Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has recommended Kerala fishermen, whose deeds of courage were the main highlight of the rescue operations during the 2018 Kerala floods, for the Nobel Peace Prize.
“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,” Tharoor, MP from Thiruvananthapuram, wrote to the chairperson of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
The committee is responsible for the selection of eligible candidates and the choice of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.
Tharoor said the 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.
Not only were they able to pick up stranded personnel in their vicinity, they were also instrumental in guiding boats of other rescue teams amid the swirling waters, he said.
Fishermen groups across the country represent some of the most socio-economically underdeveloped segments, Tharoor said, adding Kerala’s fishermen are no exception.
“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,” he said in the letter, a copy of which was released to the media.
“The lasting image of a fisherman bending low in the water so as to allow an older person he had rescued to 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,” he wrote.
At least 488 people died in Kerala due to the rains and floods during the southwest monsoon. The worst devastation was reported in August when the state was ravaged by floods.