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“I owe Begum Nawazish Ali’s existence, in a certain way, to General Musharraf,” he said.
January 3, 2007 1:54 PM   Subscribe

“Maybe, yes, I am a diva.” Meet Ali Saleem, known on Pakistani TV as Begum Nawazish Ali, hostess of a popular talk show. Mr. Saleem’s portrayal ... a middle-aged widow who, in glamorous saris and glittery diamonds, invites to her drawing room politicians, movie stars and rights advocates from Pakistan and India.
posted by amberglow (21 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Not wanting to give the NYT my information, I went looking... Her Wikipedia page has a lot of good links. I'm watching the (Australian) Dateline report on Google video right now. Cool stuff.
posted by jiawen at 2:39 PM on January 3, 2007


oh--i should have said it was NYTimes--sorry. Thanks for the wiki on her.
posted by amberglow at 2:45 PM on January 3, 2007


I love this article from She Magazine, treating her (and shooting her) like any other celeb. : >
posted by amberglow at 2:46 PM on January 3, 2007


Registration-free link. [From the NYT Link Generator]
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:47 PM on January 3, 2007


You just blew my mind with this amberglow. I'm astounded. It's fascinating. Thanks.
posted by nickyskye at 2:53 PM on January 3, 2007


What a brave person. This sort of thing gives a fellow hope that maybe things will be better one day.
posted by eustacescrubb at 2:57 PM on January 3, 2007


Woah. Of all the British influences on Pakistan, I didn't think Dame Edna was going to be the one that stuck. (well, Australian, but let's not split hairs here)
posted by GuyZero at 3:02 PM on January 3, 2007


Thanks, amberglow; read this at work this morning but that She Magazine article gives a lot more insight into the thinking behind the character. It makes sense, really: interview intimidating stars and politicians by being larger than them. And it remains interesting that drag seems to make certain things more palatable to so many mainstream folks, in Pakistan and elsewhere.

I'm glad to see more about the relatively enlightened urban middle class in Pakistan; seems all I get in the U.S. lately is stories about resurgent Islamic militants, so it's easy to forget there's a major chunk of the country that's opposed to that kind of rigid ignorance.
posted by mediareport at 3:07 PM on January 3, 2007


Thanks for the post, amberglow!
posted by figment of my conation at 3:43 PM on January 3, 2007


kudos, amberglow.
posted by moonbird at 5:43 PM on January 3, 2007


What's most interesting to me is the phenomenon that because the character is a fiction, in some ways a farce, she is able to broach topics that "serious" journalists cannot. It's as though, through vulnerability, strength is achieved. Beautiful genius.
posted by owhydididoit at 5:47 PM on January 3, 2007


After work, what came to mind about Begum Nawazish Ali’s existence was the hijra tradition in Pakistan, discussed in madamjujujive's post of yore.
posted by nickyskye at 5:52 PM on January 3, 2007


because the character is a fiction, in some ways a farce, she is able to broach topics that "serious" journalists cannot

Reminds me of some characters over here.
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:00 PM on January 3, 2007


oh--i should have said it was NYTimes--sorry. Thanks for the wiki on her.

Don't worry about it, and you're welcome.

Reminds me of some characters over here.

And Colbert is doing nothing if not conservative drag.
posted by jiawen at 6:32 PM on January 3, 2007


The Kings of yore had jesters. The Pakistan of Lahore has the Begum.

"this is good!"
posted by stirfry at 7:04 PM on January 3, 2007


Lahore, Bangkok, Mysore.
posted by nickyskye at 7:27 PM on January 3, 2007


Reminds me of some characters over here.

Exactly--Saleem almost says as much at the end of the article, talking about getting Musharraf to appear.
posted by owhydididoit at 8:14 PM on January 3, 2007


That guy's got some serious balls.
posted by jason's_planet at 8:38 PM on January 3, 2007


Interesting. Especially when the mayor appears.
I didn't know these things existed on national television in Pakistan.
posted by jouke at 8:55 PM on January 3, 2007


Here's another story from the subcontinent on a somewhat related subject: A maharajah's son in India is disinherited -- or maybe not -- for publicly proclaiming his gayness.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 9:30 PM on January 3, 2007


Terrific! Thanks, amberglow. Some people make this world a little better and Mr Saleem is one of them.
posted by hojoki at 10:14 PM on January 3, 2007


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