Elated over winning the Nobel Peace prize, renowned child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi on Friday dedicated the coveted award to people of India and vowed to work with renewed vigour against exploitation of children and to ensure their welfare.
Satyarthi, who shared the Nobel Peace prize with Malala Yousafzai, also said he will ask the Pakistani teenager to join him in fighting against exploitation of children besides working together for peace in the sub-continent.
The 60-year-old said he personally knew Yousafzai and will tell her to carry forward the “struggle” as it was “very important” that children in both India and Pakistan are born and live in peace.
“I know her (Malala) personally. I will ask her that besides our fight for child rights and education for children, particularly for girls, we have to go a step further and work for peace in our sub-continent. For India and Pakistan, it is very important that our children are born and live in peace,” Satyarthi said.
Satyarthi said he will call Malala and congratulate her on winning the award.
In his first reaction, 60-year-old Satyarthi, who has been leading Bachpan Bachao Andolan in his relentless crusade for child rights, thanked the Nobel committee for recognising the plight of millions of children and said the award will help bring global focus on the issue.
Satyarthi, who is an avid follower of Gandhian philosophy, however, said he would have been much happier if the award had gone to the father of the nation. “I am thankful to Nobel committee for recognizing the plight of millions of children who are suffering in this modern age. It is a huge honour for me,” said Satyarthi, who became the second Indian to win the award after Mother Teresa.
“I was born after the death of Mahatma Gandhi. If the prize had gone to Mahatma Gandhi before me I would have been more honoured. I am really honoured. This award is for all the citizens of the country,” he said.
Girls education rights activist Malala Yousafzai and Satyarthi have been named winners of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
Resolving to continue his fight to protect child rights in India, Satyarthi, whose organisation Bachpan Bachao Andolan, has been in the forefront of rescuing children from forced labour and trafficking, said he was happy that the issue has received global attention.
“This is not about simply poverty and rights of children. It is more than that. The fight has to continue. We are happy that the issue has been recognised globally now. I will continue my work,” he said.
Satyarthi, whose organisation Bachpan Bachao Andolan is credited with freeing over 80,000 child labourers across India, said he and his team will work with renewed vigour to ensure protection of child rights in India as well as globally.
“We are very humbly fighting for child rights and the award has put more responsibility on me to work towards welfare of children. This is a major issue in India as well as in many other countries,” he said.
Satyarthi has been involved in various global campaign against exploitation of children which include global march against child labour, the InternationalCenter on Child Labor and Education and the Global Campaign for Education.
“It is a major challenge to protect the rights of the children,” he said.
The Bachpan Bachao Andolan was established in the year 1983 by Satyarthi, who was an electrical engineer before becoming an activist.
As news of Satyarthi getting the Nobel Peace Prize reached his hometown in Vidisha, celebrations broke out with people distributing sweets and bursting firecrackers.
An atmosphere of celebration and jubilation prevailed at Satyarthi’s ‘Choti Haveli’ residence located at the Kile Andar area in Vidisha town.
Elated over his younger brother’s achievement, Jagmohan Sharma said, “Kailash has made Vidisha famous all over the world. His relentless efforts resulted in this day.”
Recalling his crusade against child labour, Jagmohan Sharma said that in 1996-97, Kailash had raided a circus in the town to rescue bonded child labourers including a few kids of Nepali origin.
His niece, Anita Choube, who is a professor of chemistry in Bhopal’s Government MaharaniLaxmiBaiCollege, also recalled her uncle’s relentless efforts in eradicating child labour from society.
The NGO has helped authorities in Delhi to conduct hundreds of raids to rescue child labourers.
Minutes after Kailash Satyarthi’s name was announced as the winner of Nobel Peace Prize, the website of his NGO ‘Bachpan Bachao Andolan’ crashed due to heavy traffic while his name immediately started to trend on Twitter worldwide.
Followers of his Twitter handle -- @k_satyarthi – also swelled remarkably after he won the coveted prize. The 60-year-old child right’s activist had just 200 odd followers before the announcement which soared to around 10,000 by 8 pm with the number growing exponentially.
BBA is a people’s movement supported by more than 70,000 individuals and 750 civil society organisations. Its core activities are run through a coalition of three NGOs; the Association of Voluntary Action, the Bal Ashram Trust and the Save the Childhood Foundation.