The girl, who was shot in her head for speaking up against Taliban for the rights of education for women in Pakistan, has won 2014 Nobel Peace Prize along with Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. World mourned when she was shot at point blank range. It was a miracle that she came alive after seeing death.

Her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai owns chain of school Kushal Public School in Mingora, Pakistan. She spent most of her childhood in the school which dragged her towards education.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called it a “heinous and cowardly act” and British Foreign Secretary William Hague called the shooting as “barbaric” and that it had “shocked Pakistan and the world.”

Yousafzai’s efforts

Yousafzai wrote a blog for BBC under a pseudonym, Gul Makai, detailing her life under Taliban occupation and their several attempts to take control of the valley, and her views on promoting education for girls in the Swat Valley.

 She stated in the BBC blog, “I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taleban. I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat. My mother made me breakfast and I went off to school. I was afraid going to school because the Taleban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools.”

“Only 11 pupils attended the class out of 27. The number decreased because of Taleban’s edict. My three friends have shifted to Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi with their families after this edict.”

New York Times has filmed a documentary about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the swat valley which led to the second battle of Swat. She wanted to raise awareness about the Taliban’s capture in the Swat valley. Her interview in print and television turned entire nations’ attention towards her. Taliban warned her father but she was shot.

The assassination by Taliban sparked the national and international outpouring of support for Malala and she rose in prominence.

Malala spoke at the UN on july 12 to call for world wide access to education and by September 2013 she officially opened the Library of Birmingham.

United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown launched a UN petition in Yousafzai’s name, using the slogan “I am Malala” and demanding that all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2015 – a petition which helped lead to the ratification of Pakistan’s first Right to Education Bill.

Deutsche Welle quoted in January 2013 that Malala may have become “the most famous teenager in the world.”

Awards and recognition

She was featured in Time magazine on front page as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the world.

She was awarded as the Pakistan’s First National Youth Peace Prize and Sakharov Prize for 2013. On October 2013 government offered Malala Citizenship of Canada. She was nominated for the World Children’s Prize in Sweden.

University of King’s College in Halifax granted Malala an Honorary doctorate on 15 May 2014. At age 17, Malala is the youngest Nobel laureate ever and become the second Pakistani to receive a Nobel Prize after Abdus Salam.

Criticism she faced

The Pakistani Taliban chief spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan admitted the responsibility for the attack, and said that Yousafzai “is the symbol of the infidels and obscenity,” adding that if she survived, the group would target her again.

The Taliban also justified its attack as part of religious scripture, stating that the Quran “says that people propagating against Islam and Islamic forces would be killed”, going on to say that “Sharia says that even a child can be killed if he is propagating against Islam.”

 By Shrikrishna Iyer