Fatima Bhutto

Fatima Bhutto

She continued: “There must have been nearly 1,000 guests: it was a packed house. On the stage sat William Dalrymple in white kurta-pyjama and the Bhutto girl. She is a stunner. She was very craftly dressed to please her Indian audience and also maintain her Pakistani identity. She was draped in a sari instead of salwar-kameez and wore red bindi on her forehead. That warmed the hearts of her Indian audience. (She is also vegetarian). Her sari was green — the colour of Pakistan. She spoke flawless English about her country. The audience was spell-bound.”

My daughter had not read her book. No one in the audience had till after the launch. She introduces herself on the jacket of the book in few lines printed in red:
Grand-daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto... Executed 1979
Niece to Shah Nawaz Bhutto... Murdered 1985
Daughter of Mir Murtaza Bhutto... Assassinated 1996
Niece to Benazir Bhutto... Assassinated 2007

On the four-boned skeleton Fatima Bhutto fleshes out of the saga of the Bhutto from the fore-father Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto, Diwan of Junagarh who migrated back to his ancestral home-town Garhi Khuda Bakhsh in district Larkana; his son Zulfiqar Ali who rose to power in Pakistan, to his daughter Benazir who out-manoeuvred her brother to grab her father’s political legacy and acquired vast amounts of real estate in Europe and America to which her husband Asif Ali Zardari added a lot more and came to be known as ‘mister ten per cent’ because he is said to have charged it as commission for brokering deals between the government and investors.

Assassins of Benazir Bhutto remain unidentified. But Fatima has named Asif Ali Zardari of having committed four murders and having himself acquitted by a subservient judiciary. She has deliberately invited trouble on her head as if she harbours a death-wish. She is as gutsy as she is beautiful. She did me the honour of calling on me before she took her flight to Karachi. I could not take my eyes off  her. I kept gazing at the pin-head of a diamond sparkling on the left side of her nose and her long, jet black curly hair falling on her shoulders. I hoped I’d see her at least once before my time is up.
Fatima ends her book in memorable prose: “Amidst all this madness, all these ghosts and memories of times past, it feels like the world around me is crumbling slowly, flaking away. Sometimes when it is late at night, I feel my chest swell with a familiar anxiety. I think at these times, that I have no more place in my heart for Pakistan. I cannot love it any more. I have to get away from it for anything to make sense, nothing here ever does. But when the hours pass, and as I ready myself for sleep as the light filters through my windows; I hear the sound of those mynah birds. And I know I could never leave.”

Incidentally, I also added a new word to my vocabulary which fits both Pakistan and India: It is saprophytic which means feeding on decaying organic matter. Both nations rely on all that is rotten in their past.
Unforgivable errors that
deserve no excuse!
Sania’s marriage!
Shah Rukh’s statement!
Husain’s paintings!
Something’s terribly amiss!
You should have known better Sania
Than to choose a Pakistani miyan!
Mr Shahrukh how could you even
In word support Pakistan!
Mr Hussain
Your vision of India is flawed!
Even venerable old
Mr Thackeray
Had to kindly step in
To stop this lunacy
Of sleeping oops! sorry
Supping with the Pakis!
(Courtesy: Sami Rafiq, Aligarh)

If swimming is a good exercise to stay fit, why are whales fat?
Why is that everyone wants to go to Heaven but nobody wants to die?
Shall I say that there is racial discrimination in Chess as White piece always moves first!
In our country we have freedom of speech, then why telephone bills?
If money does not grow on trees then why do banks have branches?
Why does a round Pizza come in a square box?
Why doesn’t glue stick to its bottle?
Why do you still call it a building when it is already built?
If it is true that we are there to help others then what are others here for?
If you are not supposed to drink and drive, why do bars have parking lots?
Very funny people living in a very funny world...
(Contributed by J P Singh, Waterford, Ireland)