Uncle Sargam first appeared in the children’s show Kaliyan on Pakistan Television in 1976, and was created and voiced by award-winning puppeteer, artist and columnist Farooq Qaiser.
The diorama’s inauguration was held at Lok Virsa’s Museum Hall, where Mr Qaiser presented his team from Kaliyan who performed some of their famous songs and qawwalis. A number of students from federal colleges attended the event and enjoyed the live show.
Among the songs performed were ‘Totay Ko Chori Dalo’, ‘Kamzor Hai Tarazo’, ‘Yeh Zindagi Haseen Hai’, which highlighted social issues such as corruption, health, the justice system, education and the environment with humour and a tinge of sarcasm.
Speaking at the event, Mr Qaiser said that the songs were written and performed four decades ago, but unfortunately were still relevant today.
“We did this program on our own without any support by any government institute but were glad to have people’s support for it. The government should support such programs, which educate the children about serious social issues in a lighter tone.”
Masi Museebtay and Rolla, two other famous characters from Kaliyan, were also present and are also represented in the diorama, along with Uncle Sargam, Shatir Dehlvi, Mian Connections, Bonga, Santri Badshah and Main Muqeem.
A team member and singer from Kaliyan, Babar Niazi, said he was proud to be a part of the show but said such programmes were now in decline.
“The government and other art institutions should pay attention to this medium, which through puppetry tells folklore to our young generation,” he added.
Lok Virsa Executive Director Dr Fouzia Saeed said the diorama is a tribute to both Uncle Sargam and Mr Qaiser, who in addition to creating the character also trained many new artists during his career and has become an institution himself.
She said Mr Qaiser was doing a great job by using puppetry to entertain people and raise awareness about social issues.
Asma Gull, a student in the audience, said she enjoyed the live performance. “I heard a lot about this show but couldn’t get a chance to watch it. I loved the messages conveyed by upbeat songs and qawwalis in a lighter way.