Songs of Blood and Sword- Fatima Bhutto- A Daughter’s Memoir

Posted on May 4, 2010

Tarusha Mittal:

There’s a lot of material all over the net and the printing world that talks about the history of Pakistan, so here’s why you should read this one…

As Dalrymple said that if there’s anyone who could have written this book, it’s Fatima Bhutto. It’s an awesome piece of work and the research work that has gone into the book, is fairly obvious. She has dedicated the book to her father who had once mentioned to her, in passing, that she should write a book after his death.

The book traces the Bhutto family’s legacy right from the provenance. The protagonist, so to say, is Mir Murtaza Bhutto, father of the author, whose death she squarely blames her wadi — Benazir Bhutto- for. There were over hundred extra-martial killings under Benazir’s regime and this was one of them. The book ends with Benazir’s death; the arduous task of tracing down innumerable people related or having lightly touched the Bhuttos’ lives and the anguish of going through her father’s memorabilia touches the reader and manages to warm cockles his heart.

There are eight pages of wonderful retro-photographs, quite a collectors’ envy at that, which trace the bloody legacy of the Bhutto’s and Pakistan, at large.

This one is for readers’ who want to know more about the intricacies of the history of Pakistan and sneak-peek inside the Bhutto clan, makes it a double whammy. Being a journalist and a political activist, she blends the commentary, narrative and the memories of various people in a wonderful melange. Fatima Bhutto does not mince her words and leaves an imprint as a brave woman in the reader’s heart. One can’t help but glance now and then, at her picture on the jacket of the book, marvelling at the fact as to how such a petite, delicate female have such an intrepid soul- she’s still residing in Pakistan, right where the ghosts of her past keep haunting her and it goes without mentioning that she’s living in one of the most dangerous places on this planet, under the regime of the man she’s labelled “oleaginous”.

Get it just to see the alacrity of a female whose life would have been very different had it not been that particular last name.

The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.