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In this book ” Who Am I?”, Moneeza Hashmi has transcribed the interviews of twenty prominent women hosted on her series “Tum Jo Chaho tu Suno” which ran on Pakistan Television from 1997 to 2002. This collection of interviews could be appropriately described as the first step towards documenting the lives and works of leading Pakistani feminists in their own respective fields.
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Title: Who Am I?
Author: Moneeza Hashmi
Year of Publication: 2014
Number of Pages: 224
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thebookfreak.pk (verified owner) – January 11, 2019
This book features transcripts of interviews the author conducted between 1995 and 2000 for a Pakistan Television series entitled, Tum Jo Chaho Tu Suno (Whatever you can, should listen). Borrowing its name from one of the poems penned by her father, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, the show included guests from all walks of life who had made important contributions in their chosen fields: the arts, politics, philanthropy, sports, etc. However, for this book, Hashmi has selected 20 interviewees. These include Abida Parveen, Bahar Begum,Benazir Bhutto, Bapsi Sidhwa, Dr Fatima Shah, Ruth Pfau, Farida Khanum, Malika Pukhraj, Nasim Wali Khan, Sabiha Khanum, Shamim Ara, Swaran Lata, Tahira Mazhar Ali, Viqar-un-nisa Noon, Zari Sarfaraz, Zehra Nigah and the author’s own sister, Salima Hashmi. The difficulties and achievements of these twenty well known Pakistani women have been recorded in these interviews providing brief glimpses into their lives; they delve into their childhoods, seek their motivations and try to discover how they balance their personal and professional lives. In addition, she has penned short biographies and her own opinion and memories of each personality, her reasons for selecting that specific person, what went on behind the scenes during the recording and much more. She draws a complete picture, helping the reader develop a perspective of the person who may be a stranger to some, before proceeding to read the interview. This keeps the readers’ interest focused on each page. Quite often, extraneous details make their way into this section, such as extensive descriptions of Hashmi’s own experiences at the cinema as a young girl and lists of her favorite actors. Additionally, some rather off-the-wall details crop up; for example, referring to Babra Sharif’s short height, Hashmi says “Babra Sharif suffers from a lack of torso,” about Shamim Ara she passes the rather harsh judgment that “no one could ever call her glamorous or even beautiful,” And some spellings tend to go awry.
Yet, ‘Who Am I?’ provides an enriching glimpse into the lives of these women who have excelled in their fields and left legacies which we can look up to. To be able to partake in their thoughts, ideas, achievements, anxieties, and struggles through the pages of this book is a valuable and instructive experience. This book is a great step in documenting the lives and work of leading Pakistani feminists in their own respective fields.
Ms. Hashmi is working on a sequel to her book featuring interviews with 20 male personalities.
In the end, I would really like to appreciate the amazingly quick service by “Parhai Likhai” plus the packaging was great. the book was bubble wrapped to prevent any damage in transit.
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komal_hashmi – March 24, 2019
Who Am I? turned out to be an enlightening read. It is a collection of 20 interviews conducted by Moneeza Hashmi, who is the youngest daughter of the legendary Faiz Ahmed Faiz & is a well-known name in the world of electronic media with a special connection with PTV. It is based on her program “Tum Jo Chaho Tu Suno” which aired on PTV from 1997 to 1999 & was one of its kind during that era. The font style which is used in the book gives an illusion of punctuation errors. I totally agree with the point @thebookfreak.pk mentioned that few remarks on height, weight or physical appearances in the introduction of the person being interviewed are stereotypical & judgemental. However, such comments are only sporadic & the rest of the book is exceptional. Each interview starts with brief background information & a life sketch of the woman being interviewed. These interviews leave the reader yearning for a bit more. The questions are elegantly formulated, extremely relevant with no weird interferences, focused on the work along with their struggle, passion, commitment, inspiration & the support of their families. It provides an elaborate insight into the soulful journey of the Queen of Sufi music Abida Parveen, the ever charming Babra Sharif & the strong matriarch playing actress Bahar Begum, the phenomenal Bano Qudsia with all her intellectual & humble approach to life, the first ever English language novelist in Pakistan Bapsi Sidhwa, the first female PM of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, the amazing yet down-to-earth humanitarian Bilquis Bano Edhi, the extraordinary life history of Dr. Fatima Shah who did a lot for the blind people, the most kind human & an angel on earth Dr. Ruth Pfau, the melodious Farida Khanum & Malika Pukhraj, the resilient Nasim Wali Khan, the elegant Sabiha Khanum, Shamim Ara & Swaran Lata, the multi-talented Salima Hashmi, the remarkable Tahira Mazhar Ali, the incredible political & social workers Viqar-un-Nisa Noon & Zari Sarfaraz (favorite interviews) & the utterly poetic Zehra Nigah. All these women are the epitome of hard work, dedication, strength & modesty. Each one of them is an inspiration.
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