TODAY -

India-Pakistan –Joint Winner of Nobel Peace Prize -2014
- A lesson for India and Pakistan
- Part 1 -

Dr. Khomdon Lisam *



The winning of Nobel Prize by Indians is always a great news. Kailash Satyarthi, Indian child rights activist has been awarded the Nobel Prize for peace along with Malala Yousafzai, Pakistan's child rights activist who herself is only 17 years old. I am wondering if Malala can achieve Nobel Prize at the age of 17 years , what she will do at the age of 70. Perhaps another Nobel Prize. The world's most famous and most coveted set of awards are the Nobel Prizes. The award is presented for outstanding achievement in literature, peace, economics, medicine and the sciences.

This year's Nobel winners were widely praised and regarded as being more in line with the traditional spirit of Alfred Bernhard Nobel. "This is an excellent choice," said Anna Ek, chairwoman for the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society. "This is a way to acknowledge people who are trying to change the world with peaceful means on the grass-roots level." Ms. Ek added: "there's a very nice symbolism in sharing the prize jointly between an Indian and a Pakistani. Hopefully, this can be a positive injection in that conflict and put pressure on the leaders to approach each another." This news will give a tremendous inspiration to the youths working for the protection of human rights and social causes with all sincerity, commitment and dedication.

The Nobel committee has come under fire in recent years for selecting winners such as the European Union in 2012 and U.S President Barack Obama in 2009 but the eight million kronor ($1.1 million/ Rupees 6.124 Crores.) cash award is still considered one of the most prestigious honours in the world.

The Past Indian Laureates

The past Indian Nobel Laureates are - Rabindranath Tagore ( Lierature/1913), C. V. Raman (Physics/1930), Har Gobind Khorana (Medicine/1968), Mother Teresa (Peace/1979), Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (Physics/1983), Amartya Sen (Economics/1998). On 25 March 2004, Tagore's Nobel Prize was stolen from the safety vault of the Visva-Bharati University, along with several other of his personal belongings. On 7 December 2004, the Swedish Academy decided to present two replicas of Tagore's Nobel Prize, one made of gold and the other made of bronze, to the Visva Bharati University.

The prize, worth about $1.1 million (Rupees 6.124 Crores.), will be presented to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai in Oslo on 10 December, 2014, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Bernhard Nobel, who founded the award in his 1895. The Nobel committee said: 'Satyarthi, 60, has maintained the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and headed various forms of peaceful protests, "focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain."

Why was Nobel Prize created ?

The Nobel Prize was created in 1895 by Alfred Bernhard Nobel (1833-1896), a man who amassed his fortune by producing explosives. In 1864, when Alfred was 29, a huge explosion in the family's Swedish factory killed five people, including Alfred's younger brother Emil. Dramatically affected by the event, Nobel set out to develop a safer explosive. Nobel invented dynamite in 1867, a substance easier and safer to handle than the more unstable nitroglycerin. Dynamite was patented in the USA and the UK and was used extensively in mining and the building of transport networks internationally. In 1875 Nobel invented gelignite, more stable and powerful than dynamite, and in 1887 patented ballistite, a forerunner of cordite. He used his enormous fortune from 355 patents to institute the Nobel Prizes.

The creation of the Nobel Prizes came about through a chance event. In 1888 Alfred's brother Ludvig died while visiting Cannes and a French newspaper erroneously published Alfred's obituary. It condemned him for his invention of dynamite and is said to have brought about his decision to leave a better legacy after his death. The headlines read "Le marchand de la mort est mort " (The merchant of death is dead) and went on to say, "Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday."

Alfred was deeply shocked with what he read and concerned with how he would be remembered after his death. He thought that he would be appreciated and fondly remembered by the people for his scientific invention of dynamite. What he read horrified him: The newspaper described him as a man who had made it possible to kill more people more quickly than anyone else who had ever lived. At that moment, Alfred Nobel realized two things: that this was how he was going to be remembered, and that this was not how he wanted to be remembered. Shortly thereafter, he established the awards.

On 27 November 1895, at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris, Alfred Bernhard Nobel signed his last will and testament and set aside the bulk of his estate to establish the Nobel Prizes to be awarded annually without distinction of nationality. After taxes and bequests to individuals, Nobel's will allocated 94% of his total assets, 31,225,000 Swedish kronor, to establish the five Nobel Prizes. This converted to GBP £1,687,837 at the time.[ 2012, the capital was worth around SEK 3.1 billion (USD 472 million, EUR 337 million), which is almost twice the amount of the initial capital, taking inflation into account.

The first three of these prizes are awarded for eminence in physical science, in chemistry and in medical science or physiology; the fourth is for literary work "in an ideal direction" and the fifth prize is to be given to the person or society that renders the greatest service to the cause of international fraternity, in the suppression or reduction of standing armies, or in the establishment or furtherance of peace congresses. Thus Alfred Nobel transformed himself from being the "Merchant of death" to "Champion of Peace".

Nobel Prize give us an inspiration to work passionately for a great cause. We should remember that God is constantly asking us –"Where are you? What have you done with your life? I have given you a certain amount of years; how are you using them?" We never think how we will be remembered by our families, relatives, friends and common people after our death. If, God forbid, you were to leave the world tomorrow, what would your obituary say? Would it read the way you want it to read? We can ask ourselves what we have done for the country, for the state and for the common people. Once Mother Teresa said " I do not believe that you love God if you can not love your own brothers and sisters. How can you love God which you never see unless you love your brothers and sisters whom you see everyday"

Kailash Satyarthi

Kailash Satyarthi won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. Satyarthi, who gave up a career as an electrical engineer in 1980 to campaign against child labour, has headed various forms of peaceful protests and demonstrations, focusing on the exploitation of children for financial gain. "It's an honor to all those children still suffering in slavery, bonded labor and trafficking," Satyarthi told TV news channel CNN-IBN after learning he won the prize. Satyarthi said that data from non-government organizations indicated that child laborers could number 60 million in India or 6 percent of the total population.

"Children are employed not just because of parental poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, failure of development and education programs, but quite essentially due to the fact that employers benefit immensely from child labor as children come across as the cheapest option, sometimes working even for free," he wrote. Children are employed illegally and companies use the financial gain to bribe officials, creating a vicious cycle, he argued.

Norwegian Nobel Committee said " Satyarthi, 60, and Yousafzai were picked for their struggle against the oppression of children and young people, and for the right of all children to education. Kailash Satyarthi has been at the forefront of a movement as a human rights activist in India to end child slavery and exploitative child labour since 1980. He founded the "Bachpan Bachao Andolan" . Kailash Satyarthi has headed various forms of peaceful protests and demonstrations, focusing on the exploitation of children for financial gain. In 1980, Kailash Satyarthi gave up his job as an electrical engineer to begin the crusade to end exploitation of children in India. As a grassroots activist, he rescued of over 78,500 children who were employed as child labours and developed a successful model for their education and rehabilitation.

He was instrumental in making the problem of child labour in India as a human rights issue. He has established that child labour is responsible for the perpetuation of poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, opulation explosion and many other social evils. Satyarthi has also played an important role in linking the fight against child labour with the efforts for achieving 'Education for All'. Kailash Satyarthi has survived numerous attacks on his life during his crusade to end child labour, the most recent being the attack on him and his colleagues while rescuing child slaves from garment sweatshops in Delhi on 17 March 2011.

In 2004, while rescuing children from a local circus mafia, Kailash Satyarthi and his colleagues were brutally attacked. Despite of these attacks and his office being ransacked a number of times his commitment for the cause has been unwavering. Satyarthi has been honoured by the Former US President Bill Clinton in Washington for featuring in Kerry Kennedy's Book 'Speak Truth to Power', where his life and work featured among the top 50 human rights defenders in the world. Satyarthi has been the subject of a number of documentaries, television series, talk shows, advocacy and awareness films.

He has also won many international awards, including:
(1) 2014: Nobel Peace Prize, shared with Malala Yousafzai
(2) 2009: Defenders of Democracy Award (US)
(3) 2008: Alfonso Comin International Award (Spain)
(4) 2007: Medal of the Italian Senate -2007
(5) 2007: recognized in the list of "Heroes Acting to End Modern Day Slavery" by the US State Department
(6) 2006: Freedom Award USA
(7)) 2002: Wallenberg Medal, awarded by the University of Michigan
(8) 1999: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Award ,Germany
(9) 1995: Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award –USA )
(10) 1985: The Trumpeter Award, USA (11) 1984: The Aachener International Peace Award (Germany)

Malala Yousafzai,

Pakistani teenager, Yousafzai, aged 17, becomes the youngest Nobel Prize winner so far. The previous youngest winner was Australian-born British scientist Lawrence Bragg, who was 25 when he shared the Physics Prize with his father in 1915. Malala Yousafzai was attacked in 2012 on a school bus in the Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan by masked gunmen as a punishment for a blog that she started writing for the BBC's Urdu service as an 11-year-old to campaign against the Taliban's efforts to deny women an education.

Education gives us the power to change the world. Inside the bus, the gunman demanded to know who Malala was. When another girl student pointed to her, the gunman opened fire, hitting Malala in the head and neck. The gunman also shot and wounded two other girls before escaping. The badly wounded girl was rushed to Peshawar, capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. After initial treatment at a hospital in Peshawar, Malala was airlifted to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Rawalpindi where Pakistan's top neurosurgeons treated her.

Once her condition stabilized, she was flown to Britain where she was receiving rehabilitative care at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. Doctors have given a good prognosis of her recovery and say she will be able to resume normal life after some reconstructive surgery to her skull. It is impossible not to sympathize with Malala, a young girl with large beautiful hazel eyes peering from her innocent face, and her naturally distraught parents. It is shocking that a young girl would be targeted for simply wanting to go to school to acquire education, which is her birthright as it is of millions of other young girls in Pakistan as indeed elsewhere in the world. What kind of beasts would want to harm a young girl doing no more than acquiring education?

There were rallies in her support not only in Pakistan but some very high-powered global players also weighed in on her case. In what must be a first, US President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown all condemned the attack on Malala as did most politicians in Pakistan. Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie suggested Malala should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize while Madonna put Malala's name on her bare back.

Last year Yousafzai addressed the U.N. Youth Assembly in an event Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called "Malala Day". This year she traveled to Nigeria to demand the release of 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the Islamist group Boko Haram. "To the girls of Nigeria and across Africa, and all over the world, I want to say: "don't let anyone tell you that you are weaker than or less than anything," she said in a speech. "You are not less than a boy," Yousafzai said.

"You are not less than a child from a richer or more powerful country. You are the future of your country. You are going to build it strong. It is you who can lead the charge." Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012 for advocating girls' right to education, and Indian children's right activist Kailash Satyarthi won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. Unable to return to Pakistan after her recovery, Yousafzai moved to Britain, setting up the Malala Fund and supporting local education advocacy groups with a focus on Pakistan, Nigeria, Jordan, Syria and Kenya.

To be continued...


* Dr. Khomdon Lisam write this articlee for to e-pao.net
The writer is a resident of Palace Compund , Imphal , can be contacted at khomdon(dot)lisam(at)yahoo(dot)com
This article was posted on December 14, 2014.


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