Maharukh Chichgar: A Parsi Woman Taking On The World

During 8th to 10th century, when Parsi community migrated from Greater Iran to Gujarat, nobody imagined how beautifully this community will adopt the land of India and the people of this region. Today, on the occasion of Parsi New Year, Pateti, we tried to know what Parsi youth is thinking and how are they looking forward for their career. We ask the renown Parsi personality of Surat who is a leading theater artist as well as educationist – Maharukh Chichgar.

Here is a brief tête-à-tête of Maharukh with Isha Raval on Soconse.com.

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Soconse: How is your journey so far as an Artist?

Maharukh: Oh! The journey is so far so good for me! What is more important to me is ‘How I value myself as an artist?’. Basically I am very satisfied person, but being an artist of course I am ambitious too! My journey as an artist is absolutely satisfied. If you see me performing drama on the stage, you’ll see a reflection of my satisfaction there because it feels grateful to have worked with one of the most prestigious groups and the only Parsi theater group (i.e. Yazdi Karanjia group). Since I was in my mother’s womb, I was on the stage. So it has been wonderful and very satisfying journey. Apart from that, I have been comparing many shows so I am an artist in that sense too. It must be more than 400-500 shows that I must have compared so far and I’ve been doing so many international and national events. All these are quite satisfying because many people have started knowing me because of my work and when they know me as Maharukh, besides being the daughter of well known artist Mr. Yazdi Karanjia’s. So I think my journey is satisfied.

 

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Maharukh with his father and a renown theater artist, Yazdi Karanjia

 

Soconse: What do you think about Parsi youth? Are you satisfied with their professional growth?

Maharukh: Whether it is family, a business or a country’s growth; a pattern of trait cycle is applicable and it is applicable even to the human being’s life. So if I look at my community, my community has had its share of ups & downs. There comes a point in life when one would question as to what our youth is up to? And it is observed the older generation feels that the youth is going toward wrong path and they find the younger generation as careless and worthless. You often hear the elder generation commenting – ‘They are not as responsible as we were; when we were young’. Every older generation feels so and every younger generation feels that the older generation does not understand us and our aspirations. Well, keeping aside this dispute, let me tell you that as far as Parsi youngsters are concerned, they are not only moving ahead in a positive way but are also progressing with fast pace. They are catching on to the professions which they had never touched. Usually Parsis used to join banks because most of them considered Banking as big business. But now if you observe any field and every field, you’ll find a Parsi working there. Be it an Army, Be it a Business, Social work, IT, Politics or any other unconventional profession; Parsis are found everywhere. Parsis have even stared joining the field of theater & movies. But if you carefully notice, it’s not just the presence of Parsis, their remarkable performance also counts in various fields.

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Baby Maharukh with her brother and sister

 

Soconse:Tell me something about your future planning. Are you thinking towards the career planning for Parsi youth?

Maharukh: I have been running an organization called Zoroastrian Women’s Assembly of Surat (ZWAS) since last 24 years. This year in November, we’ll be entering into our 25th year. I started it because I was a teacher and I used to come across many young Parsi girls. So I thought why not to bring these girls together and start an association where they can learn how to develop themselves by doing some activities for their personal development along with showing them that we are a philanthropic community. Parsis have always believed in a philosophy wherein they think that (“Pet bharine kamaao ane dil kholine daan karo”) Earn as much as you can so that you can givea charity from all your heart. So we should learn philanthropy, we should learn how to be generous. So based on this philosophy & belief, I gathered all those young girls who were in my class. Today these trained girls have become responsible enough to raise their families. Some of them have turned out to be very good at event management. They are doing very well professionally as well as personally in their lives. So the things have grown to be pretty fine as the young girls have continued to join us. So this is my share to the youth of the community.

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Maharukh with her family in a theater play

 

Soconse:Your take on today’s young Parsi girls

Maharukh: Let me tell you that in the world, especially in India, where many communities see women as the weaker section in society, it is absolutely reverse with the Parsi community. The Parsi community regards female as strong gender, and which is why such females stand out anywhere in the crowd. It is observed that among the Parsi youngsters, females are more educated. The girls are more on the forefront than the boys. One of the reasons of it may be because the girls are more concentrated on what they want to do and very well aware of their own selves. Whereas the boys are still those happy- go- lucky ones. Barring a few if you look at the statistics, the girls are more educated, better developed and they have grown up to be more responsible than the Parsi boys.

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A traditional Parsi Family

 

Soconse: Your tips for Parsi youngsters

Maharukh: I always talk about my one motto in life to everyone –‘What you do, come back to you’. So always give your best, if you want the best to come back to you. I tell this my children also. I am happy that I am not a teacher who teaches very little children, I am the teacher who teaches the youth. And this is my message to youth of today. Another thing is that I firmly believe in Gandhiji’s ideology to be with the Truth no matter what the circumstances. I insist on speaking truth because Gandhiji said that there is no bigger weapon than truth. So always speak Truth and give your best to the world.