Farheen Chaudhry : "Express-ing Today" with Anupam Singh
Farheen Chaudhry is an author from Pakistan and the Goodwill Ambassador for Peace, Good Governance Forum. She has 20-year long experience as a Writer, Director, Producer, Anchor, Poetess and Advertiser. A member of the Pakistan Academy of Letters, Ms Chaudhry was awarded the SAARC literature prize in 2013.
In a candid conversation with Anupam Singh at the Press Club of India, Farheen expresses her views on various subjects.
Anupam : Hello Ma’am, Welcome to India. Hope you’re enjoying the trip?
Farheen : Thank you. I’ve been coming to India for the last three years. Its not my first visit. The last time when I had, it was for a visit to Agra for a function when I got the SAARC Literary award.
Anupam : I didn’t do as much of a homework as ideally should have been done before an interview. So I hope our interaction is free of formats & formalities.
On a web-profile page, you describe yourself as introvert and extrovert at the same time. How can you explain this?
Farheen : Yes, I can be with many people even when I’m alone. At the same time, I can detach myself from a crowd and be all alone even during a party. I can be both introvert and extrovert, cannot describe myself with one particular word between these two.
Anupam : Detachment is a rare attribute to have.
Farheen : Yes, every artist has to have the quality of separating herself from the surrounding. Only when we detach ourselves from the present that we can connect to the divine. Every religion, every holy-book has stressed the importance of Detachment. Buddha said it. Even in Hinduism, you call…
Anupam : Vairagya?
Farheen : Yes, every Fankaar understands the importance of being an extrovert and introvert simultaneously.
Anupam : You have authored three books. From TV, then Radio and then to publishing, you’ve used all the mediums to express yourself. Which medium of expression do you find the most satisfying and enriching?
Farheen : I’ve had an experience with virtually all mediums as you said but what I like most is WRITING and Video Production. Because, I get the opportunity to work as per my will without anyone’s direction. While writing and filming I have the freedom but when someone else asks me to write a story for a play, it becomes tough.
Anupam : You mean to say that Writing is the most enriching medium of expression?
Farheen : Only when we do it as per our own wish without directions from others.
Anupam : When did you start writing and what inspired you to take it up full time?
Farheen : I wrote my first Nazm when in class 4th. I was a good student and liked to take part in debates and activities. It gives me satisfaction.
Anupam : Do you take interest in Politics?
Farheen : (smiling) I have been a student of Political science and follow Politics closely. I was even offered a ticket for the assembly but I refused. I wanted to concentrate on my work and furthermore, politics has become a heap of dirt.
Anupam : How do you see the recent political developments in India, especially in Delhi?
Farheen : How do YOU see it?
Anupam : (Smiling) For me to answer that, we can have another interview with me on the other side. What do you think about the emergence of Aam Aadmi Party and this new style of Politics?
Farheen : Its too early to judge. May be they are honest, may be they are not. No one knows what exactly is Kejriwal’s motive. He left Anna. He has then other members who tell that he is corrupt. But he has the support of Aawaam. Lets see, we cannot say anything now.
Anupam : There’s been an upsurge on the social media front in recent times. In countries like Libya, Egypt and even India, Facebook/Twitter has assisted mass uprisings and revolutions. Political movements are being led by Social media. How do you see this phenomena?
Farheen : Even in Pakistan this is happening. Any development is good until we use it to good effect. There is a positive as well as a negative side to everything. Social media has become a powerful medium of expression.
Anupam : How good or bad is the development of social media in our personal lives. Don’t you think its diluting the human touch of our relationships?
Farheen : Social media is good until we use it in the right manner. It helps us in connecting but it can also have its negative dimension. If I talk about myself, I find so much of unwanted trash in my inbox sent by young boys. Social media can never be of any help to such people who use it negatively.
Anupam : How do we then handle such a situation?
Farheen : I block such people.
Anupam : Thats not the solution. You can block the person but what to do of that thought? How to negate that negativity from society? That person will repeat the same thing with someone else. My question is how can we curb or regulate this negative dimension of social media?
Farheen : That cannot be curbed. That is bound to exist. Every society has all sorts of people. There is positive energy and at the same time negative energy around us.
Anupam : Yes Ma’am, Ying and Yang do co-exist. But, thats the case with all forms of art like cinema, theatre, writing. We have a censor board in place for cinema. We have regulatory authorities which take care of advertisements on Radio and TV. Can’t we have something like that? Or a mechanism in place which strives for the purification of such mediums?
Farheen : Ohh, What do these Censor boards do? The way girls dress up in today’s movies, is this our culture? Is this your culture? No. In fact, not even the west have this culture. These censor boards and regulatory authorities are of no use. Everything is commercialized today.
Anupam : Ok. These agencies might not be working in the manner we expect them to be, and we can surely debate over the efficiency of these authorities. But, can we really debate the necessity of having such agencies in our system?
Farheen : I agree but these agencies have not lived upto the mark. In case of social media, the responsibility lies on parents and guardians to teach the youngsters to use internet in a beneficiary manner.
Anupam : You said, you have visited India thrice. As someone from Pakistan, how have the people in India received you. What are the problems or uneasiness you might have have felt being a Pakistani in India?
Farheen : People on both sides of the border are the same. They give so much of love and respect. It is the politics that divides the two country. I love coming to India.
Anupam : Did you ever face any problem? Did you ever feel hassled?
Farheen : No. I never felt anything like that. Once while I was in Agra a person asked me that why we Pakistanis talk so nicely and sweetly about love and brotherhood when we are in India but always run an agenda against India from across the border. I answered him that the Politicians want us to be divided and that we all need to understand the nefarious designs of people in power. Politicians, be it from India or Pakistan have the same motive of divisive politics.
Anupam : Being a public figure, you personally might not have faced a tough situation but isn’t it hard for a commoner from Pakistan to visit India, check into a hotel, roam around freely and enjoy his stay here, due to obvious reasons you know?
Farheen : Yes, even I have had such experiences. PCO booths would not allow me to make a phone-call back home while at the same time they easily let anyone from US, Europe or even Afghanistan do so. It becomes real tough given that we can’t even get a SIM card here. We virtually become out of range for our family and friends back home.
Anupam : Why is it so and what then do you think can be done by the governments?
Farheen : We watch 14 Indian channels in Pakistan but not a single TV Channel from Pakistan is played in India. People only know what the media shows whereas the reality is different. We should make efforts to better understand each other. If we stop the dialogue that would become more dangerous. Countries like America play with us because it is in there interest. They keep attacking western Pakistan with drones for their own interest.
Anupam : Which human quality irritates you the most?
Farheen : Lies and Hypocrisy
Anupam : Now the last question, how positive are you with today’s generation of youth?
Farheen : Very positive. You are Honest, Open-hearted and Straight-forward. You should fight for truth and have the determination to say it in all circumstances!
Anupam : Thank you so much Ma’am. It was a pleasure talking to you. You will be returning to Islamabad tonight. Wish you a very happy journey!
Farheen : Thanks a lot Anupam. God bless you!
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