‘Malala is a role model not only for your country, but for our world.’ Ban Ki-moon
The bullet from Malala Yousafzai’s head has been taken out. She is now recovering at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham, UK. She was shot while returning home from her school. Yousafzai’s only fault was that she wanted to study. She was shot by the Taliban for her wish. Though she is out of danger now, the wound that this incident has given to the world is painful. Yousafzai hails from the beautiful province of Swat in Pakistan. She has rose to prominence for her efforts in campaigning education for the girls. Due to her proactive role as a teenage campaigner, the Taliban considered her as a threat. After warning Malala against her social instigation, it didn’t take long for the Taliban to shoot at the 14-year old girl. A student of Khusal public School, Yousafzai is keen on becoming a politician after her study.
Growing up in Swat valley, she had been constantly exposed to the dangers that the Taliban were capable of. In an interview with the Al Jazeera, she had said, ‘I was very scared that militants can throw acid on my face and they can do anything.’ In a blog entry written in January she had expressed how she was perturbed by the Taliban activities, ‘I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taliban. I have had such dreams since the military operation in Swat.’ In another instance she had written, ‘On my way from school to home I heard a man saying ‘I will kill you.’ However, the fear of Taliban did not intimidate her. She firmly believed that she had to do something for her people and for the female students of her place. Realizing the potentialities of social media, she became an active blogger under the pen name of Gul Makai. The fruit of her passion for education has earned her national and international recognitions. It is due to this determination that the Taliban have tagged her as ‘Pro-west.’ Ehsanullah Ehsan, the Taliban spokesman had firmly threatened to shoot her once more if needed in order to implement their decree of banning education for girls.
After the critical incident of her shooting, she has become a symbol of female empowerment not only in Pakistan but throughout the whole world. The courage and confidence shown by Malala has inspired hundreds of thousands of people across nations. She said to a CNN correspondent in one of her interviews, ‘I have the rights; I have the right to education, I have the right to play, I have the right to sing, I have the right to talk.’ Yousafzai had even added that she wanted to build so many schools in the country if she were the president because she believed that education was important.
Considering the gravity of the brutality, Islamic scholars across Pakistan have issued Fatwa against the Taliban gunmen. Yousafzai’s active role in the media and her bold statements against the Taliban’s edict was a constant threat for them. She was trying to break the barriers of fear that the Taliban wanted to raise in the society. It is ridiculous how the Taliban that have been fighting the entire world, facing the toughest armies, resisting the deadliest weapons can be cowered by the belief of a fourteen year old girl. If a small girl’s firm belief for a change can create such tremors, the collective efforts of the society can make a great difference.
Yousafzai’s courage and determination has lent a voice to thousands of girls all over the world. Her thirst for education even at the cost of her life is a vibrant message to all the world leaders that something concrete must be done to avail education for all. Malala is that light of hope that has enlightened millions of hearts who would otherwise be a part of constant stream of darkness. Taliban’s gruelling practice of keeping the girls in the dark has been challenged. This singular story of courage has sent waves of hopes particularly to all the developing nations.
Malala’s shooting has raised a hue and cry not only in Pakistan but in the whole of South East Asia. Her voice has proved that the entire world stands and supports a humane cause. The incident has not only weakened the fabric of the Taliban but has also sent a sharp warning to all the traitors who deny fundamental rights of education to the girl child. The solidarity displayed by the people in and out of Pakistan have justified the fact that education in the 21st century is a birth right and such fundamental right has to be protected by everyone. There are thousands of female children in Nepal also who have been denied basic education due to various social and economical factors. According to a CWIN report, the girl child comprises half of the total child population of Nepal. Large portions of the girl population have been neglected from the national education mainstream. If the Taliban is responsible for trying to dissuade Malala’s education, there are hundreds of economic and social factors that are no less than the bullets of Taliban that have been hindering female child education in Nepal. Gender discrimination, child labour, bonded labour, child labour exploitations are amongst the top problems that Nepal has to overcome soon.