Patriotism was the order of the day at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) as little kids got treated to a show with puppets, national songs and bhangra.
Filled with moral and patriotic messages, the show had the children chanting and waving national flags, as the puppets danced to the “Happy Song”, complete with colourful pom-poms. The Chinese puppets followed, dancing to a Chinese folk tune.
The puppets also performed a small skit about a boy who learns his lesson on lying to his fellow villagers. It was amusing to see the puppets swaying from side to side with their arms flaying in bhangra moves, while one could sneak a peek at the hands of the puppeteers below.
But it was not all about dancing and singing as Pakistan’s history was also part of the event. The two puppets hosting the show would frequently ask children in the audience questions from Pakistan’s history.
Their enthusiastic queries were met with an equally enthusiastic response, with children jumping from their seats and waving wildly to get a chance to answer the questions.
The staple of August 14 shows, milli naghmas (national songs), were not ignored as Tina Nadir and Ishtiaq Mushtaq sung out classics like “Mein Bhi Pakistan Hoon” and “Hum Sab Hain Lehrein, Kinara Pakistan Hai”.
The children would not be outdone by the puppets or the grown-ups though. One little youngster came onto the stage to break dance. Another 10-year-old, Abdullah, played “Sohni Dharti” on flute, while Zainul Abidin sang a Pashto song with real gusto, asking the audience to sing along with him. Another youngster had prepared a speech, emphasising that the future of Pakistan is in the hands of literacy and tolerance.
The best was saved for the last. The PNCA’s bhangra group stole the show as they came onto the stage with colourful cloths tied to their wrists and colourful long shirts and dhotis. They danced to the dhol beats as some little ones tried to show off their moves on their seats, with parents making half-hearted attempts to keep them seated.
“We come every year for this show. Once the kids grow older it’ll be impossible to spend time with them like this, it’s good that they are entertained and educated as well,” said a woman as she tried to calm down her two sons.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2012.