CHUP recently had the opportunity to conduct an interview with renowned newspaper columnist, Ardeshir Cowasjee. He is the author of Dawn’s Cowasjee Corner and the chairman of the Cowasjee Foundation, an organization that provides scholarships to students seeking higher education opportunities. Born in Karachi in 1926 to a Parsi family, Cowasjee is regarded as the “guardian” of the city. In a recent NPR piece on the writer, Steve Inskeep noted, “People in Karachi take his columns seriously. He’s the kind of writer who’s willing to compare some provincial official to an out-of-touch French king.” Cowasjee is fearless in his columns, a man not afraid to criticize the ruling government, and CHUP was honored to be granted a brief (very brief if you note the responses) interview, [Image from Dawn].
Q: In your recent interview with National Public Radio’s Steve Inskeep, they cited your newspaper column, Cowasjee Corner, in which you referred to Pakistan’s founding father, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, as “that man of great perception….” Do you believe Pakistan has strayed from Jinnah’s original vision for this country? If so, why?
Yes. Lack of leadership.
Q: What do you feel is the biggest issue currently facing Pakistan?
Complete absence of law and order.
Q: As someone who has been deemed the “Guardian of Karachi,” how much do you feel the city has changed in your time there? What is the best and worst thing about Karachi?
Overpopulated. Lack of basic amenities. A large slum.
Q: What led you to become a columnist at Dawn newspaper? As a journalist, have you faced many obstacles in publishing columns that are exceptionally critical of the ruling regime?
Boredom – [that I] have to face the whims/fancies of my editor.
Q: The Cowasjee Foundation is your philanthropic organization that provides scholarships to students wishing to pursue higher education. What inspired you to establish this foundation?
Family-generated funds, [the foundation was] founded five generations ago.