Malala Yousafzai is an international hero, and a symbol of both the good and evil that resides in this state of Pakistan. In her story, lies the extraordinary spirit of the youth of this country, as well as the overwhelming paranoia, silence, and barbarism that has come to define our national ideologies. What creates children like Malala? What are the narratives that give birth to heroes like her? Who are the people that mould her, and teach her? We are quick, in Pakistan, to point to the theory of counter-narratives. You bomb a village and you create a villain or a suicide bomber or a religious fundamentalist. You keep enough children hungry, and you will drive them to steal for food. And this theory is credible. Going by it, it is also true that the violence and misery of a place creates its finest magnificence. Malala is not Malala on her own. She is a product, and a part, of her father who let her soar. Of her mother who swallowed her fear. Of parents like them who want more from and for their children. Of the free media. Of her teachers. Her schoolmates. Her ravaged, war-torn Swat. Though we do not realise it day to day and one news cycle after the next, but alongside the terrorists, rapists, thieves and liars our state produces, there are heroes working silently for peace, reform, education, social work, human rights, and the truth. Malala is one of them and she is all of them.

Enough criticism cannot be showered upon those in Pakistan spewing hatred and continuously maligning the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Prize. Her work and voice are infinitely valuable to the public consciousness in Pakistan at this time; to the children who will idolise her in classrooms and the adults who will teach their children to be leaders. It is a moment of humility and inspiration for the country; though many continue to disown her, it hardly changes the fact. Malala Yousafzai is Pakistani, and she defines the millions of young Pakistanis of her generation. Many feel a change is coming, at a political and social level. These trigger points must be channelised constructively. God knows this place needs more role models, and transcending ideologies. The Peace prize has in the recent past been tainted with a few notorious names on its list, not least of all, Barack Obama. But yesterday, it regained much of its glory. And it got it right.