For, On India’s Nobel Laureate

Why should India know Kailash Satyarthi? We have cleavage debates to worry about
Plus, Mark Zukerberg inspires India’s headline writers.
We’ve had a few Nobel winners. Tagore, CV Raman, Mother Teresa (like all people from Calcutta, she was European, so it counts), Amartya Sen. We’ve never had one where the country went, “Um, who?”

And there is very good reason for that. We are busy. Busy busy with important things. There are people upset with cleavage photography. There are debates to be had whether involuntary cleavage photos pointing out said locale or voluntary cleavage film promotion photos linking cleavage to unrelated film release by star PR is apt. Abishek Bachchan is telling us to play football, sitting chief ministers are going to jail for having servants on standby with Horlicks (which I think is a noble profession, as standing professions go), people are having to write witty comments on an online store’s big sale day goof-up (a very urgent need), there’s the actress Preity Zinta telling people to stand up when patriotic songs are played or risk eviction. Where is our time to focus on Kailash Satyarthi, our latest Nobel winner, telling us children should be in school instead of washing cars and twirling in circuses?

There just isn’t the time.

Swedish people have time to notice these things. It’s cold over there. They are at home, snowing outside, looking at Indian kids at traffic signals or running around with empty plastic bottles, thinking why are those children not in a school and instead delivering Kellogg’s and Bisleri to rich people? Shouldn’t kids not have to be roaming streets half-naked? Who is helping them? That Kailash guy. Why didn’t anyone locally notice? Let’s get him over here and give him a double espresso and a medal.

Look, we did notice, ok. We aren’t caught up in our upper middle class cocoons. Absolutely not. In fact, many Indians have seen Slumdog Millionaire, some of them even twice. About 45% of our elite know that Dharavi is not a Maharshtrian house wife.

Some have even lowered their power windows and shared a Kurkure packet with said underprivileged child. People donate regularly to charities like Pratham, Doosra, Andha (blind), Bhook (Hunger), Akanksha and Anokhi, even if some of these are women’s clothing stores.

We would absolutely like to help him organise a fundraiser for the cause. It is not like urban India cannot understand this problem. Every summer, when wealthy parents can’t find things for their kids to do, apart from play on their I-Pad as they search maddeningly for speech and drama classes, Shaimak Davar dance classes, foreign language classes, swimming classes, they totally understand what its like for a child to be loitering without a goal.
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