So what if Malala married a Pakistani guy? Yes, Malala Yousafzai’s wedding took us all by surprise, but to say that it shocked you because she married a fellow Pakistani man is a bit too much especially when it comes from someone like Taslima Nasreen. Who Yousafzai should or should not marry is her personal choice, why should that lead to social media outrage? Even if she ate her own words on the idea of marriage does it give you the freedom to make unnecessary conjectures on her choice of partner?
The youngest Nobel Laurette, who is now 24, married Asser Malik a general manager at the Pakistan Cricket Board in an intimate Nikah ceremony. The human rights activist took to social media to share a glimpse of the ceremony and her husband yesterday. While most congratulated her, author Nasreen wrote, “Quite shocked to learn Malala married a Pakistani guy. She is only 24. I thought she went to Oxford University for study, she would fall in love with a handsome progressive English man at Oxford and then think of marrying not before the age of 30. But..”
Quite shocked to learn Malala married a Pakistani guy. She is only 24. I thought she went to Oxford university for study, she would fall in love with a handsome progressive English man at Oxford and then think of marrying not before the age of 30. But..
— taslima nasreen (@taslimanasreen) November 9, 2021
The internet was quick to coach her that it is a vague generalisation that all Pakistani men are regressive and they are two consenting adults who married out of free will. But the author went on a tirade about PM Imran Khan or how Taliban men are happy that Malala married a Muslim man! Or pulling out sections from her British Vogue interview in July where the young Oxford University graduate had said she was not sure of marriage. For those who don’t know, Malala had said in the interview, “I still don’t understand why people have to get married. If you want to have a person in your life, why do you have to sign marriage papers, why can’t it just be a partnership?”
Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize when she was 17 for her work on girls’ education. She shared the award with Kailash Satyarthi, a children’s rights activist from India. She was shot in the head by the Pakistani Taliban when she was just 15 and spent months in treatment subsequently she went on to write her best-selling memoir I am Malala.
Why should Malala or any woman have to explain whom and when they choose to marry? Marriage is a social contract but beyond that, it is a personal commitment by two consenting adults. Nobody should interfere in the lives of two consenting adults who have decided to spend their lives together by free will. Getting married is a milestone in one’s life. It is not easy to make someone an integral part of your life, especially so for someone like Yousafzai who has led such a public life.
Marriage is one of the most challenging phases when you learn to live with another person and share your most intimate moments. It takes time to find common ground to live together. So, instead of criticizing them and expressing shock, let us give them some space to work it out first.
Views expressed are the author’s own.