I fail to identify nobility and veracity in the idea of a Nobel Peace Prize. It saddens me. It disconcerts me to such an extent that the next time I am to hear about this award, it will only make me suspicious about an unforeseen western propaganda. I feel sorry, but I think for me, the Nobel Prize has lost its nobility.
Just a few days back, the Nobel Peace Award was announced. Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi from India were awarded each. I was happy at the first instance or rather happy for them. But then I realized how I never heard of Mr. Satyarthi before and I felt so awkward being an Indian not knowing the fellow Indian. On the contrary, I knew about Miss Yousafzai for about two and a half years now. Moreover if I may take the liberty of saying, everyone around the world knew about her.
The reason I am writing this piece today is to know how they-whoever, decide for this Nobel Peace Award for these two people from the entire world? Take a closer look at them, a Muslim girl from an Islamic Pakistan and a Hindu gentleman from a secular India (read Hindu India). What is the catch?
I remember how Malala made rounds on Facebook so much back then when Taliban shot her for speaking against them and for standing by the rights of education for girls in her country. Everyone was speaking about Malala in India and elsewhere. All of a sudden a-just-another-girl was brought to limelight and she inspired so many women in my country by her story. Adding to the fact, I don’t think people actually went beyond the given, to look for her story than that was printed. But why would anyone?
My question is does Malala deserve the Nobel Peace Prize? I might have just at this very instance offended a million people. Please don’t get offensive against this statement. I humbly put forth it again; does Malala deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?
Perhaps you would tell me that it takes a lot for someone at that age to fight against the Taliban and make your way out. I agree. I haven’t done anything like that, so I might not know how that feels. But I am thinking I was very happy and inspired to know the story of Malala until she found her fame. And please don’t confuse it with recognition.
The Nobel Prize Award is given to whom? It goes to those who have contributed something for the welfare of humankind. Who decides who is worthy of it? A bunch of people, a committee from one part of the world, which is precisely from the Norwegian Parliament, decides this. This 5 or 6 member group from Norway actually determines the Nobel Prize Award and I am skeptical about the process followed for the selection. This committee doesn’t represent the UN or anyone in the world.
Without a doubt, Malala intrinsically has done something on the prescribed lines of the prerequisites, however I believe that was all before she was only found. Miss Yousafzai was taken to Britain after she was shot in the Swat valley. If I may say, she was lucky the right people found her at the right time for this. Post that scene, much went on in the interim that nobody knows until we heard of the book ‘I am
Malala’. This, by far is the turning point of it all. Malala’s biography is all about Malala, ofcourse. But what does it talk about? Her freedom struggle? No. Her fight against the Taliban despite their attempts to shoot her? No. Her escape from place to place to find a little space to fight her battle and educate the girls? No. Well, then what is that Malala wants to share to the world? About the reality in that particular region of Pakistan? Yes. But what’s novelty in there? Every other girl that went to school with her could tell the same story. But no, not every girl could narrate this story. Because they were not found by the Taliban. Or if I may phrase it this way that people get unlucky and they are shot. Malala got shot and she got lucky.
Her book, I am Malala was written, published and released after her being shot and taken to England. Which means, it only got its limelight for the sole reason of her being shot. She was still the same girl before this, like all her friends. It’s a brilliant biography about her experience and I stand in respect for all she has taken bravely. But often what happens is when you get used to a certain type of culture, you don’t realize what you are doing is brave. This is exactly what I observed when Malala said that she was surprised to see how girls freely went to school in England.
But is she the only one to have taken the brunt of the Taliban? Is she the only one to get shot? Perhaps the only one to survive though. But what comes after that is what interests me. Malala Yousafzai and her family were taken to England for her treatment. The government of Pakistan bore all the expenses for the same. The Yousafzai family was also asked not to solicit for citizenship there. Despite all, Malala Yousafzai fled from Pakistan to find political asylum in Britain. Distance activism is it?
Malala doesn’t live in Pakistan anymore because of the fear of the Taliban. She attends conferences around, meets dignitaries and writers telling her misery to them. Her book was banned in parts of Pakistan and why? Perhaps much of the content the 16 year old wrote seemed fabricated, prejudiced and also influenced. The publishers banked upon a chicken that laid golden eggs as what else could be a better story that could sell on an international platform that of a 16 year old girl, a Muslim, from Pakistan, who escaped the Taliban. Find me Hollywood movies with reference to Pakistan and without a reference to terrorism. Asian tragedies sell well in the West. It is undeniable.
What has been Malala’s contribution to the people of her country at the ground level post her incident? I think we all knew about the Taliban and their despicable abhorrent ideology even before Malala. So I am not sure if she exemplifies the cause in its complete effect. Now ask this question to yourself. Does Malala stand for what it claims or mere for global sympathy? How is this activism when you speak for deprived rights of women, when you on the contrary get it all what you claim you are fighting for by living in another part of the world?
There was a furore in Pakistan in July 2013 when Malala addressed the UN General Assembly for the first time. The instances she mentioned about Pakistan were too generalized shaming the already stereotyped and embarrassed nation. How can there be no good anywhere and yet have so many good people coming out from the same place? Was Malala influenced by the western propaganda in her speech back then?
I remember I had this same feeling when AR Rahman got the Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire. I mean, we as Indians have heard way much better from Sir than that. But the rest of the Western world found it interesting perhaps. Even the movie for that matter, tell me if you think it deserved an applause?
Barack Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 immediately after he was elected the President of the United States in the year 2009 itself. Well, what was his contribution to the world in that little span of time that fetched him the honour? Get back in history again. Year 1993, Yasser Arafat pledges to stop age old war against Israel and recognizes the country and is honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize award. Succeeding that he continued to carry out Islamic Jihad and terrorist attacks killing thousands of Israeli citizens. How in your right mind do you justify the nobility here?
I was perplexed then but I am sure now. Is it about your intention of doing something that fetches you the Nobel Prize or should your résumé speak on your behalf? Either the Nobel Peace Prize Award is a legal inducement to initiate or cease something or it is simply a massive drama created before the world audience blinding them with fictitious substantiality.
The westerners for a good marketing strategy have, always targeted the developing countries of this world. It’s simple advertising that we watch on television. You don’t just show a kid on television for 30 seconds. You show a fat or a very thin kid with spectacles and a broken tooth that should be remembered as a metaphor. Are all kids like that when you see around? Malala was thirteen or fourteen when she lived in Pakistan and perhaps like any other girl of that age who wanted to do what she was kept away from. Today, she is still portrayed with the scarf on her head wearing the traditional salwar kameez, perhaps her choice but yet again, that is exactly how they want you to remember her. Don’t be surprised when you see a caricature of hers with just this physical observation I made becoming an iconic art of something like Gandhi’s spectacles or Teresa’s saree.
I questioning Malala’s credibility have nothing to do with her being a Pakistani. It has nothing to do with Pakistan as well, because I am very sure there are many unnamed people still living there who have been fighting these battles daily and striving hard to bring a change. I would have still written this article if Malala were an Indian. Because this to be honest, has the least to do with Malala. But this is for justice or this is about the nobility in the prize itself.
I don’t understand the purpose of this drama. The Taliban has been walking the earth since its 1994. 2014 and still it has a strong base. For 20 years there has been no change or any initiative taken by any of the so-called big countries of the world. What are we expecting from this Nobel Peace Award now? In 1996 Yasser Arafat said, “We know only one word, jihad. jihad, jihad, jihad. Whoever does not like it can drink from the Dead Sea or from the Sea of Gaza” Words from a Nobel Peace Prize Awardee. 42% of the children in Pakistan today are still deprived of education and what has any committee done about it? Child Labour in India still persists and I ask again, what has any ‘big’ organization done about it? Look at what is happening in Syria today. And if anyone really cares, why does the ISIS still exist?
Dear Malala, I am sorry but I had to write this. I know it is not possible for you to do much now being living in Britain today. I also know you still want to do something for your sisters back home. How about you propose my idea at the next convention you attend, if it was possible to bring in more Malalas from Pakistan to England to give them their right to education? If they say it’s not feasible, please graduate from a good university that you will be sponsored for, get the right credentials over time and do this yourself. My best wishes with you.
Irome Chanu Sharmila, (regardless of the fact she comes from India) has been fighting and fasting over human rights abuse for what 14 years now in Manipur. How many of you know about this Iron Lady of Manipur? Or probably of what significance is her fight in Manipur to the world around? What is the political stake at a global level for anyone here?
There are more people like them scattered around the world doing something for humanity. Find them in your neighborhood and recognize them for what they have done. And yes, to my Indian readers, apply the same logic for the elections this week.
When stories are half told, they are half understood, half evaluated, half recognized, more presumed, more assumed, more unjustified. With this indifference, these unturned pages, are rarely looked into. And that is what eventually reshapes the reality of the world we live. We begin to believe what is shown and not what has to be seen.
I honestly don’t know what to say, I never really gave so much thought to Malala but “assumed”.
I didn’t know they were only a bunch of people who selected them. I really want to know what are the prerequisite/criteria they follow to declare an award
I had been wanting to read this article since the very moment I got to know you wrote something about Malala. Your opinions and POVs have always been quite interesting and fun to read even on occasions when I don’t quite agree with you but here I’m just struck with what I read.
The moment I got to know that Malala won the Noble Prize, the selfish and rather patriotic Pakistani in me was quite ecstatic but after moments of pondering over this news I was rather stunned on the fact that how a girl who has done nothing other than merely getting shot was considered deserving for a Noble Prize. How many of us know the names of the other two girls who not only got shot with Malala but still continue to dwell in the same place?
I’m also quite stunned at the audacity of Malala who portrays Pakistan as a place were women are denied their basic rights but contrary to what she says girls in Pakistan are not oppressed and treated like cattle but in fact have the liberty and rights to live their life in the best possible manner. Have you not heard of Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, our Oscar-winning director? Have you not heard of Naseem Hameed, who became the fastest woman in South Asia when she won a gold medal in the 100-metre event of the 11th South Asian Federation Games? Or don’t you all know Benazir Bhutto, our first woman Prime-Minister? How many more names do I mention to make you believe that we are not oppressed.
I am equally perplexed on the criteria of this award.
The one sentence that really struck me is “When stories are half told, they are half understood, half evaluated, half recognized, more presumed, more assumed, more unjustified.” It couldn’t have been more well said.
it was great reading your article…..