Why is Mahatma Gandhi not awarded with Nobel Peace Prize?

Mahatma Gandhi was nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947, and 1948. But he was not awarded this award. What was the reason, let us find out!
Created On: Mar 12, 2021 13:08 IST
Modified On: Mar 12, 2021 13:10 IST
Ganghi ji with Nobel and Bharat Ratna Award
Ganghi ji with Nobel and Bharat Ratna Award

Alfred Nobel signed his testament on 27 November 1895. As per his testament, the largest share of his fortune would be distributed to a series of prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine or Physiology, Literature, Peace – the Nobel Prizes.   

Sweden’s central bank established Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 1968. So in total Nobel Prizes are given in 6 categories.

The first Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on 10 December 1901. In 1901, the Nobel Prize was divided equally between Jean Henry Dunant "for his humanitarian efforts to help wounded soldiers and create international understanding" and Frederic Passy "for his lifelong work for international peace conferences, diplomacy, and arbitration."

The Nobel Prizes and the Prize in Economic Sciences between 1901 and 2020 were awarded 603 times.

But the question arises that why this prize is not given to Mahatma Gandhi till date?

M. Gandhi was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 1937, 1938, 1939, and 1947. Gandhi Ji became a strong choice for this prize only after India got independence. He was nominated again in 1948 and it was sure that he would get the prize this time. But few days before the final announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize, he was assassinated by N.R. Godse.

The Nobel Committee had publicly regretted the omission of the Gandhi Ji from the List of Nobel Winners. That’s the reason that the Norwegian Nobel Committee decided not to give Nobel Peace Prize to anyone in 1948.

The Statutes of the Nobel Foundation from 1974 stipulate that a Prize cannot be awarded posthumously unless death has occurred after the announcement of the Nobel Prize. 

Let us tell you that before 1974, the Nobel Prize has been awarded posthumously twice namely Dag Hammarskjold (Nobel Peace Prize 1961) and Erik Axel Karlfeldt (Nobel Prize in Literature 1931).

Bharat Ratna Award: List of recipients

The omission of the Gandhi Ji is deeply regretted by the Nobel Committee. In the year 1989; when the Dalai Lama was awarded the Peace Prize; the chairman of the Nobel committee said that this award to the Dalai Lama is a "tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi”

The Nobel Peace Prize 2019 is given to the 'Abiy Ahmed Ali' for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation especially his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with Eritrea”.

Apart from Nobel Peace Prize; Gandhi is not awarded with India's highest civilian award i.e. Bharat Ratna.

Why is Gandhi Ji not awarded with Bharat Ratna?

As we know that Gandhi Ji had played a very prominent role in the Indian freedom movement. He was assassinated in 1948 and Bharat Ratna was started in 1954. Initially, the Bharat Ratna was not awarded posthumously but later on this rule was changed.

Worth mentioning that there are plenty of PILs that had been filed with the Karnataka High Court by the Manjunath, a resident of Bangaluru, and others. Manjunath wanted the court should issue a direction to the Ministry of Home Affairs to consider Gandhi Ji's representation for conferring Bharat Ratna.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna rejected the PILs and said orally that “Perhaps they [government] do not want Mahatma Gandhi to stand with Sachin [Tendulkar]” while observing that the “nation can’t harass its own father”

The Court further argued that when lesser important people are awarded Bharat Ratna then giving the same award to the Gandhi Ji does not suit his charisma. Gandhi Ji is above them and deserves an elevated and separate place.

So it can be said that the nomination of Gandhi Ji for any award would undermine Gandhiji’s importance. The Court argued that Gandhi Ji and his deeds are immortal. Bharat Ratna or any award will just harm his status.

So from the above explanation, it can be said that Gandhi Ji is not awarded with Nobel Peace Prize and Bharat Ratna.

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