Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor in a letter to Ms Beritt Reiss Anderson, the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee has recommended that the fishing community of Kerala, who played a pivotal role during rescue operations during the August 2018 floods that devastated Kerala should be awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
In his letter, Tharoor points out that the fishermen at great personal risks and taking out their boats, which is their main source of livelihood, had saved hundreds during the floods.
In his letter on January 8, the MP points out, “Even as their own houses fell victim to the deluge, their thoughts and concerns were directed towards the larger safety of strangers When the state government offered compensation in cash and kind for their efforts, many of them politely turned down the offer, pointing out that they found it unseemly to accept a reward for their humanitarian service.”
After the floods, people of Kerala had lauded the exemplary efforts of the fishermen who were often dubbed as the superheroes of the state.
Tharoor says, “The lasting image of a fisherman bending low in the water so as to allow an elder person he had rescued to climb on his back and get on to his boat is a particularly striking reflection of this spirit that has been etched into the hearts of a grateful community.”
The image that Tharoor speaks about is of that of a fisherman named Jaisal from Malappuram who bend in flooded water to help an elderly woman to enter a rescue boat of the NDRF. Jaisal’s picture had gone viral on the internet after which many had come forward to reward him.
Pointing out that the entire country owes its unrestrained gratitude to the fishermen, Tharoor said, “It is with this in mind, and in testament to their invaluable and selfless service, that I submit for the kind consideration of the Nobel Committee, that all of these elements are present in Kerala’s fishermen groups, to whom an entire country owes its unrestrained gratitude.”
The Kerala Government had felicitated the fishermen in a public function in Thiruvananthapuram in September last year. After awarding Rs 3.000 to each fisherman, the Kerala CM had said, “they did not know of this gift. They did not know if the boats they took out would come back fine. They went out into the floods without thinking of anything, without thinking of money or their own lives or their families, to save the thousands trapped. Giving you a big salute from Kerala.
My letter to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee nominating the fishermen of Kerala for this year's Peace Prize in recognition of their courageous service & sacrifice during the #KeralaFloods of 2018: pic.twitter.com/xtPLrTnQBT— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) February 6, 2019