“An unusually moving and challenging account of a brave woman, a martyred family and a heroic country struggling to maintain the spirit of FREEDOM in the face of savage repression” SUNDAY TIMES
Benazir Bhutto. You won’t have a hard time placing her if you have an okay general knowledge of international politics. ‘Daughter of the East’ is her autobiography. For a person like me who in spite of being a voracious reader finds biographies and autobiographies boring and dull, this was a slice of heaven. This has become one of my favorites. It is a great book about an amazing journey of one of the world’s most charismatic and spectacular women Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.
She was born with a silver spoon in a royal conservative family- the family of Bhuttos. Her father was Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who was once the Prime Minister of Pakistan. With such a royal background Benazir had to face many hardships in her life. Even I at first had a hard time realizing the agony of a Prime Minister’s daughter who spent a considerable time in jail and whose whole family was martyred. But in spite of all the odds, she went on to becoming the first woman to lead a post-colonial Muslim state. But after two terms in office as the Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, she was thrown out of power as a consequence of the bitter political scenario which is still tearing Pakistan apart. She received a good international education and exposure and after her father’s execution by General Zia ul Haq in 1979, she was elected Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1988. ‘Daughter of the East’ is an inspiring tale of the strength and courage in the face of adversity. She served twice as Pakistan’s Prime Minister, from 1988 to 1990 and 1993 to 1996.
“A deeply moving saga of love, drama and heroism”
‘Daughter of East’ has quite a long and detailed preface. The book starts with these powerful lines:
“ I didn’t choose this life, it chose me. Born in Pakistan my life mirrors its turbulence, its tragedies and its triumphs.”
It is the thrilling tale of a woman who fought the blinding religious and cultural bastions in a nation where voices of very few women are heard. In spite of this, she still retains her culture and values. Education in the best universities of the west like Oxford and Havard only made her move even closer to faith and her beloved country. That’s why is in true sense she indeed is the ‘Daughter of the East’.
The book is quite systematic and interesting. One of the parts, which I feel is the best is when she got pregnant but had to hide it for the longest time possible just because she did not want any body to question a woman’s caliber or efficiency to be head of the state. Major part of the book is consumed by the hard life of this princess and her mother in jail. Another good part is her visit to Shimla with her father. The time of signing the famous Shimla Agreement between India and Pakistan. This is where she had the first face to face experience with diplomacy and politics at her very prime age. But as you’ll read, you’ll find she’s too smart and active to her age, brightest kid of her parents and eldest one too. Her father had a huge contribution in making her the free thinker and brave woman she was. He always advocated religious tolerance and gender equality both in his family and in society. Benazir had a very special bond with her father and was totally shattered by his execution. But even after her father was gone, she never let his values of courage and tolerance fade.
Her understanding of the extremes of feminism is extraordinary – feminism of the east, feminism of the west. She sets an amazing example by embracing her eastern values but never losing the fierce western feminism that she exhibited both in her personal life and political arena. It is not without any reason that she is one of the most dynamic leaders of the entire world history. Have a look at the woman’s life who never let marriage, death of father and brother, memory loss of mother, pregnancy, children and family hinder her way in the slightest manner.
In my opinion, it is the most extraordinary and the finest work on true feminism, which I’ve come across until now. Her persistence, her endurance and courage truly inspires hearts not to break down ever, even in the darkest and loneliest hours. I’ve never seen any one else carry herself and her rich legacy so so gracefully. This book made me a great admirer of Benazir Bhutto’s personality. ‘Daughter of the East’ is really worth giving a read. You’ll end up realizing that she really justified her name “Benazir” – “ the only one in the entire world, who can’t be compared to anyone”……….