Years from now, I don't want to have to search hard to find this speech. I want to be able to find it in my own blog and replay it.

It is tough finding a speech that inspires by being genuine. Decades ago, we used to look upon figures like Mandela and Mother Theresa as awe-inspiring, purely by their deeds. Today, we are dependent on media-PR services to tell us that the best options that Indians have are enigmas and polarising figures like Rahul Gandhi, Narendra Modi, Mamata Banerjee or Sharad Pawar. Honestly, do you expect to see any of these people make such a speech ever in the UN?

On one hand, you have our famed prime ministerial candidates who are incapable of speaking to the country directly and need their stooges to come on news channels to speak for them and defend their actions; on the other a 16 year old girl living in an area with horrible human rights conditions, who was shot in the head at point blank range and still got up to give a speech a year later in front of the leaders of over a hundred and twenty nations on her 16th birthday.

Think about it... what were you doing on your 16th birthday?

I have written about her a year ago... about the concept of 'Ideas being Bulletproof' first drawn in the pages of Alan Moore's 1982 graphic novel 'V for Vendetta'. I still stand by those words. But now, as an addendum, I find the words from the 2013 superhero movie just as suitable for this girl.

"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. 
They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall. 
But in time, they will join you in the sun. 
In time, you will help them accomplish wonders." 
 - Superman: Man of Steel.

This girl whose struggle against the Taliban for the right to read a textbook started at the age of 12 has proven that every superhero does not need to wear a shiny cape or fly over tall buildings to fight injustice in the world. It's a lesson we would do well to remember.
Someday, hopefully, we will be lucky enough to find one such person in our population of a billion who we all look up to for their deeds instead of their heritage or PR-image... someone who will indeed give us an ideal to strive towards.


12 Comments

vandana sharma said…
certainly we need leaders and superheroes like her...what a speech!..Made me speechless..:)
True words, Roshan. Hope this icon will inspire generations of oppressed citizens around the world over. And yes, a super hero doesnt need a cape or pwerful PR services to spread their message.
The world needs more people like her. Malala, take a bow from all of us cowards here .
yes me too I saved the vdo on a personal file.. Will be writing about it some time after the writing challenge is over ... so encouraged and inspired by this little gal..
I know, right. Just think of it.. at 16 years of age.
I really wish others get inspired by this. Because her story really is unbelievable when you think of it. And not in any fairytale way either.
True. Our struggles seems so insignificant, dont they?
She deserves it totally.
Kanthu said…
Like you said we keep looking for heroes wearing a cape and a mask. Fighting the injustice with their might and superpower. But in reality it could be a young girl carrying her textbook who stood her ground. Wonderful speech and post.
Anonymous said…
"weakness, fear & hopelessness died; strength, power & courage was born" (h) - she is just 16... Malala, I respect your ambitions and determination (h)
exactly. Just that image... one which you and I see daily in our cities - is considered an act of courage in another part of the world. How sad is that?
Her speech was magnificent from start to finish.. truly inspiring.