LITERATURE NOBEL 2015: IN TWO HOURS FROM NOW

Today, the second most ‘popular’ (among masses) and second most ‘controversial’ (among classes) Nobel Prize will be announced.

The Nobel Committee of the Swedish Academy, in two hours from now, will announce the name(s) of the winner(s) of this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature (Literature Nobel).

The Nobel Prize in Peace (or Peace Nobel) is geopolitically the most influential award in the world that draws global attention to an issue the individual(s)/organization(s) is working for. The implicit or explicit political posturing associated with the Peace Nobel draws plaudits or ire based on stakeholders involved and based on the geopolitical contexts pushed.

And Literature Nobel, too, pushes for controversies for similar reasons – political stand or political bias – added with ‘other than literature’ factors like Sweden bias or Europe bias or English bias or ‘fear of controversy bias’ – while announcing a winner – and its most famous (or notorious) example is 1970’s decision to award Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a USSR dissident, and a famous anti-Soviet Union novelist and historian.

The Nobel Committee of the Swedish Academy – a 230 year old literary institution founded by the Swedish king – based on geopolitical considerations (or equations), at times, names a winner to give message to a ruling regime – because the larger (or the more powerful) world community feels so (or lobbies for that).

Literature Nobel has also been and ‘left, right and centre’ criticised for being too Sweden-centric or too Europe-centric. The trend (or the mentality) has led to many decisions which the critics have found too casual and light. While very few people knew about Herta Muller, the 2009 winner, the 2004 decision to award Elfriede Jelinek came as a shocker to many.

But the buzz around the award remains. Literature Nobel is still the singular global literature award that bring its recipient a chance to gain worldwide exposure – if it is not already there. And we hope, in a multipolar, multi-block world, we will have less of ‘other than political bias’ affected decisions – with a wider, multi-language panorama.

Every year it happens, the buzz around these two most talked about Nobel Prizes, Peace and Literature.

The buzz starts taking root soon after the nomination starts and starts taking a definitive shape once the nominations are closed and the concerned Nobel Committees short-lists that ‘small and final list’ from out of hundreds of nominations. It starts peaking around in August and reaches its crescendo in the week prior to the announcements in October.

And that October day is today – in two hours from now.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

AN INDIAN AND A PAKISTANI SHARE PEACE NOBEL: NOTHING REALPOLITIKAL ABOUT IT

It was all so good. It looked brilliant on screens wherever the broadcast was being shown. The rounds of applause were spontaneous. The value addition of musical performances by artists from India and Pakistan was a treat to eyes and ears.

It happens like this every year, except the value addition.

What was announced two months ago had its final movement today, like it happens every year.

Yes, it echoes more in the niches that belong to the winners – their field of work and the part of the world they come from.

But, the echo remains more on the airwaves and in black and white words and for masses, it, at best, serves the purpose of giving recognition and spreading the symbolism that recognizes the cause and the efforts being made by the person/organization for it.

That is the limit and the reality of it, irrespective of the value additions done.

In terms of engineering change, it is nowhere close to the realpolitik of the ground reality in most of the cases and when the case in question is India Vs Pakistan, then a Peace Nobel jointly to an Indian and a Pakistani doesn’t make any ground for a ‘India + Pakistan’ scenario.

Kailash Satyarthi has made India proud but it is equally true that he is still not widely known in India and there are many other social activists in his league.

Malala Yousafzai has successfully highlighted the plight of girls in Pakistan once again but it is equally true that she is not the voice that can reach deeply in Pakistan, to the subjects that she mentions in each of her speeches. No one can say when she would be able to travel back to her country to take on the field work.

Apart from talking points, the joint Peace Nobel 2014 doesn’t hold any ground for the two Asian rivals where one is an emerging global power and a giant when seen on the scales of economy and military while the other is a chaotic nation following the policy of state sponsored terror pushed by its military, the strongest institution in the country.

Pakistan, born out of India, on religious divide, could never reconcile with the dominant status which India naturally had, being an old civilization with a rich and diversify history and a much larger country. The unsolved border issue and Jammu & Kashmir gave an early start to the aspirations of people heading the military there and a limping start of democracy soon gave them the avenue to usurp the power. Since then, it has been the inferiority complex of the Pakistan’s military complex that has pushed it to wage many wars with India to prove its superiority. Pakistan has lost all – the only natural consequence possible.

And in desperation, it has led its military establishment to try all, including sponsoring and exporting proxy war and terrorism in India.

And it all began and has sustained in the name of religious fanaticism.

That religious fanaticism and Pakistan military’s over-dependence on it are the basic elements of the realpolitik that guide the way Pakistan keeps up with India and the ground reality is really hostile, with increased ceasefire violations and anti-India rhetoric by Pakistan in the recent months, that has found a tough respondent in the Narendra Modi led Indian government.

While talking on ‘India Vs Pakistan’ to ‘India + Pakistan’ realpolitik, we need to come back to this reality again and again.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

PEACE NOBEL 2014: KAILASH SATYARTHI’S FIELDWORK WITH MALALA YOUSAFZAI’S SYMBOLISM

The 5-member Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize committee, with election for three out of its five spots slated later this year, chose to play it safe by awarding two names no one would criticize, at least the names who made for the headlines and generate subsequent rounds of controversy. Malala Yousafzai, who makes for headlines and is a favourite of the Western media, has become a ‘celebrity’ activist in just two years symbolizing aspirations of millions of girls in her country Pakistan. Her name was among the most debated ones even the last year and the Nobel committee had to award the 17-year old activist, now residing in Britain, sooner or later. The other, Kailash Satyarthi from India, has had an impressive track record spread over decades working for children’s rights.

Yes, it was known that Bachpan Bachao Andolan’s Kailash Satyarthi was nominated but he was nowhere even remotely near to figure in the intense debates and discourses that precede the Peace Nobel announcement every year.

No Peace Nobel commentator in news spoke on his chances. No Peace Nobel expert on the block analyzed his work to speak on his claim. No Peace Nobel bookmaker in business placed stakes on him.

So, it came as a pleasant surprise when the five Norwegian politicians decided on Mr. Satyarthi’s name recognizing decades of tough, real ground work bringing change to the lives, saving children from bonded labour and inhuman working conditions, and sincerely trying to give them a future.

And thankfully, in India, the youngest nation demographically, a nation with still worrying literacy and health parameters, there are many silent crusaders and champions of humanity like him – Sindhutai Sakpal, Dr. Binayak Sen, Ela Bhatt, Deep Joshi, Sunitha Krishnan, to name a few.

So, it’s a well deserved due that an activist working for the children’s rights in the world’s youngest nation but also with maximum number of poor has got. And it will certainly motivate the others in the fraternity.

Yes, some of them are celebrity names in ‘cause-based’ activism but they never carry that celebrity aura that makes many ‘celebrity activists’ ‘news worthy’ with ‘celebrity fighting for a cause’ tag. They work consistently. And they work silently.

That silence is only broken whenever some big news event like an award like the Peace Nobel or Ramon Magsaysay happens or when there is confrontation with parties involved that obstruct the activists from realizing the outcome of their rightful ‘causes’.

And awarding Mr. Satyarthi the Peace Nobel jointly with Malala Yousafzai makes sense.

After the Taliban attack for defying the dictat of not going to school that almost killed her, she has become the symbolism of girls’ right to education in poorest and most orthodox societies commoditizing and exploiting women as objects. She symbolizes the undying spirit of persisting for the opportunities to make a life of dignity and social parity the foundation of which is laid in the childhood, something that is a must for to propel through the adolescence to the formative years of early adulthood. Hope, someday, she would be able to go back and work in the field for the deprived girls in her country.

Recognizing Mr. Satyarthi’s groundwork with Malala’s symbolism draws attention to the known, dark but largely ignored aspects of child-rights across countries and across societies that need enhanced priority in a world where over 60% of the population in the poorest countries is below the age of 25. And remember, the girl child is considered a discarded entry in many of these societies.

It is not for the India-Pakistan or the Hindu-Muslim rhetoric of the Nobel Peace committee, but for this combination of fieldwork and symbolism that makes this year Peace Nobel decision worth the name of Peace Nobel, the world’s still most prestigious recognition that is increasingly regularly attracting criticism, something that has forced the government in Norway to work on the structure of the ‘committee’ .

Yes, to be honest of the realities and true to be true to the global politics, it is not going to change anything on the ongoing border hostilities between India and Pakistan and it is not going to stop the Hindu-Muslim riots , until the mindset changes, the mindset of the billions who don’t even know don’t care for what a Peace Nobel is, people who force the children in bonded labour, people who traffic children, people who force girls into prostitution, people who shot Malala.

The Peace Nobel is still the most prestigious recognition because it draws worldwide attention to an issue, a problem area, and therefore a symbolic win for the people working to address it and for the humankind that says, yes, there is an urgent need to attend to that problem.

Yes, it does motivate the people acting for the cause to uproot the problem or to address the issue, but it does little to affect the mindset of those behind the issue or the problem.

Did Liu Xiaobo’s 2010 Peace Nobel change anything in China? No, in fact China has become more ruthless and has increased its crackdown on activists and democratic voices of dissent.

Did the 2012 Peace Nobel to the European Union made the Union more cohesive? No, its future is still as threatened as was in 2012.

Is the Peace Nobel to Malala going to change the way Taliban see the women and their position in the societies controlled by them? No.

Yes, but it does motivate the fraternity of activists to do more, to seek more from the society for their ‘causes’.

Mr. Satyarthi, whose two colleagues were killed while saving children from inhuman working conditions, said in an interview that there are 168 million children forced into child labour globally and there are 200 million adults jobless and it would be a great service to humanity and to the humankind if Peace Nobel 2014 could push (or for that matter, motivate) the world powers, engaged in geopolitical maneuvering to promote self-interests abashed, to give a sensitive ear to this harrowingly imbalanced linkage of human lives to the need and denial of livelihoods.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

LITERATURE NOBEL 2014: IN TWO HOURS FROM NOW

11 AM GMT the Literature Nobel 2014 will be announced – so, in 2 hours from now, 4:30 PM India time, the world would come to know who is going to be the next addition to the fraternity of Literature Nobel Laureates, Kenyan author and activist Ngugi Wa Thiong’o who is the bookmaker’s favourite this year or others who have made for the most of the lists and opinions – of bookmakers, of Nobel historians and of Nobel watchers.

A The New Yorker article about evolution of the Nobel Prize betting talks about those betting for Ngugi having ‘inside information’ and ‘solid clues’ from the ultra-secretive 18-member Swedish Academy that decides on who will be awarded.

Anyway, let’s see, it is just two hours to know whether it will be Ngugi or Japanese Haruki Murakami, one of the most read authors of quality literature or Syrian poet Adonis (Adunis), the Arabian literature’s most respected name of the day, the two names who have become the perennial favourites in the recent history of the Literature Nobel or Belarusian journalist and author Svetlana Aleksijevitj or French author Patrick Modiano or Albanian Ismail Kadare.

The much talked about hypothesis that the Academy seldom repeats a language the next year also supports the claims around these 6 names as English was awarded last year (Alice Munro).

Every year it happens, the buzz around the most talked about Nobel Prizes, Peace and Literature.

The buzz starts taking root soon after the nomination starts and starts taking a definitive shape once the nominations are closed and the concerned Nobel Committees short-lists that ‘small and final list’ from out of hundreds of nominations. It starts peaking around in August and reaches its crescendo in the week prior to the announcements in October.

Peace Nobel is the most talked about and speculated for given its ‘political nature’ and the socio-political themes attached with the decision-making process that gives enhanced recognition to some issue and draws worldwide attention that many ‘powers’ don’t like. The most notable example about it China’s intense opposition to the Nobel Peace Prize given to The Dalai Lama and to the Chinese writer and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo.

Literature comes next in the line given the worldwide outreach of the authors who are the most talked about names of the contemporary times, of their languages, of their generations, of their social rustres. These authors are legendary in their languages and become representative of the literary heritage of the language and their part of the world that connects them with the world, that makes them the talking points.

So, who will be next this time who will draw the world’s attention to the window to look into the culture of a literary tradition weaved around the concerned social formations, because a Peace Nobel brings with it more copies, more translations and and a wider outreach of the works of an author to global reading table?

In two hours from now!

🙂

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/