THOUGHT POURRI

Smell of Change…

Nobel Peace Prize 2014: A Pleasant Fragrance of Peace Amidst the Grim Smell of Gunpowder!

While it’s a season of fire across the border between India and Pakistan, the Norwegian Nobel Committee comes up with its own idea of snuffing out the belligerence of the blow-hot-blow-cold neighbors by conferring the Nobel Peace Prize jointly on its two precious individuals – Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi from India. The choice looks ironic, wry and paradoxical because of the incongruity of the time in which it happens – two individuals get Nobel Peace Prize at a time when their countries are at daggers drawn in a fit of tactical frenzy! However, it’s bemusing. This is a brilliant coincidence, a divine decree that carries the potential of changing the narrative – among the intellectuals, media and civil societies across the border – from war to peace, from belligerence to harmony and from irrationality to logic. Maybe, it might create a climate where India celebrates Diwali with firecrackers and cherry bombs instead of raining bullets and mortars across the borders in retaliation of the misadventures of a moonstruck neighbor.

Malala Yousafzai is a child of destiny whose deeds and feats are nothing less than a fairy tale story in this 21st century world. Her story begins as the story of just another child in an orthodox Islamist world leading her eventless life in the by-lanes of a forlorn town of Mingora in Swat Valley till the BBC newshounds parachute into this Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa highlands looking for a teenager who could blog her experiences as a girl child suffering under the evil rule of Taliban, who had just occupied the valley. By divine circumstances, she fitted the bill and soon this “Gulmakai”, through her Urdu blogs on BBC, turned into a window for the outside world to look into the excesses of the Talibani regime especially those imposed on young girl students forbidding them from continuing school studies.

Her rise to fame came with a huge price as she found bullets pumped into her heads from close quarters. However, destiny had reserved a glorious story for her as she survived and told her brilliant story to the world. Soon, she became the global ambassador for the educational rights of a girl-child all across the world and the social and traditional media powered her to 13th position in Forbes’ list of 100 powerful persons of the world. At 17, she’s probably the biggest teen idol of the world and her ‘wow’ factor today makes even Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus run for cover. So, the Nobel Peace Prize was just waiting to happen. It’s a well-deserved honour, Malala.

So is it with Mr. Kailash Satyarthi whose rise to fame is not centered round a freakish incident happening one day that changes everything around him rather it’s a story of grit, determination, positivity and hope that was building up slowly and patiently over time. The story began with pushing around the rules of society to provide one of the biggest assets of the nation – the children – their due place in society. He worked relentlessly against child labour and his ‘Bachpan Bachao Aandolan’ was nothing less than a personal crusade that matched all the conviction and determination of a Knight Templar fighting for his Holy Land. He has been a silent man sans glamour and razzmatazz who pursued his mission with utmost zealousness over decades that saw thousands of children getting freed from unscrupulous employers through actions like sudden raids. Heading many such organizations and serving on the boards of dozens of national and international bodies, including UNO, he had become a legend in his circle of people.  Apart from his galvanizing works on the ground, he’ll also be remembered as a social science theorist who successfully theorized the principal that child labour perpetuates poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and many other social ills hence it must be eradicated. In the world struggling through misery, rapacity and greed, such men and women make society civilized, humanized and safe for us and for the generations yet to be born. Today, it’s time for an indebted world to return the favour. So, again it’s well-deserved Nobel, Kailash!

Bravo to the two legends!

Krishna Kumar@ThoughtPourri 2014

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