Journalist and peace activist Supriya Vani says it was cosmic grace that she was able to cover the life stories of 16 women Nobel Peace Laureates in her first book Battling Injustice.

Talking about the challenging process of putting this book together, the 28-year-old says it took her over six years to do so. She says she wants to inspire people to work towards world peace — where women must lead the way. She also talks about how her work as a member of the advisory board of The Hague Justice Portal and The Peace, Justice and Security Foundation in The Hague, feeds into her creative work.

Tell us a bit about your growing up years and background

My early years have been entirely influenced by my father who would inspire me to think of doing the uncommon in life. He would often relate to me stories of valour of great personalities. My father has been a social activist all his life besides excelling in his job as a bureaucrat.

Was there any particular incident or person who got you interested in human rights?

What led me to foray into this path is my childhood admiration for Martin Luther King Jr, Abraham Lincoln and a host of other great personalities.

What inspired you to write this book, which is described as an ‘ode to women who taught this world’ by Kailash Satyarthi?

I believe it is a cosmic grace that I moved on the path of writing this book. In 2011, I forayed into Myanmar to interview Aung San Suu Kyi.

“My meeting with Suu Kyi was immensely enlightening. It struck me that knowing and interviewing other women Nobel Peace Laureates would also be no lesser enlightening and thus came to me the idea of writing a book on them.”

How did you decide on the women that you’d feature in this book? And why are women so crucial in the overall emancipation and awakening of society towards collective peace?

The decision was not on any particular woman. It was about all women Nobel Peace Laureates. Since the inception of Nobel Peace Prize in 1901, it has been conferred upon only 16 women, and I have covered all of them. I have always been sharing the belief that this human world is the creation of woman. A creator is never weak. It is the obligation of the creator to defend its creation.

Therefore, women must come forward to occupy the centrestage of all human affairs and save mankind from disaster. This world would be safe only when women occupy the centrestage.

Battling Injustice
Book cover of Battling Injustice
How did you research for this book? What were the challenges involved?
 
This book is a  result of six years of painstaking research and crisscrossing the globe by me to interview women Nobel Peace Laureates by hiring Spanish, Arabic and Persian interpreters. It is the first hand knowledge about the persona of each of Nobel Peace Laureates whom I have interviewed personally, save the six of them who are not living. The challenges were galore. Meeting Suu Kyi under the rule of Military Junta was a great challenge. Collecting information and getting appointments with other Nobel Laureates like the President of Liberia Ellen Johsnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, Mairead Maguire, Betty Williams, Rigoberta Menchu, Malala Yousfazai, Shirin Ebadi, Jody Williams and Tawakkol Karman wasn’t an easy job.
You have interviewed many Nobel Peace Laureates. Could you recollect one memorable interaction which has stayed with you?

“It was indeed memorable for me when Malala and her parents played host to me on my visit to her. Their affection is still palpably felt by me.”

All the laureates were very kind to me and I was welcomed with open arms by everyone.  It was indeed memorable for me when Malala and her parents played host to me on my visit to her. Their affection is still palpably felt by me. No lesser memorable was the moment when Suu Kyi took my both hands in her hands. But now her long silence on the brutal genocide of the Rohingya people is tearing me apart.

Tell us about your work as a member of the advisory board of The Hague Justice Portal and The Peace, Justice, and Security Foundation in The Hague. How does this experience feed into your creative work?

My work as a board member with the Hague Justice Portal and the Peace and Justice Foundation allows me to actively involve with many other international organizations which are working for International justice, international law, cybercrime, etc.

What do you want your readers to take away from this book?

Once a reader goes through the whole book, I believe, he or she will get many spectacular things which will get engraved on his or her mental album. There will arise a strong desire in them to do something big in life for world peace.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

I do my best in whatever I do with full zest and tenacity of purpose. I am sure the results percolate on their own.