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Rachel Holmes points out, this racially biased view is also held by “the

right-wing military of the world’s superpower,” namely the United

States, which “is going around the world saying we are bringing

feminism to liberate you” (2013). As local feminists and political

activists, Zarina and her sister-in-law, Diwa, are both dubbed “Malala

of Maiwand” in the novel on different occasions (Shamsie, 2014c: 269,

353). Before the massacre breaks out in the Street of Storytellers,

Zarina “took a dagger in her hand and walked out bare-faced, the dye

of the Khudai Khidmatgar staining her skin” (355). Diwa is fearless,

too, when she “stepped out from the lines of the Peshawari men,

walked through the ranks of sepoys who stepped aside as if she were a

djinn whose touch might burn them, and stopped in front of an

armoured car” (257). Even though Diwa dies of a gun shot in the end,

she is mourned by Peshawaris as “[t]he angel on the Street of

Storytellers” (Shamsie, 2014c: 322). Being dubbed “Malala of

Maiwand,” both Zarina and Diwa remind the reader of the Pakistani

feminist, Malala Yousafzai, who, being a Pashtun, is also named after

Malala of Maiwand, a national folk hero of Afghanistan who rallied

local fighters against the British troops at the 1880 Battle of Maiwand.

Even though she was shot in the head by the Taliban, Malala Yousafzai

has never stopped speaking out against the Taliban and insists on

women’s rights to education, for which she was awarded the Nobel

Peace Prize in 2014. By creating two Pashtun activist female characters,

who recall Malala of Maiwand and remind the reader of Malala

Yousafzai, and juxtaposing them with the non-violent male characters,

Shamsie’s novel shows that “[i]t is, and has always been, possible to be

a Muslim Pashtun and to embrace nonviolence and a prominent role

for women in public affairs” (Dalrymple, 2013). In short, concerning

critical cosmopolitanism, the novel underscores not only the

complexity of Muslim culture but also the long history of Muslims’

local resistance against the globally widespread violence of extremism

and patriarchy while fighting against Western imperialism.