What is your vision regarding the Azeem Educational Conference?
Won’t use an “I” here, rather a ‘we’. We aim to evolve this organization into a welfare organization; a self-sustaining welfare organization. Personally, I really admire Akhuwat Foundation. A welfare organization which empowers people, through Awareness, Education, and Confidence. By empowering people, we aim to present a positive image of Pakistan.
What are some of the challenges that you faced, as the Joint Secretary of Azeem Educational Conference?
Majorly, we did not face any such instances, but there was a big vacuum to be filled, when we migrated to Islamabad from Gujranwala, so in that regard there were challenges. Not much of a problem, but of course, the major concern with any welfare organization is the finances. Well, I have a vision for all our projects to be self-sustaining, financially. You know a model, where each project, be it Azeem English Magazine, or The Curtain Raiser, The Journal of Cultural Perspectives even, I really want them to be able to feed their system on their own: to sustain, for any organization… sufficient flow of funds is a must, we are working on it, and hopefully, we will overcome this little hindrance.
Well, there are challenges, of course, how do you deal with the solutions?
I learned a lot in my academic career. I was a member of student societies, like theatre groups etcetera; it was the time when I learnt the most, you go through many challenges, like some day there won’t be any rehearsals, because of an ongoing dharna, or administration won’t approve… for a student, the administration is the State, if you compare a small setting or system with the nation; so I had my share of learning. What I’ve learnt through my experiences is if your cause is a greater cause, then, you must keep going for the sake of it, even if challenges worry you, just focus on the end goal, and keep moving, even ap ko jhukna bhi parrey, sar jhuka ke bas chaltay rahein. Use diplomacy as a tool to work your way in, there are times, when you might have to bend, remember, there’s no harm in negotiating.
Tell us a little about Muhammad Ali Farooqi, as an individual.
As an individual; I consider myself as an average person. Well, I am quite good at multitasking and management. I’m currently working on my PhD on Drama, despite that, collaborating as an associate producer with some channels (media houses). Then there’s our magazine... production house. Despite that, I do not think of myself as someone with a higher intellect. Haan, my background has been quite diverse, I’ve been blessed with the company of better people. Learned a lot in my years as a student, not only academically, but in extra-curricular activities as well. I guess all those experiences made me the way I am. Overall, I believe in a collective approach.
If there ever comes a situation, where you have to choose one, what would it be?
Well, I have been through such an instant, where I had to choose, and I willingly chose AEC. It was never a problem for me to teach at some educational institute, or to get associated with some media production house, and utilize my acting/direction skills, never a concern, I had the right connections, and I still do. You asked me a question, who you are, as an individual? I would like to add that I do not believe in individualism, I staunchly believe in a collective approach. I am of the view that, there’s more to life than one’s own self, one should think beyond the “I”, and work for progress of not only the “I”, but the so many “wes” as well. To be able to give something to so many wes. The reason that I’m so passionate about AEC is; that I want to establish a system, which empowers the people. That’s why I believe in a collective approach; akelay zindagi guzari tou kia guzari, jiyein tou logo ko kuch de ke jiyein na.
Lastly, a message to the youth.
To the youth, I’d say, there will be problems, there will be challenges, there will be times, when it’d seem like it’s all over, look for another cause, change your perspective, focus on the things that you still have. We are blessed in so many ways… just be gracious, look for solutions. Education is important, and so is awareness. No matter what information some tea-wala motivational speaker storms you with, to be a part of a system is important, it changes your outlook, education is one thing, learning, another. To be honest, any darsgah (institute) teaches you a lot, it helps you in growth, it teaches you how to sustain in a system, it tells you so much about the diversity of cultures. Also, self-realization is important, to hold oneself accountable, and to be fair in one’s mannerism is a must for anyone.
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