Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi gave the inaugural address at the Pan Indian Institute of Management Alumni event, IIMPACT 2019 held at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre, Singapore on August 17.
The 2014 Nobel Peace prize recipient has freed more than 88,000 children in India from slavery, child labour and trafficking through his ‘Bachpan Bachao Andolan’.
The 65 year old has led the ‘Global March against Child Labour’, a social movement, the demands of which were drafted into the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) convention. He founded the ‘Global Campaign for Education’, ‘Goodweave International’ and ‘Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation’ too.
Satyarthi spoke of his journey, labelling the decades from where it all started to now as 1.0 to 4.0.
As a student a chance meeting with a labourer the same age as him led Satyarthi to question why that boy couldn’t go to school with him. The adults didn’t give satisfactory answers and the labourer boy seemed to accept that all humans were not born to live equally. Satyarthi couldn’t accept that 62 million children have never been to school due to various reasons and he wanted to change that, he says.
Children are not responsible for creating divides and borders. But they are the ones who suffer because of them. This realisation led Satyarthi to be sensitized about others suffering and realise that compassion needs to be globalised, not restricted by man-made borders.
Satyarthi believes that the 4 P’s - People, Prosperity, Peace and Planet - are key to saving the world. It is only by focussing on the 4 P’s that we can leave a sustainable legacy for future generations, he says.
Harnessing technology to solve social problems such as missing children is something he advocates strongly. Satyarthi illustrated a case where more than 7,000 missing children were reunited with their families using facial recognition technology.
Every year 40,000-45,000 children go missing in India. About 120,000 such children were housed in shelter homes run by Government of India. Photos of all these children were loaded into a database and police could scan and compare them with missing children’s photos thus making it possible to unite them with their parents.
Satyarthi became the first natural born Indian citizen to win the Nobel Peace Prize (shared with Malala Yousafzai). He presented his medal to the then Indian President, Pranab Mukherjee in January 2015. The original medal is on display in the Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum, India.