Nobel Peace Prize: It is India's victory over 'child slavery', says Kailash Satyarthi

An Indian children's rights activist Kailash Satyarthi who was on Friday awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 along with Pakistan's Malala Yousafzai, dedicated his award to the 'nation' and 'children in slavery'.

Nobel Peace Prize: It is India's victory over 'child slavery', says Kailash Satyarthi

New Delhi: Indian children's rights activist Kailash Satyarthi who was on Friday awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 alongwith Pakistan's Malala Yousafzai, dedicated his award to the 'nation' and 'children in slavery'.

In an exclusive interview to Zee Media, Satyarthi said, "This is an honour for me and my fellow Indians and for all those children whose voices were never heard before."

“I am a very ordinary Indian and a very ordinary child rights activist who has gained this award while living in India. IThis is proof enough that common people can also get popular” he added.

When asked about how it feels to win the Nobel while living in India, when most of the 'Indians' who earlier received it were staying abroad, Satyarthi, 60, said, “Watan ki reyt mujhe ediya ragarne de, mujhe yakin hai pani yehien se niklega.” 

"I strongly believe ... that freedom is divine. Freedom is godly. God made us free. We fight for something that God has given to all of us," he added.

Further being asked to comment on Malala's request that Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan should attend Nobel Prize Award Ceremony (scheduled to be held in the month of December), the activist said, “I know Malala and her family from quite a long time. She is a brave girl. We can workout on plans to save children at war torn regions of Pakistan and can chalk-out many more programs to protect underprivileged kids.”

Commenting over the ongoing border tensions with Pakistan, he said, “It is a political and diplomatic issue. The people of Pakistan and Indian should understand and help each other in every aspect.”

Expressing his happiness over the award, Satyarthi said, "Each time I have freed a child, the child who has lost the parents and the parents who have lost all the hope that the child would ever come back, and when I hand this boy or girl over to the mother and the mother embraces him or tries to put him in her lap, I cannot explain what kind of joy one can have.”

For the man who quit a bright career to take up the cudgels for India’s underprivileged children and endured several physical attacks in the relentless pursuit of his cause, it has been a long, difficult journey indeed. 

But, Satyarthi said that he does not regret leaving a career in Engineering. “In the past 34 years since I gave up my job as an electrical engineer to campaign for children's rights; I have seen my volunteers get beaten up, my home attacked and my colleagues killed.”

“Yet attempts on my life could not deter me from my mission to save children from slavery and end trafficking in India,” he added.

The softly-spoken activist remained modest when asked whether he was surprised by winning the Nobel.

"I never really thought about it, but people used to tell me that since you have started this task in India it has become a worldwide movement and one day you will get this kind of an honour," he said.

"But I never gave it much thought..."

Satyarthi, 60, at the end of the interview, applauded Zee Media's various efforts made in the field of social work and said, “Together we can abolish child labour. Your channel has a good energy level and should keep up the pace so that many needy children can be benefited.”       

Satyarthi runs Bachpan Bachao Andolan, an organisation dedicated to child rights which has freed over 80,000 children from various forms of servitude and helped in their reintegration, rehabilitation and education.

 His organisation has lobbied for more protection to be provided to rural children and women who are trafficked to cities to work as domestic workers in middle-class homes.

Last month, based on a complaint filed by Bachpan Bachao Andolan, the government was forced to put in place regulations to protect maids, who are often physically and sexually abused. Satyarthi has headed various forms of peaceful protests and demonstrations, focusing on the exploitation of children for financial gain. 

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