A ray of hope…

A few days back, the world was shocked by the news of the shooting of a girl named Malala Yousufzai  in Pakistan’s Swat district of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, by the Talibani shooters. Her only crime was that, she was a girl, a girl in a society where women are looked down as a commodity, which is there for the use of men only. They are denied justice, they are denied quality education, they are denied equal rights, and they are denied freedom.

“The society in Pakistan is slowly being dumped into deep gorge of extremism from where it would be next to impossible to bounce back. The Pakistani state within state, say the radical groups, has become completely intolerant towards the religious minorities, women and other things.”

Malala Yousufzai is known for her education and women’s rights activism in the Swat Valley. In early 2009, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) banned education for girl children in the Swat region. At that time, she was just 11 years old and wrote a blog for BBC, which brought her to the limelight of the world media. That blog diary was written about the life of a girl under the brutal Talibans. For her courageous acts in the face of the threats from Taliban and other radical Islamist groups, she won various international prizes including the Pakistan government’s Peace prize.

After the assassination attempt on her on October the 10th, there has been emotional outpouring for her and her health from all parts of the world.  Her courage and daring nature would be scriped in golden words. She has become a lesson for all the ones who lose hope in front of adversities, which come to break them down.

The society in Pakistan is slowly being dumped into deep gorge of extremism from where it would be next to impossible to bounce back. The Pakistani state within state, say the radical groups, has become completely intolerant towards the religious minorities, women and other things. The Taliban, which was established by the ‘leaders of the modern world’ has become a menace, a Frankenstein monster which is hell bent on eating the state of Pakistan from within. The Salafist radicalism has forced the women to remain inside. For the women of Swat and Afghanistan, social life remains non-existent.

The public anger against the assassination attempt on Malala is indeed justified and the attempt on her life must be condemned from all quarters but I feel shame for the world powers who despite knowing about the threat posed by these maniac Talibanis / Al Qaeda and other Lashkars are hand in glove with them elsewhere. In Syria, they are having a honeymoon with the same Islamic forces against which they are fighting in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They bomb Afghanistan to kill their erstwhile friends and in that very process, they kill many innocents, among them many little Malalas, by sending unmanned drones which most of the times kill innocents.

In Pakistan, Ahmadis are not safe, Shias feel threatened, Hindus are escaping out of fear of being massacred. Whatever is happening in Pakistan is because of its geographical position and continuous foreign interferences, sometimes to arm the radical groups and sometimes to disarm them, but that cannot become a reason for the state being so mush callous about the things, which must be taken directly through their horns.

Back home in our country, there has been a series of rapes in Haryana, at least 18 rapes in just a span of 30 days. Though we do not have Talibans, but the mentality which breeds such maniacs is present here as well. The comment of a state minister of Haryana the other day about women themselves getting entrapped for being raped is in itself a great testimony to the fact that such mentalities are present everywhere. The same Minister, I believe, could have been a famous Talibani commander if he had been in Swat. No matter if we are from the Swat tribal agency of Pakistan or Khap Panchayats of Haryana, we have made it a habit to subdue the ones who are there to be oppressed and subdued. Some do it in the name of religion and some do it in the name of honour. Both religion and honour are the most misunderstood words in our part of the world. Our so called honour forces us to do whatever we want; it makes us to behave like a tyrant, an oppressor who cannot see outside his own narrow individualistic confines.


The assassination attempt on Malala is just the tip of an iceberg. We know Malala because of her being popular due to the media, but there are many Malalas in the region who dare the Talibanis, both Indian and Pakistani, through their courage and desire to do something for a better future. Many die an unknown death, many are killed through NATO bombings and American drones, and on our part many are raped and molested to keep their mouth shut.


In one of her post for BBC, dated January 3, 2009, Malala wrote that, “I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taliban. I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat. I was afraid going to school because the Taliban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools. Only 11 students attended the class out of 27. The number decreased because of Taliban’s edict.

On my way from school to home I heard a man saying ‘I will kill you’. I hastened my pace… to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone.”

This single post is enough in itself to show how brave that little girl was to raise her voice in favour of the ones who are denied their basic right, and against the ones who regard themselves as godfathers of a society.

We must rise against the Talibans and the Khaps in favour of many hundred Malalas who die an unknown death just because of our own biasness and double standard ways.

Wish you health Malala, you have become the voice of not only a single nation, but nations regardless of boundaries.

Syed used to work with the Hindustan Times, Delhi till 2010 December and then he took a sabbatical for academic purposes which continues till date. Currently pursuing his masters in Peace and conflict studies with Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict, Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi, Syed has studied journalism from Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi.

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