Rawalpindi: The students of Communication Sciences Department at Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) organised a puppet show here on Tuesday.

Faculty of Law, Commerce and Management Sciences Dean Dr. Naheed Zia Khan, who is also the acting dean of Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, was the chief guest on the occasion.

The FJWU is the first university, which has introduced the art of puppetry as a subject and medium of communication. In total, 21 students took part in the puppets show.

Two interesting skits were presented under different social service themes. One was based on the song of Farooq Qaiser ‘Nani Teri Morni Ko Chor Le Gaye’ and the other one on ‘Generation Gap’. There was too much diversity in the puppet characters and they beautifully depicted the themes. The work was done by the students of ‘Media for Children’ – a course offered by Farooq Qaiser, a renowned puppeteer. Students used coloured shadow, rods and glove puppetry for the two performances. It is the first time in the educational history of Pakistan that students of university level have learnt this art.

Talking about the work of his students, Farooq Qaiser said that they have made tremendous effort and made the best use of their imagination and creativity. “What we have learnt in 30 years, these students have learnt it in three months. Besides puppet-making, the students are taught poetry and script writing as well,” he added.

The response of the faculty as well as students to the performance was positive. They encouraged and appreciated the efforts of their fellow students.

The final projects of advertisement presented by the Communication Sciences students were also displayed on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Naheed Zia Khan appreciated the creative abilities and performance of students. She praised the efforts of Farooq Qaiser for imparting his skill and making students to learn an art and skill for lifelong. Songs were written, conceived and directed by the students themselves.

Farooq Qaiser said that learning puppetry under ‘Media for Children’ provides an excellent opportunity to students to relax and indulge in creative art. Puppetry also teaches them aesthetic sense that is very important for female students. The semester includes the making, manipulation, voice throw, script writing, song writing and performance. “In puppetry, I have always emphasised on powerful script, as this is the most important aspect of puppetry. The best part of this is that my students are not only giving lively performances in major schools, but are also teaching puppet making that is much appreciated by students,” he added.

Farooq Qaiser said “It is an irony that our traditional string theatre has died which was done in villages and people no longer do puppet theatre with strings. Now I am reviving string puppetry and hand puppetry and writing a book on puppetry.”

He said that the recession of art breeds terrorism. “In our country, we need to give emphasis on art and culture because the nations are known for their cultural heritage. Our children are growing up in a tense environment and we need to provide them relief through cultural programmes. There are many programmes for elders, but very little for the younger generation. When we were young, we had role models in art and culture, now our new generation is growing up without the concept of role models. We need to change it for the positive and healthy upbringing of our children,” he added.

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