As Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi arrived at Vidisha railway station in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday, he bowed down and kissed the Earth and the home of his forefathers.
A huge crowd greeted Satyarthi who returned to his native town for the first time after receiving the Nobel prize. People could be seen dancing, cheering, clicking pictures on their cellphones and trying to touch him. Soon after Satyarthi stepped out of the train, he got pushed into a huge crowd of joyous people.
It took him over three hours to cover just 2 kilometres from the railway station to his childhood home, situated in Mata Ke Gale in Qilander, a locality of Vidisha town, where his elder brothers Jagmohan Sharma and Narinder Sharma and their extended family were waiting with hundreds of others to welcome him.
His childhood home is a modest brick structure with cracked walls and the paint peeling off. On the second storey of this dilapidated house is a small room. A narrow, one feet-and-a-half staircase, leads to this room where the Nobel laureate spent most of his childhood.
In pics: Grand welcome for Kailash Satyarthi in MP
Thousands of people flocked to the railway station and up to his ancestral house to get a glimpse of Satyarthi. They walked with him, danced, burst crackers and shouted slogans such as Bharat Mata ki jai and even tried to get on to his jeep that was modified to look like a rath (chariot). He was accompanied by Choudhary Munawwar, Rajya Sabha member and his close friend for last three decades, on the jeep.
The police had a tough time in controlling the crowd and making space for Satyarthi to move forward. When the procession finally reached his locality, which has narrow lanes like any other lower middle class locality in India, it became almost impossible for the cops to control the swelling crowd that had gathered around his small house. The last few meters took almost half-an-hour to cover.
Finally, when Satyarthi reached his ancestral house, his elder brother stood at the main door. He touched his feet and hugged him with water welling up in his eyes.
HT spoke to most of his family members who said none of them could imagine that their son would return home with a Nobel prize some day and give a new identity to Vidisha, one of the most ancient cities of India. Now, Vidisha would be known as the place where Nobel laureate Satyarthi was born.
Expressing shock and anguish over the killing of children in Pakistan by terrorists, Satyarthi appealed to terrorists to take his life if they want to and release the children.
Satyarthi said the terrorists must realise that they were also children at some point of time in their life. They shouldn’t target children, he said.
When Satyarthi reached Shahnai Garden where his felicitation programme was organised, the function turned into a condolence meeting. Satyarthi made an appeal to the terrorists and recalled his journey to Pakistan when he ventured out of Lahore to rescue some child labourers and faced threat to his life.
When Satyarthi made the appeal late Tuesday afternoon, the children were still kept hostage by the terrorists in Pakistan.