New Delhi: During the course of his Nobel prize acceptance speech on Wednesday, Kailash Satyarthi said he represents the "sound of silence" and the "cry of innocence".
Around 30 children from Satyarthi's NGO, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA)-run Bal Ashram at Jaipur present at the lush green lawns of the Norwegian Embassy were perhaps exemplifying that silence and innocence in equal measure.
But as their "bhaisaab" was handed over the Nobel diploma, 13-year-old Abdul to 20-year-old Manan broke into a thunderous applause accompanied by chants of "child labour...Down down down!".
"I have no words to express what I am feeling at this moment. Frankly I had goosebumps when I saw bhaisaab up there at the podium," said Abdul, who was rescued from a mining facility at Jharkhand when he was just 8.
Rakesh Senger, a senior official of BBA and a long-time aide of Satyarthi was clearly restive as could be seen pacing up and down the courtyard of the embassy with excitement writ large on his face.
"It's a surreal feeling...I cannot describe in words really. It's a big moment for this country and all those liberated children freed by Satyarthi. They are remembering him today. They are thinking of circumstances they could have been," he said, stopping midway as Satyrathi began his acceptance speech.
Earlier, the NGO had organised a day-long celebration at its office in south Delhi's Kalkaji where a large number of children liberated by the organisation from all over the country gave song and dance performances.
During the event at the Norwegian Embassy here, the Ambassador of Norway to India Elvind Homme recounted a story on Satyarthi written by a Norwegian journalist way back in 1989.
"A Norwegian journalist wrote in his book that when he met Satyarthi during the course of the latter's Global March against Child Labour, he asked when the march will reach Geneva to which Satyarthi replied 'sometime in the future'," said Homme.
Hailing Satyarthi for his "big achievement", Union Labour Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who was also present at the event said Satyarthi was the "right choice" for the prestigious award.
"This is a big achievement and he is the right man for this award. In India, he was and will continue to remain a most respected personality," the Minister said.