Time to give back to India, Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi tells Bay Area Indian community

Author: 
Saurabh Datar
Source: 
Peninsula Press

Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi called for the large Indian community in the Bay Area to take the lead and contribute to the cause of eliminating child slavery in India, as well as around the world, during a local event on May 7. Referring to the “academic wealth” of the community, Satyarthi said the Indian populace in the region could play a major role for promoting the welfare of children.

Satyarthi was in Silicon Valley to speak at TiECon, an entrepreneurship conference organized by The Indus Entrepreneurs, an organization by entrepreneurs with roots in the Indus region.

The 62-year-old, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 with Pakistani human rights advocate Malala Yousafzai for their “struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education,” saw parallels between his work and Silicon Valley’s work.

“You can call it disruption, innovation, entrepreneurship, change-making, risk-taking … I see the tremendous power of social transformation through technology,” he said.

Satyarthi’s purpose of the trip was also to connect with the large Indian diaspora in the Bay Area, who he believes can play a significant role.

“The Nobel Peace Prize is not just a matter of pride for India, but a matter of moral responsibility. I feel it is the collective moral responsibility of all Indians to put an end to child slavery in India and across the world.”

He added: “It’s time [for the Indian community] to give back to the country, not in terms of small measures by way of supporting charity. They (Indian community) can be leaders in bringing about change for the millions of children who are deprived of their childhood, freedom, education, healthcare and nutrition.”

“I would call upon people to develop some apps to help people to raise their voice, understand and know their own rights and issues of other children in the world,” he said, referring to the technical talent pool in the community. He added that if these apps can fulfill an inner quest to be a better human being and make the world a better place, they will work.

He said he had identified several leaders from the community to work with, but refrained from naming them, only saying that he had received a good response.

Plans

Satyarthi told Peninsula Press that he plans to establish a global policy institute in India — a “think-and-do tank,” as he called it. The institute would work toward a holistic policy for issues related to children and coordinated action on ground, he said.

“I know that many Indians here have tremendous academic wealth and they can feel proud in establishing this center in India,” Satyarthi said, adding that India can take the lead and show the path to the rest of the world in this arena.

The Nobel Laureate also plans to launch a new campaign, ‘100 Million for 100 Million,’ which seeks to connect “two constituencies” of youth.

“There are 100 million young people who are deprived of fundamental things like childhood, education and nutrition. On the other hand, there are 100 million young people in schools and universities, who are eager to do something and prove themselves in an innovative way. We can harness their energy, before it turns into disillusionment and frustration. These 100 million can become the change-makers and champions for the cause of 100 million left-out children in the world.”

Satyarthi also called for the “globalization of human compassion and human connect” and said technology could help in finding a way “to do business with compassionate intelligence”.

The leader sees social media playing a large role in his campaign. “We have reached out to various social media groups here. This is the preparatory phase. We will launch the campaign in December.”