Nobel Committee Honors Trinity Faculty Pupil for Essay

Ashira Biswas


Ashira Biswas ’24 in Metropolis Corridor the place the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony befell. (Submitted picture.)

A Trinity Faculty junior received second prize in an essay problem held by the Nobel Peace Middle final 12 months, an honor celebrated in the course of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway.

On the invitation of the Nobel Peace Middle, Ashira Biswas ’24 attended the December ceremony the place the Nobel Peace Prize was conferred to Ales Bialiatski, a pro-democracy activist from Belarus, and two human rights organizations.

Biswas, a Trinity economics main and human rights minor, entered the Nobel Peace Prize Problem 2022 along with her essay on ameliorating the plight of handbook scavengers in India.

The target of the problem is to have interaction college students globally within the matter of the Peace Prize and to ask them to contextualize the challenges of the latest Peace Prize to their very own communities. The scholars can take part in both of two classes: essay or pictures. This 12 months’s problem make clear the subjects of peaceable co-existence, fraternity, and the safety of human rights.

“Your submission was each unique in its type and carried a robust but balanced voice in selling dialogue in regard to selling freedom of expression,” famous the Nobel Peace Middle in asserting Biswas’ choice.

Norwegian newspaper, Morgenbladet, published the essay by Ashira Biswas '24.
Norwegian newspaper, Morgenbladet, printed the essay by Ashira Biswas ’24.

The Nobel Peace Middle printed Biswas’s essay—a letter to the present president of India—within the Norwegian newspaper Morgenbladet.

In her essay concerning the folks in India who manually clear sewage, Biswas famous that in 2021, there have been greater than 58,098 deaths from work, most of which occurred by suffocation from noxious fumes inside septic tanks.

“In line with Oxfam 2019, 99% of sewage cleaners are Dalits, who occupy the bottom standing within the oppressive caste hierarchy,” wrote Biswas. “India’s macro-economic progress can be being impeded as a result of the true financial potential of Dalits to the nationwide economic system is being stunted.”

Presently in England as a visiting pupil at The College of Oxford, Biswas has attended St. George’s British Worldwide Faculty, Rome; Sanskriti Faculty, New Delhi; Tehran Worldwide Faculty, Tehran; and the United World Faculty of India, Pune. At Trinity, she is the recipient of the Andrew Forrester ’61 Scholarship for Entrepreneurial College students, a Davis United World Scholar, and a School Honors pupil.

Biswas submitted her essay to the Nobel Peace Middle within the type of a communication to Droupadi Murmu, India’s fifteenth president. The total textual content:

Revered Hon’ble President Murmu,

We sincerely felicitate your current presidential electoral victory in July 2022 that pays homage to the values of India’s founding rules viz. illustration and inclusion. Your id as India’s second feminine President and first feminine Adivasi President has given marginalized communities hopes of a future sans glass ceiling limiting their potential.

As President of the biggest democracy of the world, we respect your apex nationwide place to facilitate transformative coverage priorities and instructions in the direction of fixing humanitarian points in India and making certain well-being of all of your residents. On this respect, I’m scripting this letter with deep concern relating to considered one of India’s festering points which gravely violates human rights: viz. Handbook Scavenging.

Greater than 58,098 deaths (a median of 159 deaths per day) from handbook scavenging have been recorded throughout India in 2021 alone, most of which occurred from suffocating on noxious fumes inside septic tanks. In line with Oxfam 2019, 99% of sewage cleaners are Dalits, who occupy the bottom standing within the oppressive caste hierarchy. As handbook scavenging continues, youngsters are dropping their fathers, wives have gotten widows, and India is dropping harmless and hardworking residents. Such tragedies are impacting hapless households and the small financial compensation given to them could also be seen as mere tokenism to such brazen injustices. India’s macro-economic progress can be being impeded as a result of the true financial potential of Dalits to the nationwide economic system is being stunted.

Such excessive demise charges talked about above point out that ‘The Prohibition of Employment as Handbook Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013’, is incapable of constructing a lot distinction and there’s a have to revise insurance policies. Moreover, part 7 of the above Act specifies that an individual who has protecting gear shouldn’t be thought-about a handbook scavenger, thus providing a loophole for employers to use. The shortage of defining specificities of what entails ‘protecting gear’ implies that employers may give merely a pair of gloves or boots to the employee and circumvent the spirit of the Act. We might think about strengthening the authorized deterrence by prosecuting the unscrupulous employers of prison culpable murder underneath part 304 of the Indian Penal Code.

I’ve witnessed exploitation of Dalits sewage cleaners after I visited and stayed with them in Hyderabad in March 2020. I additionally learnt that even these employed by authorities companies weren’t supplied any protecting gear, which not solely stripped them of dignity however was additionally extraordinarily hazardous. I used to be deeply moved by this and subsequently as a high-school pupil of United World Faculty of India (UWC-India) in Pune, initiated a fundraiser that collected $2276 in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, which was used to buy protecting gears for the Hyderabad sewer staff.

Trendy Indian society ought to acknowledge that the prevailing follow of cleansing human excreta solely by Dalits is a gross violation of human rights. Such preparations proceed to be a relentless psychosocial aggression in the direction of that neighborhood.

Within the present 12 months which marks 75 years since India’s independence, allow us to harness the ability of all professional stakeholders to create a good socioeconomic structure primarily based on mutual respect and understanding. Now we have a accountability to make sure the appropriate to equality, non-discrimination, safety, and well-being of each other. We might acknowledge that the overt and delicate oppression of Dalits is an antediluvian type of racialism that debilitates the potential of that neighborhood to aspire for a greater life. I perceive that this can be a really difficult job and so I request Hon’ble President to intervene, voice issues or potential obstacles to beat, and supply an applicable framework to the urgency of appearing upon this humanitarian subject.

In view of the above, I request a gathering with Hon’ble President Madam Murmu to debate issues about this severe human rights subject and delineate a roadmap for ameliorating their excessive plight. In an effort to contain applicable stakeholders within the deliberations, I suggest to incorporate a Dalit sewage employee together with Mr. Bezwada Wilson, an Indian human rights activist for Dalits, Ramon Magsaysay Awardee and convener of Safai Karamchari Andolan, with whom I’m in private contact with since January 2020 after I had organized a seminar for him at UWC- India in Pune. Such a dialogue amongst important stakeholders might impress viewpoints to debate possible and efficient legislative and government insurance policies.

I’m sure that with Your form intervention Hon’ble President, together with the cooperation of assorted tiers of the state and central authorities, judiciary and civil society, we are able to make sure that no Dalit is ascribed or compelled to do the demeaning and life-threatening occupation of cleansing human excreta.

Yours sincerely,
Ashira Biswas