Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Abolition of child labour is farce without financial arrangements; Justice @mkatju on #NobelPeacePrize

The Nobel Peace Prize to an Indian

Many Indians are elated by the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to an Indian. I would like them to reflect on this.

The awardee is said to have done a lot for abolition of child labour in India. Now it is all very well to say that children should be sent to school and not allowed to work. But has anybody thought what the child will eat? 

I went recently to Nepal, and went with my hosts to a restaurant for lunch. There a boy who appeared to be about 10 years of age came to serve the food. I asked him why he was working instead of going to school. He said because his father who was a labourer could not afford it, and was not earning enough to feed the family. So he had to work to eat.

Abolition of child labour is therefore a farce unless financial arrangements are made to feed the child, provide him with clothes, school fees and school textbooks etc., which is rarely done in our country. 

It is just like telling a prostitute to give up prostitution. She is in this sex trade so as to fill her stomach and due to poverty. Has any arrangements been made to provide for her if she gives up prostitution ?

Similarly, in my opinion all this talk of abolition of child labour is just farcical because at least by working the child is able to fill his stomach. 

Of course, we would all wish that the child goes to school instead of working but then what will he eat?

In this connection I would also like to mention that many of the Nobel Peace Prizes are farcical, and some of them were even given to war mongers. But Mahatma Gandhi was never awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, obviously because he was fighting against British Imperialism. 

The Nobel Prizes in Literature are even more farcical and controversial. Out of the over 100 winners of Nobel Prizes for Literature, even the names of over 90 are forgotten today, whereas great writers like Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Chekhov, Maxim Gorky, Upton Sinclair, Subramania Bharti, Sharad Chand Chattopadhyay, Premchand, Faiz, Manto, etc were never given Nobel Prizes.

The Nobel Prize for Economics have also been very controversial. Also, there have been repeated allegations that Nobel Prizes are Western oriented. Swedes have won more prizes than all Asians put together.

The genuine Nobel Prizes are in the science subjects of Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine, though it may be pointed out that Dr. Chandrashekhar, who discovered the well known Chandrasekhar Limit in Physics was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics only in about 1983, while he made the discovery of the Chandrashekhar Limit' in about 1930.

I am sorry to pour cold water over all this jubilation and hoopla, but I feel that the truth must be told.

By Justice Markandey Katju