Kerala floods: Shashi Tharoor nominates fishermen for Nobel Peace Prize
February 6, 2019 | 8:47 PM
by Times News Service
Photo: Supplied

Muscat: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has written to the Nobel Prize Committee to nominate the fishermen of Kerala for this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

Tharoor, in a letter addressed to the Chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Berit Reiss Anderson, said, "I would like to nominate the fishermen of Kerala for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize."

"They represent an outstanding and wholly deserving candidacy, one that would be a worthy addition to the champions of humanity that the award has recognised over the years,” he wrote.

Tharoor cited the extraordinary example of the fishermen during the Kerala floods as an example of why they should be awarded the prestigious prize. During the floods, an estimated 488 individuals lost their lives, 20,000 homes were destroyed, and an estimated 5.43 people across 14 of Kerala's districts were affected.

"It was during the height of this tragedy that the fishermen groups of Kerala, at great personal risk to their lives and potential damage to the boats that are the source of their livelihood, jumped into the fray to save their fellow citizens."

Tharoor added, "They took their boats inland, and with their expert knowledge of local conditions, their participation in the ongoing relief operations proved to be a game-changer, as not only were they able to pick up stranded personnel in their vicinity, but were also instrumental in guiding boats of other rescue teams amidst the swirling waters. Fishermen groups across the country represent some of the most socio-economically underdeveloped segments. Kerala's fishermen are no exception."

“Even as their own houses fell victim to the deluge, their thoughts and concerns were directed towards the larger safety of strangers."

Highlighting their altruistic nature, Tharoor explained that when offered compensation in cash, many of the fishermen refused, "pointing out that they found it unseemly to accept a reward for their humanitarian service-that is the level of dedication and magnanimity they have shown toward the welfare and greater good of Kerala".

According to Tharoor, nearly 700 boats manned by 4,500 fishermen were responsible for saving nearly 65,000 lives.

"The commitment and service of these brave men and women stand even more remarkable in the face of the trials they face in their daily lives. Fishermen groups across the country represent some of India's most socio-economically underdeveloped segments and the fishermen of Kerala are no exception," he explained.

"In spite of these conditions, as their lifesaving service during the floods clearly demonstrated, there is an extraordinarily altruistic spirit that animates and drives these 'coastal warriors' of the state."

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