13 June, 2021

Long Goodbye

Tells us about Benazir’s liberal commitments and eclectic worldview, but also points to the blemishes in her legacy. Not a researcher’s delight, but a testimony to the trials and tribulations of a friend.

Long Goodbye
‘Pinkie’ or Benazir Bhutto owed much of her charisma to her family’s feudal background. The army’s repression, which included the cold-blooded murder of her father, lent poignancy to her public life. In the end, she died fighting valiantly for the rebirth of democracy in Pakistan. A very unsettling event, it added to the trials of those brave men and women who have been unshaken in the belief that democracy knows the answers to all the riddles of history.

Again, how different was the reality! Shyam Bhatia, a journalist with a flair for writing readable books, chronicles the tumultuous career of the Sind-born and Harvard-Oxford-educated shahzadi (princess). He is at ease with the courtly, delicate, civilised, sensitive BB. Son of journalist Prem Bhatia, Shyam met Benazir in 1973 and found her "captivating, charismatic, and intriguing". The impression remained unchanged despite their friendly clash over many issues. Hemmed in by the army and the bureaucracy, Benazir could only move haltingly towards an entente cordiale with...

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