If Benazir Bhutto’s ‘secret’ sashays towards ex-General Pervez Musharraf has Pakistan frowning, her latest attempts at using her language skills to win over the people has the nation grinning. No doubt, in this still-unfolding Great Pakistani Melodrama, there is a dire need of mirth. So while one is unsure how well Ms Bhutto will grab the popular mood in the run-up to the January elections, the Oxford PPE graduate — that’s Politics, Philosophy and Economics, not to be confused with the Pakistan Peoples Party — is certainly grabbing attention for her lapses into anglicised Urdu.
The language, whose reputation for takalluf far outstrips its reach, seems to be tripping off the Lady from Larkana’s tongue. Her attempts at welding Urdu with English (Englu? Urdish?) has resulted in some serious mangled semantics. The poor incomparable — that, for all ye philistines, is the English for ‘benazir’. She, of the original babalog brigade, has had so little chance to brush up her ‘Ar-doo’ after living outside Pakistan for all these years in exile. More importantly, when she left Pakistan in 1998, not to be fluent in the native tongue and having a decidedly-pucca English accent was an unwavering status symbol.
Remember Rajiv Gandhi’s immortal words: “Hum jeetengey ya losengey!” Well, the lady from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, is giving the late gent from Trinity College, Cambridge, a run for his money with gems like “Date of elections diya gaya hai” and “Yeh bahut significant acceptance hai”. We don’t want to make a big deal out of this, but Benazir ka shayad problem ho saktha hai next mahiney.