- Gandhiji, universally regarded as 'Apostle of Peace' was strangely not nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
- The Nobel Committee has not revealed any particular reason for the omission.
October makes us remember Gandhi, as Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated on the second day of October. During this month, Nobel Award winners are also announced.
The Nobel Committee releases the names of Nobel awardees usually between October 3 and ten every year. But one thing what bothers many of us is why Gandhiji, who fought for India’s freedom on the plank of 'non-violence' and 'peace', did not get a Nobel award?
The world has been questioned many a time about this.
Gandhiji, a major proponent of non-violence, literally followed the principles and ideals that he preached, and that is why he is universally regarded as 'Apostle of Peace' and it seems strange that such a personality was not nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In fact, the name of Gandhiji was sent for nomination in 1937, 1938, 1939 and lastly during 1948 as well and on all these occasions his name was rejected by the committee! During 1948, days before his assassination, his name was recommended one last time.
But the Nobel committee never considered the nomination.
Perhaps they were negligent of achievers who hailed from Non-European countries. Another theory is that Norway must have had inhibitions about selecting a personality who fought against the British, who belong to their culture and physical neighbourhood. At the time, Norway perhaps was also not willing to antagonise Britain.
In a bid to make amends for this massive oversight, when the Nobel Peace Award was given to Dalai Lama in 1989, the Nobel Selection Committee chairman remarked: "In a way, this an honour to Mahatma Gandhi too," A small apology for a significant oversight.
While some members of the committee have publicly expressed remorse for having omitted name of Gandhiji, the Nobel Committee has not revealed any particular reason for the omission.
One theory floated is that the 'Non-violence' concept of Gandhi was a politically motivated one and as such, he can only be considered as a 'Religious Saint' and not as a 'Protagonist of International peace'.
In 1947, when his name was recommended for the fourth time the partition of India was projected as Gandhiji's handiwork by some sections of the British. Though some members of the Nobel committee were in favour of Gandhiji, others declined citing the Hindu-Muslim rift and 27 September edition of the 'Times' newspaper published a news article "Gandhi in Pak War" that became fodder for discussion.
Perhaps he could have been conferred with the prestigious award posthumously, but the Nobel Committee said that there are no such provisions to confer the award. The committee also contended that Gandhi had no legal heir to whom it could be given.
But people like Nelson Mandela, Albert Schweitzer and Kailash Satyarthi, who trodden the Gandhian path and emulated his principles, have been conferred with the Nobel Award – which feels like a travesty of the truth.
But Gandhiji remained a personality beyond the horizons of awards and accolades and enshrined in the hearts of people.
In any case, it is not like Gandhiji ever lacked recognition.
The great scientist Einstein quoted "Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth."
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:39 PM IST