New Delhi, Oct 10: Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012 for advocating girls’ right to education, along with Indian children’s right activist Kailash Satyarthi won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.
With the prize, Yousafzai, 17, becomes the youngest Nobel Prize winner, eclipsing Australian-born British scientist Lawrence Bragg, who was 25 when he shared the Physics Prize with his father in 1915.
Born on July 12, 1997, Malala first came to public attention through that heartfelt diary, published on BBC Urdu, which chronicled her desire to remain in education and for girls to have the chance to be educated.
She was only 11 years old when her anonymous diary – published between January and March 2009 on BBC Urdu – captivated audiences with its heartfelt account of the struggle for girls’ education at a time when the Taliban controlled Swat.
She wrote under a pseudonym – Gul Makai, the name of a heroine from a Pashtun folk tale.
Malala Yousafzai, who comes from the town of Mingora in the Swat District of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, is known her activism for rights to education and for women.
The New York Times documentary by journalist Adam B. Ellick was filmed about Malala’s life in 2009, and she rose in prominence and was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by South African activist Desmond Tutu.
On the afternoon of October 9, 2012, Malala boarded her school bus in the northwest Pakistani district of Swat, a gunman asked for Malala by name, and then fired three shots. One bullet hit the left side of her forehead, traveled under her skin the length of her face and then into her shoulder.
She remained unconscious and in critical condition, but later her condition improved enough for her to be sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, for intensive rehabilitation.
On October 12, a group of 50 Islamic clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwā against those who tried to kill her, but the Taliban reiterated its intent to kill Malala and her father.
The assassination attempt sparked a national and international outpouring of support for her and the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown launched a UN petition in Yousafzai’s name, using the slogan “I am Malala”.
The petition demanded that all children worldwide should be in school by the end of 2015, and it helped lead to the ratification of Pakistan’s first Right to Education Bill.
In the Time magazine’s issue on April 29, 2013, Yousafzai featured on the magazine’s front cover as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World”. She was the winner of Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize.
On July 12, 2013, Yousafzai spoke at the UN to call for worldwide access to education, and in September 2013 she officially opened the Library of Birmingham.
She is the recipient of the Sakharov Prize for 2013.
The government of Canada on October 16, 2013 announced its intention that Parliament of Canada will confer Honorary Canadian citizenship upon Yousafzai.
In February 2014, she was nominated for the World Children’s prize in Sweden, and Yousafzai was also granted an honorary doctorate by the University of King’s College in Halifax on May 15, 2014.
(Goindianews Bureau/Wikipedia Inputs)