Excerpts from an interaction with Vineet Koul.
It is said that the early days of childhood decide the course of one’s life and career. What were your surroundings like as you were growing up?
Prof. Gazi: Yes, you are right in saying that. The atmosphere you grow up in is always a big influencer not just in shaping your thoughts, your outlook, but your choice of career and your fundamental approach towards life. I basically hail from Shah Mohalla Nawab Bazar, Srinagar. My surrounding was, I can say, kind of academic in the sense that my father ran his own Urdu Weekly called “Naya Dour”. He was also the editor of “Naya Dour” which was very popular and had a respectable readership. This was one side of the coin or I can say, part of the influence over me. My mother who was a Government employee also had her set of influence over me. But being the youngest of three children, I did not get enough time which my two siblings got due to my parents’ work commitment to their respective professions. So, one can say that there was a mixed influence of my parents, but somewhat much less than my siblings. More so, I spent more time with my relatives as the concept of ‘creches’ were not there in those days. Such a situation in a way somewhat created a “Huckleberry Finn” phenomenon, always moving around and playing most of the time after school hours. When I look back, it brings some very fond memories.
How did you come out of this “Huckleberry Finn” phenomenon?
Prof. Gazi: I graduated in from Gandhi Memorial College, Srinagar and then went on to University of Kashmir. During this time, especially at college, the group of friends and the general atmosphere helped me get out of the cocoon. I used to be quite an introvert.
What was the highlight of your college days?
Prof. Gazi: The most unexpected thing that happened during my college days was that I got elected as the President of the Student’s Union. But, unlike any other Union, I took part in college affairs and tried my level best along with my other elected colleagues in ensuring the smooth functioning of the college by enabling a cordial relationship between students and teachers. I think that I was quite successful in this endeavour.
Today, you are heading Vishwa Bharti Women’s College. Was teaching part of your career plan or did it just happen?
You have had some experience in the media field also. What all did you do in this area?
Prof. Gazi: I used to write for a local daily, “Aftab”, and also wrote for a program like “Tabsara” and a few homour and satire based programs, but that was during my academic years. I also worked as a Sub-Editor for the reputed Urdu daily, “Quami Awaz” in Srinagar. But, I soon realised that I was best suited for a teaching Job.