I never knew I wanted a tricked out truck until now.. These Pakistani “Jingle Trucks” as they have become known have changed my ideas of appropriately embellished wheels, my ride or die so to speak. My work vehicle even!
This age-old practice or ritual and powerful portal of adornment can be connected to Sufism, a mystical side of Islam that focuses on spirituality and body purification. Professor Durriya Kazi says decorating the trucks is a way to obtain “religious merit,” such as the Sufi practice of embellishing a shrine or religiously significant site. In other words, by paying tribute to the truck by adorning it, the owner is ensuring that the truck will reward them by not breaking down along the highway and keeping whoever is inside safe.
Practically every vehicle you come across in Pakistan is tricked up, from a garbage truck to a rickshaw to the heavy-duty Bedford truck, originally imported from the U.K. just after the First World War. It was sometime around 1920 that the tradition of decorating a truck prior to it heading out on a long trip was born. This tradition continues in fabulous form, think XL metallic tassels to blow your mind, colorful murals, pin-wheeling pin wheels, Sufi saints, spiritual vagabonds, the flying horse, the eagle, the peacock, the falcon and imagined scenes of paradise or jannat. These all painted side-by-side to popular political figures, military heroes, famous cricketers, show-biz personalities, F-16 jets and missiles and now advertisers want in on the space. Keep on trucking. X