Stressing on the significance of knowledge in the fight against child labour, Nobel Peace prize winner Kailash Satyarthi today said learning should be the “birth right” of every child and that denial of education is totally unacceptable.
Speaking at an event organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Satyarthi even went on to say that the denial of education to a child was “no less than violence inflicted on him”.
“We have to acknowledge the fact that denial of education to a child is also violence. Just as Bal Gangadhar Tilak spoke of Swaraj being our birth right, learning should be considered a birth right as well,” he said at the event which was organised to felicitate him.
Stating that we are living in the age of the “knowledge economy”, Satyarthi said that quality education is “the key to liberation which should empower an individual’s employability, significantly bringing down resentment in our society”.
He listed five factors — what he called ‘4-E’s and 1-Q’ — as he laid out his road map for a sustainable society: namely Education, Employability, Entrepreneurship, Efficiency and Quality.
Lamenting the absence of a global agency dedicated solely to children-related issues — notwithstanding the work being done by the likes of UNICEF and ILO — Satyarthi highlighted the need for an organisation which would fight for the emancipation of children.
Talking about the most challenging moment he has faced till date, Satyarthi recollected an event wherein he was badly beaten during a rescue drive.
“During a drive to rescue a few girls from a circus which was being run by a drug mafia, my son and I were severely beaten up and had to be admitted in the emergency ward of a hospital. It’s another matter that the very next day we were back to work with a smile,” Satyarthi said.
Drawing attention to the lack of corporate involvement in the fight against child labour, industrialist Rahul Bajaj, who was also present on the occasion, promised to assist Satyarthi in his endeavours.
“I confess to have not known you before the prize was bestowed, but now that the world is saluting you, I promise to assist you in every possible way,” Bajaj said.
Satyarthi, 60, was on October 10 named for this year’s Nobel Peace prize along with Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai. He has been working for child rights for over 30 years through Bachpan Bachao Andolan, the NGO which is credited with freeing over 80,000 child labourers across India.