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The Nobel Peace Prize committee should immediately intervene and strip a children’s rights activist of the prize given to him in 2014.

Kailash Satyarthi not only attended the annual event of Hindu supremacist group Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) at its headquarters in Nagpur, India, but went to the extent of praising the organization. He even suggested that the RSS branches all over India could serve as a “firewall” to protect children, particularly girls.

The RSS, of which the ruling right wing Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is a part, aspires to turn India into a Hindu theocracy. The organization was banned in the past following the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, a world renowned leader of the passive resistance movement in 1948. Gandhi was opposed to the religious partition of India in 1947 and was targeted for standing up against violence against Muslims by the Hindu fanatics. His assassin Nathuram Godse previously belonged to the RSS.

The RSS is also known for its anti-Muslim and anti-Christian stance. Its cadre have been involved in violence, not only during partition but also in post independent India.

Ironically, Satyarthi is a known Gandhian, and was given the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his work to save children from exploitation. In complete contradiction to what Satyarthi claims to stand for, the RSS through its drills poisons young minds and has reportedly transported tribal girls to far away schools in order to Hinduise them, on the pattern of Indian Residential Schools in Canada.

That Satyarthi spoke as a Chief Guest at the RSS event has shocked many, including myself. Being a publisher of Radical Desi magazine, I had put him on the cover of its November, 2014 edition, which was dedicated to 30 years of the anti-Sikh massacre. Satyarthi had saved many Sikhs during the violence that followed the assassination of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh body guards on October 31, 1984. The mobs, instigated by activists of the slain leader’s Congress party, lynched innocent Sikhs with police connivance. However, the mainstream overlooked this important aspect of Satyarthi’s story, and Radical Desi believed that it was necessary to amplify it, so that people should know that many Hindus also tried to save the Sikhs from bloodshed. Some activist friends had expressed their outrage over this decision, citing that Satyarthi is a corporate media creation, but I tried to defend myself, saying that the choice was made only because the Radical Desi edition was dedicated to the anti-Sikh pogrom, and by putting Satyarthi on cover, we were only trying to showcase an act of humanity and compassion in the time of crisis.

Today, when I look back I feel ashamed and let down by Satyarthi, who has failed to stand up against the forces of bigotry. He may have done a great job by saving the lives of Sikhs in 1984, but Muslim and Christian lives are also important. For the record, RSS considers Sikhs as part of the Hindu fold, something strongly resisted by the Sikh activists, who maintain that RSS has an agenda to assimilate them. That the BJP-RSS supporters were also complicit in anti-Sikh massacres has been well documented.

If Satyarthi has any shame, he must apologize for attending an event organized by those who are bent upon destroying humanity and the secular fabric of India. In the meantime, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee must take away the prize given to someone who has tried to give legitimacy to a group whose founders saw men like Hitler and Mussolini as their role models and supported the holocaust.

Gurpreet Singh is a Canada- based journalist who publishes Radical Desi- a monthly magazine that covers alternative politics.

8 Comments

  1. Abdul Majid Zargar says:

    Disgusting to learn a noble laureate, Kailash Satyarthi, associating himself with a fascist & communal organization like RSS. He has belittled the noble peace award conferred on him.

    • Farooque Chowdhury says:

      Do you, Mr. Zargar, consider the Nobel Peace Prize is always noble as you write “He has belittled the noble peace award”? You know the answer. Please, look at the list of the recipients of the prize. All the recipients were not noble. There were many nasty, brute, cruel persons among the recipients. You know those names. Even, business connections played role in selecting a few recipients of the prize.

      The problem is not with the prize. This type of prize behaves in the way we find. The problem is with our perception: We always consider the prize as the holiest of the holiest, the noblest of the noblest, which is not always true.

      The next problem is our perception about a few persons, and with the basis that forms our perceptions. The same pattern/basis makes us obedient followers of imperialist/rightist ideology.

      Thanks. Mr. Zargar.

  2. Pingback: Red News | Protestation

  3. Farooque Chowdhury says:

    The article says: “Kailash Satyarthi not only attended the annual event of Hindu supremacist group Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) at its headquarters in Nagpur, India, but went to the extent of praising the organization. He even suggested that the RSS branches all over India could serve as a “firewall” to protect children, particularly girls.”

    It’s not that Gurpreet Singh is telling lies or presenting a false “news”. But, to make the statement authentic, please, cite the source so that readers like me can refer the statement. The source is needed.

    The incident — Kailash Satyarthi-RSS annual-event — is a lesson for many of us as many of us:
    1. make jump, and sometimes, many jumps, of joy on the basis of a single incident;
    2. to many of us, the Nobel Prize is the “last, only and supreme” yardstick of excellence, which is wrong, and this jump of joy, this absolute trust on the prize, this stalling of analysis is a habit of slaves;
    3. organizing or extending social service doesn’t mean that the person involved with the service shall be socially aware; and socially awareness doesn’t always ensure political awareness; and attaining class awareness is much more difficult and complex task; and because of this very problem many of us happily bear standard of imperialism, reactionary, extreme of the extreme rightist forces.

    Thanks, Gurpeet, for presenting this information to readers.

  4. The problem with social activists like Kailash Satyarthi (brave as they are in upholding the rights of children and deserving the Nobel Prize) is that they are a-political – ignorant of, and indifferent to the nature of political currents in the country (unable or unwilling, to decipher the designs of the Hindutva-oriented RSS which woos him to its meeting, pretending to support his cause, while at the same time its BJP ministers in Bihar preside over child-shelters where their protegees rape the children). Will Kailash Satyarthi come out with a public statement denouncing it – and dissociate himself from the RSS ?

    Sumanta Banerjee

    • Farooque Chowdhury says:

      Sumanta da, I agree with your statement: “they are a-political – ignorant of and indifferent to the nature of political currents”. I understand, the statement is not to support to this apolitical stand.

      But, it is a crime to be politically ignorant in a politicized society; it is a crime to be politically ignorant while dealing with issues related to politics, and society, issues related to society are not isolated from politics. Rather, persons concerned with social issues, with any issue concerning society and nature should be politically aware. Does law allow impunity on the ground of ignorance? Shall any bourgeois political system allow any call for overthrow of the system on the ground that the person making the call was ignorant of the seriousness of the issue?

      Otherwise, what shall happen? Another “apolitical” noble personality will stand on another sectarian/supremacist platform; a micro-creditor will carry on his business of micro-credit; and all they will claim in a chorus: “we don’t understand politics.” It is the same way Tagore extended support to Mussolini, the fascist. It is the same way sectarianism of one variety — me, the sufferer from this region or sect and he from that region or sect — fuels another variety of sectarianism; and the exploited people will get fragmented to make the exploiters happy.

  5. Shocking and disgusting to learn a noble laureate, Kailash Satyarthi, associating himself with a fascist & communal organization like RSS. He has belittled the noble peace award conferred on him.
    Strip hi of Nobel Prize.

    • Farooque Chowdhury says:

      It’s not the only incident of shocking and disgusting behavior of a single noble laureate,Harjinder jee. There are many such “noble” personalities engaged with shocking and disgusting activities. And, I’m sorry to say this happens mostly in cases of Nobel Peace Prize laureates. You will find one Nobel “noble” mongering war while another selling supremacist system while another marketing MNC/bank capital-interest.