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I am Malala – review

My first book of the year and unarguably it was worth reading. This is one of those books which give you a plethora of factual information which drew minimal global attention because of the way they were handled by galactic politicians and bureaucrats. More than three-forth of the book is a narration of events in Swat valley, Pakistan, all through the first decade of this century. As the book progresses, you learn more about Pakistan Talibs and the havoc they wreaked in the valley. The story builds up slowly and takes you through how once a beautiful and picturesque valley turned into a valley of death and sorrow. But no complaints about why this book is more about the Talibs, the Swat valley or Pakistan politics; because Malala would not be the Malala as the world knows if these elements never existed.

What leaves you flabbergasted is the way a father raises his daughter, which is very unlikely for a place as described in the book. A place where girls cannot be seen outside their home, unless they are accompanied by their husband, brother or father; a place where girls are not allowed to speak in public and abstained from education; a place where girls are only meant to cook, deliver baby and take care of family and daily chores; it is amazing to know how an audacious father broke all the rules and defied the darkness created by Taliban in raising his daughter. Probably most of the parents in progressive and advanced world lack the attitude and reformist ideology that Malala’s father had. Not an instance was missed to acknowledge the efforts that Malala’s parents put in to infuse in her a passion and awareness towards education. The way this book describes “Talibanization” in Swat region, you will be taken unawares by how Malala’s father encouraged her for public speaking and interviews to spread awareness of women’s oppression in the region around the globe. Malala recounts dreaded days and nights her family and friends spent a midst fights between terrorists and army, schools being bombed and demolished every day, people getting beheaded in streets, public whippings and frequent death threats. The story continues to roll after she was attacked, and goes on to scrawl her complex surgical procedures,  rehabilitation and Nobel prize nomination.

This book also attempts to kill the conspiracy theories going around that Malala was never shot by Talibs and this was an impeccable plan which was hatched to create an icon for west to embrace. Many believe that she was a role model for children in Pakistan, but they feel that this book maligned her image and made her look like a tool in the hands of west to defame Islam and countries which follow Islamic laws. There are many who believe that because she was picked by BBC and helping many international agencies in their campaign against Taliban, she was treated differently than many other girls who are shot or killed daily in Taliban dominated areas. I am not well researched in this area and hence would refrain myself on commenting this. Thus, no wonder why this book is banned in most parts of the Pakistan.

This book is in all sense an inspirational story of a girl who continues to overcome numerous obstacles in her way created by obtrusive and orthodox society, politics, war and other factors. Along with giving a view of international conflicts, this is a story which would enforce your faith in your capabilities and make you believe that when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it, a quote from The Alchemist.

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