Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bhutto Enters Politics !


From left to right: Benazir, Shah Nawaz, Mir Murtaza, and "Sunny" (Sanam) [courtesy Piloo and Vina Mody].


Now I am going to speed his life up (getting a bit tired of Bhutto now).

After getting married, he and his wife went to Oxford where he had to complete his studies. Having a degree finally (Master of Arts with honors), he went to read bar at Lincoln's Inn.. the place where Jinnah had also read, 60 years earlier.

He swotted, and actually studied real hard. Passed his bar exam. And became a Barrister Bhutto. The interesting part is that he didn't have much time to spare law. His impatient nature was not the one to painfully analyse legal matters and draw up detailed legal outlines. He thought that law was only the means to the one end he had in mind: Politics.

Imagine what he was doing at that time by the way. He was supposed to be apprenticed in the chambers... But he was busy drafting a new agrarian policy for Pakistan (er, whatever that is..exactly).

Nusrat was at Karachi at that time and her first born was.... born. Benazir. Her aunt called this child "Pinkie" which became a favorite nickname in the family. The reason behind it was, of course, the beauty of this little kid. (sheesh.. can't believe Im talking about benazir bhutto here!!)

Khair.. Bhutto came back to Karachi when his daughter was nearly six months old and started his legal practise. 1954 began.. and Pakistani Constituent Assembly was still struggling with formulating a workable Constitution for the country ... **shamed**.. The main problem arising was the outcry of different provinces demanding special rights. Balochis, Frontier Pathans, Sindhis, Punjabis... *sigh*. The division was there already!

The speech quoted here from Quaid-e-Azam reminds one what Jinnah had envisaged, both in terms of this country.. and it's constitution. His address on 11th August 1947 in compressed form is:

"The first duty of a government is to maintain law and order...so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected..The second thing...is bribery and corruption. That really is a poison (Gah to the Dogar family and our amazing Chief Justice)..We must put that down with an iron hand....If we take our inspiration and guidance from the Holy Quran, the final victory...will be ours.. (Ho to all those who quote this speech, and miss out this part, propagating the theory that Pakistan was meant to be secular!)... Be prepared to sacrifice ...all, if necessary, in building up Pakistan as a bulwark of Islam and as one of the greatest nations whose ideal is peace...

Now if we want to make this great State of Pakistan happy and prosperous, we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor..............We should begin to work in that spirit and in course of time, all these angularities of the majority and minority communities, the Hindu Community and the Muslim Community ... will vanish...We are....all citizens and equal citizens of one State...."

:D.. Now that was SOME speech. But alas, Quaid didn't survive for long. And now the Constitution Catfight was in full swing..!

Anyway. The "One Unit Scheme" (which attempted to integrate the electoral hold of West Pakistan and East Pakistan in such a manner, that West Pakistan got exactly the same number of votes as East Pakistan --- quite, quite, unfair!) was the launching pad for Bhutto's entry into politics. He vehemently opposed this scheme, er, not because he was thinking of East Pakistan's rights. But the fact was that this scheme integrated the smaller provinces of East Pakistan into the province of Punjab. So Sindh was effectively being made "pensioner of Punjab".. this was the reason behind his opposition :S

Despite Bhutto’s best efforts, this scheme came into existence (obviously via some dirty politics by Kuhro – Bhutto’s archememy).

BUS. Bohot hogya (Enough already).. ..[I’m even dreaming of Bhutto/Zia these days .. this has got to be the 7th weirdest thing in me!]

And I have done only 50 pages … :) This is turning out to be……………………………………long.

So long!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bhutto gets married.. again :)

Bhutto with his bride Begum Nusrat Bhutto in London, 1953 (courtesy of Piloo and Vina Mody), Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan-His Life and Times, Stanley Wolpert.


Salaam

So where were we? Let me go back to when he was still in Berkely..

Bhutto had almost graduated from Berkely and had flown to Pakistan for his sister's wedding. There he met Nusrat (his future second wife) for the first time. She had Iranian roots as her parents had migrated from Iran to Bombay.. and she was one of the most beautiful women of her time.

He got to know her better when they did some voluntary work in the Red Cross program. They were arranging a variety show, and acted together. He proposed to her two days after his sister's wedding. That's how long it took him to decide on his future wife.. :D. Wonder why the decision is so complex these days :D

Han, so she took this proposal as a joke :P.. She was wise enough to know that people like him would never be serious about something like this, especially since he had to complete his studies, and for that he had to go back in a week or two to Berkely.

Now, when he went back, he launched his political career, by running for the Students Council, and he won a seat (there were only seven). His campaign led him to become the first Asian member on the Council. Khair, that done, he also volunteered for helping out in the campaign of a democratic candidate for the American Senate. He learned a lot from that.... especially to "live by a profitable absence of scruples if we are to be successful politicians. We have to do what others do to us, but we must do it before the other have the opportunity."

Then obviously, parts I am going to skip.. parts with lots of girlfriends, and someone's love letter etc etc etc.. The list goes on. He went to Oxford, and had to learn Latin etc etc.. Now comes the interesting bit.

Zulfi returned to Karachi in 1951 and he immediately went up to Nusrat and re-proposed. She had thought he had forgotten her, but apparently not. He told her that for the last two years, he had been thinking of nobody else (ahem).

Nusrat Sahiba mentioned the proposal to her parents, and they protested because they thought it was a ridiculous match. Iranian and Sindhi. But they were, in the words of Nusrat, worldly and broadminded, and so they finally agreed.

When Bhutto mentioned this to HIS parents, they balked completely at the idea. Sir Shah Nawaz was shocked. His mum liked Nusrat, but thought that she was too broad minded. (lol.. what about her precious son?). Now Zulfi flew into a rage, brought two tickets for London, and came to Nusrat's door with his bags packed up. All ready to .. elope :D. What a drama!

Nusrat couldn't go with him. It was too sudden. Then a friend of Bhutto turned up, and told them that he had married a Hindu girl, and these things can be done in mosques. This way, he drove them both to a mosque near Malir (Karachi)..and Nusrat panicked. She cried out that she couldn't do a thing like this without her family and wanted to go home at once. So much for elopment. They drove back home, and Zulfi spent the night at this friend's place.

Now Zulfi's mum and dad were frantic with worry. They came to Nusrat's house, begging her to tell them where Zulfiqar was.. :D. She obviously had no idea.. and suggested that he might have gone to London, since he had two tickets. They were even more distraught, and rushed home, and came back to Nusrat with a ring and jewellery, and said "Get married!!"

**grinning broadly**

They were married within the week..

More later.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bhutto grows up .. :)

I didn't know this !!

Jinnah had fatal spots on both his lungs and the fact that he did not have long to live was known by his doctor (Dr. Jal R. Patel!!). And since the kind doctor had taken his Hippo-something (pautamus?) oath to heart, he never revealed it.This was 1945.

Otherwise, it is said, that had Nehru known that this is the fate waiting to befall the Quaid, he would never have agreed to Mountbatten's Partition plan, and it is also said that Pakistan might not have been born.. at least on Aug 14, 1947 ..

:D

Khair. Bhutto at that time, was busy with college and in school break .. ahem.. "ball room dancing lessons"... He wrote passionately to Jinnah (he was a great fan!).. and urged him to go ahead with the partition, since he didn't believe Hindus and Muslims could live together. He thought the Hindus were against the Musalmans, their book: The Koran and their way of life.
Surprising.

Khair, the world war ended.. Winston Churchill left. Atlee came into power... and Direct Action was launched in the subcontinent lead by Jinnah..
An interesting point to note is that Bhutto was one of the students in the advisory committee to Jinnah.

Independence came... and one month later, Bhutto flew off to University of Southern California, even though his first choices were Oxford and Cambridge (but he couldn't go immediately because he had passed his senior examination on second attempt)

Chalo bhui.. Now he came to USA. Rude shocks for him :D

No servants, no cooks :P.. He had to do all himself, which was rather a nasty awakening to the reality of life. In Sindh he had been one of the aristocrats. Here, he was one of the "minority". Even if he didn't behave like one. Night clubs and night revelry was common enough for him.

Margeret and Marry Ellen are some of the manyyyy women he dated :D.. There can be more on that, but I'll just name these two.

His professors were impressed by his views, his charisma. But he had an average of "B" at the end of two years, and Oxford refused to admit him till he completed his degree with honors from UC Berkeley.

He met his second wife to be , at his sister's marriage when he flew back to Karachi in 1949. She was Iranian by origin! And was ranked "Captain" .. as she was in the Women's National Guard!
Cool :D

He completed his degree in UC Berkely with honors, and finally flew to England, where he was to major in judisprudence and law in Christ Church College. *impressed*
He was much admired, much revered, and respected. His views were listened to, and he had the ability to move a crowd emotionally. In the words of Stanley Wolpert "He was one of those fortunate young people of high birth and great wealth for whom the world becomes a moveable feast of fine foods and rare wines."

Enough. Next post will be about the dramatic way he got married, and whatever happened afterward :P

So long!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Our leaders... :)


My head is a whirlwind, spinning.. out of control. And what, pray, calls for such a dramatic opening to this post ?

22 pages -- read -- absorbed -- digested -- peered at ... of "Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan" by Stanley Wolpert..

I wonder how come he didn't go mad writing this stuff. I mean, if reading it is mind saturating, what would writing it be like!! Waisay, I think the same way for every text book (especially those that have "theories and practice" in the title).. and every research paper I have ever... er, not quite read, but uh, yeah, stared at..

So Stanley Wolpert, a South Asian History professor in University of California .. :) He's delved well into the "Bhutto Khandaan"..that much I got from the first 22 pages. (there are 330 of them, "sigh*). Up till now, I have just read the background of this fascinating biography.. and read about the juicy tales of the abba, and dada of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

*grin*

I never knew the following things man.. **wider grin**

1. Zulfiqar Bhutto's dada fell in love with a British colonel's mistress (sindhi lady) and they started an affair. The colonel (old , but more cunning than the dada) pretended to go on a tour, and caught them red-handed.. (hah). He was exiled to Kabul eventually. At this time, his son, Zulfqar's abba, was only 4 years old :D

2. This man, exiled in Kabul, managed to sneak back to Karachi, by disguising himself as a Sikh laborour. He was such a good act, that he was able to work right under the nose of the British Commissioner of Sindh (who, if had found out keh yeh sab hua hay, would have jailed the dada for life)

3. Bhutto's abba found himself incharge of the family's lands and workers at the age of 20 !!! He didn't even do his matriculation, yet he went on to become the Prime Minister of Junagarh!! [Is formal education really necessary?????]

4. Zulfiqar Bhutto was the son of his dad's second wife .. a Hindu dancing girl with whom his abba had fallen in love (Lakhi Bai was her name) and then she converted to Islam (became Khusheed Begum), and her son was Zulfi Bhutto!

5. Zulfiqar Bhutto had been only 13 when he first married an older cousin!!!! (something tells me this was a land deal in which two people were involved)

6. Zulfiqr Bhutto failed his first Cambridge Senior Examinations :D:D:D (Im really wondering, whether formal education is necessary or not.. Seriously)

7. Khursheed Begum also had a daughter named "Benazir" who passed away at the age of 14 from influenze. Zulfiqar had been very attached to his sister, and hence he named his first daughter after her :)

Phew.

This is all what I gathered from the first 22 pages of this book!

Will keep you posted (Can't wait huh :P:P)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Of Gifts and People's Reactions


Salaam

The gift-making business has taken a new twist for me. I am so sick of the usual presents like handbags, jewellery, decoration pieces, perfumes, clothes (for, er ladies actually), that I wanted to do something different for my friends. Especially the ones who were getting married, and would be moving away !

And so one particular gift I had been making for a looong time. I hunted around the house for meaningless little things, and even dug out my toys. Every piece had to be meaninglessly stupid and er, the idea was to write a note on each piece, to make it seem meaningful :S....Every time somebody would come into my room, their eyes would survey the MESS in frustration, and i had been given quite interesting comments from my family like

"She will be celebrating her anniversary, when you finally get to give this to her" ...and so on :P

So today was the big day when I finally went to her place and delivered the present. Uff, I was a little nervous. It could backfire COMPLETELY, cuz it wasn't a conventional gift. Well, and a lot of things could go wrong in it .. (like my 30 page autograph disintegrating in her hands -- it was held together via ribbons and er, glue).

BUT............................

I received this message from her a while ago

"this was the best gift a friend could hav wanted 4m her friend.i loved the autograph n esp the naseehatien:-).u do sound so much older!n the note on each gift makes every piece priceles.thanks a load for such a lovely package"

:D:D:D

Now THIS surely made my day. In otherwise so worthless days passing by in which my battles with my own self go on and misery seem endless, this seemed like okay... I did something useful ...:P Made her happy!

Which is what is completely and totally precious. Imagine. You doing something, spending time on something, which is like, a total gamble.. And it turns out er, not quite that artistic as they show in gifts websites.. and then.. they LOVE it!! And call it the best present ever ..!!

Man it makes my day :D :D

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Temptations…

I was reading this book today titled "How to protect your youth." This book talks about temptations and how in our youth, we are attracted towards a myriad things; all of them seem alluring, and leaving them seem to be the hardest thing in the world to do…

But this book tells us exactly how we can resist these temptations and what would be the reward of THIS particular aspect of our lives..

One thing struck me, which I am going to mention here. I have been reading Surah Rahman for a long time. When I learnt it up, it seemed like a grand thing, because of the rhythm in the language and the beauty in reciting this Surah. Plus, I had learnt the Surah with the translation, so I knew what I was reciting. Amazing experience. But now, this book mentioned an Ayah from this Surah, and I was amazed, because I had never really THOUGHT about this verse.. Even though I have been reciting it for a long time.!

It was "But for such as fear the time when they will stand before (the Judgment Seat of) their Lord, there will be two Gardens" [Surah Rehman , verse 46]

This seemingly simple verse carries a huugee message. It means that those who are afraid of standing up in front of their Lord, will be awarded two gardens of Paradise. Afraid of standing up in front of their Lord ….. Think about this for a second. This verse isn't saying that those who would be afraid of the Wrath of God, or the Punishment of God, or the Misery inflicted to the sinners, or the Hell Fire, or the calamities of Day of Judgment…no! This verse is mentioning those who are simply afraid of "standing up" in front of their Lord, like, before doing any deed, they would think "Can I go in front of my Lord, with this deed in my pocket?"

EVEN if He Forgives them later on, EVEN if this deed doesn't bring on His Wrath, EVEN if this deed can be nullified by a better one later on… but only the fact of HAVING this deed in the "Book of Deeds" is what scares them.

This was truly truly moving, because we are usually so lost as to what actually we might have to face after we die, that we don't stop to think such things before doing any little stupid thing, just out of temptation. It scared me, yet it gave me a newer sense of purpose. A better determination. A more eager approach towards doing good, and shunning wrong. So before watching any stupid movie, listening to any useless song, doing anything and everything that serves no real purpose in life, one should be aware, that this is, indeed, what he/she is going to take on the Last Journey, and this is what's going to be present in the Book of Deeds, on the Day of Judgment, when we are present before the Lord, awaiting Judgment.

May Allah Guide us all and make our sense of purpose stronger, Ameen.

PS: Another thing mentioned in the book was that if people really started becoming scared of presenting their deeds on the Day of Judgment, the country wouldn't be facing the deep set corruption, the crime rate, the fraudulent attitude from the top most level (starting from the Chief Justice) so rampantly. Money would never hold such temptation, and nor would fame.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Test


So finally, today was the written test. It was a merry affair. Extremely, quiet, but merry. Well organized too :S [reminded me of the good old O level and A level days]

Yeah... so I counted ten rows, and each row had 14 people. Man that is a lot !! Especially since this test is held thrice each month !

There were all kinds of people there :D ...*wide grin*... The students applying for higher studies could be easily distinguished from the more sedate older people who were probably applying for immigration and thus needed to give the test. The students were more.... smooth. Their movements carried an air of supreme self-importance. You could just sense that by looking at them. Slicked back hair, tiny beards, if-I-knew-brands-i-could-name-them shirts.... etc

**wider grin**

The applicants for immigration looked more "desi" .... :)

It was an interesting time indeed, now come to think of it. Otherwise, during the listening test, as I strained to catch every eaten up word (**scowl**), my head had become quite heavy! I sure do wish these people opened their mouths more in their speech. It becomes hectic to try to catch the train of their ... words.

Khair, after the listening, I could only clutch my heavy head, sadly remember the chocolates in my bag kept outside (nobody is allowed to eat or drink in the examination hall)... and wonder blearily how would i go through two more solid hours of this..

But I did... Time passes faster these days, i'm convinced. In no time at all, I was trying to unsuccessfully wind up my essay. Now, I am a total misery at conclusions. They have never been my strong point. The only sentence that kept cropping up in my brain was

"The conclusion for this entire afternoon is that I will never in my life drink half a bottle of water before a three hour exam!" :S

Talk about agony ! Never had I wished the hands of the clock and the cogs of my brain to turn.... faster.

Anyway, one thing I did observe with amusement. The students, all 140 of them were in the hall 30 minutes prior to the start of the exam. And there was not a peep from them :D. Not a cheep. Imagine. The same Pakistani qaum , yes, not even a whisper. Sitting straight, disciplined... orderly. Even I was impressed.

And if this was the case 30 minutes prior to the exam, what would it be like DURING the paper. *sigh of satisfaction*.. After enduring four years of exams in which you would hear idiots whispering about ... this was pure bliss :D The only sounds that could be heard were papers rustling, or a cough or two.

Thank God I didn't sneeze.. (held my nose for about 15 seconds -- that did the trick) :D:D

Friday, January 9, 2009

Just a Random Post


Have you ever faced a situation where you're bound to exclaim "It's a dream come true !!" ..

But you didn't take the opportunity, because it just didn't FEEL right ?

Every step of the way, you have this nagging little voice asking you "What IF"... and prickling doubts over your decision... Everything was in the palm of your hand, and you decided to tip it over...

Instinct is one feature that a human should go down on knees, and thank the Lord for.. Even if the science behind it isn't understood, the instinct itself almost always is... Things don't FEEL right.... ? it's instinctive.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dangerous Microwave Chocolate Cake in a Mug



What a nice day :).. If I may say so myself.

I am fasting, meaning I haven't done anything that should be regretted by me later.. (yeah I got up late *frown*)

Well. Fasting for me also means I suddenly become interested in cooking.. and the recipe of the day was :

Dangerous Microwave Chocolate Cake in a Mug

Now for me , the word "dangerous" holds quite excitement for me :) .. I mean, if it's dangerous , it has to be something fun RIGHT ! .. So there I was, in the kitchen, preparing the batter in a MUG...and then calmly put the mug in the microwave !.. Isn't that the coolest? Now no more baking for an hour ... it's ready in 3 minutes !!

Er, I haven't eaten it yet.. cuz, Iftar is in an hour or so now.... Um, I hope it turns out well.. Looks nice though as I heaped it out on a plate **defensively**

I haven't eaten it yet. Maybe THAT's what's dangerous about this cake :S :S :S

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A doctor's tale

This is an eye-witnessed account by a doctor from Norway, who is telling all he can observe about this assault on the Palestinians.

It wrenches my heart, that I can't do anything except sit in this chair, and type senselessly...



*huge sigh*

What Next ?

Now the Israeli troops have entered Gaza. They are targeting "Hamas militants" and now after a lengthy air assault, have gathered up the nerve to enter the besieged Gaza Strip from three sides I hear.

What next are they planning? I wonder. They have already managed to kill around 460 people, most of them civilians. They have managed to ram a boat carrying human rights activists and journalists on sea. They have bombed ambulances, and killed doctors. They didn't even care that the boat carrying those activists was also carrying tons of medical supplies.

Oh what do they care ? I don't expect them to (even if they lie through their teeth, they can never be "our friends")

But what i do care about is, why don't our leaders care ? What is Zardari doing , I wonder, right this instant? Can he sleep at night? Knowing that he has a fully functional army, and that too, right under HIS control.. ?

Oh but wait. He did say something ! My.. I wonder how much editing did THAT statement went through before seeing the light of day. Well at least he said something.. that takes muscles..and energy... Contribution done. *smirk*..

**deep sigh**.. Even being sarcastic doesn't help. Is there nobody out there who can actually sympathize with the people of Gaza and send them aid (I'm not talking about the general public -- they are mostly ALL against this inhumane act of extreme terrorism on the part of Israel)..

Is there no Muslim leader out there who cares ???????

*so disillusioned keh bus nahin!*

Friday, January 2, 2009

Of listening and learning...

Salam

These days , the main cause for depression is the News. Trouble is, you're bombarded by it everywhere.. where you go. You can't escape it. If it's not the newspaper lying on the table, it's the TV usually blaring out headlines in an overly-dramatic manner, which makes every headline sound like a national disaster..

Plus the online news one gets while going to the respective inboxes :(... Life is one big NEWS.. None of it....nice :S

One thing was sure cheerful today. A practice listening test I took today. Now, I have never in my life taken a listening test before. And it was a novel experience. I had so much FUN ... just listening to a voice, noting the points spoken, and writing down answers to questions AS I LISTENED.

It was so cool! I so so wish these kinds of tests were designed in schools. Even exams would be fun then :)..

And it would really make our listening skills amazing. We normally just listen with half an ear, not very carefully, so as to remember each little detail spoken before. But the point is, these skills can be developed. A simple test today showed that.

This reminded me of a great man who lived in the 9th century ... who had memorized over 200,000 traditions of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), just by listening to great teachers from around the Muslim world ... (those cities that were the centres of learning in those days i.e Baghdad, Kufa, Bukhara etc)..

It's hard to imagine a "learning by listening" type of study occuring here today.. :) Indeed, the knowledge resources are so widely dispersed, and so readily accessible today, that it's hard to even pick and choose what to learn and what not to. Most people (logically) just decide on the basis of their respective curriculums. And not much beyond that.

This man dedicated his whole life to compiling an authentic book of Ahadith for the Muslims of all times. And, with the kind of photographic memory he had, I don't think he could have chosen a less worthwhile option... :) I am talking about none other than Imam Bukhari; The writer of the most authentic Book of Ahadith today.

My listening lesson reminded me how non-existant "other" methods of teaching are, especially in our country. It's the same "rata rataya" methodology of learning, be it schools, colleges, undergrad, post grad, or even Ph.Ds.

It's disheartening on a big scale. I wonder how one can influence the educational curriculum and teaching methods here in Pakistan. I would sure like to contribute something in that area :S

I would like to contribute something in pata nahin KITNAY areas .. **amused**

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 ends

I remember very well that last year at the same time, somebody had predicted that this year (2008) is going to be quite quite bloody and many huge "things" will happen. We were skeptical at that time.. And obviously, July 2007 and the Lal Masjid Massacre was fresh in our minds.

But you know what? This year was ALSO bloody and quite a number of events happened that nobody could predict would happen.

Like, I didn't know 2009 will start with No Benazir Bhutto... That After 8th August, Musharraf would not be our President, that *swallows painfully*....that Zardari will be our new ...President (It's still the hardest pill to swallow)....and that our country would be targetted on a nearly daily basis by drones by a country which still claims to be a "Friend of Pakistan" !!

And that the year will end, bringing so much destruction to the Palestinians :( .. They are still being pounded, and the death toll is around 400 now !!!! Hamas has vowed to fight till the "last drop of blood"...and I have yet to see ANY Muslim state helping them out, or at least threatening Israel.

Life this year has certainly been strange. On a personal note, one of my family members moved away .. Er, I mean, got bitten by the Big Blissful Bug :P.. and I got to experience (and am still doing so) being an only child.. :) On some occasions, that is a nice feeling, but on others, I sure wish I had 5 sisters, and 5 brothers..:D Cricket would be soo cool then!

Learnt quite a few lessons too :

1. I can't have everything in life
2. I can be the stupidest person on the planet (btw, I learn that every year.. it just refreshes every December).
3. I made some vital mistakes regarding certain people this year
4. The weirdest things are the ones which are also culturally compulsory
5. Arabic language is a must to learn by every Muslim
6. One shouldn't trust EVERYBODY....
7. I can learn to cook.. it isn't that impossible.
8. Point number 3 made me realize how important it is not to let go of ANY rule and regulation that our religon has set for us. Usually all the troubles stem from our own disobedience.. **deep sigh**

May 2009 be better... Amen!