Why Was Gandhi Never Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?

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gandhi.jpgWhy the Nobel Peace Prize never went to Gandhiji ? We did some research, and found startling surprises.

Mohandas Gandhi, the Mahatma, “the Great Soul“, was never awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was nominated for it five times in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 and, finally, a few days before he was murdered in January 1948. It is widely held, that the Indian national leader should have been the very man to be selected for the Nobel Peace Prize.

These questions have been asked frequently: Was the horizon of the Norwegian Nobel Committee too narrow? Were the committee members unable to appreciate the struggle for freedom among non-European peoples?” Or were the Norwegian committee members perhaps afraid to make a prize award which might be detrimental to the relationship between their own country and Great Britain?

Marthin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Albert Luthuli considered Gandhi to be their mentor. If there was one person you had to name who personified peace and non-violence in the 20th century, it has to be Mahatma Gandhi. So Why Was Gandhi Never Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?

Following are the little history of Gandhi’s nominations and rejections

First Nomination:

First time, in 1937 a member of the Norwegian Storting, Ole Colbjørnsen (Labour Party), nominated Gandhi for that year’s Nobel Peace Prize, and he was duly selected as one of thirteen candidates on the Committee’s short list. The committee’s adviser, professor Jacob Worm-Müller, wrote a report , “He is, undoubtedly, a good, noble and ascetic person – a prominent man who is deservedly honoured and loved by the masses of India.” On the other hand, when considering Gandhi as a political leader, he wrote, “sharp turns in his policies, which can hardly be satisfactorily explained by his followers. (…) He is a freedom fighter and a dictator, an idealist and a nationalist. He is frequently a Christ, but then, suddenly, an ordinary politician.” He added “One might say that it is significant that his well-known struggle in South Africa was on behalf of the Indians only, and not of the blacks whose living conditions were even worse.”

Second , Third Nomination:

Again in 1938 and 1939 Gandhi was renominated by Ole Colbjørnsen, but ten years were to pass before Gandhi made the committee’s short list again.

Fourth Nomination:

After 10 years, in 1947 the nominations of Gandhi for the fourth time by the Norwegian Foreign Office. The Nobel Committee’s adviser Seip wrote, “The following ten years from 1937 up to 1947, led to the event which for Gandhi and his movement was at the same time the greatest victory and the worst defeat – India’s independence and India’s partition.” Seip also wrote briefly on the ongoing separation of India and the new Muslim state, Pakistan, and concluded – rather prematurely it would seem today and Gandhi’s nomination was rejected.

Final Nomination:

The last time Mahatma Gandhi was nominated was in 1948, but he was assassinated on 30 January 1948, two days before the closing date for that year’s Nobel Peace Prize nominations. But according to the statutes of the Nobel Foundation in force at that time, the Nobel Prizes could, under certain circumstances, be awarded posthumously(occurring after one’s death:). Thus it was possible to give Gandhi the prize. However, Gandhi did not belong to an organisation, he left no property behind and no will; who should receive the Prize money? The Director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, August Schou, asked another of the Committee’s advisers, lawyer Ole Torleif Røed, to consider the practical consequences if the Committee were to award the Prize posthumously. Røed suggested a number of possible solutions for general application. Subsequently, he asked the Swedish prize-awarding institutions for their opinion. The answers were negative; posthumous awards, they thought, should not take place unless the laureate died after the Committee’s decision had been made.

On November 18, 1948, the Norwegian Nobel Committee decided to make no award that year on the grounds that “there was no suitable living candidate“.

Publicly regression by the Nobel Committee.

The omission has been publicly regretted by later members of the Nobel Committee; when the Dalai Lama was awarded the Peace Prize in 1989, the chairman of the committee said that this was “in part a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi“. Unfortunately, people who deserve the prize often don’t get it.

[ Reference : nobelprize.org -  Mahatma Gandhi, the Missing Laureate ]