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Saturday, October 11, 2014, Ashwin 26, 1421, Zilhajj 15, 1435 Hijr

Idol to the world, outcast at home
Malala Yousafzai youngest laureate ever
Observer Online report
Publish Date : 2014-10-11,  Publish Time : 12:22,  View Count : 30
17 years old Malala Yousafzai is the youngest Nobel Laureate ever. She is also the third Laureate born in Pakistan and fights for the right of girls to education.

The teenager was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in October 2012 for campaigning for girls' education.

Malala was born in Mingora of Swat Valley in Pakistan on July 12,1997.

She, now based in Britain, is unable to return to her homeland because of threats from the Taliban. The current Taliban chief, Mullah Fazlullah, was the one who ordered the 2012 attack against her.

Malala, now aged 17, became globally known in 2012 when Taliban gunmen almost killed her for her passionate advocacy of women's right to education. She has since become a symbol of defiance in the fight against militants in northwest Pakistan — a region where women are expected to keep their opinions to themselves and stay at home.

"The terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions but nothing changed in my life except this: Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born," she told the United Nations last year. "I do not even hate the Talib who shot me. Even if there is a gun in my hand and he stands in front of me. I would not shoot him," she said in a speech that captivated the world.

It's ironic that while Malala is hailed around the world as a champion of women's rights, in her homeland many view her with suspicion as an outcast or even as a Western creation aimed at damaging Pakistan's image abroad. At the time of her Nobel nomination, social media sites were brimming with insulting messages. "We hate Malala Yousafzai, a CIA agent," said one Facebook page.

Raised in Pakistan's ruggedly beautiful, politically volatile Swat Valley, Malala was barely 11 years old when she began championing girls' education, speaking out in TV interviews. The Taliban had overrun her hometown of Mingora, terrorizing residents and threatening to blow up girls' schools.

From: Official web site of 'The Nobel Prize' and TOI



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