Stunning disbelief gave way to rapturous celebrations with sweets and crackers at the family home of Kailash Satyarthi on Friday, a brilliant piece of news for a sleepy town where the Nobel laureate grew up dreaming to change the world for the better.
"Kailash was an active, go-getter child. His attitude of being one step ahead of anything in life told me he would achieve something big in life," Satyarthi’s elder brother Jagmohan Sharma told Hindustan Times.
"I did not imagine it would be this big. Everyone is just stunned and extremely happy. We are truly at top of the world."
As news of Satyarthi’s achievement flashed on television, people thronged his native home in the Kile ke Andar locality of Vidisha town where the child rights activist grew up in a huge joint family.
Not only the Sharma residence, but almost entire Vidisha erupted in joy to celebrate a ‘son of the soil’.
"People are pouring in, crackers are being burst, sweets are being distributed and the telephones haven’t stopped ringing since afternoon," Satyarthi’s nephew Umesh Sharma said.
"It’s like Diwali has come early for us and with bigger sparkle."
Munawwar Salim, a Rajya Sabha MP and an old friend of Satyarthi, said the Nobel winner had shown signs of “social compassion” right since his days as an engineering student at Samrat Ashok Technological Institute (SATI), Vidisha.
But Jagmohan, who is ten years older to Satyarthi, said his brother’s intolerance to injustice was evident from his childhood.
"He had formed this small group that would identify government vehicles engaged in personal work and protest against them," he said.
"My parents, simple people, were worried about his actions, but I always encouraged his rare attitude."
Satyarthi was born Kailash Sharma on January 11, 1954, the fourth and youngest son of police constable Ramprasad Sharma and his wife Chironjibai.
"Kailash, my early days mentor, felt and understood the pain of deprived people right from youth and this is reason for reaching this pinnacle of success," Salim said.
Salim remembered two incidents distinctly: Once when a poor settlement in Vidisha town caught fire, Satyarthi got his limbs burnt trying to douse the fire and save people personally.
Another time, after a cleric in Vidisha mosque was subject to harassment, Satyarthi immediately sat on a hunger strike to demand justice and action was taken against the accused.
Satyarthi still visits the family home regularly and maintains close ties.
"He visited just two months ago," Umesh Sharma said.