You shot a small girl because she felt she deserved the right to study.
You shot her because you felt that her concept of secularism was a crime.
You strongly believe that what you are doing is going to get you into heaven because it is the will of God. You still bay for her blood as she struggles on ventilatory support in an ICU. 



Rape. Plunder. Pillage. Beheading. 
Everything is justified, after all, once you add the phrase 'It's written in the Holy Book.' That's been the excuse of humanity across all religions long before we learnt to even make those bullets you used. Why should we learn from other's mistakes, right ?


And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With old odd ends, stolen forth of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.
- William Shakespeare, Richard III

I'm sorry if I'm quoting humans while you quote God. The fact is, I can't play religious antakshari with you. You can instantly quote paragraphs, page numbers and verses ad verbatim. Apparently, the fact that you are an index and glossary combined of a single book makes you more religious and hence more likely to get into heaven. Me. I'm just a normal guy who knows shooting a child is bad, irrespective of religion. 
But, like you, I do believe in some quotes above others. Like the ones below which I would like to share with you.

"Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have. 
It is the very last inch of us, but within that inch, we are free."
"I shall die here. Every inch of me will perish. Every inch but one. 
An inch... It is small, and fragile, and it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must never let them take it from us. 
I hope that, whoever you are, you escape this place. 
I hope that the world turns and things get better. 
But I hope most of all that you understand that even though I will never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. 
With all my heart, I love you."


This is not from any religious book handed down from thousands of years ago. 
It is from a slightly more recent book. I want to say a graphic-novel but it wouldn't make sense to you. So let me make it easier for you.
A comic book. It's from a comic book.
And you know what's funny ? I believe, with all my heart, that the simple lesson from this comic book is more likely to get me closer to God than any interpretation of religion you will ever conceive of in your demented minds.
A 14 year old girl stood up to you for three years and did not give up on what she knew was her right - the freedom of education and the freedom to love all mankind. She lived alongside monsters but did not flinch. She and her classmates showed the world what generations of your fanatic kind could not - the value of integrity. 

You shot a small girl for going to school. It made you think you won because you silenced her. That's funny. Because the same comic has another quote that I think you will find suits you more as the days pass by and your own allies turn against you. 
Like you, it involves a person with a gun shooting someone point-blank and yet not being able to kill them.






Creedy :  Die! Die! Why won't you die! Why won't you die?








You shot a small child. You may or may not have killed her. But you will never be able to kill the idea she instilled - of courage,  of justice... of how to defeat you. 
In the days to come, you will find that it is not your misguided religious interpretations but my dusty old comic book which will prevail.
In the days to come, while you are being hunted down one by one, you will find that it isn't God but doubt and fear that will be your only companion.
In the days to come, you will find that by pressing the trigger on one small girl, you revealed to everyone that which you were so desperate to hide and which a small girl knew all along - how irrelevant your ideals truly are. 

And oh yes, in the days to come, you will be forced to face one more bitter truth.
That. Ideas. Are. Bulletproof.


Addendum :
( 10 November 2012 ) : I was proven right. None other than the United Nations has declared November 10 as 'Malala Day' worldwide to honour this girl's courage to stand up for the basic right to education.

62 Comments

sharmila said…
Their biggest fear is a woman who has no fear ! Very well written Roshan.
I want to clap for each and every line here. Honestly. There are no more people, there are monsters instead.
poonam said…
Roshan, you are mighty good at covering these sensitive topics. While I was reading about malala yesterday , isnt this the case everywhere? And why someone who braved some men, a girl in a short skirt is supposedly a slut, and a girl who attends a late night show with her friends is characterless :) Human civilization has come a long way eh?
Binu Thomas said…
It's a strange world we live in. On one side, there's equality but other issues to be sorted (cities) but on the other, there's the age-old inequality that's still not vanished for new issues to crop up.. The case of Malala is really sad. Hope there's justice round the corner..
umashankar said…
My heart goes out to Malala
And I want the eyes of the shooter
gouged out,
But what can we do to our own Chautala
who rends the land with similar shouts?
Live, dear girls, live! And we will
write hymns to your courage
and pair them with dirges on your corpse.
Lazy Pineapple said…
What kind of a person shoots a 14 year old? I really fail to understand the ideology behind such an act.

Your post says everything I had in my mind when I read the news. Hope Malala gets the justice she deserves.

Humanity has always used religion as a means to commit violent acts. I wonder when will people learn to think ?
Nirvana said…
*Clap Clap*
Nirvana said…
I have been nodding vigorously and punching the table with every sentence I've read in this post.
When do we cease to be shocked? Every element of cowardice, stupidity and inhuman behavior has been displayed proudly by the very people supposed to be safeguarding the country!!
does it also not show the fear in the heart of the man? the fear of being taken over by women...when she is educated, when she has her own thoughts...and when she is capable of standing upto the psycos...? was it a warning to women? don't try to stand up otherwise you know what we can do? to all such psycos, they better know that- A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform, and she will..
amit said…
They are scared, aren't they? Pissing in their pants. There reign is about to end. People have moved ahead. They have started questioning them, raising fingers to stop them. What do you expect them to do as a last bid to save their gutter ideologies? This is their last act of desperation. And this will supposedly give them a berth in heaven. Do pigs go to heaven? I doubt that.
Dil se said…
i have been a silent reader of your blog for a long time and always loved the subtle humour, your fiction writings. And this one post somewhere knocked it real hard. Very well written. And I was so nodding my head all along.
Will keep coming back.
Roshan R said…
Their fear is progress in women... that little itsy bitsy bit is too much for their puny mindsets
Roshan R said…
I am honestly tired now... everyday in India itself there has been worse and worse instances of rape. So many articles online are trying to actually justify the Taliban's actions and equate it to CIA, Iraq, Afghanistan. What does any of that have to do with her going to school... that is my simple question
Roshan R said…
No matter how far human civilisation, there will always be human males whose characters are of the ost vile primitive nature... and they will always have a justification for their nature.
Raping is not the crime , wearing a short skirt is the crime , eating chow mein is the crime, not marrying children by 15 years is the crime - this is the India that wanted to be a super power.
Roshan R said…
When will we ever change... they talk of growing up and respect for women.. just words.
Justice would be finishing these guys off while the rod is still hot.. not just allowing it to die down like this : even after the attack, there have been more press statements from the tALIBAN than the govt.
Roshan R said…
oh I would so support u der... unlike these guys who claim doing all this gets them a seat in heaven, I would gladly give up my seat in heaven just to see retribution against such kinds of filth who forgot to grow up.
Roshan R said…
The basic response is always the same - The Holy Book says so. I mean this across all religions. Its the easiest way to justify anything...
Roshan R said…
I'm going to be honest with you.. I couldn't reply to any of these comments yesterday .. I was literally physically tired reading the articles on our politicians including Mamata talking of how rape is due to chowmein and men and women interacting freely... just felt too disheartened to reply to anyone.. it was just "whats the point.. this is the country WE live in.. how will things ever turn better"
Roshan R said…
they will never get it... it isnt against their reasoning capability.. they will conveniently ignore anything written on treating a woman with honour
Roshan R said…
pigs may indeed go to heaven.. these guys no chance.. and if they are going to heaven, Im happier being in hell. But you're right.. now the questions are flying thick and fast..by their act of shooting her, they have made her a worldwide icon and left people who once supported them openly now scared to do the same... they've sshot themselves in the foot in the end
Roshan R said…
I'm glad you chose this post to comment.. while the fun posts are always a joy, its more important to see people rally for a serious cause.
Ritika said…
They might had to take her out of the country but I know she'll come back. Because now she is a new hope and idol for a a lot of girls.
I am just glad to know she will always be remembered, she is a part of the great history.

I still have no idea how she survived, may be god really has great plans :)
I had read this post before and could not find words to respond. I was shocked enough when I read about this incident - moved by your words too - what kind of future awaits us?

Today I wrote, maybe some effect will happen somewhere.
Susan Deborah said…
This was so poignant. The girl's innocent face underlies a tough spirit. The incident sent shocking waves. When will all this nonsense in the name of religion end?

Joy always,
Susan
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drprashant said…
A Thousands Likes for this ... well written Rosh... feels to read it again and again...
Kshipra said…
What a lovely write!
It is just sad that people are committing such heinous acts in the name of religion, even though the mankind has progressed so far that it is sending its women into space.
Roshan R said…
Thats what the morons didnt realise - by shooting her, they made her an international icon... and by her surviving, well..
Roshan R said…
She's recovering... from a point blank gunshot.. I'd say somewhere the prayers are working.
Roshan R said…
The sad part is, I dont see any end to the killing in the name of 'saving mankind', as per religious dictums.
Roshan R said…
Thanks sir... means a lot.
Roshan R said…
Thanks Kshipra.
For every two steps forward, someone finds the time to push us back by three... recently, I feel we're regressing more than progressing
Rachna said…
When they refuse to adhere to your senseless diktats, use brute power and somehow feel superior. What sickening times do we live in?
Roshan R said…
In a way, its the same mindset as rape... as you said, using brute force to feel superior. So coolly showing off that we shot a pre-adolescent girl... makes them great people apparently.
Punam said…
The girl is shot and the world watches on.. do we see any change? Another girl will turn up, who rebels against these sick conformists - she will be shot at too. Where lies the solution to this menace that rears its elephant-head at little innocent wishes and dreams to nip them in the bud?
Roshan said…
The best response I have heard to this heinous incident is asking the Taliban "you shot the girl, yet she did not die? Are you sure that your god is on your side?"
Roshan R said…
I honestly dont know.. really tired of these archaic radicals who just refuse to grow up... who are threatened by little girls in school books and celebrate shooting her.
Roshan R said…
Thats a really valid point, isn't it ? Never looked at it from that point of view.
Seena said…
I too was thinking on the same line. Malala survived even after the shooting and the shooting only helped her to gain support from all over the world and inspire the rise of many more Malalas ,instead of supressing them. So which side has God taken ?
Anyways I never believed that even they actually believe what they are doing is for God, Just taking God's name as a cover up to their activities. No true beleiver in 'Allah' can think of killing another human.
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Roshan R said…
it is a good way of thinking no doubt... which side did God take that day.
And yes, inspite of how much they scream and cry, they dont represent or even understand their religion - they're a disgrace to the religion
Rachna said…
Makes one feel so sorry for the poor souls. They are fighting for a right to live like a human being :(.
Rachna said…
When I open the feedreader, I get anxiety spells seeing the number of unread posts, so these days it is get posts via email :) or notification through social media just like I get yours ;-)!
Roshan R said…
exactly.. just imagine a world where you are told you have no right to read a book just because you were born a girl. And they are called evil and sinners because they ask 'why' ?
Roshan R said…
you have a point.. if i miss the feedreader for a few days and then open up, invariably theres 40-50 posts waiting for me :D
USMLE STEP 2 said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Powerful writing , Roshan! I'm not sure what God says to the Taliban and the Khap Panchayats, but certainly their God is Hate.
Shilpa Garg said…
Salute the brave lil girl and pray that she recovers soon. But what do we do for these insensitive brutes! Terrible and pathetic world we live in. :|
Roshan R said…
Thanks Corinne. These kind of people believe they are God... they just need other Gods names to justify their actions. There is nothing religious or cultural about them...
Roshan R said…
its gotten steadily more and more rotten to read the papers.. even the brutes who commit crimes are not even ashamed anymore...
Aditya Iyer said…
Well written sir, couldn't have put it better.
Roshan R said…
Thanks Aditya
DocPriya said…
Its such an courageous act by the girl.. A gr8 big salute to the brave girl! Shows how much needs to be done still.. The astrocities faced by women are still on rise.. How one has to fight for basic simple needs like education, food etc. Wish that she gets well soon.. Nicely written post.. :-)
Roshan R said…
dont ever doubt it... attacks on women have started increasing to intolerable levels.. not just in Pakistan but in our own democratic nation as well... when and how this will change for the better, I do not really know.
Anonymous said…
Truly, the attack on Malala must be unitedly condemned by a human. It simply cannot be justified. And i believe that there would be no religion on the face of this world which gives even the smallest interpretation to support such an act.
If done in the name of religion/islam, the attackers need to understand the Quran in its truest sense. And thats when they would realise that the Quran mention in 5:32, that killing of an innocent is like killing the whole of humanity.
Its high time that such organisations which attract gullible youngsters to brainwash them into carrying out such acts of oppression, must be rooted out.

But at the same time, lets not forget about the innocent children in hundreds who have been bombed in the drone strikes carried out by USA in north pakistan bordering afghanisthan.

I fail to realise why the world media do not take time to mention about it. Isn't the life of those 168 children who have lost their lives due US drone strikes not similar to that of Malala?

No might , no reason, no justification can be used to kill an innocent.
Roshan R said…
Totally agree.. people use any excuse to justify their actions. If one uses religion, the other just tries to escape by saying 'collateral damage', 'accidental' etc.. There is no justification for it.
Unknown said…
First it was religion and states that people fought over! Now it is a fight between genders!! You can't even call it a fight!!! It is merely one trying to dominate and gain power over the other by torture and force through heinous crimes!! I was never a great optimist but after a tiring and depressing set of news on abuse, rape and killings of women and children of all age, I used to garner some hope dat the future wil be good. People will improve and God will give some brain to these demented people and the law makers and politicians to keep a check on these incidents!! But everyday is so depressing and you really think that whatever life you've got as a female, just try to live it safely and do right by your so called God so that wen such incidents catch up with you, you can go silently without any regrets!!! I sometimes, no more feel proud to be born a female and dat too in India!! God just bless us all to bear what's there in store for us in this struggle for superiority!!
Alka Gurha said…
Proud of the girl's courage.And as you rightly say, curbing speech cannot curb ideas.
meoww said…
even when i have finished reading this, i still have goosebumps and my eyes are filled. we whine over such petty problems in our life, when this can teach us so many lessons. This is girl is the embodiment of all that we can do and we should do to fight the oppressors. May she live a long long life. Happy birthday to her.
And you Doc.. brilliant piece :)
God bless and Cheers
I totally understand... dont know what to say about the way the country is going. People have only become emboldened to commit more heinous crimes over the last year. There is a confidence in buying their freedom with cash or favours..
Amen to that. Her speech at the UN was simply brilliant. Inspiring.
Exactly.. we feel our problems are so huge till we see what this girl ( and she is still just a girl) is going through. Even today, she still has to fear those idiots but she carries on, being a message to the world..