Unsung Hero – Kailash Satyarthi

The Nobel peace prize was announced on tenth October this yearand the joint winners of this precious award were Malala Yousafzai form Pakistan and an Indian called Kailash Satyarthi. The man was practically unheard of and suddenly everybody is talking about Kailash Satyarthi. The man along with his team has rescued more than 83000 children from the clutches of child labor and helped them lead a normal life.

Satyarthi was born in Vidisha district of Madhya Pradesh on eleventh January 1954. Armed with a degree in electrical engineering and post-graduation in high voltage engineering, he began his career as a lecturer for a few years.He shifted base to New Delhi in 1977 and joined a publication house Arya Samaj. Sangharsh Jaari Rahega was a magazine that was initiated by Satyarthi with a purpose to bring the common man’s woes to a larger platform where they could be heard. Social evils like child labor, bonded labor and discrimination on the bases of caste and its effects on common people like vendors, rickshaw pullers were his subjects that he highlighted through his magazine.

He started his own organization in 1980, called Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) to crusade for child rights and put an end to child trafficking. In the initial period BBA aimed at the various carpet- weaving units of Uttar Pradesh that had a notorious reputation for hiring child labors, making them work for 15-16 hours a day, giving frugal meals and physically torturing them. The rescued children would then be handed over to their parents. By 1996, BBA in active coalition with more than 200 NGOs read in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka rescued more than 34,000 children by conducting raids at carpet-manufacturing units.

Fondly known as bhaisaab, by the members of his team, Satyarthi believes that children are his religion. Soon after announcement was made about the Nobel Prize, which he was informed through an e-mail from the committee, Satyarthi wished that the award was given to Mahatma Gandhi who introduced non-violent ways of protest to the world. He further added that it was a moment of great honor for all the Indians that work towards this noble cause of rescuing child laborers and stop human trafficking.

In his 34 year long struggle, the man has faced several roadblocks and has even been physically abuse. In 1985, while rescuing young tribal girls and women enslaved for mass sexual exploitation, Satyarthi along with 3 other BBA members were brutally assaulted. In another instance in Udaipur, Rajasthan during March 1988, when fighting for the right of dalits to enter the temple, the crusader along with 5 dalit bonded laborers were beaten up mercilessly.

Despite all the hardships, the campaigner believes that he has had a fruitful journey and the Nobel peace prize has only raised expectations from the team and motivates them to work harder than before. Satyarthi believes that though India should be proud of the award, it also puts India at an embarrassing stage across the world that depicts the sorry state of children in the country.

Regardless of the results, their work is unnoticed most of the time;Satyarthi is the idol bhaisaab for his team who constantly inspires them to give their best at work.

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