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Last Updated : Feb 07, 2019 01:58 PM IST | Source:

For 'selfless service' during floods, Shashi Tharoor nominates Kerala fishermen for 2019 Nobel Peace Prize

Tharoor said the community should be lauded for demonstrating an “extraordinarily altruistic spirit” during the floods despite living under such circumstances

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Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has nominated the fishermen of Kerala for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for their “invaluable and selfless service” during the catastrophic floods that had hit the state in August last year.

The Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram, in a heart-wrenching letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, gave a vivid account of the deluge and the fishermen’s contribution in saving lives.

“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 wrote in the letter.

“They took their boats inland, and with expert knowledge of the 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 the vicinity but were also instrumental in guiding boats of other rescue teams amidst the swirling waters. All in all, nearly 700 boats manned by 4,500 fishermen spearheaded this internal deployment and were responsible for saving nearly 65,000 lives from certain death,” he added.

Tharoor mentioned that even though the fishermen community forms a significant population along India’s vast coastline, they are not given due credit for their contribution and most live below the poverty line. He said the community should be lauded for demonstrating an “extraordinarily altruistic spirit” during the floods despite living under such circumstances.

“Even as their own houses fell victim to the deluge, their thoughts and concerns were directed to 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,” Tharoor wrote in the letter.

Keeping all these things in mind, Tharoor nominated the fishermen community of Kerala for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, asserting that they “represent an outstanding and wholly deserving candidacy” for their “instantaneous response to the clarion call of a society under strain and a remarkable and sustained impact in the face of unkind odds”.

Kerala had witnessed rains of unprecedented intensity in July-August 2018 which had taken the lives of 488 individuals, destroyed nearly 20,000 homes and displaced over 5 million people.

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First Published on Feb 6, 2019 08:25 pm
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