Preity Zinta is an actress, crusader, humanitarian and now a doctor. Yes you have heard it right. Priety Zinta is now a Doctor of Arts. On 29th of October 2010, University of East London conferred Preity Zinta with an honorary doctorate for her cultural activities and her humanitarian work on gender equality in India.
The ceremony also saw Lord Bhikhu Parekh , established philosopher and academic and a member of the House of Lords and Lord Dholakia Obe, Former President of the Liberal Democrats and currently member of the House of Lords receiving their doctorates of Law from the University.
After winning her first Filmfare Best Actress award in 2003, she went on to win the best actress award at the Chicago International film festival for her strong performance in 'Heaven on Earth'. Her accolades did not stop with her acting though, In 2003 she also won the Godfrey Philips National Bravery Award for refusing to retract her statement in a court case involving the Indian Mafia and is currently the ambassador for the Godfrey Phillips movement. Currently she supports womens charities in India, campaigning against female infanticide and AIDS awareness. Today she continues to use her influence to promote the well being of others.
Rohit K Dasgupta of B'khush got exclusive permission to attend the ceremony and get a one on one interview session with Preity.
Q: You have been recognised for your work in Politics, academia and cinema, how do you feel today after receiving your honorary degree from University of London?
Priety: Of course I am humbled. It feels wonderful. In my career I have always won awards for films. This is the first time I am getting something for my cultural contributions and humanitarian work. This will always be special to me.
Q: How do you feel today after being conferred a doctorate. Will you use Dr before your name?
Preity: (smiles) For me getting this itself is a big honour
Q: How does it feel getting the doctorate from University of East London in particular?
Preity: In this university, 1/3 of the students are Indians and they are also working on a project on Women entrepreneurship. This is the first time I have come here and seen all these things and I hope that my relationship with this university will continue after this first step we have taken
Q: You have turned down doctorates in the past. What made it special getting the doctorate from the University of East London?
Preity: Well, you see when I heard I was getting the doctorate I asked them why me, and I found out it was for other things other than just films, and I though this makes sense. It is an honour to get this and I know it is an effort and time taking process getting a doctorate and before this I never felt I had done enough to deserve a doctorate. The Vice Chancellor: I had seen Priety had a postgraduate in psychology and she is quite well achieved in her academics as well and so giving her the doctorate was an unanimous decision.
Q: You have done a Short course from Harvard, you have a Bachelor and a masters degree. How do you plan to use all your educational qualifications?
Preity: I think education is the key to the door of life. A lot of people come to me and ask me, what is the one thing you will tell people who want to get into the glamour indistry and I always say, please do not leave youer education. That is your backbone, that is what you are going to be. Its good to do other things. This one is the sweetest, it has come at a time when it was least expected, every other time when I was doing criminal psychology or doing English Honours I remember slogging it out so for all those people who slog it out, its worth it and a huge thank you to the University of London for considering me worthy of getting this doctorate.
Q: You have been doing a lot of charitable work on Aids awareness and my question is specifically about that. What do you have to tell about it?
Preity: HIV is not just sexual, it passes through drug use, mother to child and I want to reach out to them. We dont try to to stop the drug users by taking a moral ground but rather ask them if we can replace their needles. Women awareness is a key issue here too and we have to reach out to as many people as possible
Q: Thank you preity!
On a warning note, Never ask Preity about the legal injunctions against her cricket club or she will storm out of the Press Conference, as the Indian TV channels witnessed!
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