IRSHAD SALIM — Bhutto’s battlecry — in the 70s — of ‘Roti, Kapra Aur Makan’ — literal translation for Bread, Clothing and Shelter — is a timeless buzzword (in my opinion) which money can’t buy — the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP)’s multibillion rupee handouts can’t either.
Here’s one which has been. ‘Dubai Chalo’ (written in early 70s) symbolizes what’s probably the only one (many may disagree though) of Bhutto’s Dollars and Cents gift to the nation — before his another battlecry — ‘Third World Economic Order’ — marked the beginning of his end.
The multibillion dollar yearly revenue stream for Pakistan since the early 70s continue to churn out with alacrity.
Another multibillion corridor for revenue has yet to be created, despite decades of musical chair in-and-outs.
Among Bhutto’s admirers, followers and wannabes, the poverty to listen, to think, understand, analyze and deliver –from this fountainhead has been somewhat amiss. This has led to an unfortunate shrinking of support base which Bhutto had from Karachi to Khyber, and left behind for others to squander wittingly or unwittingly.
Young Bilawal (he’ll be 32 in September) is trying though to mold a phoenix out of the Bhutto legacy amid the Saas Bahu (Mother-in-law, Daughter-in-law) ecosystem that we have — symptoms of a malaise due to huge ups and downs over decades.
The ‘Saas Bahu’ syndrome was aptly pointed out by Hillary Clinton during one of her visits a decade back. Khan faces headwinds also, and it’s understandable: occupational hazard of challenging conventions and for calling a spade a spade.
Consider this: 64 percent of our populace are the young and the restless while the minority (36 percent) still wants to carry the baton — just as we generally have as a tradition in our family system, culture and daily rituals. The ‘Aap aur Tum’ (Senior and Junior) lingua franca transcends our body politik. Status Quo is ‘Aap’ and the rest is ‘Tum’.
So what if Bilawal’s rain narration fell short of communication standards: our electronic media’s ticker-prone rat race did the rest: they made us all laugh and smile. ‘Laughter the best medicine’ is a catchphrase though, the Readers Digest used to deliver, and many while ‘sitting on the throne’ used to dump the heaviest load on Earth down the drain with a RD in hand.
Those were the days… So was one of Bhutto’s signature style: joining the kids to sing a chorus that still sparks fervor.
Can’t compare though Bilawal’s rain with Bhutto’s song. Still, both have a mutually inclusive story to tell to us: We need to sing the song and of course tackle the rain too.
Meanwhile, Khan is there trying — and the jury is still out there — amid ‘Bahu’ (daughter-in-law) and not Beti (daughter) syndrome.