PESHAWAR: The Oxford University Press (OUP) held an Uncle Sargam puppet show at Peshawar’s Archives Library on Wednesday to help children differentiate between original and pirated books.
OUP organisers used the appeal of one of the country’s most iconic media figures to raise awareness about the perils of piracy and its broader impact on society, including writers.
Directed by the award winning puppeteer and television director Farooq Qaiser, Uncle Sargam show titled ‘Jahalat ka Jin’ delighted students from the city as well as Swat, Mardan and Kohat. The beloved Uncle Sargam and Rola, whose political and social commentary spanned 40 years, gave a stellar comedic performance.
The show also aimed to educate parents on how to alert the authorities when pirated books were sold in open market.
Father of seven-year-old Sonia and five-year-old Adnan, Amjad Khan, said his children could not differentiate between the original book and its knockoff, adding that the pirated version was indistinguishable from OUP’s books except for the quality of paper used.
He was hopeful about OUP’s introduction of identifying markers, which he felt would help protect against piracy. The government should also crackdown on those who were printing and selling pirated books.
OUP officials said that the knockoff was similar in appearance but the quality was inferior compared to the original, adding that piracy was tantamount to theft.
“We have been holding different seminars and programs to inform the general public against plagiarism and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and our aim is to create awareness at the grassroots level since children were sold pirated books on the same level,” the official said.
Considered a victory for the publisher, two men were sent to prison for stealing intellectual property. Khurram Aziz and Muhammad Saleem were arrested by the Federal Investigative Agency after OUP registered a complaint against them.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2014.