Malala inspires Indian girls

Malala inspires Indian girls
Artist Jasvir Mahi paints a giant portrait of Malala in Punjab, India. Photos: Sukhcharan Preet / BBC

A girls’ empowerment campaign in Punjab, India, features the Pakistani education icon Malala Yousafzai, whose giant portrait adorns a wall along with those of five inspiring Indian women, singer Lata Mangeshkar, writer Amrita Prem, athlete P.T. Usha, boxer Mary Kom, and astronaut Kalpana Chawla.


The wall with five inspiring Indian women and Malala. Photo: Sukhcharan Singh/BBC.

The women’s portraits are part of the Beti Bachaao, Beti Parhaao (save your daughter, educate your daughter) campaign organized by the Indian Punjab district of Barnala, initiated by Deputy Commissioner Ghansyham Thori under the Union ministry of Women and Child Development.

Such efforts to raise the status of girls have contributed to Barnala having the most improved sex ratio at birth from among Punjab’s 20 districts.

A tweet by Dil Say Pakistan, Pakistan’s first transmedia campaign that aims to unveil “Pakistan by heart” highlighted the inclusion of Malala in the campaign after the BBC Urdu reported on it.


A father in India tweeted back: “@Malala deserves this all, She is from pakistan is immaterial. See photo of my daughter Kruti during her fancy dress competition”.

Malala’s father Ziauddin Yousafzai replied with a thumbs up: “You are one of those great children who can change the world”.


Artist Jasvir Mahi at work painting Malala’s portrait. Photo: Sukhcharan Singh/BBC

Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani student attacked by the Taliban in Swat valley, was rushed to UK for treatment, and has stayed on there for her education, but her voice and face represent girls’ problems around the world. Her inclusion in the campaign in India symbolises the issue of gender inequality that is common to the region.

Artist Jasvir Mahi, the creator of the pictures, himself selected the pictures and then obtained permission from the district administration.

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