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Atif Arena Forum » Stuff Related to Atif aslam » News, Interviews, Articles & Media Exposure » Bol movie -Higher standards By Usman Ghafoor
Bol movie -Higher standards By Usman Ghafoor
DanooDate: Friday, 2011-08-05, 10:59 AM | Message # 1
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By Usman Ghafoor
The writer works at The News International and was part of BOL's core production team
If you’re in Harvard, you can’t be accused of not having made much of your life and education; you are a ‘success’ already. However, 20-year-old Hania S. Chima, who finished school at Lahore’s Convent of Jesus & Mary early last year and is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree at the Faculty of Arts & Sciences at Harvard, had her own reasons for going to one of the world’s most sought-after universities. “I went there not because it is considered fashionable to study at an Ivy League uni but because I wanted to mix with and learn from a culture far removed from my own,” she says. “I also wanted to use the opportunity to become independent and discover my strengths and weaknesses, something one is compelled to do when left alone in an unfamiliar environment.”

That her own father is a Harvard alumnus didn’t essentially prompt the idea. To her mind, there are “great educational institutions in Pakistan too, which provide the same level (if not better) of education as most universities abroad. So I chose to go abroad not just for the academic exposure but for the sake of experience, to interact with and learn from people who are very different from me.”

For Shahmir Hamid, 19, a former Aitchisonian who is currently doing BA in Politics & International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London, “the standard of education in Pakistan isn’t great”. Period. The concept of ‘homeland’ is a bookish cliché and, Shahmir says, he misses home “only when I am hungry”.

Interestingly, desi cuisine is what most Pakistani youth studying in foreign universities can’t stop having an urge for, despite an endless variety available at local cafes and restaurants. As the University of Vermont student Amr Kashmiri puts it, “One gets tired of having to eat the same kind of bland food and craves for nehari and haleem!”

A talented musician and actor — he played one of the most important characters in Shoaib Mansoor’s film, Bol, besides performing in a couple of Shah Sharabeel’s English theatre plays — Amr recently went abroad, having completed his A-Levels, to study Studio Art, a subject he believes Pakistani universities do not offer. “I am doing my Majors in Studio Art and Minor in World Music. Studio Art is a mix of Traditional Art that focuses on Traditional Medium (painting, sculpture etc) and Computer Art that focuses on computer animation, photography, graphic design etc. It’s a very vast field of study, but in Pakistan, Traditional Art and Computer Art are considered as separate.”
 
DanooDate: Friday, 2011-08-05, 10:59 AM | Message # 2
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Haneya Hasan Zuberi, 20, a student of International Relations and Journalism at Ohio Wesleyan, seconds Amr: “A lot of us are tempted to apply to foreign universities because the subject we chose isn’t taught here [in Pakistan].”

Haneya also puts it down to the “not so great” standard of education. Yet, she insists she would “love to come back to Pakistan [after completing education]... Studying abroad, amongst many other things, I learnt that there indeed is no place like home.”

“Whatever I learn abroad, I would like to put it to good use for the benefit of my country,” she adds. “Even if I am able to make the slightest of difference, I will feel that my task has been accomplished.”

Haneya’s sentiments are not uncommon. Hania S. Chima says she has also always wanted to live in Pakistan. This, she explains, has nothing to do with the fact that she holds a green passport and shall not have the option of working in a foreign country anyway. “Honestly speaking, I’ve a strong bond with my home country. I grew up here and have an association with it. I disagree with innumerable elements of the ideology of our people and absolutely dislike many aspects of Pakistan, but I cannot help loving it! It’s a hard feeling to describe but I somehow feel a sense of responsibility towards our people. And, now that I have the opportunity of going abroad for my education this feeling has only become heightened. There is so much one can do here to bring about change that the thought of coming back always excites me!”

In the words of Shahmir, “Someone has to fix this mess.”

Amr is also keen to return to Pakistan, though he has his own reasons: “I plan to carry on with my acting career; the film industry here in the US is so big that you cannot expect to be noticed. Besides, there aren’t any roles being written for a Pakistani or a desi. So…”

This, however, isn’t due to some sort of discriminatory behaviour based on cultural or religious differences. In fact, it’s quite to the contrary. As Hania Chima says, “In the beginning, I would stay aloof from my class fellows at Harvard, perhaps because of cultural barriers that were of my own creation. So, whatever reservation there was, it was on my part. Things changed dramatically as I got to know everyone better and became comfortable with the environment.

“Americans are a very friendly and helpful people,” she states. “Never has anyone made me feel inferior on the basis of my race. In fact, most people are intrigued by my background and often want to know more about it.”
 
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