Jehangir Bader: An Encomium – By Saria Benazir

14 Nov

clip_image002He was beleaguered, whipped and incarcerated, but he never gave up on the doctrine, he so stalwartly believed in. His existence is an immaculate exemplar of audacity in times of adversity, and an unparalleled allegiance to the Bhutto family, and he has never desisted from any sacrifice to hold the red, green and black crest of his party too towering, as to pack the ambiance with its immenseness and distinctiveness. His parable is tear-jerking, but illustrates an unplumbed heroism and devotion to the cause of Pakistan Peoples’ Party. He signifies an indestructible bond with the party that is larger than life to him. Every time, he remembered his leader Shaheed Mohtarmah Benazir Bhutto, his eyes hazed and the wretchedness was perceptible in his words.

He was a fighter – warrior of democracy, who from his teenage years had undertaken to bring an alteration in Pakistan’s political scenario that had always encompassed of the autocrats and drawing room politicians, who had utterly no going into the masses. Jehangir Bader initiated his political activism as the President of his college’s student union and in the course of that, led the campaign to oust the military rule of General Ayub Khan, which was apathetic to the needs and demands of the commoners. Profoundly enthused by Quaid e Awaam Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, his relation with the party he established goes to the heart. As a fervent aficionado of the entrancing Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, he declined to be silenced, and persevered with the cause of an egalitarian Pakistan, in the face of getting tormented and locked up in the dictatorial regimes. He nevertheless set a history.

The cause of democracy was the dearest to his heart, and he always placed his own verve on peril to hold the pennants of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party lofty, in the eras of the atrocious of the despots. His ‘transgression’ of receiving his leader, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto at the Lahore Airport was castigated by a year term and battering in front of the Shaheed Bhutto Cell. But he was a man of iron: thirty – five lashes at one fell swoop could not shatter that idol, or crack his faithfulness to the PPP. He was apprehended in the Kot Lakhpat Jail (alongside his leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was also held a captive there) for touring Punjab with Madr e Jamhooriat Begum Nusrat Bhutto. In the same year, his son, Zulfikar Ali Bader was born – a child, named by and after Quaid e Awam, who depicts the indestructible bond that links him with the PPP. Every consequent affliction was ruthless than the prior. He also remained seized and tortured in the Shahi Qila of Lahore on the commands of zia ul haq.

His fortitude to expel the domineering regime of zia ul haq was unflinching. He led the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy despite being inflicted with imprisonments and appalling ordeals and as the President of the PPP for the Punjab province, in April 1986, organized the grand and historical reception for the Daughter of the East, Shaheed Mohtarmah Benazir Bhutto – homecoming, that altered the tide and culminated the tyrannical decade of zia ul haq’s rule. In the following elections, the Pakistan Peoples’ Party won a landslide victory in Pakistan, and the Bhutto’s daughter was sworn in as the first ever woman to head a Muslim state. Finally, there was democracy in Pakistan, but that was too short lived. Both terms of the PPP in power did not amount to barely five years, owing to the coups and the extremist lobby in Pakistan’s politics who were apprehensive of a moderate, enlightened and egalitarian Pakistan. Another epoch of torments began. Fictitious corruption incriminations were leveled against Shaheed Mohtarmah Benazir Bhutto, her husband and other PPP leaders, including Jehangir Bader, by Nawaz Sharif and Pervez Musharraf – accusations that were never proven but which landed him in jail for another long term.

Jehangir Bader was one of the closest companions of Shaheed Mohtarmah Benazir Bhutto and he has always stood dutiful to her, and the earth she was buried in. After her assassination, he began his doctorate in philosophy on his sister, and his leader he too dearly cherished – making him the first ever person to do so. This is a paradigm of his incomparable fidelity and adulation for his martyred Chairperson. Every time, he spoke about her, his tone carried mounds of tenderness, and his eyes, heaps of tears. His dedication to Bakhtawar, Aseefa and Bilawal is interminable, and he felt for them, like his own blood and flesh, and the same allegiance is reflected in his children, who have made the PPP the rationale of their existence.                                                                                                                              

Dear Uncle JB, you would be greeted by Shaheed Zulfikar, Nusrat and Benazir Bhutto and your comrade Amin Faheem in the heavens today, but you have left the PPP and Pakistan’s political landscape fatherless which in these tempestuous times required your wisdom more than ever.

 For Senator Bader,

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die. 

Mary Elizabeth Frye

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