14-07-2019

I didn’t know that memoirs and biographies could be as exciting and engaging as fictional thrillers, until I made my first odyssey into the world of autobiographies. I had presumed that biographies were simply detailed accounts of peoples’ lives, but after reading Anne Frank’s “ The Diary of A Young Girl”, I fell in love with this genre of books, which I realized can be equally gripping, surprising and fascinating. I learnt that autobiographies are a lot more than a mere collation of  basic facts like education, work, relationships, and death; they take the reader through the writer’s personal experiences, highs and lows, actions and consequences. They help you discover your own self, values and resilience, through someone else’s life events and experiences.

One such autobiography that has really resonated with me and impacted my young mind profoundly is Malala Yousafzai’s “I am Malala”, the fascinating life story of a teenage girl who not only defended her right to education but also stood up for millions of women and children who were deprived of education and equal opportunities due to various economic and socio-cultural reasons. Her memoir leaves a lasting impact in the hearts of every reader and Malala herself stands as a testament to the indestructible nature of the human spirit.

Malala is the youngest Nobel Prize laureate, who has been fighting relentlessly for the cause of female education. A young girl from the beautiful Swat Valley in Northern Pakistan, she fought for herself and millions of girls across the globe who were denied the opportunity to go to school.  Like every other teenager, Malala too had dreams and aspirations. She loved her village, her friends and most of all her school. But with changing socio-political situations in her region,  she and many other girls in her village were deprived of their right to education. Following an utterly shocking incident in her life, and her miraculous survival from the assassination attempt, Malala rose to become a global symbol of peace and courage. Through her book, ‘I Am Malala’ she highlights the evils of extremism and the struggles faced by women in patriarchal societies.  As she takes readers through her remarkable journey from the remote Swat Valley to the halls of the United Nations, interspersed with glimpses of her society,  the history, culture and politics of the region.

On July 12th, 2013, her sixteenth birthday, Malala Yousafzai delivered a historic speech at the United Nations, calling for worldwide support to protect every individual’s right to live in peace, right to be treated with dignity, right to equal opportunities and right to education. The UN declared 12th July as ‘Malala Day’ in honour of this young activist and her pathbreaking endeavours to change the lives of disadvantaged girls living in developing nations. It is a day to remember her efforts and her struggles, a day to think about millions of illiterate children, and how we can collectively work towards giving them a better future. As Malala put it in her speech, “One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution”

‘I Am Malala’ is a story of struggle, hope and courage. Her biography shows that hope and despair are inevitable parts of life, and those who faced adversities with courage eventually triumphed and went on to inspire many others. Malala was just a young teenager who faced extraordinary circumstances in life with utmost mettle and optimism to become a beacon of hope and inspiration for millions of young girls around the world. In her words, “Life isn’t just about taking in oxygen and giving out carbon dioxide”.

Written By Isha Reddy

(Bio: Isha is a 16-year-old student from Dubai. She enjoys reading writing and photography. Isha writes for her school and has also recently published her own book titled ‘The Fire Within Iceland: Steaming Up A Sustainable Nation’, available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1727088611)