Intro: The Nobel Peace Prize is ultimately a marketing tool to shine light on some serious issues in the world. Being a political award that focuses on the cause than an individual, the award deciding committee makes sure they strike balance by awarding competing countries and ethnic countries at the same time.
Intro: Jaya Jaitley, in an NDTV interview after the Nobel was announced, gave a less-than-glowing review of Satyarthi. Apparently she was quite familiar with his work from the 1980s before he got the Nobel, but she “found the selection of awards rather strange.”
If you thought, Nobel Peace Prizes are given by accident, you need to rethink. Considering the fact that individuals/ organisations work for social causes day and night, and yet do not get noticed or ranked for this award, it will be easier to understand the politics of the prize, if we understand the fact that there is no ranking of scale when it comes to these awards, and that these prizes are engineered, timed and are given to put adequate political pressure on something.
If you look at the history of Nobel Peace prizes, you notice, the award is given often to help certain causes get attention. Let us walk you through a few awards to ascertain what we said- In 1964, Martin Luther King Junior got the award. The award gave him and his cause the much needed attention and eventually resulted in putting pressure for the range of new acts starting from Civil Rights Act of 1964.
At a time when protests for fundamental rights were growing louder in China, 2010 Noble Peace prize was given to Chinese literary critic Liu Xiaobo. When the award was given to Aung San Suu Kyi in 1991, it immediately brought focus on Burma and the democratic movement. To bring the attention of the leaders of the world to the impact of climate change, in 2007, it was given to Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change and Al Gore.
It is said each year the award is given based on a theme. And this year the theme was protecting children- India’s Kailash Stayarthi, and Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai got it. At a time when the tensions in the subcontinent is worsening, it is said it was ensured this time an Indian and a Pakistani, one Hindu and the other Muslim, got the prize.
Sankrant Sanu, wrote (as written for website Niti Central)-The announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize for Kailash Satyarthi was somewhat of a shock. Firstly he was practically unknown within India with journalists and others all shaking their heads and asking “Satyarthi who?” Secondly, the announcement from the Norwegian Nobel Committee was both politically charged and condescending:
The 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. Many other individuals and institutions in the international community have also contributed. It has been calculated that there are 168 million child labourers around the world today. In 2000, the figure was 78 million higher. The world has come closer to the goal of eliminating child labour.
Jaya Jaitley, in an NDTV interview after the Nobel was announced, also gave a less-than-glowing review of Satyarthi. Apparently she was quite familiar with his work from the 1980s before he got the Nobel, but she “found the selection of awards rather strange.”
She also mentioned that “We hadn’t heard much about his work lately. He has gotten a lot of international awards and there are some cynical comments on how these awards are selected.”
The Prize announcement also draws on the old theme of Western “parity” between India and Pakistan, and then calls out the purportedly “Hindu” and “Muslim” affiliations of the awardees. Now, going back at least 10 years we did not find the religion of the awardees mentioned in the Nobel Peace Prize announcement. Barack Obama is not called out as a Christian, nor are the affiliations of Marti Ahtisaari, Al Gore, Mohammad Yunus, or any of the other awardees called out. Why the necessity to call out Satyarthi as a Hindu?
Coming to Malala, and of how she is an extremely popular child activist who though espouses a Nobel cause, Sandeep Singh writes, has still not addressed many issues affecting young Hindu girls in Pakistan- For instance, Rinkle Kumari, a 16 year old student of Mirpur Mathelo, a small village in the province of Sindh, was kidnapped to satisfy the lust of a Muslim scholar, in the evening of February 24, 2012 . The Muslim scholar had “political cover” provided by Mian Mittho, an elected National Assembly Member. Nand Lal, girl’s father and his family had to take refuge in a Gurdwara in Lahore after the complaint. On February 25, as soon as Rinkle saw her family in the court, she screamed before the judge and pleaded to let her go to her mother. The judge, however, had to inform her parents that if they insisted on taking Rinkle along, they would be responsible for the destruction that might follow–killing of 2,000 Hindus of district Ghotki.
The local judge ordered that the girl should be given to Muslims, because her conversion is “the result of a spontaneous decision” and also stated that the marriage was above board. This claim was repeated on February 27 at the hearing before the court, and the girl was “renamed” Faryal Shah. On March 26, Rinkle Kumari appeared before the Supreme Court in Islamabad. She said: in Pakistan, “there is no” justice, “kill me here but do not send me back” to the kidnappers. On April 18, 2012, the court handed Rinkle to her “husband” (kidnapper).
However, the story of Rinkle is not an isolated case: every month between 25 and 30 young girls, that is, about 300 girls a year are delivered into the hands of their torturers in Pakistan.
The Internet doesn’t say what happened to Rinkle after that fateful “judgment.” However, the Internet does have information about another 16-year old girl from Pakistan in great detail.
In the same year, another girl named Malala Yousafzai boarded her school bus in the district of Swat. A gunman fired three shots at her wounding her to near death. She was subsequently sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, for intensive treatment and recovery. On October 12, a group of
50 Islamic clerics in Pakistan issued
a fatwa against those who tried to
Thereafter, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown launched a UN petition, using the slogan “I am Malala”. The girl then appeared on the front cover of the April 29, 2013 issue of Time magazine, as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World“, and went on to become the winner of Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize, and Sakharov Prize, 2013. On October 16, 2013, the Government of Canada announced that the Parliament of Canada would confer Honorary Canadian citizenship upon her.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was the first to sign a petition requesting that Malala should receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
On July 12, 2013, Malala’s 16th birthday, she spoke at the UN to call for worldwide access to education. The UN dubbed the event “Malala Day”. Ban Ki-moon, who also spoke at the session, described her as “our hero”. At the event, Malala also presented the chamber with “The Education We Want”, a Youth Resolution of education demands written by Youth for Youth, in a process coordinated by the UN Global Education First Youth Advocacy Group, telling her audience:
“Malala day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights.”
In February 2014, Malala was nominated for the World Children’s prize in Sweden. In April 2014, it was announced that she would be granted an honorary degree by the University of King’s College in Halifax. Malala then spoke before the United Nations in July 2013, and met with Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace, and in September 2013, she officially opened the Library of Birmingham. In the same month, she spoke at Harvard University, and in October she met with US President Barack Obama. In July 2014, Malala spoke at the Girl Summit in London, advocating for the rights for girls. It is perfectly understandable if Malala just didn’t have the time to speak for fellow girl Rinkle Kumari at all these events. I am not sure if Rinkle’s religion could have been a reason for it. I am also not sure that none of the countries which gave away awards including the Nobel Committee to Malala are still aware of the plight of girls like Rinkle Kumari and the religion they belong too?