Why Gandhiji never received noble price, despite being nominated multiple times?

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Saurabh Mistry
Apr 22 , 2018 11 min read 360 Views Likes 1 Comments
Why Gandhiji never received noble price, despite being nominated multiple times?

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma or Gandhiji, widely portrait as a symbol of non-violence. He had moved the entire country in the independence movement. Most people recognize him for his independence movement by non-violence against British Government. He had been nominated for Noble Peace Prize in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947, and finally, a few days before his assassination in January 1948, but never received the Award.

The omission of Gandhiji has been widely discussed, including public statements by various members of the Noble Committee. There are many speculations, theories and hypothesis around the topic. One such speculation is that the Committee members were looking not to provoke British authorities, though there is no evidence in the archives that the Norwegian Nobel Committee ever took this possibility into consideration. So among these multiple nominations, why he was not awarded the peace prize? 

He was first nominated for the Noble Peace Prize in 1937 by the Norwegian Storting (Parliament) member, Ole Coljjornsen. The committee adviser, Mr Worm-Muller, prepared a report, a strong critic, and 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.” Subsequently, during his later nominations, selection committee chairman Gunnar Jahn mentioned “While it is true that he (Gandhi) is not naive. He is an excellent jurist and a lawyer”. Additionally, due to incidents like Chauri Chaura violence in 1920-21, India Pak tension in 1947, The Nobel Committee also questioned awarding Gandhi the Peace Prize award.

In 1948 as his final nomination, Nobel committee recognized Gandhi’s lifelong commitment to non-violence but decided not to award that year’s peace prize to anyone, stating that there were no “suitable living candidates” worthy of the award. Contrary to this, in 1961 - Dag Hammarskjöld, Secretary-General of the United Nations, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, even though he had died in a plane crash earlier that year.

Even Fritz Haber who organized poison gas attacks won the chemistry Noble Prize but Gandhiji who is noted to be a strong believer in nonviolence in history books never got a Noble Peace Price. Is this a bias from Noble selector committee or Gandhiji was a true political leader who used nonviolence to keep himself on top of Indian politics and generations of his political party Indian National Congress to rule India.

Gandhi a politician: Indian National Congress was a single most popular party in Indian politics when Gandhi returned from South Africa. He soon joined it. At that time INC was dominated by more extremist views by leaders like Balgangadhar Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai. Gandhi successfully conducted revolutions in South Africa in a satyagraha fashion. He applied similar principles when he joined INC and it was accepted widely in INC. Thereafter he successfully ran satyagrahas in Bengal and Gujrat which made him popular in INC within a short period. He became president of INC in 1921. His views were popular all over India against violent views of Azad and Bhagat Singh.

In my opinion, Gandhiji never received Noble Peace Prize because he was a true politician who is known to be a non-violence believer. And a strong critic of him being a nonviolence believer is, he played a pivotal role in the partition of India-Pakistan, the event filled with millions of people's blood and definitely not an act of nonviolence.

--By Milan Nathani


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