Date: 2017-06-30 11:07:25 | Read: 309
Azra Mufti, a young talented and soft spoken girl from Baramulla is an author and a novelist. She recently came up with her debut book namely “Tearful Pages”. The book high-points and focuses on gender-based violence, i.e., ‘violence against women’. The book covers a wide range of stories/ articles based on domestic violence, female feticide, war crimes and cyber mistreatment etcetera. She has a strong message for the girls of her age living in and outside Kashmir that ` Self-esteem is the best ornament and one should never compromise on that. It is the ideal time to lead and show our worth and brilliance`. She, in an exclusive interview with young journalist Mansoor Parey, talks about her book and the future endeavors.
Mansoor: Tell us about yourself, educational background and the place you were born?
Azra: I was born and brought up in District Baramulla. I did my schooling from St Joseph’s School Baramulla. After that I went to Chandigarh for my higher studies. I completed my Bachelors and Masters in Business Administration from SVIET Chandigarh. I worked as an Assistant Professor in some institutions. Presently I am working as a research scholar in Department of Business Studies, BGSBU Rajouri.
Mansoor: How did the idea of writing a book struck your mind?
Azra: It was not a conscious choice or a decision; I started writing at a very young age. Initially I used to write columns for different newspapers, my father encouraged me to write on different topics and I kept on writing columns on weekly basis. I started writing columns in year 2009. Earlier I used to write letters to Greater Kashmir. Then I started writing columns for Rising Kashmir, Kashmir Observer, Kashmir Watch and Kashmir Pen. I have contributed some Write Ups for “The Hans India” which happens to be a publication of Andhra Pradesh. I never focused on one topic or any particular area, I used to write on a variety of issues including social, political, economic and financial.
In 2013, my family and friends suggested me to give shape to my thoughts in form of a book. I had no idea what to write about, but somehow I thought of expressing my hidden feelings in the form “TearfulPages”.
Mansoor: So what prompted you to write Tearful Pages?
Azra: When I finally made up my mind for writing a book, I was caught in a dilemma, whether to write fiction or fact. My father came up with a beautiful suggestion saying” truth is revealed in the garb of fiction”. It motivated me to write about the ugly truths in the form of fiction. Then again, selection of area was a challenging task. I consulted some of my colleagues and scribes who suggested me to write something about gender violence. Personally, I witnessed some incidents which served as a foundation for writing this book.
I strongly believe in emancipation of women in real sense, not what the movies and west teaches us. The crimes against and exploitation of women at different fronts triggered me to write about such delicate issues. We have ample literature on feminism with explosive contents but I wanted to write something that we can relate to in our everyday lives. The discrimination a woman suffers at some point of her life had to be written in lucid yet powerful way thus I came up with the idea of “tearful pages”.
Mansoor: Have you related your stories with the problems faced by Kashmiri women?
Azra: some of the stories in the book do have Kashmiri female protagonists, but the stories do not specifically touch the problems faced due to conflict. The stories are very general and highlight the stereotype and male chauvinism whose brunt a woman has to face.
Mansoor: So you are discussing the problems that women face in contemporary times…
Azra: Yes, definitely, women do have myriad of problems and handicaps of their own, but these handicaps are an outcome of our own perception and mindset. If we stay silent about the crimes and atrocities done to us for fear of stigma, it is a problem. If we emotionally depend on someone, it is a problem. A woman has to learn to be emotionally and financially strong and there is no harm in it. Hazrat Khadija A.S is a perfect example. We should know our worth and carve a niche for ourselves in the society.
Mansoor: Being a girl you might have faced some challenges or obstacles to achieve this feat?
Azra: I consider myself very lucky to have a father par excellence. My father is a columnist and he used to write columns during his college days. He is an avid reader and I inherited this thing from him. He always encouraged me to write honestly. I believe if you truly want to achieve something, you have to put your heart and soul into it, having a backup or not don’t really matter but yes it gives a certain direction to your journey. In my case, I was blessed enough to have my mentor in my father.
Mansoor: How has been the response from readers since it was released?
Azra: Alhamdulillah, I am getting very positive feedback from readers. They liked my narration and the choice of words. I am thankful to everyone who liked my work.Mansoor: Writers write for many reasons what did you write for?
Azra: Writing, to me, is a form of therapy. Whenever I feel inundated with emotions, I write. The reasons can be many but for me I want to make a difference through my writings by bringing forth the various issues that need introspection.
Mansoor: What are your future plans?
Azra: I want to earn my doctorate first. I am also working on my second book simultaneously.
Mansoor: What kind of support you got from family members?
Azra: Tremendous, I would say. My family has always supported me in all my decisions and career choices. My parents put a lot of trust in me and never say no to any of my decisions. I believe this is a blessing in itself that your parents believe in you come what may.
Mansoor: In a disputed region how a situation affects writer and how did they reach to the masses?
Azra: It affects a writer to a great extent both psychologically and emotionally. The internet ban, curfews, strikes; protests altogether affect the writings and psyche of a writer. There were a lot of instances when I wanted to write peacefully but the conditions never permitted me to do so. It becomes very difficult to reach out to the masses who are troubled by their own circumstances. No one wants to listen to your voice when their own voices are choked. Same thing is with Kashmiris, "Everyone has a story to tell and that needs to be heard."
(The interview was first published in Daily Kashmir Images)