"Make sure that the voices of weaker sections do not go unheard" - Zoya Mahveen

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1. Tell us more about yourself and your life.

Myself Zoya Mahveen aged about 25 years. I'm an upcoming Barrister and a social activist providing free legal assistance to poor and needy. I'm currently in London for my higher studies. I have been closely following up the rape cum murder cases of minor children (POCSO) to ensure justice to the victim families. We strive hard for the betterment of society through our N.G.O voice4voiceless.

Thankfully, my works have a considerable impact on society where I work for the acid attack victims, dowry harassment, sexual abuse, rape and domestic violence. I have a great legal rapport with almost all the police stations in my city that helps me to ensure free access to justice for every individual irrespective of his status. I help people to register a complaint and draft-free for them. I have regained the lost confidence of many women and encouraged them to become independent. On the other hand, I have also solved many matrimonial disputes amicably. We also actively participate weekly in sensitization programs at schools and colleges on drug abuse, sexual abuse, forced prostitution, child labour, child marriage and so on. We strive to help labourers and poor people to avail the benefits of government schemes they are entitled to. We give prior attention to issues related to senior citizens and orphans. I conduct various awareness programs on central and state government and I aspire to expand my services further in future after becoming a successful Barrister.

2. What led you into social activism? 

I could say it's all because of my genes. I have grown up watching my parents who are both doctors by profession go out of the way to help people in distress. My father has resolved many issues on ground level through his social welfare society since 1997. I'm proud that even today they are fighting against COVID-19 by shifting the positive patients to quarantine centers putting their lives at stake to save the society. 

I grew up somewhere between paying picnic fare for my less privileged friends in my school days to full time social working, who advocates for the impoverished. The small good deed of mine which brought night smile on her face and encouragement of my parents transformed my vision towards life. I started seeking contentment by making others happy to my fullest extent. It doesn't matter how much you could do, the only thing which matters is WHAT you could do to help someone.

While, pursuing law I got a chance to work as a paralegal at State legal services authority in 2017, where I came across various types of pressing cases in day to day life. Since then I decided to devote pro bono services three days a week to the poor and downtrodden.

3. What is that one cause you care deeply about and why?

According to me the most important aspect which I care about deeply is "Humanity". Inequality is the cause of all evil. The aim of my life has become to make sure that the voices of weaker sections do not go unheard in society. Justice has to be made accessible to all. The motto “Truth alone triumphs" is very much dear to me and will always prevail. Nothing is superior to the cause of humanity. That is why standing up for humanity is my passion.

4. If one wants to contribute and make a difference in social causes, how can one do it?

It's quite easy for all of us to contribute to social causes. We all have a person deep inside who is concerned about the humanity and mankind above anything else; a person who wants to change the existing state of things for the better; a person who has an enlightened thought process; a person who cannot stand the sufferings of the weaker section of people; and above all a person who believes in the duty bestowed upon him to leave the earth behind him as a better place than it was.

In fact, the social worker is an ordinary human being who wants to serve the cause of humanity in extraordinary ways. If every person pledges to reach out the poor and needy in respective localities in a very common manner, I think there won't be any person dying of hunger or distress due to poverty. There are lots of people in need who go unnoticed, so the only thing is one needs to be vigilant with regards to the surroundings. The saying 'We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone' has to be understood in its true sense. 

5. Who is your role model and why?

The Great "Mother Teresa" has been my role model since my early childhood. My almanac 'Rosary Convent High School', which is a Christian missionary has played a significant part in determining this. The selfless services of Mother Teresa were repeatedly characterized, thus leaving a long-lasting positive impact on our young minds. The unforgettable Moral Science classes which were part of our curriculum were the best-taught subjects of my life. Many instances in my daily life made me realize that Mother Teresa's phrase "Service to mankind is Service to God' it's an absolute fact. I strongly believe being a good person with lots of love and compassion in the heart is above any other achievement.

6. What are some of challenges and roadblocks you have faced along your journey?

Every journey has its own pros and cons. I didn't counter a specific deadlock, Thanks to my supportive family and friends who always encouraged me to keep marching ahead ignoring the negative factors. Getting an equally supportive life partner in-laws laws who respect my work commitments, aims and objective was a nightmare. 

Other than gender bias, time management between my family/academics and social activism has always remained the toughest challenge for me. I had to go through a lot of criticism and demotivation in the initial stages. But, as I kept striding due to my immense passion I learnt to withstand negativity and respond positively in turn. My journey of life has just taken a start and taught me many valuable lessons pertaining to the genuine essence of life. There's a long long way to go. The road ahead is full of opportunities and hurdles as well. I believe in moving forward and overcoming each roadblock in order to reach the pinnacle.

7. Your opinion about social media activism.

In my opinion, social media is a great platform to create awareness amongst the masses if used in a constructive manner. If people stop spreading fake news through it, I think it can be used to build a great network of good Samaritans sharing each other's innovative ideas on a common arena. In the present scenario, online study modes and video conferencing are very much prevalent. Simultaneously, moral values and ethics are to be inculcated in children through various online forums right from childhood to lower the crime rates and encourage them to become good citizens. 

- Zoya Mahveen

Interview By - Abhirup Dey
"Make sure that the voices of weaker sections do not go unheard" - Zoya Mahveen "Make sure that the voices of weaker sections do not go unheard" - Zoya Mahveen Reviewed by Abhirup Dey on April 28, 2020 Rating: 5

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* The views expressed in the above article are of the writer and not Eat My News.
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