Muhammad Moiz – An Activist in Disguise

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Muhammad Moiz, an actor, a doctor, an activist and entertainer, grew up in Abottabad and was born to an all doctor’s family. Very sensitive to social injustice, he was highly observant of the society around him especially in context to gender disparity and social conformity. He is currently a Fulbright scholar at George Washington University, studying MPH in Global Health Policy.

Dedicating most of his time to social activism he has been very active on the frontiers of child sexual abuse, LGBT rights and women rights through research, advocacy, independent consultancy and numerous affiliations with national and international organizations.

Despite being good at his profession as a medical doctor, he realized early that the field of medicine was not the only thing for him and that he was capable to do much more.

Being an expressive and sensitive child, he had always been into caricatures. Amdist his artistic expression, Moiz created, what we know as Shumaila Bhatti – a phenomenal media sensation, which has been greatly followed and liked by almost everyone on social media. His caricatures, often being funny always reflected the realities of life.  Starting off just as a hobby, today Shumaila Bhatti is followed by hundreds and thousands of people, who find themselves deep in this character.

“Shumaila was developed out of a regular life. A typical woman combatting harassment or finding the love of her life. Somehow I was expressing the Shumaila in me, out to the public, voicing her life and struggle.”

Developing Shumaila to reflect the struggles of a girl who lives in a male dominated society, Moiz started looking forward to his own stories he created them, expressing his own reflection of society in this character that exists in a Snapchat filtered video.

Moiz asserts that we all ‘perform’ genders all the time and for him, the life of Shumaila was a performance.

“We all possess shades of masculinity and femininity; it is just a matter of how we play our role that helps in us being recognized as male or female individuals of the society.”

Besides performing as other characters he thinks that the popularity of Shumaila Bhatti is because not only women but literally, even all men in Pakistan can relate to that character.

When asked, why besides being a good doctor, having been awarded Fulbright, he continues to build Shumaila, he told “This is a tricky question. The character of Shumaila is in part, self-expression, social responsibility and entertainment.”

“Shumaila, provides an avenue to all those people, who’s lives are similar to hers, but they can never really freely express their opinion and emotions.”

Hence, he considers every like and each share of his work as a eureka for his followers – the moment when we realize the truth behind our own behavior.

“I think, what I count as an achievement is that I have been able to represent the majority of our population through Shumaila’s life. I think people have started related to their own self, more than anything else.”

Moiz believes that the media does not represent the lived realities of a middle class Pakistani. All drama’s, movies, comedy shows are focused on either the elite, or the under-privileged. With his work, he tries to highlight the segment of the society, which has forever been ignored.

“I am a deviant from the typical Pakistan. In that I am not homophobic, very pro LGTB, pro-democracy and women rights. This is how I re-image my Country and break the stereotypes by being an ambassador.”

Moiz is now actively working to create a cohort of social media artists who can build supporting networks for each other in order to contribute productively, to the media industry.

“We are a county of immense potential and everything depends on how we, the youngsters build a progressive, liberal narrative which is contextualized and cultured to fit the demands of a typical Pakistani.”

Moiz is now actively working to create a cohort of social media artists who can build supporting networks for each other in order to contribute productively, to the media industry.


Interview & Written by Anum Nawaz

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