Malala: Nobel prize winner but not a national hero?

To date, Malala has received over 40 awards and honors for her bravery and activism

Just after a day of Malala Yousafzai’s birthday, the education authorities in Pakistan decided to seize all the textbooks that listed the youngest Nobel laureate as an ‘important personality’.

Apparently, the authorities took the step against Malala after her ‘controversial views’ on Islam. But this is not the only discrimination Malala has faced in her home country, despite achieving so much at a very young age, it seems like Pakistanis still hesitate to consider her as their national hero. But why?

Why is Malala famous?

Born in Mingora, Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai is an education advocate who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012 for speaking out on the importance of education. However, she survived and became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

Achievements of Malala 

After winning the Nobel Prize, Malala continued to attend school in England and graduated from the University of Oxford last. But the bullets and guns did not stop her from speaking her mind, in the past eight years, Malala has achieved countless accomplishments that one can imagine at such young age.

To date, Malala has received over 40 awards and honors for her bravery and activism, including an honourary doctorate from the University of King’s College in 2014 and a Grammy Award for Best Children’s Album (for the audiobook I Am Malala:

* Malala has her own NGO named ‘Malala Fund’, based on promoting education for girls and it also invests in education activists.

* She opened a girls’ school in Lebanon for refugees from the Syrian Civil War.

* Malala also wrote an autobiography, ‘I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban’, which became an international bestseller. 

* She is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize by receiving the title at the age of 17.

* United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed Yousafzai as a U.N. Messenger of Peace to promote girls’ education.

Why Malala is Pakistan’s hero?

All-Pakistan Private Schools Federation not only seized textbooks showing Malala as an ‘important personality’ but has also decided to launch a documentary on the Nobel prize winner to ‘expose’ her before the youth.

It seems, despite achieving a lot, Malala is still a controversial figure in Pakistan. Many Pakistanis find her shameful and traitorous for defaming the country’s image.

Most of the Pakistanis oppose the idea of including Malala as our national hero because they question Malala’s contribution to Pakistan and if Malala really cares about Pakistan, why doesn’t she come back? Even many believe that Malala being shot by the Taliban was a conspiracy. Some still believe ‘her shooting was staged’.

Though few Pakistanis accept that Malala on many platforms represented Pakistan and her work on advocating girls’ education at such young age is appreciable. But still, for Pakistanis, Malala is no national hero.