Kailash Satyarthi: India’s Nobel Peace Prize Winner for 2014

Kailash Satyarthi

Kailash Satyarthi

* Image attribution: Anubis3 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Anubis3), kailashsatyarthi.net

At a time when there is too much of tension and conflict going on between Pakistan and India, it is an irony of fate that the most prestigious Nobel peace prize award for the year 2014 has been awarded jointly to Pakistan’s child education activist Malala Yousafzai and India’s child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi.

Malala has become the youngest recipient of this award. This young girl deserves it as she fought for girls’ education for many years and was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in October 2012. While many of us are aware of Malala, not many of us may not heard of Kailash Satyarthi, who has been fighting for children’s rights for the last 24 years in our country. Today, most probably, after declaration of the Nobel peace award, he must have become the most searched Indian citizen in Google for the day. Let’s know more about him.

Kailash Satyarthi
Kailash Satyarthi was born in 11th January 1954, in Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh. An electrical engineering and a post-graduate diploma in high-voltage engineering, Kailash Satyarthi, got involved in child rights protection since 1990s and today at the age of 60 years he has got his recognition as a renowned Child Rights activist working in the area of child labour. He is married and is a father of a son and a daughter and lives in Delhi now.

His Work: Bachpan Bachao Andolan and Bal Mitra Gram

It is a reflection of his selflessness and attitude towards upliftment.

  • It was through his initiative, the great movement “Bachpan Bachao Andolan” was launched  in 1980 to protect children from the clutches of slavery and bonded labour and trafficking. His movement led to the amendment of the Constitution’s labour law and the Right to Education Act, resulting to compulsory education for all children in India.
  • Under the “Bachpan Bachao Andolan” or Save Childhood Movement, it is worth mentioning that Kailash Satyarthi has rescued over 80,000 students since its inception.
  • It is also said that Bachpan Bachao Andolan is completely a one-man show. It is also India’s largest movement for the protection of children. This movement has not only saved the lives of many children but also have helped in ensuring their quality education.
  • Not only that, Satyarthi also fought on a global scale by creating consumer resistance, both domestic and international, to products made by bonded children.
  • He launched Bal Mitra Gram (BMG) programme in 2001, under Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA). This is an innovative development model to fight against child labour, to protect child rights and to provide quality education. He realised the root source of child labour is villages as 70% of child labourers come from villages. So, in order to protect child rights, he developed BMG programme, in which children working as labourers were withdrawn from the places from where they were working, they had to attend school, and they had to voice their opinions.
  • Since 2001, it is a matter of great appreciation that the BBA programme has been successful in converting 356 villages as child friendly villages across 11 states of India, but the majority of the work is covered in Rajasthan and Jharkhand.
  • Here, the children attend school, they are actively involved in bal panchayat (child governance bodies), yuwa mandals (youth groups) and mahila mandal.
  • Children up to the age of 14 have a free schooling and education under BMG.
  • It also addresses issues like child marriages and child trafficking.
  • Satyarthi, through a number of training programmes, also helps children who had been sold by parents for money to repay their parents’ debts so that they find new ways of living.

Today, Kailash Satyarthi besides being involved in the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, runs the Global March Against Child Labor (GMACL), which is a global group formed by Teachers’ Union, Trade Unions, NGOs and the Global Campaign for Education. He is presently working on bringing child labour into the post-2015 development agenda for the United Nation’s Millenium Development Goals.

The Nobel peace prize committee mentioned that Satyarthi followed Mahatma Gandhi’s tradition and voiced his protests and demonstrations against child labour and focussed on the protection of child rights in a peaceful way and is a rightful deserver of the award. He has been awarded a number of awards earlier for his work but the Nobel Peace Prize award makes him a known name globally today.

In an immediate response to being awarded the most prestigious global award, Kailash Satyarthi said, “the award was an honour for my fellow Indians and for all those children whose voice has never been heard before in the country.” We are all proud of you and congratulate you on this great achievement.