Pakistani women have time and again proven that despite the country’s patriarchal setup, they can always be counted on to make a mark. Malala Yousafzai, the country’s second and the world’s youngest Nobel laureate, is continuing the legacy of Pakistan’s iconic women.
Malala graduated from Oxford University earlier this week. “Hard to express my joy and gratitude right now as I completed my philosophy, politics and economics degree at Oxford. I don’t know what’s ahead. For now, it will be Netflix, reading and sleep,” she tweeted.
For someone so young, Malala has achieved what most of us cannot even imagine in our lifetimes. But it did not come easy; in fact, it was at a great personal cost. In 2009, Malala started writing a diary for BBC Urdu under the pen name ‘Gul Makai’. Swat Valley was under Taliban rule at the time. In one of the entries, she wrote, “I am sad watching my uniform, school bag and geometry box. I felt hurt on opening my wardrobe and seeing my uniform, school bag and geometry box. Boys’ schools are opening tomorrow. But the Taliban have banned girls’ education.”
Malala and her family received multiple threats from the Taliban even after their rule ended in Swat.
She was shot by the Taliban in October 2012 when she was on her way home from school in Swat. The Taliban tried to assassinate her because she had become an ambassador for girls’ education. The assassination attempt left her in a critical condition when she was taken to a hospital in Rawalpindi. She was later transferred to a hospital in the United Kingdom (UK).
Malala went on to become a global icon. From writing a diary under a pseudonym at an incredibly young age to surviving a brutal assassination attempt, her bravery makes one wonder about the determination and grit this young woman has shown over the years. Despite her success, Malala remains down to earth and humble. One can see that there is no pretense.
After her graduation, many are wondering what role she would take on in the future. It is for Malala to decide what is next but we can say with certainty that her future will not be anything ordinary. For an extraordinary woman like Malala, an ordinary job would obviously not do. She will always be a global ambassador for girls’ education and may well continue her work since it is a huge task indeed. Some speculate whether she will enter politics at some stage. Whatever she decides, we know she will continue to make Pakistan proud of her work.
May your light continue to shine bright, Malala!