One of the bravest girls in Pakistan, who as a 11-year-old wrote about the Taliban banning girls from going to school in the picturesque Swat Valley and missing watching her favourite Indian serial Raja Ki Ayegi Baraat on Star Plus, has been nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize.
Malala Yousufzai, now 13, was a victim of the ban imposed on girls' education by the Taliban in the troubled Swat Valley over two years ago. Malala wrote about her pain and anguish in a diary for BBC Urdu online.
In one of her very first diary pieces written on January 14, 2009 -- just a day ahead of the Taliban ban -- Malala wrote, "I may not go to school again...The principal announced the (winter) vacations but did not mention the date the school was to reopen. This was the first time this has happened."
Some of her pieces gave me goosebumps. "The night was filled with the noise of artillery fire and I woke up three times. But since there was no school I got up later at 10 am. Afterwards, my friend came over and we discussed our homework."
She mentioned Maulana Shah Dauran, the Taliban leader behind the ban on girls' education, once. "We discussed the rumours about the death of Maulana Shah Dauran, who used to give speeches on FM radio. He was the one who announced the ban on girls attending school."
Her diary entries included discussions with classmates about the Taliban, who then controlled large parts of the Swat valley and gunned down dozens of people who opposed them. In one entry she describes a "terrible dream" about military helicopters and the Taliban.
"Only 11 students attended the class out of 27....On my way from school to home I heard a man saying 'I will kill you'. I hastened my pace and after a while I looked back if the man was still coming behind me...But to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone," she wrote.
She also wrote about Maulana Fazlullah, the leader of the Taliban in Swat, who “cried” for a long time on his FM radio channel. “He was demanding an end to the military operation. He asked people not to migrate but instead return to their homes.”
In another entry, Malala rued that she did not like wearing the burqa. “There was a time when I used to like wearing the burqa but not anymore. I am fed up with this because it is a hindrance in walking.”