Book: Benazir Bhutto (Daughter of the East)
Few months back, while searching through the book shelf, my hands stopped at a female figurine. I looked up, it read, “BENAZIR BHUTTO.” I got tempted to pull the book out and without a delay, got it issued. I have never read an autobiography of a female politician before and that too of a Muslim! Like everyone, I too had a conservative perspective regarding the females of this religion but as I finished reading this book today, my point of view has totally changed for I witnessed immense strength, unflinching trust, pure dedication and rock-strong courage in her tale and I am amazed to what extent a WOMAN, can go only if she has the DETERMINATION!
Benazir was born in one of the richest families of Pakistan. She got excellent opportunities to study abroad. Her Father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was a broadminded, foreign read, strong and compassionate man. He saw immense potential in Benazir and kept nurturing it.
You won’t see their life near normal in any way; there was constant turbulence. But the determination to fight for the rights of people and to restore democracy is worth saluting. Bhuttos lost everything in this battle including their lives but I don’t know what kept them going till the end?
Once Zulfikar Ali Bhutto said, “You can kill a person but not an idea.” His ideology stayed alive even after his horrendous execution; ‘Daughter of East’ kept it alive.
This tale of sacrifice, loss and sufferings also presented some heartwarming moments of the Bhutto family, especially the father-daughter conversations. (You’ll find it difficult to contain your tears and if you are little on sentimental side, they are surely spilling out!) Then there’s a mention of a blissful family get together which comes after a wait of years.
Benazir believed in love but with such a happening life, her chances of finding love were rather meager. Later she gave up the idea of getting married and thought of serving the nation until one day when she ultimately heard of a man who’s ready to do anything for her. This made her one happy woman for brief period.
But tragedies never left this woman’s life. Her father was thrown out of the Power overnight, imprisoned for various charges and allegedly murdered in strange circumstances. Her dearest brother after the above said memorable family get-together was found dead in his apartment; the cause and culprit, never identified. She herself spent the golden years of life in isolation, either detained in house or jail. The part that describes the jail suffering gets you goose bumps; brings your heart to your mouth. This woman was made of something else.
It got me thinking, “Why did she choose such a miserable life? It could have been easily avoided?” She always had the option to move and settle in a liberal country and live happily.
But she chose to fight the wrong.
Before she headed to the foreign land for study, her father took her to their family graveyard. He said, “Where you going, you’ll see a different and strange world. It’s easy to love a life with so much freedom. But don’t get used to that. Remember one thing, you belong here and you have to come back here only.” So did she!
People may say it’s a one sided story. But what would you say of a woman who delivers a baby today evening by Caesarean and comes to the office tomorrow morning? I think women would relate. It takes courage and loads of that!
The message she conveyed to entire womankind is worth treasuring.
“BIG POSITIONS COME WITH BIG RESPONSIBILITIES.”
You have to sacrifice your own interests and well being. Being a woman, you have to do it double-fold. A pregnant woman is considered unfit for any position! How ironical is that? Even after being PM she constantly lived in the insecurity of being removed from the office because of this very reason! Why couldn’t a PM go on a maternity leave just like any other female employee of a country? I salute her courage. She underwent three surgeries for child births and I never saw a slight decline in her oomph. She had to send away her children including the daughter of one month for the danger of life. You got to be stone strong for such decisions.
The description of unending torments, during the coup by the military regime is heartbreaking. It’s been around 68 years that the people of this country got freedom but I doubt if they still have tasted what true freedom tastes like? There has been an altered version of Muslims coexisting on the land and chances of a peaceful nation are remote.
The climax of ‘Daughter of East’ was rather sudden and sad. One feels shocked to witness the absence of credibility in authorities. And you are left thinking. “What a waste of struggle!”
But there are things one can learn. Benazir was a strong willed woman, not-at-all easy to break, an obedient daughter, caring sister, loving mother, an able leader and above all a hope for common people especially women. So true to her name; she was totally incomparable and absolutely unique.
In my opinion, every woman should read this autobiography of very ‘extraordinary’ Benazir and learn to rise above the ‘ordinary’.