Young at 70 and going strong

GLORIOUS YEARS

I have had a deep connection with India since I came here for my first diplomatic posting. My son was born in India during that time.

Maybe since we have such a strong family feeling about India it was only natural that my daughter found an Indian man as her husband. Today, this afternoon, as soon as I arrived in Delhi, I met my in-laws,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. 

To mark the 70th anniversary of United Nations, the Secretary General, was in the city once again, after he was posted as a diplomat in India in 1972. Addressing an enrapt audience he said, “I even enrolled in Max Mueller Bhavan - maybe some of you know Max Mueller Bhavan where they taught languages - to study some Hindi. That was so long ago, 42 or 43 years ago, I would sound old-fashioned if I try to speak it! But I used to say Main Hindi thoda thoda bolta hun.”

“Mera iss desh ke saath ek gehra bandhan hai. Main Bharat vaapas aake bohot khush hua. (I have a deep connection with this country. I am very happy to be back in India,” he said.

Nobel Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi, who was also present at the occasion talked about child labour and slavery, and commented that it stillexists in its cruelest form.

“It is impossible to achieve United Nations Millennium Development Goals if child labour continues to exist,” Satyarthi said. He spoke of the need to end child labour, after having earlier submitted a petition to Ban Ki-moon with over 5,50,000 signatures to include abolishing child labour in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Hygiene and Sanitation, Sachin Tendulkar shared an anecdote about his dream of being a cricketer as a child and having the freedom and support of his family to reach his goal. “When I think of my childhood I remember my parents giving me complete freedom to do what I wanted to do”.

He said, “The first inning of my life was exciting. I took hold of the World Cup trophy after 21 years of my career. In my second inning, which started soon after the retirement, the first responsibility that I accepted was to be UN ambassador for hygiene and sanitation.”
He shared his experience of playing cricket with visually impaired and physically challenged kids in Ratnagiri, and spread the message of good hygiene.

Veteran actor Sharmila Tagore rallied in support of improving maternal health, with a special focus on the non-urban areas. She shared her personal experiences about working with women and how easily avoidable maternal deaths are.

Reminiscing about the video she shot with child labours, actor Nandita Das said, “Being a mother I can say what you want for your child is what you want for other children as well.” Das laid thrust on the freedom of expression.

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