After receiving blessings and congratulations on her wedding from every nook and corner, Malala Yousafzai wrote about her decision to marry Asser Malik and how the young couple crossed paths in 2018 in an essay for Vogue.
Malala in the article wrote that she didn't "want to get married... or at least not until I'm 35" because whenever she was asked about relationships, she blurted out "reactionary, half-consciously".
"I wasn’t against marriage, but I was cautious about its practice," wrote Malala, adding the thoughts of marriage raised multiple questions in her mind, including "patriarchal roots of the institution, the compromises women are expected to make after the wedding and how laws regarding relationships are influenced by cultural norms and misogyny in many corners of the world".
The young Nobel Laureate had fears of losing her "humanity", "independence" and "womanhood" in case she married. Therefore, she came up with a solution to avoid getting into the relationship at all.
In her article, Malala talked about the concept of marriage in Pakistani society and how it was seen as a "substitute" for independent life or a solution to problems.
"Growing up in the north of Pakistan, girls were taught that marriage was a substitute for an independent life. If you don’t study, get a job and build a place for yourself, you must get married soon. You failed your exams? You can’t find work? Get married!" she wrote.
While talking about other girls she grew up with the young laureate said many of them got married "even before they had the opportunity to decide on a career for themselves." She also cited the example of a friend of hers who became a mother at aged 14.
She also talked about her interview with Sirin Kale in July in which she said she was not sure if she would every marry. “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?” Malala had said in her interview to Vogue.
In her latest article Malala wrote she told the same thoughts about marriage in her interview which she often had said before, "maybe it was possible that marriage was not for me."
Malala faced severe backlash on social media for getting married after her earlier views on marriage.
Social media user in tweets called her hypocrate.
Even the controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen weighed in saying she was "shocked" how Malala didn't marry an English man.
Exploring another way to "redefine the concept of marriage and the structure of relationships", Malala wrote "with education, awareness and empowerment" it was possible.
Then Malala wrote how her conversations with friends, mentors and her partner Malik helper her in re-evaluate her relationship with marriage so she could "remain true to my values of equality, fairness and integrity".
The Nobel laureate also talked about how she met her partner at Oxford in summer of 2018 and their friendship grew.
"Asser was visiting friends at Oxford and we crossed paths. He worked in cricket, so I immediately had a lot to discuss with him. He liked my sense of humour. We became best friends. We found we had common values and enjoyed each other’s company. We stood by each other in moments of happiness and disappointment. Through our individual ups and downs, we talked and listened to each other. And when words failed, I sent him a link to our horoscope compatibility, hoping the stars could help reinforce our connection."
She also talked about the qualities she found in Malik and wrote: "In Asser, I found a best friend and companion. I still don’t have all the answers for the challenges facing women – but I believe that I can enjoy friendship, love and equality in marriage."
Malala also discussed the preparations of her small Nikkah ceremony at her home with the families of bride and groom and closest friends in Birmingham.
"It was a small affair and group effort. My mother and her friend got my wedding clothes from Lahore, Pakistan. Asser’s mother and sister gave me the jewellery I wore. My father booked the food and decorations. My assistants organised photographers and a make-up artist. My three best girlfriends from school and Oxford took off work and travelled to be there. I put henna on my hands myself, after discovering I was the only one of my family and friends who had the talent! Asser spent several hours in the mall with me the day before the ceremony, buying his pink tie and pocket square and my sandals. My little brothers even wore suits."