The cover page of ‘I Am Malala’, the autobiography of Malala Yousafzai. Image Source:













Note: My humble dedication to the beautiful, emancipated young soul, Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel peace prize winner in October 2014, and the battles she has fought and won as a crusader of women’s rights to education.

“One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world.”

–Malala Yousafzai


In the sunken rays of the setting sun, she trudges past

The wind that blows away her head-scarf.

She picks it up, resolute, rustling in brisk feet,

Walking her familiar paths, lonely, ethereal.

In her shoulders, her schoolbag dances in cozy warmth.

She has chortled on the streets with friends in a visible glee,

Her hands splattered in ink and crayon, washing away the dirt,

Licking away the succulent home-made mid-day meal in school.

In her loving home, her verdant dreams

Of knowledge, of love and acceptance have sprouted.

In the night, staring at the starry firmament, she has nurtured

Thoughts of Mingora, her hometown, a little dot resting under

The mammoth body of the galaxies.

In her daily walk, the dancing ripples of her footprints

Are watched by armed men masking their faces and heads

In unwavering brutality.

Amma feared, the Talibaan could nip her little ‘jaan’

In the bud, while kneading the dough for dinner.

Abba nodded in the silvery darkness of the room.

In the hidden flow of his tears, a silent and eternal promise,

“Nobody or nothing can deter you from the path of knowledge, Beta.”


A thud in the head, she floated, in splattered blotches

Of fresh, untainted blood, motionless,

In the nameless abyss of darkness.

They wanted the glittering atoms of her brain,

Her hands, gripping her schoolbooks

The lingering waft of her fragrance, diminish

In dust and dirt, her dainty feet adorning the school premises,

An obstinate guilt, a sacrilege to the holy Shariyat.

In the hospital, beneath her silken tresses, the bullet

Traversed unseen domains of her skull,

While Abba clasped her frail hands.

In the hospital room, miles and miles away from

Her volatile hometown, a pregnant cloud of hope hung

In the hollow, foggy Birmingham sky.

She floated, in oblivion, in her virgin dream

Of drip-drop learning, camaraderie and liberty,

Her brain, her skull, her facial tissues and nerves,

A restoration project in the opaque stillness of the surgery room.


Abba has held her hand tight, his head steadfast and high

As he escorts her to school again.

Under the looming, barren winter sky of the unknown city,

He looks at the glint of hope in his daughter’s eyes again,

A primordial thirst for learning. He sees her fluttering

In mirth and freedom, while the world calls out her name.

He knows, in the maze of unknown, cheering voices

And clapping hands, while she flashes her winsome smile,

The Swat valley has borne the most enduring of flowers.


7 thoughts on “Indomitable

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