The Taliban became the enemy of fine arts, culture and our history. The Swat Museum moved its collection away for safekeeping. They destroyed everything old and brought nothing new. The Taliban took over the Emerald Mountain with its mine and began selling the beautiful stones to buy their ugly weapons. The took money from the people who chopped down our precious trees for timber and then demanded more money to let their trucks pass.
Their radio coverage spread across the valley and neighbouring districts. Though we still had our television they had switched off the cable channels. Moniba and I could no longer watch our favourite Bollywood shows like Shararat or Making Mischief. It seemed like the Taliban didn’t want us to do anything. They even banned one of our favourite board games called Carrom in which we flick counters across a wooden board. We heard stories that the Taliban would hear children laughing and burst into the room and smash the boards. We felt like the Taliban saw us as little dolls to control, telling us what to do and how to dress. I thought if God wanted us to be like that He wouldn’t have made us all different.
I first heard about Malala through this link. I was amazed at the courage she showed at her tender age, and very disturbed that she should have to go through such a traumatic experience for such a noble cause.
As I read her book, it also became clear, how she turned out to be the way she is. In an interview, her father said: “Don’t ask me what I did (to groom her), as me what I did not do. I did not clip her wings…” And I felt so amazed at this man, more than Malala, who is a product of his foresight and unwillingness to conform with the society they live in.
Malala is living example that it is possible for one to thrive in the most difficult of circumstances. In fact, it is possibly these difficulties and obstacles which mould heroes like her. Not only did the attack not faze her, it fueled her desire to further change and inspire her world. Everything does happen for a reason, after all.