Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi is happy that the issue of child slavery is now globally recognised. Speaking to The Indian Express after the announcement of the prize, Satyarthi said, “I would like to dedicate this award to the people of India and all children in slavery. It is a myth that poverty leads to child labour. In fact, child labour causes poverty since it leads to illiteracy. Without education, there can be no jobs and so people stay poor.”
He said the problem of child labour was not limited to India. “It is not just the children of India but of the world who suffer. Its end is inevitable but we have to struggle hard to get there,” he said.
“It is a great honour for thousands of children who are still languishing in slavery. I remember all those children who have been working in stone quarries and mines. They remain invisible. This is also an honour to fellow Indians,” Satyarthi said.
Satyarthi agrees with the Nobel Committee that “it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism”. He said giving a joint award to a person from India and Pakistan is a big statement from the Nobel Committee, adding that the “committee’s statement should be seen as a message to the citizens of both countries.”
He said he had spoken to Malala Yousafzai on a few occasions and shared stage with her as well. “I will speak to her today and ask her to work on peace for children. I will invite Malala Yousufzai to join hands to establish peace – a must for children, for every Indian, for every Pakistani and for every citizen of the world,” he told reporters at the office of his charity, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, in the New Delhi.
Talking about his hometown Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh, Satyarthi said, “I was born there and started my work from there. This place was home to Emperor Ashoka’s in-laws. The country’s first peace agents were Ashoka’s children, Mahendra and Sanghamitra.”