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#I Am Malala- Chapter 1: The Birth of Malala

malala's father holding his daughter
Continued from I Am Malala

This chapter talks through the birth of a girl child in the house of Ziauddin Yousufzai of Swat. A girl was born in a village where celebrations mark the birth of a male child, while daughters are merely meant to remain hidden behind curtain. The only thing expected of girls in the village is to serve the family with food and bear children. But this girl was different. How? Let's see.

The birth of Malala makes the atmosphere somewhat tense, but the girl's father is ecstatic. He thanks Allah for gifting him the biggest gift of his life.

Malala's father fell in love with his daughter at first sight and did not remorse even for a moment the birth of a girl child. Telling his cousin about his emotional bonding with his infant daughter and inviting friends and relatives to celebrate the birth of his daughter, Ziauddin said that there was something different about his child. He named the girl Malala after the Malalai of Maiwand - the most popular name among the women of Afghanistan. Malala grew up hearing valorous acts of Malalai, who valiantly fought against the British occupation of Afghanistan and sacrificed her life for the country, motivating an entry Afghan army to take up cudgels against the occupation forces. To Pashtun kids, Malalai resembles Joan of Arc.

young malala and khushal
"We lived in the most beautiful place in the world," says Malala about the Swat Valley, which she describes as "paradise" on earth. Once a princely state, Swat is now part of the KPK or Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In her description of Swat, Malala says,


"From the rooftop I watched the mountains change with the seasons. In the autumn chill winds would come. In the winter everything was white snow, long icicles hanging from the roof like daggers, which we loved to snap off. We raced around, building snowmen and snow bears and trying to catch snowflakes. Spring was when Swat was at its greenest. Eucalyptus blossom blew into the house,
coating everything white, and the wind carried the pungent smell of the rice fields. I was born in
summer, which was perhaps why it was my favorite time of year, even though in Mingora summer
was hot and dry and the stream stank where people dumped their garbage."

malala's childhood home
Two years after her birth, her younger brother Kushal was born and five years later, the youngest of the three, Atal, completed the family. Despite her two brothers, Malala remained the apple of her father's eye. Malala grew up listening to the stories of warring tribes from her father, who had a commanding personality.

Since childhood, Malala was raised in an environment where male gender dominated the household and girls remained behind the veil. Malala had seen her mother follow the family traditions holistically. Her mother always remained within the confines of her home and never stepped out. But Malala wanted all this to change. And the fire for change was simmering in her mind.

"I had decided very early I would not be like that. My father always said, ‘Malala will be free as a
bird.’ I dreamed of going to the top of Mount Elum like Alexander the Great to touch Jupiter and even
beyond the valley. But, as I watched my brothers running across the roof, flying their kites and
skilfully flicking the strings back and forth to cut each other’s down, I wondered how free a daughter
could ever be," adds Malala.

Chapter 2 To be continued

Image credit
I AM Malala

2 comments:

  1. I'm very pleased with this wonderful history; Malala Yousafzui is truly a great light in the darkness, and a wonderful gift to us all. - Johnny Luckett

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree Johnny! She is an inspiration for today's generation of Muslim as well as non-Muslim women, who are still bound by chains of ignorance, discrimination and apathy.

      Delete

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