Autobiography of KU teacher Shahida Kazi launched
“It’s been 60 years since I took admission in the journalism department of the University of Karachi. The department itself was barely one-year-old then and I didn’t realise at the time that I was the first female enrolling in the course back then. Then there were other firsts, too, such as my bagging first position and the gold medal.”
This was said by senior journalist, TV news producer, editor, teacher and a very fine human being Prof Shahida Kazi’s at the launch of her book Sweet, Sour & Bitter — A Life Well Lived at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Friday.
The book launch witnessed a full house with extra seating arranged to accommodate the guests, most of whom were Prof Kazi’s students. All gave her a standing ovation when she stood up to speak.
Prof Kazi said that her life’s principle was to always remain positive and throw out the negatives. “Be kind to all and lead a very simple life. I am grateful for the life I led.
“I had not asked for a job but I was offered it by the then city editor at Dawn. Soon I realised that I was also the first female reporter in Dawn. Then came PTV where I worked for a good 20 years, first as a news producer and then news editor, following which I joined academia. The time I spent at Karachi University, and the support, the respect, I got from the students, the teachers, I am truly grateful for.
“I retired at 60. It could have been time to sit at home, but then I was called by private universities. I have worked at several private universities and served there as visiting faculty, too. I only stopped now after classes went online due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.
Dr Erum Hafeez, herself the head of a department at a private university, said she remembered well her taking admission in BA Honors at the Mass Communications department at the KU.
“At first, I was hesitant and afraid to step into her office. But it only happened that first day. After that the same office became our Hyde Park. She was very particular that we read the newspaper every day, a habit which has stuck to me. She is also an avid reader. After the university, when I was visiting her home, I happened to see her library. I, too, now have a library like it at my place,” she said.
Senator Javed Jabbar, the chief guest on the occasion, said that Prof Kazi’s book was a testament to the courage and struggle of a Pakistani woman against formidable odds. It was also a book about how Pakistan evolved in the past four decades.
“Prof Kazi is someone who values integrity and her book, even though slim and concise, tells you about Pakistan like it was, like it is and what it is going to become,” he said.
Dr Yasmin Farooq, head of the Mass Communication department at another private university, said Prof Kazi was a very humble person. “While running around chasing stories for Dawn, she had no qualms about travelling by bus even though she was not used to it. She is a role model, an inspiration for us. Even her students have become institutions,” she said.
Senior journalist Aamir Latif said that he was happy as well as a bit nervous to be speaking before his teacher, who knew him and the blunders he made while a student at the university.
Senior journalist Muslim Pervaiz, who is also Prof Kazi’s student, said they still received her guidance whenever needed. “We are still learning from her. It is also our wish that the Government of Pakistan honours our Prof Kazi,” he said.
Senior journalist Shehr Bano said that she was not a student of Prof Kazi but had still learned from her indirectly. “She is a big name in the field of mass communication so I wanted to meet her, interview her for my publication. She is a teacher of teachers,” she said.
Prof Dr Tauseef Ahmed Khan, Nisar Zuberi, KPC president and secretary Saeed Sarbazi and Shoaib Ahmed, Prof Saleem Mughal of Federal Urdu University and Dr Tahir Masood also spoke.