Award-winning writer resents criticism over her choice to wear hijab

Anila Talib saddened by attitudes towards hijab in her country

Every year, March 8 is observed as International Women’s Day to celebrate the cultural, political, and socio-economic achievements of women. Moreover, March also marks the beginning of Women’s History Month across the globe.

While celebrating the achievements of women, we found a 20-year-old girl who won a global peace award among 61 countries. Anila Talib is an ideal for young girls. She started writing at an early age and overcame all the difficulties that came her way during her career and then came the day when Anila jointly won the Special Peace Award 2021, which had contenders from 61 countries. She is the youngest Pakistani writer to win this award.

Anila once won a writing competition in her childhood after she fell down a flight of stairs and suffered a severe spinal cord injury, following which she slipped into a coma but luckily woke up. Following this, she competed in a special position. When she was writing her first book, a mouse snipped through 90 pages but instead of being upset, she started writing her book again in the moonlight that night.

She did not receive many awards because she wears a veil. Many people talked to her about the veil, criticising her by saying that she couldn’t do a great job with it, but Anila didn’t give up and wrote five books.

At just 17 years old, she started a project for rural women around the world called Light for All to help them become financially stable. She has received awards from many countries, including Dubai and Saudi Arabia. She also founded the Anila Talib Foundation, through which she conducts free courses for girls to become skilled. She was awarded the International Best Education Leader Award 2021 and other accolades, making her an extraordinary example for Pakistani girls.

While talking to Minute Mirror she said that she faced lot of challenges and couldn’t get many awards just because she wears a hijab. I feel pain when I face problems in my own country due to Hijab, she added.

In an answer to a question about Aurat March, she said that she doesn’t support slogans raised and the way it has been portrayed in the recent past but supported of freedom for women in case of their education as well as selection of their partners.

She further said that Allah has made women very strong adding that she faced a lot of problems in her journey but didn’t give up and a day came when she represented Pakistan in many countries and won the award .

People laughed at my dreams and didn’t trust my vision but instead of arguing with them I decided to work on my goals and I succeeded, so women need to understand that they are queens of their own lives, said Anila. They must have a firm belief in themselves so that they can compete with challenges, she added.

Anila’s mother said that she was very fearful about her daughter’s upbringing when she was born because of the society’s trends but she trusted her and today she made her proud.

Her brother is also very proud of her because she made her space with dignity and continued to make us proud with a series of successes, Anila’s mother added.

When asked about people responding to her daughter’s veil, she got emotional and said that she was satisfied her daughter did not compromise on her norms and values but stood with confidence in her style and for this, Allah helped her.

Duaa Mirza is a correspondent covering crime, social issues and law enforcement. She is the youngest crime reporter and the only woman who visits crime scenes on her motorbike. She tweets @DuaaMirza12.