I have never been to Swat or even Pakistan yet today my heart reaches out to Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old brave Pakistani girl and fellow blogger, who took on the might of the Taliban at a time when Pakistan's government and military bowed to their pressures.
Malala, shot in the head by the Taliban, is still critical and may be flown out to the United Kingdom for treatment.
At the peak of the Taliban offensive she wrote a blog for the BBC Urdu service under a pen name Gul Makai and in a blog she writes how her father liked her new name and asked her if she could change her name and she quite liked the idea since her own name meant `Grief Stricken'...
She also writes about a Maulana who decided one fine day that girls schools should be shut down and girls should never study and how when they did not hear the Maulana on FM they wondered if he was dead or just on leave.
Its amazing how this girl writes on life under the Taliban...and when you read her you can see she was not afraid.
Freedom from Fear.
But Malala wanted just that for all the people of Swat and Pakistan. She writes, "There has been a blast in Lahore. But why do so many blasts take place in Pakistan?"
Simple questions but not many ask them and definitely not governments.
You can read her blog at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7834402.stm
When Pakistan's government declared a ceasefire with the Taliban in Swat I had written a blog on the dangers of such an agreement and that in fact was a `surrender' of Swat by the government.
Of course, writers and journalists can only warn.
You can read that post dated February 15 2009 here http://indiavikalp.blogspot.in/2009_02_01_archive.html
But this day I join Pakistan to pray for Malala Yousafzai.