Razib Khan One-stop-shopping for all of my content

December 26, 2012

Shaheed Rani; Remembering Benazir Bhutto

Filed under: Benazir Bhutto — Razib Khan @ 6:11 am

I am reposting last year’s post on Benazir. Dont miss Hasan Mujtaba’s poem at the end.

Benazir Bhutto was murdered on December 27th 2007.  She and her father made many mistakes and had many weaknesses and flaws, perhaps fatal ones. But they mobilized the common people of Pakistan like no one before or since, and they did so using a left-liberal vocabulary that always seemed to get on the nerves of Pakistan’s deep state. And of course, whatever their flaws, no one could accuse either father or daughter of lacking courage.  Benazir knew the risks when she came back to Pakistan. She survived one assassination attempt in Karachi in which nearly 200 of her most ardent supporters were killed. But she continued to hold public meetings and she continued to speak out and paid the ultimate penalty…

Look at the crowds who danced for her (and who will mourn her in Garhi Khuda Baksh) and you will see why, in spite of all disappointments and mistakes, she is now “Shaheed Rani” (the martyr queen); she represents something larger than her actual political achievements. In her death she has become a potent symbol of people’s rights and democracy and a permanent thorn in the side of Pakistan’s establishment.

Incidentally, those too young to remember and getting extremely excited at the crowds who gather at Imran Khan’s public meetings may wish to see some clips in this video of Benazir’s arrival in Lahore in 1986. That was, bar none, the largest crowd ever seen in the history of Pakistan… and they were not sitting on chairs..

Some clips in her own voice.

A very nice photo and video montage in her memory, set to a famous ghazal by Shad Azeem Abadi : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmzN7Z_GgIc

btw, the ghazal lyrics are quite appropriate and can be seen alongside a somewhat pedestrian translation here.

another montage here. Beena Sarwar’s collection of photographs from her arrival in Karachi, and a really good video and photo montage to round it off.

PPP tarana (anthem), arrangement by Stewart Copeland of The Police, vocals Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari (her daughter) and Azra Malik. Original composition by Zahoor Khan Zeibi

Hasan Dars poem on her death, sung by Mazhar Hussain

Raza Rumi’s poem and his own translation: http://razarumi.com/2008/02/13/people-of-this-murderous-city/

Sidelined leader Aitazaz Ahsan in fine form at her anniversary, skip to minute 20 for his recitation of yet another poem with karbala references (lashkar e yazeed main, ik kaneez e karbala…in the midst of Yazeed’s army, one maid of Karbala…where would protest literature in the Islamicate world be without karbala?): http://tribune.com.pk/multimedia/videos/312770/

Bilawal Bhutto’s tribute today. And one by Suleman Akhtar on the progressive PPP website. 

In a media dominated by anti-PPP forces, Hamid Mir of Capital Talk presented a very good program on her death anniversary.

Mohammed Hanif, author of “a case of exploding mangoes” and “our lady of Alice Bhatti” has a piece.

The well planned assassination can be seen in this video

Hasan Mujtaba’s famous poem on the occasion is an absolute classic. I have translated it with his approval (I have taken some poetic license at places, and I am not a poet..so beware):

How many Bhuttos will you kill?

A Bhutto will emerge from every home!

This lament is heard in every house

These tears seen in every dwelling place

These eyes stare in the endless desert

This slogan echoes in every field of death

These stars scatter like a million stones

Flung by the moon that rises so bright tonight

How many Bhuttos will you kill?

A Bhutto will emerge from every home!


The one you killed is now fragrance in the air

How will you ever block its path?

The one you killed is now a spell

That is cast upon your evil head

Every prison and every lock

Will now be opened with this key

She has become the howling wind

That haunts the courtyards of this land

She has come to eternal life by dying

You are dead even while being alive

How many Bhuttos will you kill?

A Bhutto will emerge from every home!


You men in Khaki uniforms

You dark and long bearded souls

You may be blue or green or red

You may be white, you may be black

You are thieves and criminals, every one

You national bullies, you evil ones

Driven by self or owned by others

Nurtured by darkness in blackest night

While she has become the beauty that lives

In twilights last glimmers and the break of dawn

How many Bhuttos will you kill?

A Bhutto will emerge from every home!
She was the nightingale who sang for those who suffered

She was the scent of rain in the land of Thar

She was the laughter of happy children

She was the season of dancing with joy

She was a colorful peacock’s tail

While you, the dark night of robbers and thieves

How many Bhuttos will you kill?

A Bhutto will emerge from every home!


She was the sister of those who toil in the fields

The daughter of workers who work the mills

A prisoner of those with too much wealth

Of clever swindlers and hideous crooks

Of swaggering generals and vile betrayers

She was one solitary unarmed girl

Facing the court of evil kings

How many Bhuttos will you kill?

A Bhutto will emerge from every home!


She was the daughter of Punjab

Of Khyber and Bolan

She was the daughter of Sindh

Karbala of our time

She lay drenched in blood in Rawalpindi

Surrounded by guns and bullets and bombs

She was one solitary defenseless gazelle

Surrounded by packs of ruthless killers

O Time, tell the long lived trees of Chinar

This tyrant’s worse nightmare will come true one day

She shall return, she will be back

That dream will one day come alive

And rule again. And rule again.

How many Bhuttos will you kill?

A Bhutto will emerge from every home!








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