Bitter Reality: Rickshaw Art Says It All

Rickshaw in Pakistan

Pakistani truck and bus art is famous worldwide. Many truck and bus drivers in Pakistan use their vehicles as a medium of expression for themselves. From some intricate paintings to romantic verses, film heroes to portraits of Allama Iqbal anything could be seen on these vehicles.

Rickshaw is no exception in this race as many rickshaws can nowadays be seen with poems and verses on various topics. In above image the owner of the vehicle has named his rickshaw” Sare Raah(means on the way)”. “Ye soch rah hai Pakistan (what Pakistan thinks)” is a distressed and cheerless poetic expression written on it.

– Na koi dhanda na koi kam, Rishwat aam traffic jam
– America kay hum banay ghulam, Sari dunia main badnaam
– Hoga kia mera anjam, Ye soch raha hai Pakistan

Just below the poem ‘always speak the truth’ has been written also. The rickshaw owner has explained his anguish and grief for his country. Is it felt by us also?


9 thoughts on “Bitter Reality: Rickshaw Art Says It All”

  1. Shakir: My understanding is that their military/government broke their bank, people under communism not being as industrious or motivated as under capitalism; communism appeals to the idealistic side of people, all very nice to try to equalize ownership, but I don’t think it’s realistic–people naturally seek their own levels–“winner” or “loser”–some are hustlers and some are bums and you can’t equalize them.
    I’ve always sort of admired the Russians, even when they were our most bitter enemies, and the ones I’ve met personally here are very intelligent, likable people; I detect in them a pathos and an empathy that I haven’t found among any other peoples, that I don’t think is entirely circumstantial, even though it’s easy to feel sorry for them for the gigantic trauma they’ve undergone. But what a load lifted from the earth.

  2. James: I think the U.S. did Russia a great favour by breaking up the Soviet Union. Your Russian doctor shouldn’t have charged you his normal fee for doing the operation, he should’ve given you a hefty discount!

  3. @Shakir: Not long ago I had to undergo a prostate examination, a process prior to which one does not exactly bubble with anticipatory glee, during which one merely grits one’s teeth and endures, and after which one wishes to forget instantly, completely and forever. The Doctor was a Russian. For a few moments I felt that Russia was getting its revenge.

  4. @ Abheek: Indians of course have always been slaves (of the erstwhile USSR during the Cold War and now of the U.S.). And recently Manmohan Singh had to run to Saudi Arabia of all countries to mediate with Pakistan!

  5. Hats off to the driver .. some poetic skills he got .. sort of agree with him … and feel sad too for you guys. But then why blame Americans alone. Your own Army is part of the problem. You are caught beween Devil and deep sea… now I know Mr. Lakhani will try to push the blame on us Indians, but guess there are saner souls out there (the rick driver seems to be one of them)

  6. Hi, Shakir: I rather like it–a fine form of self-expression, lovingly plastered on the stern of his humble vehicle by a rugged individualist, who likely deserves a finer set of wheels for his billboard. I confess to the usual, shameful Yank ignorance of Urdu, so thank you for the translation, even tho, by Hina’s hint, I suspect you may be protecting my Yank sensibilities a little. The script is quite lovely, whatever it says.

    Americans are prone to bumper stickers, in probably the same profusion of profundity and nonsense as you might see in Pakistan, only smaller. Once in awhile you pull up behind a car that is quite covered with stuck-on witticisms, adequate to fill the dead time at a redlight with a few moments’ of enlightenment, amusement and irritation. “Don’t laugh–it’s paid for!” “My other car is my wife’s!” Save the Whales! My Kid is Sooper-Dooper! Stuff like that.

  7. @Shakir Sir
    Thanks for the translation 🙂

    Americans got a tiny taste of Pakistani truck painting in the summer of 2002 at the Smithsonian Folk life Festival, when two Pakistani artist brought a truck from karachi and decorated it right there. Their finished masterpiece, a 1976 Bed ford, is now part of the Smithsonian museum Washington’s permanent collection.

  8. James, usually our buses and trucks have poetry written all around, particularly on the rear side. I once came across a whole book on the subject, written by an Englishman. BTW, do you know what it says on the rickshaw? It’s something like this: “No business, no work, rampant bribery and corruption, traffic jams common, we are the U.S.’s slaves, the whole world thinks we’re bad, what will happen to the country, this is what Pakistanis are thinking”.

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