In one sentence – ‘Who is Malala?’ the Taliban demanded, before shooting her three times.
Author– Malala Yousafzai
Genre – Autobiography
Best quote from the book – “It seemed to me that everyone knows they will die one day. My feeling was nobody can stop death; it doesn’t matter if it comes from a Talib or cancer. So I should do whatever I want to do.”
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What would you do if a terrorist group controlled your area? Malala, who was barely a teen, had already started her campaign against the Taliban. She was living in a place where women were denied education, where women could not leave home without a man by her side, and where women were not permitted to work.
This book starts with the miraculous journey of Malala’s upbringing, leading up to the incident that almost cost her life. In between that, she along with her family, her father particularly, received many death threats. But these threats did not weaken the spirit of this teenage girl. It only made her more popular around the world alongside her ambiguous goal – to ensure everyone gets educated, irrespective of gender.
On the side note, at just sixteen, she became the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize winner.
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“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.”
1. Your courage must come within yourself
How much courage do you have? What if you are on a mission, and suddenly, you get a death threat? Would you carry on with it or would you leave it behind? Even thinking about this situation makes me fear my life.
Malala was only a child when she had set herself for her life mission, in providing education to everyone. She had a burning desire to ensure that she will stick to her purpose whatever might happen with her.
When she won the Pakistani National Peace Prize, the country went wild for her. While many cherished the moment, some deemed it to be unlawful. They wanted to stop her acts immediately. People claimed she was being influenced by the Westerners. Then, she started getting threats from random people and was told to stop her mission right away.
One day, the inevitable happened. While returning back from school, she got shot. In spite of that, it did not affect her courage. Rather, she felt stronger than ever.
If we can make our internal self the most courageous thing in the world, then nothing can stop us from taking the path we want.
“My mother always told me,” hide your face people are looking at you.” I would reply,” it does not matter; I am also looking at them.”
2. You are not alone in your journey!
Despite having achieved great success at a young age, she wasn’t alone in her journey. The most prominent figure in her life was her father. In Pakistan, most fathers used to hide their daughters from the outside world. They didn’t let them go to school, forced them to cover their face, and tried to marry them as early as possible.
Malala’s father was different. He never discriminated against people based on their gender. Instead, he had opened a school where both boys and girls can study together. Her father’s philosophy created a path for her, and she did not let him down.
After she was shot, she was taken to a national hospital. However, it lacked the equipment that was needed for Malala’s treatments. But there was one woman who changed the outcome. Despite facing a lot of criticism, Dr. Fiona brought Malala to a hospital in Birmingham, England. There, the hospital had all the requirements for Malala’s treatments. Her revival took some time but went smoothly. Had she not taken such a drastic measure, Malala might not have been with us today.
“If you don’t raise your voice, it is unlikely anyone will hear you.”
3. To lead, you don’t need to be a leader
Malala provides a perfect example of Robin Sharma’s The Leader With No Title. We hear about so many leaders only because of their titles, then there was Malala who had no title, but was well-known to the whole world. It must have been a challenge for her as a millennial, but she knew it was worth it.
When Malala was seen as a leader, she had not yet finished her schooling. She had not held any notable leadership position. But she never felt she needed to hold one.
If you want to bring a change, you don’t necessarily need to hold a formal position. If you are working towards a great cause and believe in what you do, then people will follow you irrespective of what position you hold.
People will support you till your last breath as they did to Malala. It’s because people feel empowered when they watch your action or even when they hear your speech, just like this one – Martin Luther King. Jr: I Have a Dream.
“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”
I finished this book in four days – for most books, I take more than a week. Malala’s story truly captivated me. So I was very much cemented into this book. It has reminded me of who I am, and what I want to do with my life. With such a great story covered in this book, it’s no wonder that this book was deemed as the non-fiction book of the year in 2013.
This book demands to be read. I strongly recommend you at least read its summary. Then, if you get interested, then feel free to order the book from here. If you are a girl, then this would be even better as you will be able to relate to her life very much.
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