An autobiography goes beyond basic plot -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

An autobiography goes beyond basic plot

Ayesha Shahid

ISLAMABAD: Bushra Zulfiqar`s autobiography, as her book launch emphasised, is about many things — and that might precisely be the problem with it.

Ms Zulfiqar explained that the book titled `A Daughter`s Heart`, is the story of a young girl going through the terrible tragedy of the untimely death of her father at the tender age of 13, and her journey since then.

“My objective was to make my father immortal through creating this character, and this was the best tribute I could pay to him,” explained an emotional Zulfiqar.

However, the book goes beyond this basic plot. It aspires to go beyond the writer herself by tracing the political and historical evolution of Pakistan through the last six decades. Ms Zulfiqar is keen to point out that there is much to look forward in the book towards a better understanding of how Pakistan has evolved.

As the panelists at the book launch explained, her book criticises US war against terror, touches the Abbotabad saga, providing a post Osama Bin Laden account. It deals with extremism today sympathises with the minorities. A substantial number of pages of her book also discuss Balochistan.

“As I was writing this book, I was in the bitter land of Balochistan and was immensely touched by the Balochi people`s commitment and hope to bring a message of hope and solidarity to them,” explained Ms Zulfiqar, adding at another place: “The spirit and resilience of those people brought me close to my own land and my people, and made me proud of them.”

All very nice, but at the book launch, the creeping feeling that extremely hot topics had somehow unexpectedly come together in many of the causes Zulfiqar supported could not be shrugged off. From the anti-American rhetoric to the Balochistani and minority sympathy, all is very relevant and yet how it all comes together in the very being of Zulfiqar, since the book is after all an autobiography, is not entirely clear.

At a time when many authors and journalists are cashing in on the spotlight that Pakistan is under internationally, the theme of Zulfiqar`s book seems to correspond closely with many of the things that have already been expanded on plenty.

One can write fiction- accounts of bitter sweet love woven in the political and historical drama of the Pakistani context and invoke Kamila Shamsi; or provide a wholly academic analysis and invoke the likes of Anatol Lieven; or have unquestioned claim to fame and produce an autobiography that has value on the basis of the very person it reveals.

The trouble, however, is when none of these are true and yet all have been strived for. The possibility has to be considered; maybe, Zulfiqar endeavor to achieve one too many things in this debut attempt. It would be interesting to read her book and find out if she manages to bring it all together successfully.

Source: Dawn