October 8, 2014

Malala's father

"I always knew my father had trouble with words. Sometime they would get stuck and he would repeat the same syllable over and over like a record caught in a groove as we all waited for the next syllable to suddenly pop out.."

Priyanka, my niece, had gifted me the book "I am Malala" at Khandala. I was reading it on the return journey, and sat up when I hit these lines in the second chapter, My Father the Falcon. It seems her father had an uncle with the same issue on both his mother and father's side. It was a terrible thing because his own father, a cleric, had a booming voice, used to great advantge during sermons in the local mosque.

Malala's father, Ziauddin Yusufzai, had another setback as a child: he was dark- quite unusual for a Pashtun child in swat valley. He was taken to a local Faqir for faith healing for his stammering. It did not work. His own father could not understand his problem and would often say: Spit it out, son, spit it out..
Yes, he was teased by other children and his own cousins...

Malala fondly writes: I teased him (her father) that one of the reasons he called me Jani was because he found it easier to say than Malala..
Eventually he overcame it - yes- by doing what he feared: public speaking (ted talk).
So, how did this shape his personality? I think, because as a growing up child he had suffered discrimination and pain, he developed great empathy for others who were discriminated against. He supported his first child, Malala, against the conservative elements in his society and his own family so that she could have education and speak her mind fearlessly. When he was asked about his parenting, he said: "Dont ask me what I did; ask me what I did not do. I did not clip Malala's wings... That is what made her what she is today.."

So, we all may receive the "gift" of stammering and other "difficulties".. but everything depends on what do we do with this gift..
BTW, it is a great book and do read it, if you can. It is such an inspiring book, and deals with issues so close to home. Thank you, Priyanka for the book and your participation in NC!

4 comments:

Ravi Kant Sharma said...

One thing what I noticed is: if one wants to be courageous then he must encourage others.

sachin said...

100% right, Ravi. You get what you give...

Upasana Nayak said...

What a coincidence..!!today only I ordered this book in Amazon..I didn't even know some how its related to stammering stuffs.... waiting for it to get it delivered.. :):)

sachin said...

Upasana - of course the book goes way beyond her father's speech issues.. covers a vast area, which I know, will thrill many young women around the world.. After reading, do share your thoughts...