MUMBAI: Aspire to become global citizens and strive for betterment of world rather than focussing only on individual progress, was the message of Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi to the young generation here.
"You are among the brightest brains in the country. You are the change-makers who are set to create history in various disciplines of life. Aspire to be global citizens... competitiveness makes one narrow-minded," Satyarthi said while addressing the 53rd Convocation of IIT-Bombay here.
Satyarthi, an electrical engineer by training, asked the students to use their engineering background to analyse and innovate rather than keep a blind faith in the prevailing system.
"Believe in yourself and set bigger goals for yourself. Apart from aspiring to be inventors of new technology, starting your own venture, you should also dream of how well you can contribute for a better world, he said.
Appealing to students to think about themselves in a different manner, Satyarthi said, "If you just dream for yourself, you may achieve the goal but will never be able to live in peace, but if you dream of a better world, you can be a global leader...dream, discover and do."
Observing that IIT-B is an institute par excellence, Satyarthi asked students to harness and channelise the leadership quality in them for a larger good.
Citing his own case, Satyarthi said, he had always followed his heart and "the mind will automatically follow you," he added.
Recalling his own experience as a crusader for child rights, Satyarthi said, he refused to accept that poor children have to work at the cost of their freedom and right to education.
"When I started school, I would see a boy of my age with a cobbler outside my school. When I questioned as to why the boy was not in school, I was told that poor children need to work.
"I refused to buy this argument. Later in life I gave up my lucrative engineering career to challenge and change this modern day slavery. I was shocked to see the business of buying and selling small boys and girls at lesser price than animals," the activist said.
"I see divinity and glimpses of God in smiles of rescued children and their mothers. I am lucky to have seen God because in all these years I have brought smiles to many children," he said.
Satyarthi asked the students to strive to be the most excellent version of their selves. "Believe in yourself and set bigger goals for yourself," he added.
"There was no law against child slavery and prostitution till 1998. Since the UN enacted a law, the number of affected children has come down from 260 million to 168 million the world over. Still much more needs to be done," Satyarthi said.
He said that 22 billion dollars are required to educate every single child in world.
"It is a very tiny amount compared to the annual military expenditure of many countries," he said.