Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Saturday said that he is pained at the theft of his Nobel citation and ornaments given to his wife by his mother as they were precious for the family. He also said that the theft has strengthened his resolve to continue working for the cause of children and he hasn’t thought about hiring additional security. “My wife and I came back today from our Latin America trip and we were pained to see the house lying scattered. When I had left, everything was safe. I felt that my Nobel replica and citation are lying safe with the people of my country in my home but the unfortunate incident happened,” he said.
A replica of the Nobel Peace Prize and its citation awarded to child rights activist Satyarthi were among the valuables stolen from his southeast Delhi residence in his absence on February 7. It was during his dinner with the President of Panama, his wife and other dignitaries, including the Indian ambassador to Panama that he learnt of the theft.
“I was having a very intimate dinner with the president of Panama, his wife and other dignitaries when I got some messages and phone calls. I didn’t tell anyone because it’s not good to say that the national pride was stolen,” he recalled. Satyarthi said that the thieves took away two of the most precious things that were very close to him and his family.
“My mother had collected all her savings and all her silver jewellery to gift a gold jewellery set to my wife on our wedding. I am the youngest in the family so she adored me and my wife. “She is no more with us but that was something that we kept very carefully. We had bought a locker for keeping it,” he said.
The child rights activist also said that the theft of the citation was equally painful.
“It was the first citation to someone who has been working for children in their history. I am the only Indian citizen who has got it. I had given my Nobel Prize medal and that is safely kept in Rashtrapati Bhavan museum. “But I had attachment with the citation so I didn’t give it. I had thought that my grandson, who is now two, will read it when he grows up. My wife thought that it’s invaluable and we had specially bought a locker for it but it was broken,” he lamented.
However, he said that he is satisfied with the police probe and added, “I have full faith that that moment will arrive when my grandson will be reading the citation.”
Apart from the Nobel replica, the citation, and ancestral jewellery, burglars also fled with awards and precious gifts, including expensive pens that were given to Satyarthi from 1993-94 onwards by heads of states and other dignitaries for his work. Satyarthi also revealed that since he didn’t have any “safe place” to keep his precious awards, he had plans to build a museum where all the gifts and awards could be preserved.
Terming the incident “shameful”, Satyarthi made a plea that those who had stolen the “national treasure” should return it. “I request those people, whom I am sure must be from India, that they should realise their responsibility towards national treasure and return the citation that will inspire millions of young children in future generations,” he requested.
Satyarthi said that even though the incident is unfortunate, it hasn’t deterred his resolve. “I will fight till the time child slavery doesn’t end. I want to say that any robbery, any dacoity cannot deter me from my mission. On many previous occasions, my family and I have been attacked, but I have never given up,” he said.
When asked if he will be hiring additional security, he said, “I don’t think so. The biggest saviour is God and the biggest treasure that I have gained from my life is the blessings of children and no one can steal them and my resolve”.