How Pakistani truck art is similar to Japanese Dekotora

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Since 1998, a photographer from Japan Tatsuki Masaru is capturing beautiful photos of the Japanese decorated trucks. These spectacularly decorated trucks are known as Decotora (also spelled ‘Dekotora‘), which features design on murals and chandeliers to Hello Kitty & stenciling Louis Vuitton-patterned steering wheels. These beautiful pieces of arts are no less than running casinos on wheels.

decotra 2Decotora’s designing represents the most amazing and difficult life style of its drivers, like Pakistani drivers and the glamorous trucks are adding color into their daily life. Same could be said about the Pakistani truck art as well; Pakistani slow trucks coupled with tiring long journeys, the colors and fashion of these trucks add a little excitement, a dab of color into the dull highway lives.

Similarly, these Japanese drivers travel hundred of miles as a daily routine, while spending weeks away from their homes and living truck life. Low wages and low income is not the only problem for them but they are also facing low regard from society on a large scale. This makes it the reason to decorate their trucks as a statement, and if you thought truckers weren’t creative or imaginative, go no further than Pakistani Truck Art and Japanese Decotora as these truckers think that this is the only asset and the pride they own from their work.

Truck decoration art is also very famous in Pakistan, I am sure none of us have missed any chance on the roads while driving to enjoy this beautiful traveling exhibition. The truck art is known as Pakistani transport tradition. Where, painted with eye catching patterns, usage of indigenous form of art and creative depictions of different heroes with unique poetic verses makes it more captivating.

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Trucks owners and drivers are not living different lives if we compare it with Japanese Decotora’s drivers, they all have their own stories of worries and sorrows but beautification of their huge loading vehicle gives them spiritual satisfactions.

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Customized buses, trucks, Suzukis and even Rickshaws can be seen common in Pakistan. No matter where ever you go, you will see one unique art piece on roads.

truck poetry

A vintage 1967 Volkswagen Type 2 microbus owned by Mohsin Ikram of VCCCP was painted by a few artists over a period of five days in Pakistani truck art at The Forum, Karachi as part of the Truck Art Festival held during 23rd to 27th of March 2014.
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Here are some poetic verses I have collected from our trucks.

جب تک زر زر لٹاو گے زیر دست ہے دنیا

زرا سا ہاتھ کھینچ کر دیکھو کتنی مطلب پرست ہے دنیا

دیکھ مگر پیار سے

ہارن آہستہ بجایئں    قوم سو رہی ہے

رل تے گئے آں    پر چس آ گئی اے۔۔

مقدر کا سکندر

 

نا ملا ہے نا ملے گا آرام کہیں

میں مسافر ہوں میری صبح کہیں شام کہیں

 

ہزاروں منزلیں ہونگی پزاروں کارواں ہونگے

نگاہیں ہم کو دھونڈیں گی نا جانے ہم کہاں ہونگے

 

اتنی نفرت سے نا دیکھ اتنا پرا نہیں ہوں میں

غریب ضرور ہوں بے وفا نہیں ہوں میں

 

Share with us your favorite truck poetry in the comments below.

Fazal Gilani

A former news reporter for Samaa TV, who is currently working as an assignment editor at channel24/city41 & a freelance journalist. He has a Masters degrees in Mass Communication & International Relations. He tweets as @Gilaniism. He Blogs at www.fazalgilani.com

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