January issue 2004

By | People | Published 20 years ago

“O muse, thou dear one sing to me
commence and order my song
cool breezes blowing from thy groves
inspire my breast and rouse my heart …”

Newsline asks celebrities to name the muse that lights their way.

Usman Saeed

Iraj Manzoor. Illustration: Munawar Abro

Iraj Manzoor. Illustration: Munawar Abro

People like me are blessed to be around immensely inspiring individuals, all the time! But if I am to name the one spirit which has never ceased to inspire, it is Iraj Manzoor, one of the most versatile pioneer supermodels and also one of the finest contemporary painters I know.

Mere words cannot do justice to her contribution to the glamour industry of this country. It’s definitely her art education and her in-depth understanding of the creative process that puts her into a league of her own. I have had my fair share of understanding theatre and body art throughout my art education, but to finally collaborate with someone so happy and proud in her own skin, was an unforgettable experience. Being a thorough professional, she has the ability to understand the harmony between every contour of her body while switching characters — a complete realisation of the presence of the very fine line between sensuality and vulgarity — and her will to never indulge in the latter.

For now, Iraj is focusing on modelling, inspiring many from the fickle and glossy world of glitz and glam, and ignoring the empty canvases and oils that await her!

Mushahid Hussain


Mushahid Hussain. Illustration: Munawar Abro

I have always been deeply impressed by the great Egyptian journalist, Muhammed Hassanein Heikal, whose versatility is legendary. Renowned as the editor who built up ‘Al Ahram’ in Cairo during the days of Gamal Abdel Nasser, Heikal has been a cabinet minister, presidential confidante, author, activist and political trouble-shooter. At times, part of the establishment and on others, at odds, especially when he was jailed by Anwar Sadat for opposing the Camp David Accords. His intellectual brilliance, multifaceted talents, his incorruptibility and his resilience and ability to bounce back, are particularly inspiring. And he has been fortunate enough to have had a ringside view of history’s most momentous moments, either as an observer or as a participant.