Today’s Doodle celebrates the 78th birthday of Farooq Qaiser, a famous Pakistani puppeteer, artist, writer, and voice actor.
Farooq Qaiser is most known for creating Uncle Sargam, a fictional puppet character that stole the hearts of many children and adults alike, and became a household name throughout the country. Uncle Sargam and his companion, Masi Museebtay, are featured in today’s Doodle artwork!
Qaiser was born on this day in 1945 in Sialkot, Punjab. He studied Fine Art at the National College of Arts in Lahore, where he was first introduced to the world of puppetry. While there, he was invited to work on a children’s television program called Akka Bakkar (1971) as a showwriter and puppet maker. Qaiser also attended the University of Bucharest for his bachelor’s in graphic design and the University of Southern California for a master’s in mass communications.
In 1976, the puppeteer started creating his own children’s show and eventually landed a broadcasting opportunity on Pakistani Television (PTV). It wasn’t long before Kaliyan (which translates to flower bud) found its way onto family TV screens across the nation. The show brilliantly balanced humor and satire to teach valuable life lessons to its young audience. Uncle Sargam, the main character, was also charming and relatable enough that parents enjoyed watching alongside their kids.
Beyond puppetry, Qaiser had his hand in other pursuits. He worked as a columnist and cartoonist for the Daily Nai Baat, an Urdu newspaper, and taught at the Fatima Jinnah Women’s University in Rawalpindi. He also co-founded the Pakistani branch of Union Internationale de la Marionnette (UNIMA) and served as its long-time vice president.
For his contributions, Qaiser has been awarded the Presidential Pride of Performance in 1993, the title of “Master Puppeteer” from UNICEF in 1997, and the PTV Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. He played a vital role in educating and entertaining the people of Pakistan through television and is remembered for his irreplaceable, unmatchable spirit.
Happy birthday, Farooq Qaiser!