A day in the life of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

13 Jul 2015


From a nation of over 1.2 Billion People, Kailash Satyarthi is the only living citizen of India who has been honored with the prestigious felicitation in humanity - The Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 - which was awarded to him and The 17 Year Old. The Nobel Peace Prize 2014 was awarded jointly to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai “for their struggle against the suppression of children&young people and for the right of all children to education”. http://kailashsatyarthi.net/nobel.html

It was chance and good fortune that I had the unique opportunity to spend many hours with Kailash Satyarthi recently. He was one of the keynote speakers at the 33rd Annual Convention of AAPI (American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin) http://www.aapiusa.org/ in Orlando, Florida .Hailing from the same state of Madhya Pradesh (M.P.) in India, the roots connected us.

For those who may want to know about Kailash Satyarthi and his efforts for last 30 years, you can check anywhere on the internet or visit http://satyarthi.org/

The mission is Himalayan, The man is a human : Seeing Mr Satayarthi interact with all the people on that day, one never got the feeling of being in the company of a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Very approachable, easy to connect, pleasing smiling personality, almost disarming .

The Nobel is an affirmation, not the destination : Mr Satyarthi has been on his mission since 1980s. While the Nobel prize has certainly given his movement a global presence and recognition, he knows that it is a powerful platform to enable the cause, and makes him and his team work harder and more passionately for the upliftment of children globally. And as per him, The Nobel Prize came as a totally real surprise. When a journalist called him with excitement : ” Kailashji…Nobel Peace Prize”, He felt the journalist just wanted sound bites on some new Nobel Winner.

The Accolade is for the movement, not just the person : In a very humble manner, Mr Satyarthi shared with the packed audience of medical fraternity that when he visited the President of India after receiving the Nobel, The President mentioned that the people of India do not have any Nobel Honor to feel and touch. Mr Satyarthi wrote to the Nobel Committee, sought their unique permission and now his Nobel Peace award Medallion is kept in a National Musuem in New Delhi for each and every Indian to see with own eyes. He feels the award is for the whole nation, not just a person. He shared that he has now over 16,000 invitations from all over the world, and his team says it may take over 70 years to attend them all. Yet, he is trying, constantly on the move and spreading the word, globally.

Be Human : After a late Lunch, the key people of the organizing team of AAPI were sitting around Mr Satyarthi. They asked in all earnest that please suggest is there anything we can do for you ? As he said yes, they felt he would ask for some support to his movement, which they were ready for . All he asked : Can I get  a good warm cup of tea ? The whole room burst in laughter, but also set the tone : The man is a missionary, but at first is just a simple man. He has visited over 100 nations, is constantly on the move for his mission, yet remains unassuming. It is when he takes the stage and speaks in his soft baritone that you feel the mission and sacrifices : this is a man whose whole body is bruised and hurt and his coworkers have lost their life when trying to free children from oppression, yet he still strives tirelessly.

The only sound is of their accomplishments : During the course of the day, there was a chance meeting of Mr Satyarthi with another key note speaker and the recently appointed youngest Surgeon General of USA, Vice Admiral Dr. Vivek Murthyhttp://www.surgeongeneral.gov/ Two extraordinary individuals in their own spheres, who make all their fraternity proud. Yet when they met, they discussed issues of common concern to humanity in such a soft, humble voice


The Selfie Craze : I was amazed at his calm with hordes of admirers and request for pictures, selfies, another picture. He was swamped for picture requests while walking, in the elevators, even while on the dinner table, but not even once did he flinch. His eyes would often light up in pictures with children. He was ready, smiling, accommodating, so much so that I was compelled to ask him : how does he do it ? He smiled and then chose to reply the question from stage to the whole hall : ” I had a dream from childhood to have a picture with a Nobel Prize winner. When I got a chance to meet Dalai Lama, I met a Nobel winner but did not have camera to get a picture. So when I got the news of my Nobel Peace prize, I actually went in the washroom and took my own selfie in the mirror : my first picture with a Nobel Prize Winner !! ”  Maybe some of these people also have such a dream  Probably, he knows it well that for the fan, it is that fleeting moment of interaction which will remain in memory for long. With social media sharing may help his cause eventually.  Since he is now so used to Selfies with all types of smartphones, Nobel Peace Prize Winner 2014 Kailash Satyarthi would himself be ready to help and take selfies and pictures with the admirer. Including this one with the writer.

kailash Satyarthi and Jitendra Muchhal
In case you have any interest to know more about Kailash Satyarthi and his movement , you can check more at http://satyarthi.org/.  If you wish to reach contacts of their organization in USA, I would be happy to help.

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