Gandhi and the Nobel Prize

As you know, Al Gore has been awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel committee cited Gore forGandhi
"his continued efforts to remain at peace with the fact that the American presidency was once stolen from him."

Actually, Gore was cited for his efforts to increase awareness about global warming (he shared the award with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). In recent years, the Nobel committee seems to have had trouble finding people who have done enough to promote peace, hence such recipients as Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank (2006) and Wangari Maathai (2004). Perhaps they need to rename it the Nobel Peace And Other Stuff Prize.

Speaking of the Nobel Peace Prize, Sree Sreenivasan of SAJAForum notes that Mahatma Gandhi never won the Nobel, calling it the "biggest omission in Nobel history." The Nobel site has an article titled "Mahatma Gandhi, the Missing Laureate" that tries to explain the omission.

Gandhi was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 and, finally, a few days
before he was murdered in January 1948. 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". …

During the last months of his life, Gandhi worked hard to end the violence
between Hindus and Muslims which followed the partition of India. We know little
about the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s discussions on Gandhi’s candidature in
1948 …
but it seems clear that they seriously considered a posthumous award. When the
committee, for formal reasons, ended up not making such an award, they decided
to reserve the prize, and then, one year later, not to spend the prize money for
1948 at all. What many thought should have been Mahatma Gandhi’s place on the
list of Laureates was silently but respectfully left open. [Link]

They seriously considered a posthumous award, but in the end, they decided that it didn’t make sense to do that, given the fact that not one of them had a backbone.

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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