Book Review: ‘The Fragrance of Tears’

Victoria Schofield is a reputed historian and commentator on worldwide affairs. She waseducated at Oxford and succeeded late Benazir Bhutto (1953-2007) as president of the Union.
In 1978, she additionally attended the enchantment of late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in opposition to the loss of life sentence within the Supreme Court of Pakistan. She has been related to a quantity of prestigious media shops/platforms just like the Sunday Telegraph, The Times, The Independent, The Spectator, the BBC and Al Jazeera. Apart from her current work which is a private memoir of her friendship with late Benazir Bhutto, she had earlier authored 5 books together with the one titled ‘Bhutto: Trial and Execution’.
‘Victoria and Benazir’s Oxford friendship grew right into a deeper emotional bond’ lasting till the latter’s assassination in December 2007 within the tragic context of late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’sappeal and subsequent execution. In her account Victoria Schofield offers ‘first-handinsights into late Benazir’s transformation from Oxford undergraduate to political activist and the primary girl prime minister of a Muslim majority nation’. In her narration of the shut and enduring relationship with late Benazir Bhutto, the writer additionally attracts on diaries and letters moreover shedding gentle on ‘the current troubled historical past of an more and more troubledregion’. From her upbringing in an prosperous household (of Bhuttos), ‘the shock of the distinction ofher Harvard and Oxford training, and subsequent politicisation and arrest after her father’s loss of life’, Benazir Bhutto’s life has been full of drama unfolding her undaunted power, dedication and braveness within the face of adversity.
The e book is split into 15 chapters along with the ‘Prelude: 27 December 2007’. The titles of the chapters are aphoristically concise e.g., Our Salad Days: 1974-77; ‘Bhutto to hold’: (1977-78); ‘Within fourwalls’: 1978; ‘Martyrs don’t die’: 1979; Street Fighting Years: 1979-81; Living But Not Living: 1981-83; Benazir’s Out: 1984-86; The People’s Wedding: 1987; Dear Prime Minister: 1988-90; Leader of the Opposition: 1990-93; Prime Minister Again: 1993-96; Déjà Vu: 1996-99; Exile: 1999-2007; Return to Pakistan: 2007; Assassination.
This e book, prototyped on the mannequin of Benazir Bhutto’s well-known autobiography ‘Daughter ofthe East’, incorporates a chronological account of its writer’s intimate friendship with lateBenazir Bhutto since their college days at Oxford and the sombre path of occasions following their separation after completion of research on the alma mater. It is a form of a combination of her reminiscences of the college days adopted by her eventful journey to Pakistan the place she attended the courtroom proceedings of late Z A Bhutto.
The author has added quantity of household images some of which painting her ownimages in unison with these of late Benazir Bhutto moreover her pencil sketches of many acharacter referring to the epic story of the illustrious father and his nice daughter.The narrative is couched in a racy however lucid type characterised by an inimitable idiomaticfelicity, candidness, and sincerity that create an aura of ‘perfume’ about it. The mode ofnarration being anecdotal, the reader is imperceptibly lured right into a marvel of a world wherebiography, politics, regulation, justice and worldwide diplomacy are intertwined right into a non-fictive internet, because it had been, of déjà vu. In the method she has narrated her recurrent visits to Pakistan overlaying virtually all of the essential occasions related to the tragic destiny of the Bhutto household in addition to late Benazir Bhutto’s ascendance to energy twice (1988-90 and 1993-96) in her chequered political profession ending together with her tragic demise in a bomb explosion in Rawalpindi within the dying days of the 12 months 2007. Concluding the e book, the writer gives her wealthy tributes to the departed soul of her life-long pal and affiliate thus:
‘On getting into, I took off my footwear, relishing the cool of the marble on my scorching ft. Passingunder an archway, I discovered myself a big portrait of Benazir. It was not a household beginning or loss of life anniversary, when hundreds historically converge and so, with the exception of some villagers who had are available in from the fields, and some attendants, the mausoleum was empty. When I approached, one of the attendants got here ahead to supply me a basket of rose petals to scatter. Benazir’s grave, coated in a pink velvet fabric, was subsequent to her father’s, which now had an ornate marble cover. As I grasped a handful of rose petals, I believed once more of my first go to to Garhi Khuda Bakhsh over thirty years in the past, when Benazir and I had stood aspect by aspect within the open air by the graves of her ancestors, the triumphs and tragedies of the longer term as but unknown. Now she lay with them.
The sorrowful odor of the mistLingering over the Indus,Gentle waves of rice, dung and rindThis is the salt cry of SindhAs I die let me really feelThe perfume of tears.’
Here BBC chief worldwide correspondent Lyse Doucet’s comment in regards to the e book wouldseem a pertinent however apt ending to the current evaluate: ‘This intimate account might onlyhave been written by somebody like Victoria Schofield, who stood subsequent to Benazir in on a regular basis and earth-shaking moments, each as an astute observer and constant pal’.
Title: ‘The Fragrance of Tears – My Friendship with Benazir Bhutto’Author: Victoria SchofieldWriter: Oxford University Press, KarachiPages: 324 – Price: Rs. 2850/-

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