This is the menoir of a remarkable woman, Begum Khurshid mirza, the daughter of Sheikh Abdullah and Waheed Jahan Begum, the founders of Aligarh Women's College. An intimate portrait of an upper class Muslim family in India and Pakistan from the early part of the twentieth century until the recent past, this narrative is much more than an account of Khurshid Mirza's personal life. It spans the years from 1857 to 1983 and provides an insight into the social conditions of Indian Muslim women's education, and the transition to Pakistan while illuminating Khurshid Mirza's rich and varied life as an actor, activist radio and TV artiste a writer a devoted daughter, wife and mother.
Khurshid Mirza vitality and dynamism her pioneering spirit and unconventionality led her to leave the unconventionality led her to leave the cloistered world of aligarh after and early marriage to a police officer and then pursue a career in films in Bombay. She rapidly climbed the lader to stardom as Renuka Devi and worked along side well-known actors and directors of the time. Partition cut short her film career and she left for the new country, Pakistan, where she remained deeply engaged as ever and contributed to many worthy causes, especially for the benefit of women. The coming of Pakistan TV gave her a fresh opportunity to express her theatrical talents and she soon become one of Pakistan's best known television actors winning many awards including the Pride of Performance award in 1985. A true Woman of Substance.
About the Author:
LUBNA KAZIM Kurshid Mirza's daughter, has been a teacher for over 40 years, having taught in schools in Lahore, Karachi and Derby, U.K. Now retired, she continues to work with the Aurat Foundation, Lahore.
Gail Minault is Professor of History at the University of Texas, Austin. Her most recent publication is Secluded Scholars: Women's Education and Muslim Social Reform in Colonial India (1999).
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