In a noble gesture, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, MP, has recommended Kerala fishermen for the Nobel Peace Prize in the wake of their courageous efforts for rescue operations during the August 2018 Kerala floods.
In his letter to the chairperson of the Norwegian Nobel Committee which selects eligible candidates for the prize, Tharoor says: "It was during the height of this tragedy that fishermen groups of Kerala, at great 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."
Fishermen took their boats inland and with their expert knowledge of the local conditions, their participation in the ongoing relief operations proved to be a gamechanger, says the letter released in Thiruvananthapuram.
Not only were they able to pick up stranded personnel in their vicinity, but also instrumental in guiding boats of other rescue teams during the devastating floods that claimed 488 lives.
Fishermen were from some of the most socio-economically underdeveloped segments, and despite this, “their lifesaving service during the floods clearly demonstrated an extraordinarily altruistic spirit that animates and drives these coastal warriors of the State," the letter says.
Tharoor writes: "The lasting image of a fisherman bending low in the water so as to allow an older person he had rescued climb on his back and get on 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 fisherman Jaisal from Malappuram who bent in flooded water to help an elderly woman step on him to enter a rescue boat. Jaisal’s picture had gone viral on social media after which many had come forward to reward him.
Tharoor said the entire country owed its unrestrained gratitude to the fishermen. “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.”