New Delhi: Every story in “Tum Pahle Kyun Nahi Aaye” (meaning in English: Why You Did Not Come Earlier) exemplifies the victory of light over darkness, hope over despair, justice over injustice, compassion over cruelty and humanity over barbarity. The book penned by Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi and published by Rajkamal Prakashan was released by thespian Anupam Kher along with real protagonists of the book who are former child labourers.
The book release event was co-organised by India For Children and Rajkamal Prakashan in New Delhi. Some of the children, whose stories have been narrated in “Tum Pahle Kyun Nahi Aaye”, have been to western countries and UN events where they got an opportunity to raise issues on child rights and child labour with prominent world leaders. Their voice and appeal led to the formulation of multiple laws and regulations aimed at stopping exploitation of children and improving their condition globally.
Enthusiastic voices of children echoed in the Annexe hall of the Constitution Club of India in New Delhi with the song “Hum Nikal Pade Hai” (meaning in English: We Have Embarked Upon) and sloganeering before beginning of the programme. Slogans of “Har Bachche ka hai adhikar, roti, khel, padhai, pyar” (meaning in English: Every child has right on food, play, education, love) reverberated in the hall.
Following songs and slogans by children, Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, noted actor Anupam Kher, Bal Ashram Trust Co-founder Sumedha Kailash, Managing Director of Rajkamal Prakashan Ashok Maheshwari released the book along with some of the former child labourers who feature in the book.
On this occasion, eminent actor Anupam Kher said, “Films though have larger than life heroes, but Satyarthi ji has created real life heroes. You are a production house in yourself.” He narrated about his initial days of struggle as an actor and also told about his work. He further said, “Like Mahatma Gandhi ji said my life is my message, similarly, Kailash ji’s life has been his message. Heroes and heroines on the screen are unreal, real heroes and heroines are mentioned in this book, who Kailash Satyarthi ji has written about. It is not only yours but also a wealth of the entire nation. I congratulate the author as well as the publisher Rajkamal Prakashan.”
Anupam Kher then read out a few portions from the background of the book. Kailash Satyarthi ji explained about the process of writing this book. He also emphasized empathy, which he feels is his real achievement.
Post the book release, Anupam Kher also engaged in a fireside chat with Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi. “If tears roll down out of your eyes while reading the book, it only exemplifies your humanity,” Satyarthi ji said, adding, “We can learn a lot from children. It is important for us to recognise the child inside us.”
Kailash Satyarthi ji further said, “It might have taken me 12-13 years to pen down the book on paper, but the stories recorded here have been etched in my heart for nearly four decades. I am not a litterateur, but I tried making a creation in which elements of reality and literature are intertwined. My responsibility is also more as I have been a companion of these children in the course of their journey through their own life. I wrote these stories as memoirs and then narrated their journey. In this way, coordination had to be maintained between real-life incidents and literature. I have made a sincere effort. Now only readers can tell me if I have been able to do justice.”
Expressing his thoughts, Managing Director of Rajkamal Prakashan Ashok Maheshwari said, “It has been a pleasant experience for us in publishing this book. The reason is that the stories are about those children who have fallen prey to social inequalities, who have been through insults and subjected to abuses. It is due to the efforts of Kailash Satyarthi ji and his Bachpan Bachao Andolan that they have been freed from inhuman conditions and are here amongst us, dreaming of a new life. This book also reminds us of many other such children who continue to remain under difficult conditions in life, and we have to continue to work for them. Not only at an organizational level, but we have to become aware so that society is sensitized about such children so that unfavorable conditions do not arise to destroy their future. Slavery is a curse.
It is a matter of concern that slavery still persists in our times, but it is a hard fact that remnants of slavery still exist. Even children are not left out of slavery, but there is one truth that in our times people like Kailash Satyarthi are making the world aware about the threat of child slavery, Satyarthi ji has awakened us about the dangers that hover on childhood. He has penned down his memoirs and experiences in his book, which has now turned into an inspiring document. If childhood is not safe, then the world can not be safe. The book by Kailash ji emphasizes this truth and tells us every small step taken to make childhood free from all exploitation is significant”.
Before the book release, guests and mediapersons invited to the “Kailash Satyarthi se Mulakaat” (A Meeting with Kailash Satyarthi) discussed his campaigns with him. In the course of his discussion, Satyarthi ji apprised them about his campaigns. A small documentary film focused on the heroes of the book was aldo screened on the occasion. The children who fetaure in tbe book also explained about their present responsibilities which are directed at changing thr lives of other vulnerable children for the better.
About the book:
Every story in “Tum Pahle Kyun Nahi Aaye” (meaning in English: Why You Did Not Come Earlier) gives succour and exemplifies the victory of light over darkness, hope over despair, justice over injustice, compassion over cruelty and humanity over barbarity. But this victory was not easy to achieve. The roads were twisted with many turns and very long. On top of this, the hero of the stories and myself we have walked hand-in-hand through pain, fear, threat, mistrust, uncertainty, and mortal attacks. This book is not only an expression of a companion’s anxiety, unease, angst, and internal pain but also hope, dreams, and resolve.
The book narrates 12 real-life stories about those children who have been through different types of slavery and exploitation in different regions. It also it tells about how children are exploited in different occupations. Occupations like: agricultural labor, child marriage, sexual exploitation, domestic child labor, forced beggary, carpet industry, kiln brick industry, mining, human sacrifice, and others. These stories throw light on those dark corners of our society and make us aware of our country’s and children from all across the world that face such hardships. On the other hand, the book also apprises us how even small positive measures taken by us can free children from ignominy and enable them to touch the sky in life. The stories penned by Nobel Peace Laureate will make you more humane and responsible human beings.