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Puppeteers Bring Message of Harmony, Love, Tolerance in Pakistan’s Karachi

They noticed religious and ethnic antagonism in those neighborhoods and decided to create a show to spread a message of peace, tolerance and harmony

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puppeteers, harmony
Puppets depict the story of "Sindbad the Sailor," at a show put on by Thespianz Theatre that teaches tolerance, in the Lyari neighborhood, Karachi, Pakistan. VOA

In the narrow alleys of a poor neighborhood of the Pakistani city of Karachi, known for drugs, gang wars and low literacy rates, children are learning about peace, love and interfaith tolerance from string puppets.

As the curtains open on stage, a narrator tells the story of “Sindbad the Sailor,” a hero of Middle Eastern origin and his journeys around the world in which he meets people of different faiths, languages and religions – who often do not have much tolerance for one another.

puppeteers, harmony
Children watch a puppet show organized by Thespianz Theatre that teaches inter-faith harmony, in the Lyari neighborhood, Karachi, Pakistan. VOA

“A man is dying and you guys are talking about castes,” the protagonist puppet rebuked a fellow puppet who did not want to save a drowning marionette because it belonged to a lower caste. “You should be ashamed calling yourself human beings. Humans save humanity not caste,” Sindbad says.

Writer Nouman Mehmood said the story came to mind when his group was conducting an education awareness campaign in some poor neighborhoods in the city. They noticed religious and ethnic antagonism in those neighborhoods and decided to create a show to spread a message of peace, tolerance and harmony.

Pakistan, an overwhelmingly Muslim country of more than 200 million people, has seen repeated attacks on churches, Hindu temples and sufi shrines in recent years by hardline religious groups and Islamist militants.

harmony puppeteers
They noticed religious and ethnic antagonism in those neighborhoods and decided to create a show to spread a message of peace, tolerance and harmony. Pixabay

Conservative religious schools or madrasas are regularly blamed for radicalization but they are often the only education available to millions of poor children, making alternative messages especially important.

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“The basic thing is acceptance. You should have enough room to accept others regardless of whether he is a Christian, without considering he is a Hindu, without considering he is a Sikh,” Mehmood said. Organized by Thespianz Theatre, the show plans to travel to other poor Karachi neighborhoods and provinces after its run in the tough Karachi neighborhood of Lyari.

“There is a message that we should not interfere with others’ religions. We should help each other,” said eighth grade student Adul Rahim Arshad after watching the show. “If one deceives us, we should not deceive him back. Instead we should help him.” (VOA)

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Puppet Shows and Street Plays to Raise Awareness among People on Prevention of Japanese Encephalitis

For the first time, the Cultural Department will join the Health Department in combating the virus in eastern Uttar Pradesh.

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Puppet Shows, Street Plays, Japanese
The state Cultural Department will organise puppet shows and street plays to raise awareness among people on prevention of the killer virus that primarily affects children. Pixabay

The battle against Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in Uttar Pradesh will now be more colourful and interesting. The state Cultural Department will organise puppet shows and street plays to raise awareness among people on prevention of the killer virus that primarily affects children.

For the first time, the Cultural Department will join the Health Department in combating the virus in eastern Uttar Pradesh.

“We are working in close collaboration with the Unicef that has identified the causes and conditions responsible for the spread of the disease. We are incorporating this information in the local dialect and will convey it to the people through puppet shows and street plays. The language has been kept simple so that children can enjoy the puppet shows and also learn from it,” said a Cultural Department official.

Puppet Shows, Street Plays, Japanese
The battle against Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in Uttar Pradesh will now be more colourful and interesting. Pixabay

The Cultural Department will form teams that will tour 18 districts in eastern UP that are prone to JE. The initiative is a part of the ‘Dastak’ campaign launched in 11 district to control the spread of JE.

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Cases of JE usually make an appearance in the months between July and September and the Yogi Adityanath government is making all possible efforts to check deaths due to the killer virus. (IANS)