Kailash Sathyarthi from India and Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan win this years 'Nobel Peace Prize'
by Elizabeth Menon

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Kailash Sathyarthi from India and Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan win this years 'Nobel Peace Prize'




Kailash Sathyarthi and Malala Yousafzai jointly win the most prestigious 'Nobel Peace Prize' for 2014, great occasion for both India and Pakistan, and hopefully, peace between the two countries will emerge from this great achievement! Malala, the 17 year old teenager from Pakistan is the youngest ever to receive the Nobel Prize. 
Kailash Satyarthi, has been relentlessly fighting against 'Child labour and Trafficking' in India for many years. The Nobel committee praised their "Struggle against the suppression of children and young people"! Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban two years ago and she has been campaigning for 'Girls' Education' ever since her recovery from the horrific incident! She has also written an Autobiography and even addressed the UN General Assembly during her young life!


Kailash Sathyarthi has dedicated his life for the rights of children and founded 'Bachpan Bachao Andolan' ('Save the Childhood Movement') in 1980, which campaigns for the 'Rights of Children and an end to 'Human Trafficking', and this was first of its kind in the Non-government sector in India! He left his job as an Electrical Engineer to save children from child labour and trafficking. Since starting 'Bachpan Bachao Andolan' (BBA), he has saved around 80,000 children, and hope to stop the multinational companies, businessmen, landowners and the like, to stop using children to work in textiles, Diamond polishing, carpet weaving, mica mines, factories, domestic labour, Coal mining, fire works, etc. He has transformed around 356 villages as 'Child friendly villages' in 11 States in India. He also has training programmes for these children enabling them to learn skills so that they could help themselves and their families and to prevent child labour in their community. The children who work in the mica mines scrapes the mica, which is used in beauty products that gives a shine, perhaps it is time for those who use these products to stop using them!

Thousands of young children are taken away from their homes to be used as domestic servants under terrible conditions, almost like slaves, when they should be in schools and it is our duty to be vigilant to identify these children and inform the authorities. There are many laws against child labour in India since 1948, followed by many modifications: 'The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986', prohibiting children below 14 years to work in hazardous conditions, and 'The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009' made it mandatory for children under 14 to have compulsory education. We have laws just about everything in India, but implementing them is the difficult part, and the officers who try to enforce them get reprimanded mostly!


There has been much speculation behind the 'Jointly given Nobel Peace Prize', for two people from the feuding countries, but any conjectures would only spoil the great moment in history! We should be celebrating and congratulating Kailash Satyarthi, the 'Nobel Peace Prize Winner' amidst us, and Malala Yousafzai, instead of digging to find any 'Under currents', which may not be there at all, and does it really matter?! This great honour is not just for Kailash Sathyarthi, but an honour for India too, but it is so sad that celebrating this great achievement has been subdued all over India! It is also the time to increase the awareness to stop child labour and trafficking and enforce the existing law against 'Child labour and Trafficking'! Kailash Satyarthi is well known among those who take interest in humanitarian causes, but practically unknown to the media and the public, as he is very humble, doing his work quietly from a small office in South Delhi! Perhaps it is a 'Wake up call' for the media to start celebrating the 'Real Celebrities' in India rather than giving publicity for people for the wrong reasons, and also time for the public to look around us to care for those who are suffering, to stop child labour and trafficking, and also to make sure that our children attend school!
ŠEMenonOctober 2014

© E Menon

 

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