Least Sandpiper is a small, shorebird, which in Hindi is called Titahari. It is said that it sleeps with its feet held up. Legendary Hindi Satirist, Shri Harishankar Parsai wrote that the intellectuals are today are like the little shorebird which sleeps on its back with feet held up in the air with a belief that it will hold the skies when they fall. The writer has long passed away and this is one of his great quote which holds true even for today’s intellectuals. The intellectual world of today has become a well-oiled club of networkers. There are those who sit on the high table that decides to pick up those who would offer the best price and aligns the best for their future politics.
Unlike the boisterous and visually aggressive nations, you will find the Swedish and Norwegians lurking in shadows, in protest against one dam here and one nuclear power plant there, in a developing nation. If the trade is the international policy of China, Consumerism is the international policy of the US, Spirituality of India, the terror of Pakistan, Oil of the Middle-East- for the Scandinavian nations, it is silence, evangelism and activism in shadows. If Parsai was alive today, he would smirk and say that Nobel Foundation which established these Swedish awards in the memory of the Swedish inventor of Dynamite is nothing but a factory to stamp and brand spent forces as global flock of Sandpipers in a hope that they will collectively hold the skies up with the power of propaganda.
As Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, who for the first time brought a large part of India under sanitation network, goes to the US for receiving an award from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a letter surfaces signed by three Nobel Laureates opposing the same. Some say, this was inevitable as the whole sham of Nobel awards began as a PR exercise to an unkind eulogy of the Swedish inventor, albeit mistaken one (on the death of his brother), which stated that ‘Dr Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.’
The peace prize nominations have often been particularly ranging from strange to downright crazy. Yasser Arafat got the Nobel peace prize in 1994 while heading PLO, Hitler was nominated in 1939 (nomination later was withdrawn), Stalin was nominated twice, in 1945 and 1948, though he did not win. Gandhi, whose name these illustrious laureates invoke was nominated five times but was never given a Nobel. Henry Kissinger won it in 1973 before he began bombing Cambodia. As the choice of the awardees become more and more political, one takes these laureates less and less like a voice of conscience, more and more as a noise of propaganda, available on rent to any cause which can bring them more public visibility through publicity or notoriety.
The three signatories of the letter, prominently mentioning their names as Nobel Peace Laureate 1976, 2011 and 2003 respectively, are Mairead Maguire, Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman and Shirin Ebadi. This identification itself looks pretty telling when one looks at it in perspective of the statement noted author Jean-Paul Sartre made when he declined the Nobel, stating, ‘A writer must refuse to allow himself to be transformed into an institution, even if it takes place in the most honourable form.’ These noted intellectuals here have allowed their complete identity merges with the award here. Sartre would surely have had a hearty laugh merely looking at the way signatories define themselves.
The letter of three Nobel Laureates reeks of unread, tutored rhetoric. They invoke the message on Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website to start the letter, which reads as “All lives have equal value”. They forget that equality is the basic thing which was missing in the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution which was applicable to the State of Jammu and Kashmir before the abrogation of Article 370. The Preamble of the erstwhile constitution of Kashmir copies the Preamble of Indian Constitution with two differences – It does not mention the word ‘Secular’ and it does not mention the phrase ‘Equality of Status and opportunity’. I am not even going to the Constitution of Islamic State of Pakistan which does not have a locus-standi here on a matter pertaining to the state which acceded to India in 1947. That the so-called votaries of equality are picking the fight on behalf of a state which is an Islamic theocracy makes their invocation of Equality to restore either a Muslim-majoritarian state or a fully Islamic state in Kashmir is sad and funny simultaneously.
Mairead Maguire has been on her part, pretty interesting character. She was deported from Israel in 2010 and from Egypt in 2013. The lady does not know facts and follows the propaganda, claiming that under Modi, since 2014, India has descended into chaos and violence. She ignores the fact the mobocracy as a phenomenon is something the British left India with, having highly politicized the police force. She also ignores the fact that apart from much-publicized three or four cases of mob-violence in a nation of 135 Crore people, over a period of now almost six years, there neither has been any major terror attack against the civilian population nor has there been any communal riots. The illustrious propagandists also mention that in Assam, 1.9 million ‘Indians’ have been stripped of citizenship. They forget that illegal immigrants are not the citizen of the state they invade illegally. The same Supreme Court whose order they refer to in the context of mobocracy instructed the Government to bring in NRC, is something they conveniently forget.
The signatories lament that the Government has kept people without internet for a month. Social media has been used extensively to cause disturbances in the valley, create violence, with the last one being the suicide attack on Indian Forces causing the loss of around fifty human life. Do these laureates suggest that the desire of people to use internet outweighs the responsibility of the Government to protect human lives? We do know that for the Western intellectuals, human lives in India mean little. But for the Government of India, it is the solemn responsibility to protect human lives, offer equality of opportunities and to provide a secular environment across India in which no region is given special anti-women, anti-Dalit rights because it is home to the majority of one particular religion.
The pretenders can go home and find comfort in the fact that the political journey of Ms Mairead started with an unfortunate accident by a Jeep driven by IRA rebels under attack by the British Army, who were fighting for self-determination of Irish people, is today arguing the case for Self-Determination in that part of India which acceded to India through legitimate Article of Accession. The Peace People had, in the context of Irish Armed revolution, on the death of a young boy with plastic bullet, released a clear statement stating that – We (the Peace people) do not equate the vicious and determined terrorism of the Republican and Loyalist paramilitary forces with those ‘occasional’ instances when members of the security forces may have stepped beyond the rule of law.
The hypocrisy of the same people now standing with the motivated religious terrorists (who incidentally killed three Kashmiri people since the abrogation of Article 370) is for everyone to see. They had also mentioned that in context of Ireland, “each individual must exercise his or her conscience bearing in mind that while we do not wish to create a community riddled with suspicion or a landscape dotted with new prisons, such an outcome might be preferable to the unending tragedy of innocents shot, burned or blown to bits.”Unlike the usual practice of Nobel Laureates to commit the prize money to popular cause, Ms Mairead kept it to herself, which is another matter. We do not actually know if she was really driven by a genuine interest in case of Kashmir looking at her record and her previously stated position on State vs. terror. The group led by noble Ms Mairead has written to Bill and Melinda Gates, asking them to not award Mr Narendra Modi, without mentioning facts, rather explaining their own preference. Reading their letter, I cannot but thank Parsai for so wonderfully defining these hypocrites as what they truly represent. The world has seen through their hypocrisy and varying stand when the victims of terror are of white skin or brown.
The other lady, Tawakkol Karman till recently was a member of Yemeni Al-Islah often charged to be a part of the Muslim Brotherhood. Both Tawakkol and Shirin Ebadi are known, feminists. One can only hope that they know the discrimination against women was integral to the Article 370, which has been abrogated by Indian Government, as women of Kashmir lost ancestral rights if they married out of Kashmir. They can in the meantime, religious rants under the garb of human rights, based on selective inputs of the lobbyists on behalf of whom they act.
They can continue lying on their backs with legs held up in the air. The world has nevertheless, moved on, in its fight against religious intolerance and fanatical nation-states founded on the basis of religion, using terror as a tool of democracy.