It is easy to miss Kailash Satyarthi, who is almost six feet tall, when he is with aggrieved parents at the office of his organisation, the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, at Kalkaji in south Delhi. He talks to them at a pitch lower than normal. Before they have finished telling him their issues, he has decided which of his team members can help them out.
What is your opinion about India's efforts to tackle child labour?
Child labour is a social evil. Society's response to the issue is very crucial. Social will is lacking right now. We also need better law enforcement. We need to see how to integrate the issue of child labour with the larger development framework including poverty alleviation, rural development and right to education. I believe the current regime's focus on the girl child and on social issues is proactive.
Some people say that this award is an international recognition of India's failure to tackle child labour and that we stand exposed before the world.
India is an open country with not only functional but a vibrant democracy. The judiciary is doing a great job. If we talk about various judgments or observations of the Supreme Court on a wide range of issues such as human rights and corruption, can we say that the court has exposed India's dark side for everyone to see? Similarly, media has been reporting heinous crimes. We cannot say that because it reflects poorly on our country, media organizations should abstain from highlighting these issues.