Maliha Mimi Bangash
When I was young I was a dreamer, I had hopes and aims in life. I didn’t know what the next day would bring but God helped me and when you work hard for anything, God brings miracles in your life.” Maliha completed her first Master’s degree before getting married. After getting married, mid-career, she found out she had received a scholarship at The University of Chicago. She had always been interested in investment and finance, so when opportunity presented itself, she seized it and flew to the US in pursuit of her dreams. Now came the other challenge; Maliha was expecting a child and didn’t want to work so much during this time. She considered getting her degree differed but her mother and grandmother, advised her against it. Opportunities like this don’t come by over and over again. Unwilling to let her grades suffer, she worked very hard and her hard work bore fruit when soon she had 2 very meaningful experiences of her life; the birth of her son and graduating as an honor’s student. Maliha’s son is now 14 and she herself is running an investment management company at group head level. Her ever smiling demeanor is soul soothing and reflects her peace with herself.
“I think there have been countless difficulties but I see it from a different perspective. If you want to do anything, the journey of life itself, is filled with challenges, we have to face and overcome them. If you are afraid of opposition how will you transcend it? I’ve thought of them as blessings.”Maliha had to manage her studies, a home and a baby. She started working part time when her son was very young. “I learnt to stay determined and let things happen themself.”
Maliha has always had a lot of emotional support. Every time she faced any problems, she would call her friend Shah Bano. According to Maliha, she is very wise and spiritually enlightened. She would tell Maliha to control the situation with maturity and patience. “For me, it strengthened my faith and built my character. If you see from the perspective of a professional, these are actually the traits of leaders. The challenges taught me leadership.”
Maliha attributes her success to her mother who has always been there as a pillar for her unconditionally, throughout the good and the bad. “My mother is the most important lady in my life and I aspire to be more like her. I didn’t have so much faith in myself as much as she had faith in me. She encouraged me and picked me up when I was weak. She is responsible for turning my dreams into reality by believing in them. She is my biggest miracle in life.” Maliha’s grandmother is her other pillar. Being an exceptional woman and poet, she told Maliha,
Mita de apni hasti ko agar kuch martaba chahay
Daana khaaq mein mil kar gul e gulzar banta hai
This means that when one sets out to achieve something, it must be done diligently. Immerse yourself in your work, be humble, control your ego and only then you’ll be able to reach the heights of success. “This has been my experience,” says Maliha, “that the more humility you have, the bigger you are as a person and the more you learn.”
Maliha advises young girls to have a positive attitude towards life. “If you do something with your heart and soul in it, God grants you success. Women get married, have children; these are just the natural processes of life. They must remember that career is flexible and at the end of the day, it all works out. The key is to not lose hope,” she reaffirms. The ups and downs of life have taught Maliha Bangash to be resilient and fearless and if women are as ready to learn from life as she is, nothing will come in the way of their dreams.