‘I am Malala’

I don’t think I have spoken about this before, but the title one of the stories (I am Mala) in my ebook, Bound by Life, is inspired by I am Malala. At the point of writing that story, I only knew that Malala was a young girl who was fighting for girl’s education and had be hit by a bullet. I had no clue how huge her struggle was. The title that I chose for my story somewhat reflects the huge media coverage that I am Malala received, which made it a everyday name.

Most often, Indians (and if I may say so, the entire non-Muslim world) generalize Muslims to be bad. As Indians, when we think of Pakistanis, we think of people who caused bloodshed and the partition of the country. I, for one, have never imagined what life must be being an ordinary Pakistani. I have never thought about them at an individual level – that their girls face greater problems going to school, that poverty strikes them as hard as any average Indian, that their rivers are as polluted as ours and there are people who are fighting for good causes in Pakistan just as there are in India.

This book, for me, was an eye-opener. Fighters are there in all parts of the world. Some fight with Kalashinokovs. Some fight with their words and their pens and their blogs.

Every time I read a book on a specific cause like Malala’s, I end up wondering how powerful the word (written/spoken) can be. Even a girl as young as Malala was seen as a threat by Talibans because she had been vocal. I am in no position to judge the ideologies guiding the Talibans – they are fighting their own fight. I simply want to appreciate the education that I have that allows me to write on this platform and be read by you all. In this age of social media outrage, we take blogging/tweeting so granted that at times we forget that it is actually possible to change the world with the written word.

I am Malala helped a large part of the world wake up to the fight that the people of Swat had been fighting. Even though this story is Malala’s, in so many levels it is also the story of thousands of individuals spread across the world who are fighting against diseases, natural disasters, poverty and terrorism on a day-to-day level.

Once in a while, when you read a book like this, it makes you realize how lucky you are to have a job that pays your bills, to have your family in a place which is not under a constant threat of natural/man-made disaster. It makes you feel grateful for the things you have in life. It inspires you to believe that yes, you too can make a difference in the world, in your own small way.

This coming year, I pledge to use my blog in some manner to make a difference in the world. I do not know how or when, but hereby I plant a seed of desire in the fabric of the universe to help someone, somewhere. If Mr. Coelho is to be believed, the universe will surely help me!

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