Shame Characters

Shame Character List

Omar Khayyam Shakil

The son-in-law of General Raza Hyder has led a life of isolation. As a kid, a great big palace in an advanced state of disrepair was his private playground. His mother may be any of three sisters and the identity of who fathered him is a mystery as well. He leaves the seclusion of the palace at age 12 to attend school and upon graduating with a medical degree proceeds to share a life dedicated to dissolution and debauchery with Iskander Harappa. An obsession with the mental handicapped daughter of General Hyder ultimately results in his marriage to Sufiya.

Iskander Harappa

Reportedly based on Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan and father of assassinated former PM Benazir Bhutto, he also shares much in common with Shakespeare’s Prince Hal. Harappa joins Omar in his playboy lifestyle until he is stimulated by the spirit of competition to adopt a more serious approach to life. Tired of watching friends and relatives gain high and higher positions of prestige, Harappa steels himself for a course to become more powerful than any of them, ending with his election as Prime Minister. He makes General Hyder head of the military and then, like his real life inspiration, is jail and ultimately executed.

General Raza Hyder

Based on former Pakistani President Zia-ul-Haq, Hyder is one of the military strongman who hides his psychopathy beneath a shiny veneer of good manners and unpretentious modesty. The defining physical characteristic of Hyder is a permanet dark spot on his forehead which has resulted from time spent praying with his head pressed hard against the floor. The jailing of Harappa leads to his dream of an Islamic theocracy. Once he is finally overthrown, he attempts to flee along with Omar while disguised as a woman.

Sufiya Zinobia Hyder

Her mother refers to by a curious nickname: Shame. Sufiya’s mental retardation is cast as a symbolic trait of innocence and purity and so her nickname references the shame of those do evil that she takes on herself and which manifests itself in her lack of mental development. Whether it’s that overabundance of shame seeking to burst free or the collective evil she has taken on regenerating into energy or the retardation of her mind itself affecting her actions, Sufiya turns out to be a bit more than mere personification of purity. She disembowels hundreds of turkeys as a young girl, castrates through the act of beheading several men who rape her and eventually transforms into a panther woman serial killer whose spree is instrumental in bringing down her father’s government.

Maulana Dawood

A very old and very fanatical spiritual adviser to General Hyder whose favorite pastime is riding his scooter around looking for offense against Islam so can threaten the perpetrators with eternal damnation. In death, Dawood becomes a shoulder devil to Hyder, feeding him a continuous stream of ultra-fundamentalist advice that fuels the General’s hunger for his theocracy.

Chhunni, Munnee, Bunny Shakil

One of the three is Omar’s mother. They remain behind in the palace and their seclusion and isolation is made complete by virtue of literally being walled off from the rest of the world. Supplies arrive through a dumbwaiter and when Omar leaves, they produce another son, Babar, whose fate is to die at the hands of Hyder. But fate also has a twist in mind for Hyder: he will be executed by the three sisters.

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