An interview is with the immensely-talented young artist and philanthropist Muniba Mazari
You are a creative writer, an artist, host, a motivational speaker as well as a painter and a philanthropist. What do you want to be remembered as?
I want to be remembered as someone who tried her best to explore herself and who tried to give her best to this country. I want to be remembered as a survivor, someone who never believed in giving up.
Tell us about your fondness for art and its significance in your life.
Life without art seems pointless. I paint my life story. In your daily life when sometimes you prefer to be pretentious and you hide your emotions, art lets you express yourself and the pain fully. So I paint myself and I share my story through colours without uttering a single word.
What did you always aspire to do with your life when younger?
I always wanted to build an old home. I used to discuss this with my mother and I still remember she used to say, “May be one day you will!”
Getting over a tragedy in one’s life could take colossal effort. How can one make it easier for themselves? What is the one thing that helps the most in accepting and moving on?
Life is a test and it’s never supposed to be easy. But when you start to focus on the blessings that you have instead of thinking about the things that you’ve lost, you become a happy person eventually. Gratitude is the key. It helps you in overcoming your fears and makes you realise that even though your life is hard but still you are way better than many.
You are an activist as well. What societal issues do you feel need instant eradication or action? What is being done on that front?
I’m a people’s person. I interact with people from all walks of life, all genders and children. The biggest problem with Pakistan is that we’ve created walls around us in the name of religion, sects and genders. These walls are so high that we’ve forgotten that we are human beings first. I quote this every time: ‘today we see humans but no humanity.’ I want to bridge the gaps between humans; one language should prevail in this world, the language of love and compassion.
Pakistan is my identity and I own this motherland with all its flaws and problems and I don’t believe in cribbing or complaining. I just feel that when your mother gets unwell, you don’t blame her, you help her in getting better, you care for her more and you give your best to her. The same goes for the country. I still hope for the day when everybody will be free and will feel safe in this country, when people here will start to value lives. I want people to celebrate lives not deaths. We need to value our unsung heroes when they are alive because once they are gone, they are gone!
“It’s been eight years, I’m on a wheelchair. I get up in the morning and say ‘Alhamdulillah’. That’s one thing that I celebrate every day. I celebrate life and that’s my biggest achievement”
Are you attached to charity work as well?
Tell us about that.
I along with my friends have started Food Drive in Islamabad. At Food Drive, we get together on every Saturday and Sunday evening at F11 Markaz. The simple gesture is to feed a good meal to those who need it from all walks of life. We are sharing what we have with the less fortunate. The team of friends sit and share the food with everyone who shows up. Roshni and Bijli (eunuchs) are the two main faces of this initiative. They are the givers, and we are just facilitating them.
What according to you has been your biggest achievement to date? How much have your achievements changed you as a person?
It’s been eight years since I’ve been on a wheelchair. I get up in the morning and I say Alhamdulillah. That’s one thing that I celebrate every day. I celebrate life and that’s my biggest achievement. Rest, all this respect, fame, love and prayers are the blessings that God has showered on me and I’m grateful to all those who believed in me and also to those who didn’t. All this has made me a better human being. The more I hear people’s stories, the more I become grateful.
When are you the happiest?
When I’m with my son and when he accompanies me at food drives, orphanages and schools! When I see him spreading smiles, it makes me the happiest person on this planet Earth.
We consider you one of national heroes. Who are some of yours?
I’m humbled to be named as a national hero, even though I’m still trying to give my best to this country. When you say “national hero”, the only name comes in my mind is Sir Abdul Sattar Edhi. The only regret in my life will be that I never got a chance to meet him in person. I wish I could have.
Muniba Mazari is an immensely-talented person. She is not just a phenomenal artist, but she’s a renowned motivational speaker, an eminent philanthropist, a writer, singer and an activist as well.
Being paraplegic did not kill her spirit. Muniba Mazari defied all odds, and achieved what she aspired to. She has established her brand, known as Muniba’s Canvas with the slogan Let Your Walls Wear Colours. Mazari participated as a motivational speaker at various conferences and forums. She also works as an anchor at PTV, the first wheelchair-bound anchor, and also the first wheelchair-bound model for the Toni & Guy in Pakistan and the brand ambassador for The Body Shop in Pakistan. She is also one of the Ponds Miracle Women. She is working as brand ambassador for Chughtai Lab.