sadeqain is one painter who has painted even after his death.” implying that a lot of fake  artwork has been created attributed to him. He envisions to create a Museum of Sadeqain’s art.

We at Rung Festival at ROM were fortunate to have two panels of the original mural by Sadeqain on May 31, and June 1, 2014. The mural called Pakistan was painted by Sadeqain in 2 weeks at a Pakistani Expo in Lusanne, Switzerland in 1966. The mural depicted the cultures of various provinces of Pakistan. In 1975 they were brought to Canada for a Pakistani Expo, and since then 7 of the 9 pieces of the mural reside in the Pakistan Embassy in Ottawa.

The exhibit became the focal point of all visitors to Rung Festival.

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Information & pictures: Courtesy Dr. Salman Ahmed. Sadequain Foundation USA.

Kesariya Baalam by Reshma


Reshma who originally hailed from Bikaner Rajasthan here sings a ‘maand’ or a welcome song in Rajasthani language for the arrival of the beloved.
(Have attempted to translate the verses from my basic knowledge of the language).

Kesariya baalam o’saa,
padhaaro mhaare des rey
Oh my saffron beloved,
Come to my abode.

Thaare aayo dujaan
Barishme mere
Your arrival
shall bring life in me

Saajan aaye o’ sakhi,
Main kayeen manwa vikraan,
Thaari paryo gaj motiyaan,
Aur ooper nayn dharaan.
My beloved shall come my friend
How can I keep my mind sane,
I shall spread pearls on the tray,
And keep my eyes on them.

Kesariya baalam o’saa,
padhaaro mhaare des rey
Oh my saffron beloved,
Come to my abode.

Sajan sajan main karaan
Sajan jeev jari
Choorley per moondshaan
Aur vachaan ghari ghari.
I utter “Beloved, Beloved.”
“Beloved” is embedded on my tongue,
Shall weave his name on my bracelet,
And watch it over and over.

Kesariya baalam o’saa,
padhaaro mhaare des rey
Oh my saffron beloved,
Come to my abode.

Awan saavan keh gayo dhola
Ker gaya khol anek
Bin taagan taa gash gayee
Mhaari anganiya ree rey.
Shall come in the rains, he promised,
Played many cruel jokes on me,
Without the rope of his swing,
My courtyard is deserted.

Kesariya baalam o’saa,
padhaaro mhaare des rey
Oh my saffron beloved,
Come to my abode.

Kabir & Bulleh Shah- the need of our dark ages.


Depressed and dejected with the ever rising religious extremism, intolerance and hatred in the world at large, helplessness over powers oneself. The only ray of hope left are the few shining stars in this dark sky that shone on our lands several centuries ago. Their golden words still need to be heard and heeded by one and all.

Kabir from India and Bulleh Shah from what is now Pakistan are two voices that spoke of peace and love beyond beliefs and borders. They were shunned in their own times, but if they were reborn now, they would not find much has changed from those days.

Reminscing their poetry, I dare to use them on painting a silk scarf.

The scarf background is black, which represents the dark ages of extremism, intolerance and bigotry that we currently are going through.

The golden messages of the verses are scribbled in golden ink, The verses chosen  relate to the abundance of  knowlege, in this era of information revolution, but the information that still fails to convey the message of peace and tolerance that it should accompany.

The languages have been reversed,
Kabir written in Urdu and Bulleh Shah in Hindi so that both sides are able to read them.

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Bulleh Shah here says:

Parh parh aalim faazil hoya, kadi nafs apne nu parheya ai nayi,
Ja ja werda mandi maseetey, kadi man apne nu wareya ai nayi.

( You read bookes, became learned, but never read (compassion in )your own conscience,
You visited temples and mosques, but never visited (the love)in your own heart.)
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Kabir says:

Pothi parh parh jag muwa pandit bhaya na koi,
Dhaayi akher prem ka parhe to pandit hoye.

{The whole world read books after books, but no one became learned,
Read two and a half words of love ( peace and compassion), to be a learned}

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The peace symbols in the middle of the silk scarf are crisscrossed by chaos and confusion prevalent in our times.
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The edges below the verses represent the hearts interlinked through love and peace, if only we heeded the verses in spirit.

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It was heartening to see Kabir’s message of love and peace ( coincidentally the same verses that I was scribbling), being presented in another art form, called Dastangoi. I dedicate this piece and the blog to this wonderful  Kabir presentation. 🙂

 

Harmony and Peace: Exhibition by Jimmy Engineer on TD Mosaic Festival Day #2


TD Mosaic Festival 2013 day 2 began with the Exhibition of  “Harmony and Peace” series of  paintings by Jimmy Engineer, a renowned Pakistani painter, visiting Canada, especially for the event. The Exhibition shall continue till September, at Promenade Art Gallery.

The paintings  by Jimmy Engineer, being showcased in the TD Mosaic Festival 2013 are part of a series of paintings  of Pakistani and world architecture titled as “ Harmony and Peace”.
The idea behind the series is that when different architectural structures from different places in India, Pakistan, Egypt, Uzbekistan, Turkey, China etc can be brought together in one frame, and appear harmonious, why can’t human beings, who possess intelligence, be able to coexist with harmony.

Talking to Jimmy was an enriching experience, to know in depth about the humanist that he is. He prefers to be acknowledged as “a simple mortal who cares for human kingdom with passion.”
His inspiration to Art is Nature, which he considers as his Perfect Master.

Born into a Parsi family, he says he believes in universality of faith. He was inspired by the simplicity and spirituality of Sufi Barkat Ali, from Faisalabad, who he says, bestowed upon him the responsibility to make Pakistan proud, through his Art and social work.

Jimmy says, he meditates, and often gets the visions to paint in his dreams, which he then transforms into canvases.

Jimmy has to his credit 3000 pieces of Art (2000 paintings and 1000 calligraphies), and countless social services, some of which are known, and some he chose to keep unknown. He believes that the highest form of social work is that reaches the needy unseen, devoid of any pomp and show.

As an artist, he has  worked with many mediums including water, oil and pastels be it on canvas, wood or ceramics, and from realism (landscape, still life,) to abstract to calligraphy.

A humble human being that he is, he believes he is extremely blessed, despite never attempting to promote his work. He has received great recognition and respect from the world over, and his art work has made way into private collections in Italy, France, Switzerland, Russia, India, China, England, USA in fact almost in every part of the world, validating his status as an International artist.

Jimmy leads an extremely simple life, and has always directed royalties from his Art work,  including a house, into social causes dear to his heart.

He believes to Walk-a-Cause and has to his credits countless walks to raise awareness on myriad issues, mainly related to helpless and needy individuals, like the special children, widows, orphans, and various health issues.

He walked from Karachi to Khyber all by himself, in one year, which took him through various cities, villages, deserts, and wilderness. He claims that all along the way, people from all walks of lives, supported and helped him, right from Waderas, Chowdharys to dacoits,and the poor. They shared their food and shelters with him. He even encountered poisonous snakes and dangerous animals, but was never harmed by anyone.

“During the walk,” he says, “my fearlessness was challenged by many asking me to enter the cage of lions, which I did, without being harmed by them. “

He says many attributed this to be due to his possession of supernatural powers. But a humble Jimmy thinks, it is his conviction to peace and compassion that leaves him unharmed.

He is a strong believer of Indian Pakistan Peace, and says that he was neither born during the time of partition, nor had read the gory details of it, but sometime in 1973, he had the scenes appear in his dream, which he then painted into the Partition series.

In 2001, he decided to walk for Peace from Islamabad to Delhi, but then stopped at the Wagah border.

“Why did you stop?”  I asked.

“I was walking for the sake of Peace, and to not add more tensions by my act. At reaching the border, and conveying my peace intent, I had conveyed my message.” he replied.

He believes that “Peace between India and Pakistan will come one day, as 99% on both sides are desirous of peace, and it is only 1% or even less do not want it.”

“Amen” , I say aloud, with a firm conviction that the words uttered from such a humble champion of humanity and compassion, will not be left unheard by the God Almighty.

Peace and Harmony series…

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Partition series…

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Calligraphy by Jimmy:

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Jimmy Engineer, the artist and social worker par excellance:

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A peep into Truck Art- a chat with ‘truck artist’ Haider Ali


While strolling in a Pakistani Mela,  Khyber to Mehran, in Mississauga I was attracted to a giant canvas partly filled with vibrant colors. As we got closer, we saw a man with was effortlessly making strokes with a brush creating flawless images. Without the initial sketch, even the symmetry was perfect.

That’s truck art.” Screamed my daughter. I stood watching him in awe…not just the perfection, but the speed and the choice of colors. He turned back and in response to our questioning smile, introduced himself as ‘truck artist Haider Ali’ from Karachi. ( The stress was on the first two words).

Haider Ali is visiting Canada on the special sponsorship of the Pakistani Consulate and represented Pakistani Truck Art  in the South Asian Heritage Celebrations called RUNG, at Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, and Carrasauga Festival in Mississauga in May. Last week he also painted a panel at the Canadian Parliament at Ottawa.

I had a million questions to ask about the Truck Art, so I followed him at the exhibition Moving Art  arranged by a  friend Asma Mahmood at her Promenade Gallery

First of all I wanted to know the history of the origin of truck art:

“It all developed very gradually. In 1950s after partition, the Karachi Port ( Keamari Port) became the main source of trade. It was mainly the camel carts and the donkey carts that carried the goods. The camel carts being bigger, brought goods from the port upto wide roads and then transferred the good were carried on smaller donkey carts, to navigate through the narrow lanes leading to the City Station from where trains carried them to the rest of Pakistan. The painters painted camel, donkey and horse carts , while their animals were adorned with intricate accessories and ornaments made out of beads and wool.
In 1960s, Bedford trucks started to arrive from Luton, England. So the trucks gradually replaced the camel carts. Three  painters which included his father, started to comply to the demands by the truck drivers’ demands to paint the names of their cities, and sometimes for their kids mention on the truck.

  • Mera Sona sheher Chakwal
  • Aao sanam Kashmir chalein
  • Sonu tey Billo di gaddi.

Like the animal cart owners, they considered their trucks as their companions. Perhaps ( speculates Haider Ali), the more imaginative ones wanted their trucks also to be more ornately adorned like these animals. Hence the idea of more detailed motifs developed. The idea got better, and better. The painters started to add more colors, and designs like flowers, birds, scenes, and human figures on the truck. This inspired a competitive spirit, not just between the truck owners but also between the painters, who boasted of their  newer and more creative designs. Thus the art kept evolving, and it still is.”

“In the 60s and 70s the Garden area, which is the hub of truck art in Karachi, used to look like an artists street from Italy or Spain”. says Haider Ali.  Many foreigners used to come and appreciate the art. Many wrote articles on it, as they went back.

Haider ali began learning from his father at the age of 7. After school he used to play around the place where his father painted, and sometime out of curiosity for colors, his father let him put dots or lines on the truck. He learnt mixing of colors, contrasts, and how to make strokes. Seeing his interest and flair in strokes, his father sent him to a friend who used to paint posters for films.

At the age of 22 he decorated a truck for the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C. one of the most detailed piece he has painted, The truck still stands there at the institute.

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He has exhibited his art on a truck &  vans in London and Luton too:

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A bus and a friend ship car in Turkey. The doors of the car below show King Faisal Mosque(Pakistan) on the left  and Blue Dome mosque(Turkey) on the right.

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There are so many  colors and details to be added. Isn’t it very complicated?

“Each truck is worked by 6-7 group of artists specializing in different areas.When it is our turn to paint,  start from a white painted background, the add details over details. Once painted, a sticker paper is added in lines to reflect the light, called the chamak patti. Then the electrician adds the electric fitting like colorful bulbs , metal workers add the colored chains, and metallic frames to make it more intricate. Even the interiors are explicitly detailed, including the faux leather seats, which  match the motif designs.”

The play of color begins:

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The explicitly detailed interiors:

Elaborate Truck Art Of Pakistan
Asking him about the details of the kind of motifs the truck drivers demand, he says.

The image that stands most popular since time immemorial is Ataullah EsaKhel.  They love his songs, and he has been painted thousands time over.
Ayub Khan was also one of the popular figure among the drivers from KPK na they often comes with: Teri yaad aayi tere jaane ke baad.”
Are there any demands for politicians? Yes few have aslked for Baloch sardars, but mostly it is Ayub Khan. Some have now started to paint

Imran Khan, but I guess now this demand will increase. He has painted the famous Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s  photo for a few:

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Film stars?

“Yes Mustafa Qureshi was very much in demand some time ago. Amongst the Bollywood, Mamta Kulkarni with a unique picture of a chain in her mouth( I have asked Haider to look for the picture) is much in demand. He has also made a few of Rani Mukherjee, and one of Aishwarya Rai”.

Any male stars? Shahrukh or Amitabh Bachan?

And he smiles, “No. Not yet.”

Among the monuments, Minar-e-Pakistan, Faisal Mosque and Khyber Gate are the most popular. Taj Mahal is also demanded by many.( That was a surprise, indeed.)

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“One driver demanded Bruce Lee on his truck.” smiles Haider Ali.
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Many want birds, or even sher ( for which he paints a tiger).

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Haider Ali loves drawing all kinds of birds and their details including falcon, peacocks, partridges, eagles etc.

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Are there any unusual themes that you worked for?

The demand for themes and designs vary with changing times.
For example, in the times of war, in 60s and 70s, there were patriotic slogans with missiles and jet planes.”

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While in the last elections, he painted a truck on demand for Pak Election 2013, by SAMAA TV channel.

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Talking of the slogans, he said calligraphy on trucks is another field and many artists do it as a separate. He loves to do the calligraphy too.

What are your favorite slogans:

Anything that a truck driver demands. Almost all trucks adorn a Masha Allah on the head. If they leave on us, we choose for them.

  • Dekho fasla rakho, warna pya ho jaaega.( Keep distance, otherwise we’ll fall in love)
  • Hum chalein, dushman jalein( As we roll, our rivals envy)
  • Na ghabra ai zaalim paas aney sey, Khuda bhi rooth jata hai kisi ka dil dukhane sey.
    (Don’t be afrais of coming close, even God is displease by those who hurt others.).

Most who get their trick repainted the favorite is:

  • “Waqt ne pher sey dulhan bana diya.” (Time has turned us into a bride again).

Haider Ali’s favorite shair being:

  • Tum ney aisa rabta rakha, na paas aye na door rakha. ( You kept such a relationship, neither came close, nor went too far apart).
  • Zid na ker, assi aap barey ziddi aan. ( Don’t be stubborn, I am the same too).

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Among the famous in Pakistan Tapu Javeri the photographer, had commissioned him to make a panel for his house. Ever since they became friends. Haider Ali pays tribute to his friend by at times changing the famous slogan to:

  • “Tapu yaar tang na ker.”

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Can truck art be used to promote Peace for India Pakistan Peace friendship?

Haider says he went to Museum of Peace in India  just 1.5 km from Atari and painted an India Pakistan friendship van. He again has been called to Calcutta this September for a yet undisclosed Project.

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My daughter was curious: “Does NCA or Indus Valley have Truck Art’ in their course? Have yuo ever been to those places?”
He smiles: They don’t consider truck art as an art. However, thanks to Sabeen Mahmood, I have my works on display all the time at T2F. And Lok Virsa.  In Pakistan we are a moving exhibition, 24X7, spreading the message of peace and harmony through colors and slogans. You will not find any hateful message on any truck or bus. Like our designs, our location of exhibit have no bounds.( “Hamre art ko koi qaid nahin hai.” ( Our art knows no bounds neither of ideas, nor of locations).

People copy your ideas?

“Yes, though our art is not considered an art, many designers have copied them on dresses, furniture, crockery etc. They can copy our designs, but can’t copy our ideas and skill. I don’t feel offended. Infinite is the limit of ideas for a ‘truck artist’. No two motifs are identical, no two trucks are same. And they are what they call in art world, ‘custom designed.’. .”

If not painting on truck, Haider Ali loves to make painting depicting stories( owing to his interest and training in painting the film posters when young.

I particularly liked the one of Omar Khayyam:

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And the Sohni Mahiwal

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He has a two year old son, who he aspires to be a ‘truck artist’ too, but also wants him to first complete his education, which Haider Ali missed out on. If educated person will come in the truck art, we will get more recognition.

My daughter pointed out how in film BOL the place where trucks are painted was shown as the place where the transgender boy was raped. Haider Ali retorted, “There are good and bad everywhere.” Though there is no dearth of respect and recognition we get world over, wish our Pakistani films and dramas showed the positive side of lives too.

Some more of Haider Ali’s works:

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He invited me to his work shop in Karachi to learn the swift and  steady brush strokes that fascinates me so much. But before I seriously go and master them, I practiced them out on the ‘truck art’ inspired  silk scarves the same evening.
(One in Hindi & the other in Urdu)

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