Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai – an Indo-Pak, Hindu-Muslim ‘champions of peace’ – today received the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 for their pioneering work on promoting child rights in the troubled sub-continent, as they made an impassioned plea to globalise compassion.
“Satyarthi and Yousafzai are precisely the people whom Alfred Nobel in his will calls ‘champions of peace’,” Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Thorbjorn Jagland said in his speech before awarding them the prestigious prize here.
“A young girl and a somewhat older man, one from Pakistan and one from India, one Muslim, the other Hindu; both symbols of what the world needs: more unity. Fraternity between the nations!,” he added.
Satyarthi, who gave up his job as an electrical engineer to run an NGO for rescuing children from forced labour and trafficking, said: “I refuse to accept that the world is so poor, when just one week of global military expenditure is enough to bring all of our children into classrooms.”
“I refuse to accept that the shackles of slavery can ever be… stronger than the quest for freedom,” said 60-year-old Satyarthi, who asked the audience to feel the child inside them and globalise compassion.
The audience included King Harald V of Norway and Pakistan’s former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
“Let us inculcate and transform the individuals’ compassion into a global movement. Let us globalise compassion. Not passive compassion, but transformative compassion that leads to justice, equality, and freedom,” Satyarthi said after receiving the award here at ornete Oslo City Hall.
Invoking Mahatma Gandhi, he said, “If we are to teach real peace in this world… we shall have to begin with the children.” ‘I humbly add, let us unite the world through the compassion for our children.’
“I represent here the sound of silence. The cry of innocence. And, the face of invisibility. I have come here to share the voices and dreams of our children, our children, because they are all our children,” he said, adding that the crime against children has no place in a civilised society.
Satyarthi’s NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save Childhood Movement) prides itself on liberating over 80,000 children from bonded labour in factories and workshops across India.
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) there are about 168 million child labourers globally. There are roughly 60 million child labourers in India alone.
Satyarthi and 17-year-old Malala, who survived a near-fatal Taliban attack two years ago with determination advocating education for girls, were named by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee for the prestigious award on October 10.
They received the Nobel medal which is 18 carat green gold plated with 24 carat gold and weighs around 175 grams.
They will share USD 1.1 million prize money. .