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“Let’s March” is a motivational speech given by 2014 Nobel Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi. In his speech he portrays several incidents of child trafficking, which he encountered in his life. Kailash, the advocate for India’s child rights, claimed that the only motive in his life is to make sure that every child is a free child.
Child labour, Slavery, Trafficking, Child marriage, Sexual Abuse and Illiteracy are some of the social issues ,which Kailash Satyarthi highlighted in his speech. His aspiration and resolution is to liberate humanity from all man-made crisis. He requests “Let’s walk together. In the pursuit of global progress, not a single person should be left out or left behind any corner of the world, from East to West, from South to North”.
His speech is divided into three parts.
In part 1, Kailash Satyarthi, he requests the listeners to walk together, to speak together and to create knowledge that benefits all. He appreciated kaalu Kumar, Adarsh Kishore from India and Iqbal Masih from Pakistan, for making their supreme sacrifice for protecting the freedom and dignity of children.
He says that though his purpose was to present a lecture, but he is unable to do that because he wants to represent the unheard plea of the deprived, the unnoticed suffering of the poor and innocent. During his speech, he kept an empty chair beside him to represent and respect millions of children who were left behind.
He then shares his experience of encountering a child labour twenty years ago, who asked him is the world so poor that it cannot give him a toy and a book? He then met with a Sudanese child-soldier, who was kidnapped by an extremist militia and was forced to kill his own family and friends.
Kailash Satyarthi then quotes the example of religious texts which teaches us to care for our children. He refused to accept that all the temples, mosques, churches and prayer houses have no place for the dreams of our children.
He refused to accept that all the laws and constitutions, police and judges are unable to protect our children. He refused to accept that the shackles of slavery can ever be stronger than the quest for freedom. He refused to accept that world is poor and cannot bring all the children to classrooms.
His only aim in his life is to free every child and make them free to grow, eat, sleep, play, learn, go to school and above all free to dream. He is afraid that due to lack of education, and objective of life, the cumulative result will end in an unprecedented violence, which can be suicidal for humankind. It is only education, which can restore the children’s rights, security and hope.
He appreciates his daughters Malala, Kayanat and Shazia for rising up and choosing peace over violence, tolerance over extremism, and courage over fear.
In Part 2, he encourages us that we can do it. He narrates one of his childhood stories that once there was heavy fire broken out in the forest and every animals were running to save their lives. Only a tiny bird had the courage to go and save the forest by dropping a drop of water from her beak. Though it was not enough, but having the courage to fight in the times of fear is actually what matters.
Eighteen years ago, millions of individuals marched across the globe to demand a new international law for the abolition of worst form of child labour. He quotes the example of Mahatma Gandhi, who said “If we are to teach real peace in the world. We shall have to begin with the children”.
Kailash Satyarthi here asks in aggressive tone that whose children are they who stitch footballs, who are kidnapped, who are dying of Ebola, who harvest cocoa, yet never tasted Chocolate?
He recalls his encounter with a eight year old girl, whom he rescued from intergenerational forced labour from stone quarries. The girl asked that why they had not come earlier. Her question still shakes him because the question is for all of us, that what we all are doing, and what are we waiting for? How many girls will have to go without rescue? Children are questioning our inaction and watching our actions.
Part 3, begins with his calling upon the governments, intergovernmental agencies, business, faith leaders, workers, teachers and NGOs to put an end to all forms of violence against the children, Slavery and trafficking. He requests that Global civil society just rise above the business as usual and fragmented agendas.
He even recalls his school days, where he met a cobbler boy of his age, who had no right to study inside the classroom. On asking his father, Kailash was informed that the cobbler boy and his family were born to work and they had never thought to gain education. He encourages all of us to democratise knowledge, universalise justice and to Globalise compassion.
He ends his speech by urging to march from ignorance, to awakening, from darkness to light, and to march from mortality to divinity.