In a proud moment for India and all Indians, Nobel committee declared Mr. Kailash Satyarthi as co-recipient of Nobel Peace Prize for the year 2014. In our post independence past, several people of Indian origin have won the nobel prize. Most of them had left India and became citizen of other country. For example, Prof. Har Gobind Khorana, Prof. Subrahmanyan Chandra Sekher and Prof. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan were American and/or British citizens. Prof. Amartya Sen was an Indian citizen who worked mostly abroad. Mother Teresa worked in India but she was born in Albania. Mr Satyarthi is the only Indian who was born in India and have won the prize for working in India. A great day for India.
Mr.Kailash Satyarthi is a child rights activist. Satyarthi gave up his career as an electrical engineer. He created Bachpan Bachao Andolan, or Save the Childhood Movement to eliminate child trafficking and child labor in India. His work spanned over three decades and resulted in rescue of many children, according to estimate around 80000 children, engaged as bonded labor.
Mr. Satyarthi shared his prize with Ms. Malala Yousafzai. Malala is a seventeen year old girl. Fifteen year old Malala Yousafzai defied Taliban diktat banning girls from attending school. She was shot in the head by a Taliban. Seriously injured Malala was moved to the United Kingdom for treatment. She has been residing in U.K. and completing her studies. In all the interviews of Malala I have the privilege of hearing, she came out to be exceptionally mature and courageous individual for her age. Which seventeen year can say she has no hatered for the Talib who shot her. Even she had a gun in her hand, she would not shoot her assailant. Malala has numerous prizes, she has addressed many august gatherings and works actively for women’s right to education.
The Nobel committee in their announcement stated :
“Nobel committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism.” – Nobel Jury
I am disappointed at the attempt of Nobel committee to hyphenate Hindu and Muslim and India with Pakistan. It is important to note the following:
· India has many muslims. Many have occupied important position in society. No way does Kailash Sayarthi’s work discriminate between Hindu and Muslim children. It is unwarranted to preach about Hindu Muslim working together.
· Malala is courageous girl. She lives in UK. Pakistani nationalists and fundamentalists consider her to be a western prop that has been setup to denigrate Pakistan. So her Nobel will unlikely to foster a zeal between two nations to work towards eradicating extremism and promotion of education between India and Pakistan.
· India Pakistan problem is not a Hindu Muslim problem. Hindus and muslims work and live together in India. The root cause of problem between India and Pakistan is injured ego of Pakistani army generals. People of India and Pakistan cannot work together for a common cause unless Pakistani Army gives its blessing. Pakistani army does not want peace because peace will deprive them of their raison d’etre. Repeated road block to peace process between two nations is a testimony to that effet.
I think instead of confining works of two outstanding individuals to national boundaries and religious identities, committee should have argued about more universal appeal to the causes both Satyarthi and Malala espoused.
Tags: Bachpan Bachao Andolan, Child Right, Education, Hindu, India, Kailash Satyarthi, Malala Yousoufzai, Muslim, Nobel Peace Prize, Pakistan