Pakistan is one of the 2 countries in the world that still suffers from the wild poliovirus. The third country, Nigeria, was declared free of polio last year. And Pakistan came close to it in 2018, with only 12 cases in that year. The effects of polio are devastating and lifelong – that is why the country initiates campaigns to eradicate the disease every year. People suffering from the disease are left impaired, and unable to work. But one stuntman with polio is defying all odds.
The paralyzed stuntman
Muhammad Usman was infected with polio when he was only 6. As a result, his left leg was paralyzed. But his fascination for stunts performed at the famous Sibi Mela motivated him. As a youngster, he asked one of the performers if he too could perform. To his dismay, he was told off.
One day I went with my friends to the historic Sibi Mela where I saw various stuntmen performing in the festival. I asked a man whether I could perform these stunts but he looked at me and replied sarcastically: how can a disabled man become a stuntman.
However, the man’s comments did not break Usman’s spirits. As he joined the Power Show Club located in Nawa Killi, he proved everyone, who belittled him, wrong. And he has his stunt master, Shaira Bangulzai, to thank for it. While his parents were uneducated and did not know the consequences of not giving their children polio drops, he knows too well not to miss them.
But I have been vaccinating my six children with polio drops during every single anti-polio campaign in Quetta.
His teacher, Bangulzai, is proud of Usman’s achievements. From his first performance till today, he has shown true determination and passion.
When Usman joined my club and asked me to teach him, I couldn’t refuse him because I didn’t want to break his hopes.
In 2015, Usman had to replace his teacher at one of the events because of an ailing relative of Bangulzai. Though there might have been gossip, Usman proved to be nothing but great.
My student [Usman] performed … with immense confidence and accuracy in what was his first public performance.
Not only a stuntman
This is not all, Usman also drives a passenger coach and a rickshaw. And if that doesn’t sound enough- he also performs for TV and theater shows. On top of everything he has going on, he is also a comedian. Usman says he has God to thank for all of his achievements.
What else could I wish from my god?
Currently, Usman is training his eldest son to become a famous stuntman. At only 16 years of age, his son performs at small festivals.
I want my son to become a famous stuntman in Pakistan because after my death, people will know him by my name.
This stuntman with polio impairment is a true inspiration- especially for the naysayers. So, if you happen to visit Quetta, Muhammad Usman’s performance is a must-watch! What do you think of his story? Share your views in the comments section.
Via Arab News