Interview with Zafar Anjum, Journalist, Author and Filmmaker
Zafar Anjum is a multitalented individual currently based in Singapore, and working as an Editor for major technology publications such as Computerworld Singapore and Computerworld Malaysia. We interviewed Zafar to find about his other major interests which includes writing, and about his bestselling nonfiction book entitled The Resurgence of Satyam: The Global IT Giant, and his most recent release: Iqbal: The Life of a Poet, Philosopher and Politician. Read on to find out what Zafar had to say.
Your background and experience is varied and grounded in the creative sector. Can you please tell us a bit about the different types of work you do?
I am a technology journalist and writing and filmmaking are my serious hobbies. Writing is fundamental to all these three activities, though the approach changes in each case. I always wanted to write and make films and that’s what I try to do. Today, films or audio-visual medium is the most popular form of communication. Going forward, I want to explore this medium more than anything else.
You’re the author of the bestselling non-fiction book entitled The Resurgence of Satyam: The Global IT Giant, which was published by Random House India 2012. Can you please tell us about it and what you wanted to achieve by writing it?
When I wrote The Resurgence of Satyam: The Global IT Giant, I was trying to tell a positive story about India when there was a lot of despair in the Indian business community. The book tried to tell the story of Satyam’s fall as a fraud-hit company to its rise again as a successful IT services company after the Mahindra’s took over the reins. For me, it was more of a human story than a pure stating of a business case.
Your latest book is a biography of Allama Mohammad Iqbal, entitled Iqbal: The Life of a Poet, Philosopher and Politician and is also looking like it’s going to be a hit. Can you please tell us a bit about it, what key messages you wanted to convey through it and some of the work/research you had to do to write it?
Iqbal is a shared heritage of South Asia and, in fact, for the whole of mankind. He was a universal poet and he speaks to all of us. My biography of Iqbal tells the story of Iqbal’s fascinating life like a novel.
Iqbal’s message is the message of inquiry and action. He is one of the most inspiring poets in any language. For South Asians, he is a great example of the Indo-Asiatic culture as a personality. In Iqbal’s poetry and philosophy, there is no room for despair, only for hope and action to change a people’s destiny.
The idea was not to write a historical text on Iqbal. A lot of research has already taken place on Iqbal especially in Pakistan. For the kind of narrative that I wanted to weave, I had more than enough material to work from. In fact, I had to keep a lot of details out of the book so as not to make it too heavy and academic a read.
Can we expect to see any more books from you in the future? If so, could you please tell us a bit about what you have in the pipeline?
My next book is called Startup Capitals, due out in December from Random House India. It is a global and ambitious book that tracks the world’s top ten startup cities, starting from Silicon Valley to New York to Singapore and Beijing.
I am also working on a short film which I plan to shoot in the next few months. I am gearing up to make my first feature film. As a publisher, I am publishing four fiction titles this year. You will hear about them shortly.
Can you please share 3 top tips for budding writers of nonfiction?
– Read as much as you can.
– Write every day.
– Be humble. Take your work seriously but not yourself.
How can people find out more about you?
I have a personal website where people can find updates about my writings: http://zafaranjum.com.