Why Bapu did not re­ceive No­bel Prize

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Special | [email protected] 150 - Avi­[email protected] times­group.com

Oslo: It’s a sort of con­fes­sion that Ma­hatma Gandhi him­self would have ap­pre­ci­ated. What do you say when the sec­re­tary of the Nor­we­gian No­bel Com­mit­tee, Geir Lun­destad, says, “The great­est omis­sion in our 106-year his­tory is un­doubt­edly that Ma­hatma Gandhi never re­ceived the No­bel Peace Prize.”

Gandhi was short­listed five times — 1946, 1947, 1948 and twice be­fore World War II. “But it will re­main a his­tor­i­cal fact that Gandhi never re­ceived the prize,” says Lun­destad, sit­ting in the same room where

No­bel com­mit­tees have de­cided on the win­ner for over a cen­tury.

Among other fac­tors, he says, a Euro-cen­tric per­spec­tive among the No­bel com­mit­tee mem­bers then could have played an im­por­tant role be­hind the de­ci­sion.

In fact, there was lit­tle ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the free­dom strug­gles in colonies, and de­spite his nom­i­na­tion, mem­bers cited rel­a­tively mi­nor rea­sons — like his ‘in­con­sis­tent paci­fism’ — to deny Gandhi the prize.

Lun­destad adds in a self­dep­re­cat­ing tone that al­most sounds like Gand­hi­giri: “Gandhi could do with­out the No­bel Peace Prize. Whether the No­bel com­mit­tee can do with­out Gandhi is the ques­tion.”

Lun­destad re­vealed that the com­mit­tee had more or less de­cided to award Gandhi the peace prize in 1948. But he was shortly as­sas­si­nated.

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