This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The Politics Of The ‘LoC Nobel’: Another Step Towards ‘Aman Ki Asha’?

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Anshul Kumar Pandey:

Perhaps the most anticipated announcement of the whole year is that of the Nobel Prize. Awarded in the disciplines of Chemistry, Physics, Literature, Medicine, Economics and Peace, the Nobel Prize, in the eyes of many, is the ultimate recognition of one’s contribution to the chosen field. In the past, Indians have won the prize in the fields of Literature, Economics, Physics and Peace. This year, another Indian, Mr. Kailash Satyarthi, was awarded the Nobel for Peace, along with the 17 year old Pakistani child education activist Malala Yousufzai.

nobel prize

The announcement has come at a time when both India and Pakistan have seen an escalation in tension along the International Border. The governments of both countries have traded charges of breaking the ceasefire and heavy civilian casualties have been reported from both sides of the border. Add to the fact that both the nations are nuclear rivals with a history of four wars behind them, and you have a world sitting up to take notice of the ongoing escalation of hostilities. A Nobel Prize shared by the citizens of these two hostile neighbours then, is a very subtle hint by the world community to de-escalate confrontation along the border.

Tensions in Islamabad

Things had not been this rough from the start. After taking over the reins of government in May 2014, the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi reached out to all the heads of the SAARC nations, including Pakistan, and invited them to his oath taking ceremony. Mr. Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, was gracious enough to accept the invitation although there was much debate at home before he could do so. At that time, the two Prime Ministers agreed to cooperate to ensure peace in the sub-continent.

However, in the past few months, Mr. Sharif’s government has wobbled at home on account of the twin protests headed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Chief Tahir-ul-Qadri. These protests, calling for the resignation of Mr. Sharif and fresh elections, have paralyzed any activity in Islamabad and have forced the government to the back foot. However, Mr. Sharif still retains a strong backing from the majority of parliamentarians who want him to continue.

The protests have had their consequences though. As pressure on the government mounted, many political observers within Pakistan began to anticipate an imminent coup. However, the military chief General Raheel Sharif (not related to the Prime Minister) rebuffed any suggestions towards the same, even when 5 out of the 11 core commanders of the military were in favor of the army intervening to end the political crises. The army chief, however, successfully managed to get the government to ‘cede space’ to the military in the areas of Security and Foreign Policy. This means that the Prime Minister does not have the capability to take independent decisions anymore when it comes to Indo-Pak relations and the decisions are ultimately taken and approved at the meetings of the National Security Council, which has been criticized in the past as providing legal cover for increasing the role of military in foreign affairs.

Tough Response from New Delhi

One of the major reasons for the growing hostilities along the border has been the hardline approach taken by the new right-wing government headed by Mr. Modi in New Delhi. The Indian Prime Minister had relentlessly attacked his predecessor for continuing dialogue with Pakistan even when the latter engaged in a ‘proxy-war‘ of terrorism and militancy in Jammu & Kashmir through infiltrations effected by repeated ceasefire violations.

After becoming the Prime Minister, although Mr. Modi displayed his softer side by inviting Mr. Sharif for his oath taking ceremony and agreeing to cooperate in the future, he was also quick to break off dialogue after Pakistan did not heed a warning to disengage the separatists. The issue of Kashmir has always been a sensitive one for both the countries, and Pakistan’s repeated attempts to engage the separatists operating from the Indian side of Kashmir had been viewed as a way to pinprick the Indian establishment and to keep the Kashmir issue alive in the international arena.

At the recent UN General Assembly session, Mr. Nawaz Sharif tried to remind his international audience about the importance of some sort of resolution of the Kashmir dispute as a pre-condition to the improvement of bilateral ties between the two nations, while Mr. Modi rebuffed his counterpart by stating that bilateral issues would not be solved by raising them on international platforms.

The repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan are being seen by the Indian administration to be an attention seeking move now that India is not engaging its hostile neighbor with talks and flag meetings. Instead, Mr. Modi’s government has asked the border troops to answer a bullet with another bullet which has significantly raised the morale of the armed forces and has resulted in heavy casualties on the other side of the border. Although this tough response has soothed the sentiments of Mr. Modi’s domestic audience, on the whole, it has only resulted in the escalation of hostilities to newer heights.

Nobel to the Rescue

The west recognizes the fact that a confrontation between two nuclear armed rivals does not only pose a threat to the stability of the subcontinent, but can possibly have catastrophic consequences for the peace and tranquillity of the entire world. A joint Nobel at this juncture to citizens of both the countries is being seen by many as a subtle hint by the world community to both the nations to de-escalate the tensions at the border. This is not to say that both these activists did not deserve the Nobel prize on the basis of their own incredibly inspiring hard work. Instead, it is to reaffirm the fact that the world sees more areas of cooperation and a potential for rapid progress through peace and cooperation between the two countries, rather than hostility and strife.

Some media persons have already christened this prize as the ‘LoC Nobel’. Predictably enough, 17 year old Malala Yousufzai, the youngest recipient of the Nobel peace prize and only the second person from Pakistan to be thus honored, expressed her desire to see the Prime Ministers of both the countries in attendance at the Nobel Award ceremony in December. She also exhorted both the countries to stop fighting each other and instead fight for peace, development and progress.

However, the Indian Prime Minister has been reluctant to answer the call. In a statement released to the media, he congratulated both the people for the prize, but remained tight lipped on the proposal by the Pakistani teenager. The Pakistani Taliban, however, has been quick to read the significance of this Nobel. According to a report published in Dawn, Pakistan’s leading English language newspaper, members of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan have commented that Malala did not represent Islam and threatened that people like her who continued to take ‘anti-Islamic’ positions would continue being targeted.

As the last lines of this article were being written, India accused Pakistan of yet again violating the ceasefire in its Poonch sector, after a 41 hour calm. Whether this Nobel succeeds in cooling down the tensions between the countries, only time will tell.

You must be to comment.
  1. Babar

    Someone give me one good reason why Malala has been awarded the Nobel Prize. She has been provided a platform by a bloodthirsty U.S., and we sit and cheer thinking it is about promoting girls education. Read my comments here.

  2. Aditya Prakash

    malala receiving Nobel?? n y so?? there are far better n more deserving girls but just because she is a part of good publicity??/ i mean seriously what she has done?? expect from taking a bullet??

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Bidisha Bhatacharya

By Raj Iyre

By Yash Johri

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below