What are the Secrets to a Successful Life?

Maya Pathak, an India-based documentary filmmaker and Dr. Amna Mirza, an author and academic, discuss Indian politics and tips on how to be successful in life.


Indian author and academic Dr. Amna Mirza. Photo courtesy of Maya Pathak.

With the rise of the Indian Aam Admi Party – People’s Party (AAP), their stellar performance in Delhi Assembly Elections, it is remarkable that an attempt is being made to take the practice of politics away from VIP culture, namely the idea of perks and other benefits involved for family members of the person occupying the political post.

However, somewhere in the chorus some individuals are neglected who have always shunned the idea of misusing power. The following excerpts are from an interview with Dr. Amna Mirza, political analyst, professor of political studies, academician, author, moderator and wife of the youngest Member of Parliament – Hamdulla Sayeed, youngest member of fifteenth Lok Sabha – (Upper House of Indian Parliament) from Lakshadweep (Indian National Congress).

MP: Tell us something about yourself.

AM: I have been an alumnus of prestigious educational institutions like Delhi Public School (Mathura Road), St. Stephens’ College (Bachelors’ Degree), Hindu College (Masters’ Degree), United Business Institutes-Belgium, (Master of Business Administration), University of Delhi (Doctorate).

With blessings of Almighty and good guidance from parents, ups and downs in life did not deter me from the pursuit of education. I have been a meritorious student with first class grades with several prestigious scholarships like Vinod Dikshit Memorial Award for significant academic distinctions, UFJ award for outstanding record, St. Stephen’s College Centenary Medal for character combined with learning, Karan Singh Medal and Prof. C.J. Chako prize for securing highest marks in University Examination at Masters’ Degree Programme, Godfrey-Philips & Meow radio station “Golden Ovary Award.”

My academic interests took me to University of Fribourg, Switzerland, University of Duisburg Essen (Germany), among others. I have also authored Global Times, Federal Concerns and editor of Globalization & Voices from Indian Practitioners.

Hard-working, avid traveler, vegan, multitasker sum me up in all.

MP: What is meaning of power, political representatives, and electoral panorama for you?

AM: The nature of politics is clearly elaborated by its nomenclature from the Greek word “polis” which meant the city-state. It therefore connotes an activity towards the larger good of the society. It is a tough and meticulous duel of unlimited demands in terms of concerns of the electorate but limited supply looking at the need to be able to deliver to motley needs.

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The nuances of the current age have made politics as agenda oriented work, where long-term survival shall be based on your own performance instincts. It is ones tenacity to be able to deliver that shall add value to the family name, as the needs of the time demand work oriented approach. Furthermore, one need not be complacent at any point of time.

MP: How do you then translate in practice because your father-in-law was in politics for four decades and it is being continued by your spouse.

AM: My father was Member Legislative Assembly in Delhi for more than a decade. If people around me have been in public life, it is for their respective electorate, not for me or my personal well-being. I work hard to make my ends. “Make yourself deserving before desiring” has always been my yard-stick of life. I have always shunned the idea of beacons at cars and security or living in government accommodation. Nothing beats the satisfaction achieved from living life out of honest ways.

Be it be my job, few assets, acquaintances or friends, they have been worked from sheer dedication and incessant prayers towards the goal. I detest the idea of power name tags – as someone’s wife or daughter-in-law or daughter. I believe it is very essential for women to carve out a niche for themselves in terms of their identity and work. Moreover, one needs to always respect and care for the people, the electorate, who have given the mandate to your person concerned to be in the job.

MP: What is your opinion on the future Indian political syndrome?

AM: Our political process has always been resilient amid all odds. Politics in India has a glorious past, and this past has to send a telling message to the future that apt work is being done to solve problems of today. Governance exists under multiple layers. We need to expand this notion of accountability, not only from our representatives, but from several others players in the public domain.


Dr. Amna Mirza during interview with documentary filmmaker Maya Patha.

Read other articles on Amna Mirza.

Maya Pathak is an India-based documentary filmmaker.