Thursday, December 27, 2012

Remembering BB

Five years since Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. The absence of one the sub-continent’s most charismatic, controversial and captivating leaders is like sky, spread over everything. Her tainted hubby who went on to become Pakistan’s Prez has old foes breathing down his neck. The same men who bumped off Benazir continue to run amok, killing innocent bystanders. Her son, the baby-faced, shrill-sounding Bilawal is set to be anointed later today. As if leadership were a heirloom. Nothing ever changes in Pakistan!

At the end of one of her interviews – way back in late 80’s – Benazir was asked if the popular supposition was correct: that if and when she supplanted General Zia-ul-Haq [Pakistan’s ex-military dictator], she would become the first woman to rule a Muslim country. "Quite true," she said and then remembered that a Queen Raziyya [Raziyya Sultan] had ruled the Delhi sultanate in the 13th century.

I checked the reference. According to history, the queen had been "wise, just and generous" and endowed with all the qualities befitting a king. "But she was not born of the right sex, and so, in the estimation of men, all these virtues were worthless."

Eventually men had murdered her.

I hope Mohtarma rests in eternal peace amidst the mango fragrance of the beautiful Pakistan countryside.


Updated, Dec 27, 2012