The New Year began with an inspirational and highly motivational vision for me.
A chance meeting with author and journalist Farida Masters at the Eighth Annual Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards 2015 (held on November 23 at Sky City Convention Centre in Auckland) triggered a rollercoaster of thoughts on how we can benefit from the energy and capability of the wider community, especially the youth and women. I also faced the self-challenge of investing efforts in achieving the objectives.
The visit of Zerbanoo Gifford to attend the Sixth World Zoroastrian Youth Congress (held at King’s College, Auckland from December 28, 2015 to January 2, 2016) afforded a unique opportunity to engage with the fiery politician and champion of women’s causes based in Britain.
A suburban housewife she astutely masterminded campaigns from her kitchen table. She boldly challenged the self-serving politicians who did not know how to deal with the British Asian firebrand activist.
The release of ‘An Uncensored Life,’ a biography on Ms Gifford by Ms Masters in December 2015 was not only timely but also an interesting aspect for the meetings and discussions that we proposed to hold during the visit of Ms Gifford.
But the timing was terrible, as New Year’s weekend was the time that she was available to any and all the sessions we were happy to organise.
The Zerbanoo Effect
Ms Gifford quickly became a source of inspiration for many. As well as a Human Rights campaigner and passionate advocate for women empowerment and democracy, she is the Founder of ‘Asha Centre,’ a multicultural, multi-religious centre to promote good causes.
She has led her life at a sprinter’s pace moving from one winning post to another despite many roadblocks. As one of the first non-white women who made political history in Britain, she has been able to bring together people across party-lines to promote such causes as Anti-Slavery International and SHELTER, a charity for the homeless in UK and Charities Aid Foundation in India.
Ms Master was has worked as editor at several publications for the last 30 years, including Stardust, Citadel and Society Fashion of the Manga Group of Publications.
We organised four sessions on book reading, talk and Q&A. Although the number of people attending these sessions were small, the Q&A session was motivational and inspiring. At each of these, the amazing life of Ms Gifford was outstanding.
‘Uncensored Life’ targets young adults, women and the `all-about-me generation,’ looking for an incorruptible, strong and glamorous role model in a modern world, filled with a litany of mistrust, covert racism and prejudice.
Indian Newslink has published extensive reports on Ms Gifford in its earlier issues.
The first Public reading was at the Swaminarayan Temple in Papatoetoe. The reading and Q & A captivated the young and old.
The Programmes held at the Temple, Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland Library and Botany Library were managed by the Temple’s young volunteers including Ashika Prasad, Deepika Sonia the Temple’s young volunteers including Samiya Patel, Vrinda Soma, Krishna Thakkar and Sanjana Patel.
Editor’s Note: More reports and pictures of the Sixth World Zoroastrian Youth Congress will appear in our next issue.