September 11 Digital Archive

Nirma, the courtesan, in New York

Title

Nirma, the courtesan, in New York

Source

born-digital

Media Type

article

Original Name

Recently Nirma, a movie star from the Pakistani film industry, performed a dance in New York that ha

Created by Author

yes

Described by Author

no

Date Entered

2002-11-06

VTMBH Article: Edition

42

VTMBH Article: Article Order

1

VTMBH Article: Title

Nirma, the courtesan, in New York

VTMBH Article: Author

Ifti Nasim

VTMBH Article: Publication

News Pakistan

VTMBH Article: Original Language

Urdu

VTMBH Article: Translator

Rehan Ansari

VTMBH Article: Section

edits

VTMBH Article: Blurb

Recently Nirma, a movie star from the Pakistani film industry, performed a dance in New York that has provoked the Pakistani community in all sorts of interesting ways.

VTMBH Article: Keywords

VTMBH Article: Body

Recently Nirma, a movie star from the Pakistani film industry, performed a dance in New York that has provoked the Pakistani community in all sorts of interesting ways. Pakistani papers are carrying headlines about the brazen nature of the dance, and male columnists are falling over each other in disapproval.

It is the sexual aggressiveness of Nirmas dance that has the Pakistani community chattering excitedly and the columnists muttering negatively. Regardless of the response, is a pleasure to see the communitys lively response to a public event; since September 11th there has been so much fear and anxiety.

Some of the columnists remarks reminds me of the legend of the cleric who, while lecturing against brazen women, described a scantily clad female form in such great detail than an audience member wondered when disapproval ended and approval began. As for the disapproval of Nirmas aggressiveness, I am afraid they must realize that Nirmas dance is nothing unusual, for New York or traditional South Asian art. In New York there are many performers who play with gender roles, and ideas of domination and submissiveness.

So what if Nirma, from Pakistan, has crossed sexual boundaries?

The Persian roots of the name Nirma mean one who has the qualities of both man and woman. Perhaps for the males in the audience, Nirma appealed to their feminine sidethus, the outrage.

But why be upset with a performance so steeped in tradition? In the epic love story from Punjab, Heer and Ranjha, still popular today, there is the couplet in which Heer sings she has desired Ranjha for so long that she has become him.

I feel that Nirma has turned the tables on her male audience. For a while now, we have been content to see the woman be the dancer in films and on stage. She is the spectacle. Nirmas supremely confident dance in New York made a spectacle of the men who are dancing around in outrage.

VTMBH Article: Line Breaks

1

VTMBH Article: Date

2002-11-06

VTMBH Article: Thumb

VTMBH Article: Article File

VTMBH Article: Hit Count

103

Citation

“Nirma, the courtesan, in New York,” September 11 Digital Archive, accessed March 28, 2020, https://911digitalarchive.org/items/show/1262.