Universally Popular Begum

Drag Queen Cross Dresser Begum Nawazish AliWhen She Speaks, He’s Breaking All of Islam’s Taboos.

Ali Saleem, aka Begum Nawazish Ali, aka BB – son of a retired army officer – is known to evoke strong reactions and hysterical laughter on Pakistani television.

Hosting late night shows, the begum shot to fame mingling with the who’s who of the Pakistani literati, glitterati and chatterati. Labelled a drag, a eunuch, a cross-dresser – Ali is firmly entrenched amongst the ever-growing coterie of people Pakistanis generally love to hate.

In Pakistan, where publicly talking about sex is strict no-no Saleem has managed not only to bring up the subject on prime-time television talk show — but to do so without inviting any backlash from fundamentalists.

Humming in an elegant sari with fluttering eyelids, she teases her guests on television: “Darling, you are sooo naughty.” While flirting with both male and female guests, she puts pointing, piercing and private questions. On one occasion, the begum squealed at her guest, cricketer Zaheer Abbas, “My god Zaheer you have such big hands. What else do you do with them Zaheeeer?” Abbas smiled sheepishly. Then he tried to needle him about Imran Khan.

“My life fluctuates between two extremes,” says Saleem. “I always say this: I am a man and I am a woman. It is two gender extremes, and I am constantly trying to balance it.”  Begum Nawazish Ali is actually a man, the 28-year-old who dons lipstick, mascara and a wig.

Big News: Begum has been signed by 9X! “I am delighted to be a part of the excellent programme on 9X,” he says. Let’s see how well the idea of a Drag Queen Chat show flies with the Indian audiences!


  1. I saw the Begum on 9X television. The maiden show with Mandira and Shekhar Suman was not so impressive. Hopefully, Begum would mature with the Indian audience. I believe what you have written about the drag queen.


  2. Congrats for an interesting and precise blog!
    Stories like Bhutan must be dealt with in detail, about the tyranny of monarchy, state of media, drama of parliamentsry elections and most importantly the state of more than 1.5 Lakh Bhutanese refugees living in camps in Nepal. People are unaware of these facts…I think english language journalists like u can mould the popular consensus if use this highly useful medium as a tool for alternative information dissemination…Hindi journalists like us inspite of having everything do not have the power to affect the consensus, what I think….nor do many of them think of using weblogs as an alternative source of information…

    Hope to get better stories in future…

    Why don’t you add a counter to the blog so as to keep track of the visitors..?

    Abhishek Srivastava


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