Nobel Peace Prize Controversies and Mahatma Gandhi
What Is The Relation Between Nobel Peace Prize and Mahatma Gandhi
Whenever a prize is proclaimed or declared anywhere in the world, it is not a new thing for controversies & conflicts to follow regarding the qualifications or the right for the person who has won the prize. History is witness to the fact that Nobel Prize is also free from such controversies. After the forties each time the Nobel Peace Prize is declared there is always a question that arises. Why Mahatma Gandhi was never given Nobel Prize? Many disciples of Mahatma Gandhi, those who respected his ideologies, those who built up workshops similar to his were at sometime or the other found place in nominations or recommended for the Prize.
Both the American president Barack Obama who respected Gandhiji’s principles & Younus Mohammad from Bangladesh, who created an alternative method for economy stabilization to help the poor by introducing the idea to set up Grameen banks, received this honor. But this honor never came along Gandhiji’s way. Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Vangari Maatai...like that many....let us simply check why this happened.
The rules & regulations behind the prize that Gandhi did not receive & the award deciding committee’s take on the issue is very surprising .Five times Gandhi was nominated for the Nobel Prize. In that only, three times he found place in the final list. But he did not receive the prize. Some of the jury’s views on this issue s like this; Mahatma Gandhi was a strong supporter of Indian Nationalism. Many times it felt like Jesus Christ, at the same time he was a normal politician. This is one limitation according to the Jury...
How Nobel Prize is Decided ?
The Nobel Prize should be given to a person for his community works or to the leaders? The world criticized Theodore Roosevelt’s Nobel Prize by asking this question. Questions were also raised against the German Nobel Prize winner in 1935, Carl von Ossietzky. In the past he has become a prisoner of Hitler.
Another committee’s take on the issues are as follows; actually it is difficult to decide whether he was a politician, idealist, social worker, or person who worked only for world peace. Sometimes he was all these. Therefore the jury showed helplessness to judge him.
Gandhiji showed us the example of non-violence Satyagraha. A life example which is considered very difficult to follow. Gandhiji was considered for the Nobel Prize in the years 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947.The next year (1948) after which he was considered last for the Prize in ’47, he was shot dead.
An Award to Peace Activists or to Statesmen?
The first time his name was suggested for the Nobel Peace Prize, jury advisor Prof. Jacob von Mueller saw Gandhi’s nomination with criticism .According to him; Gandhi was a good, respectable human, no doubt. He had the ability to attract the crowds also. But the same time he was an example for the people, he was a freedom fighter also. When he was an example for the people with his principles, he stood as an Indian Nationalist. This was the criticism.
When he stood with Non-violence, simultaneously it lead to violence against the British. The Chowri-chowra incident that took place in 1920-21 is the example he puts forward to support that statement. In the incident many policemen were killed & the station was set on fire. When Gandhi used to stay in South Africa he used to fight for the Indians there.
When the blacks were suffering in South Africa, he did not raise his voice for them but only for the Indians in there. In that matter he did not work for World peace but he tried to become a complete Indian Nationalist. . From 1938 onwards Gandhi’s name got suggested consecutively three times. In the end when his name was suggested for the fourth time, India was enjoying her freedom.
The Nobel Committee Advisor Jens Arup Seip’s report was not as critical as that of Worm-Mueller. But his take on the matter was as follows; Gandhi had a very great personality. He was an example of various good qualities. But he would not be remembered as an apostle of peace, but as a true patriot. Many people hoped that the Gandhi would get the Nobel Prize in 1947. But it did not happen. In 1948 he became a martyr. In 1948 the Jury’s decision was that nobody was eligible for Nobel Prize in that year.
In that year Seip’s report goes like this; Gandhi, through his course of life, had put his profound mark on an ethical and political attitude which would prevail as a norm for a large number of people both inside and outside India. In this respect Gandhi can only be compared to the founders of religion. Even after his death, his name kept coming up in the Nobel Committee. That time they found another excuse. If he is selected for the Nobel Prize who will receive it on his behalf? He has not set up an institution or a community. He did not believe in money or riches. Therefore who will receive the same?
The Swedish academy held discussions with different people on this issue. Like that after his death also the Nobel Prize did not come his way. Gandhi who opposed the way of British rule was honoured later in Britain also. They were all ready to bring out a stamp in his remembrance. Then also the Nobel Committee did not understand. In the end, Gandhi’s name was first in a report published in the Foreign Policy Magazine (FP) about people who deserved the Prize & were not honoured with it.
The Nobel Prize jury has another astonishing finding which got Dalai Lama selected for the Nobel in 1989. The Jury’s words were that this Prize was also a remembrance for Mahatma Gandhi. It is a historical coincidence if the Nobel Prize received by Barack Obama this year has found place below one of the rare huge portrait of Gandhi hung in his office. It is important to note that because the prize was not given to Gandhi, whether Gandhi or the Nobel Prize itself became belittled.