The late Ardeshir Cowasjee was a social activist, philanthropist and an outspoken newspaper columnist who always harped on the same tune that education, education and education is the panacea for the ills plaguing the land. I , though a non-entity, fully concur and endorse his viewpoint.
It now seems that the mantle of responsibility for the advocacy and awareness of education has been passed onto the young shoulders of a brave and courageous 17 year old girl who has been recently bestowed with great honor.
Malala Yousufzai needs no introduction for she has become a worldwide celebrity and a household name. She has only recently been jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with an Indian social activist.
It would not be incorrect to state that credit for Malala’s fame and glory goes to none other than the notorious Taliban who attempted to silence her in a botched an assassination attempt on October 9, 2012. She survived, and the world took notice.
Malala hails from Mingora, Swat, the lush and verdant scenic valley in Northern Pakistan where she was born and raised and where her father ran a school. When the Taliban took over Swat in 2007, she clandestinely blogged for the BBC under the pseudonym Gul Makai narrating the savagery and atrocities of the Taliban especially their effort to curb women’s education.
It goes without saying that Malala has a passion, a burning passion, and an ardent desire for education not only for herself but now also for the deprived and underprivileged females of the world. Her cause is undeniably just and noble for which she has been duly rewarded but her path to the road of universal female education is fraught with dangers, criticism and cynicism. Her detractors accuse her of being a scapegoat for the West who has vested interests against Pakistan. Islamist fanatics might call her heretic working against Islam.
First of all the girl is only 17 years old for crying out loud. Obviously she needs guidance and protection, a responsibility that the powers that be seem to absolve themselves from in Pakistan.
It is tragically ironic that she cannot return to Pakistan to celebrate her victory with her compatriots for death stalks her and the government is too irresponsible and spineless to provide her protection.
So what if she lives abroad and ardently pursues the advocacy of women’s education universally? The cause is just. Are we too shortsighted and narrow minded not to realize that education improves the lives of people and teaches us human values?
Malala Yousufzai has honored Pakistan and we should have the courtesy and decency of supporting her wholeheartedly and accord her the peace and quiet to pursue her dreams.
Sadly we have denigrated one Nobel laureate already from Pakistan. Let us not make the same mistake with this young visionary.
I for one can’t t speak for the nation as a whole but Malala, thank you for the honor, my prayers are with you. Carry on your noble mission. Godspeed.