By Priyanka Roychoudhury
If you flipped through the pages of world news in the past few days you probably would have come across how a 16 year old activist for women’s rights and education left the renowned Jon Stewart speechless with her mature and determined words. Malala Yousafzai is, as the world knows now, the 16 year old Pakistani activist who was shot by the Taliban last year, someone who defied all odds to proclaim to the world her determination to bring about a change, a much needed change!
Malala has become an outspoken advocate against the Taliban regime ever since the Taliban made an attempt to assassinate her by shooting her in the head for speaking out against the closing of schools and termination of girls’ education in the Swat Valley last October. With the world boring their eyes upon the young brave heart, Malala stood, almost a year after the attempt to kill her, as a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize 2013. Though the results weren’t in her favor, it is nonetheless worth noting the difficult road traversed by this teenager until now. For someone sitting cozily in the warmth of their house in a first world country, it is predictably hard to imagine the plight of some young girls and women who are denied the right to have their own voice and who face death threats for speaking against a totalitarian regime.
However, the example set forth by Malala has helped bring the world’s focus on the very serious issue affecting the people in Malala’s country. Going against the odds, Malala had started to voice her defiance against the Taliban for banning girls from going to school much before the world’s spotlight came to rest on her. She started blogging about the dismal situation of education for girls around her as early as in December 2009 and was also interviewed on local news channels. But her leap to international recognition after October 2012 gave her the platform to address the world, and on 12th July 2013 she stood at the UN calling out for worldwide access to education.
Malala, in her show of defiance, has sparked a movement. She has emerged as a global leader who seems to have every intention to use the pedestal she has acquired for the cause of education. The words uttered by her during her interview in The Jon Stewart Show, ‘……But then if I hit a Talib with a shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib….” clearly portrays that age isn’t a basis to be a leader. This young girl has started on a path to bring on a much needed change and with the world willing to lend her its support, one can always aspire to see her dream turning into a reality in the near future.