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« Hello Kitty! | Main | Wombs-R-Us: the Ultimate in Outsourcing? (Sujatha) »

December 28, 2007


I think the prison years may have had something to do with forging a physical courage and a disregard for the consequences of exposing herself to crowds with minimal security. Somewhere down the line, despite any other faults, she learned that the only thing that matters in life is to be willing and unafraid to lay that life down for her convictions.

Her words to Shekhar Gupta echo this sentiment :"“What will happen? At worse, they will jail you. Then in a week I will be Prime Minister and will send you home and if I could last in Sukkur jail for so long, can’t you survive for just one week?”- pertinent mockery that shook him out of his Cowardly Lion act.

In the spirit of de morturis nil nisi bonum, whatever person she was when alive, surely Pakistan is worse off with her dead, and possibly much more unstable. The people who are going to fill the power vacuum left by her demise are very likely much worse. At least for Pakistan, its chickens have begun to roost.

a brave woman indeed. she threw herself into the anarchic Pakistan politics knowing fully well her life could be cut short any minute. she wrote her will two days before she headed for pakistan on a mission to restore democracy and secularism.

now that PPP is pressing for elections as scheduled, with benazir's son at the helm of affairs, adopting the bhutto sirname along with his original name, i think PPP will ride on the sympathy wave to a landslide victory.

but who's to head the country if that happens? can the projected prime ministerial candidate scale up to the mammoth responsibility?

destiny has played strange, cruel games with the bhuttos.


A nineteen year old boy, with his supposedly very corrupt father pulling strings in the background? Not the greatest scenario for launching a vigorous democracy. It is really pathetic that developing nations, especially in Asia, cannot bring themselves to break out of the dynastic / feudal style of transfer of political power. The Bhutto / Gandhi axis of ruling families in the Indian subcontinent is a dispiriting
tradition. No talented and capable second tier party activist is allowed to rise to the top due to the dominance and sense of entitlement of the members of a single family, however inept or unprepared they may be. Rajeev Gandhi took on the helm of Indian politics reluctantly after his mother's death. Although a political novice, he was a man in his thirties. Bilawal Bhutto is nineteen! This is like the middle ages when children were put on the throne to act as proxies for shadowy adults.

Unlike the women leaders of the west and Golda Meir of Israel, their Asian counterparts are all dynastic successors to their fathers or husbands. But it is also true that most of these women face perils which the female leaders in the west rarely do.

I should have included the remarkable Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma in this list. That courageous wisp of a woman has been standing up to the shameless armed thugs in her country for nearly two decades.

The whole M.O. of the Bhutto clan harkens back to no less than Akbar- Shahenshah at age 13, helped by Bairam Khan as regent, though there was some bad blood between them by the time Akbar came of age.

The modern era and modern Pakistan should and ought to be a far cry from the 16th century, but human nature being what it is, there's no doubt that the whole affair will continue to play out like some ancient soap opera of intrigue, murders, assassinations and betrayals.

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