Phir Bhi Dil Hai Pakistani (Urdu for "Our Hearts are Still Pakistani")

Phir Bhi Dil Hai Pakistani (Urdu for “Our Hearts are Still Pakistani”)
Series of photographs of woman running with a large artist-made flag made from green and white silk fabric and features an original couplet spoken and written out in Urdu calligraphy

After of a recent study of impoverished areas in Pakistan, the concept of individual freedom and patriotism came to mind. This version of the Pakistani flag serves as a banner of free expression, which can either flutter in the wind or wrap one’s body as a shawl. This flag project serves as a gentle reminder of the street children who still wave tattered Pakistani flags while their parents protest in the streets crying for a better future. The series of photographs depict a Pakistani Muslim woman running in the fields with the flag, then wearing it as a traditional scarf known as a daputta and then as a full body shawl like a burqah or hijab. She displays emotions of freedom, national pride, and somber reflections.

This flag uses the national colors of Pakistan, which are dark green for the land and white for the purity. These two words symbolize the “land of the pure.” After years of seeing Pakistan in the news headlines for corruption, poverty, and violence, I wanted to memorialize how many innocent citizens are still contributing towards a better future despite the chaos. The rhyming couplet proclaims, “Na bijli, na atta, na paani; Phir bhi dil hai Pakistani,” which translates to “Despite living without electricity, food (flour), or water…our hearts are still Pakistani.” Even though corruption exists and people lack basic necessities, their hope for humanity serves as a true testament of their unwavering faith.

[Special thanks to model Farina Zeb]