Nobel Peace prize omissions

While Barack Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize has caused jaw-drops all over the world, came across this article in the Economic Times which talks about why Mahatma Gandhi never won it!

The Foreign Policy magazine has come out with the list of 7 deserving people who never won the Nobel Peace Prize. Apart from Mahatma Gandhi, who tops the list, Eleanor Roosevelt, Vaclav Havel, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Sari Nusseibeh, Corazon Aquino and Liu Xiaobo are the other six deserving but deprived ones.

Apparently the Mahatma had made it to the short-list thrice, in 1937, 1947 and 1948.

In 1937, the committee’s advisor criticised Gandhi’s dual role as a peace activist and political leader of an independence movement, writing that ‘he is frequently a Christ, but then, suddenly, an ordinary politician’.

As India and Pakistan achieved independence in 1947, Gandhi’s crowning triumph was tempered by the violence and dislocation that resulted and the Nobel committee hesitated to award the peace prize to someone so closely identified with one of the combatants.

The committee also seems to have been affected by regional and racial biases; most of the prior awards had been given to white European men.

Although the committee considered awarding Gandhi the prize in 1948, following his assassination, Alfred Nobel’s will clearly required that the award be given to a living person. The decision to not dispense any award that year because “there was no suitable living candidate” appears to be an implicit admission that the committee missed its opportunity to recognise Gandhi’s accomplishments.

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