Mahatma Gandhi was nominated on 12 occasions for the Nobel Peace Prize. But, he never won recognition. On his 150th birth anniversary, the Nobel Prize’s official Twitter page shared Gandhi’s photo and marked the day as the International Day of Non-Violence. Gandhiji has stayed as the biggest supporter of peace in the world straight from his struggle in South Africa to the non-violent struggle for India’s Independence that finally came to completion in 1947.
Then, why was Gandhiji never awarded the prestigious prize? In 2006, Geir Lundestad, permanent secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, groused, “The greatest omission in our 106-year history is undoubted that Mahatma Gandhi never received the Nobel Peace Prize.”Though he maintained that Gandhiji’s assassination in 1948 prevented the recognition from coming to him, a more precise clarification of categories was first publicized on the Nobel Prize’s website on 1 December 1999.
Between much argument, the then Nobelprize.org Peace Editor Oyvind Tonnesson wrote the article in 1999, “Mahatma Gandhi, the Missing Laureate”.Tonnesson outlines back to the year 1937 when Gandhiji was selected as one of the names for the Peace Prize by Ole Colb Jorgensen, a member of the Norwegian Parliament. Nevertheless, the committee’s advisor Jacob Worm-Muller wrote a report on Gandhiji, that while clarifying the admiration he drew, he also blamed Gandhiji’s position as a political leader as being unstable.
Also, the report marked on instances where Gandhiji’s perspective as a pacifist had resulted in violence between the British and the Indian freedom fighters, such as the Chauri Chaura incident of 1920-21, when the freedom fighters put fire to a police station. Gandhiji had as many analysts as admirers. Tonnesson stated the idea of peace was always thought of as being too much of an “Indian nationalist”.Additionally drawing to light the spoiled relation between India and Pakistan in 1947, the Nobel Committee also examined awarding Gandhiji the Peace Prize award, weighing upon the political consequences of what might result in.
Organizing this line of opinion were Norwegian Labour politician Martin Tranmael and former Foreign Minister Birger Broadland, wrote Tonnesson. The two leaders were absolutely against awarding Gandhi the Peace Prize when they comprehended his assertion on war against Pakistan in 1947, during a prayer session. Regardless, Gandhiji was prompt to point out that though the report was correct, yet it was also incomplete, wrote Tonnesson. He said that at the meeting he had said what he did, he had not varied his mind on non-violence, and will have “no place in a new order where they wanted an army, a navy, an air force, and whatnot.”
When Gandhiji was assassinated in 1948, the Nobel Committee had obtained a total of six nomination letters in his name only two days before. Yet, nobody then had been granted the award after death. And though the Nobel Foundation made sufficient provisions for posthumous reception of the honor, Tonnesson stated the prevalent question was without a will, or any organizational collaboration, who would accept Gandhiji’s award money?
Therefore, in 1948, the Nobel Committee determined not to anoint anybody for the year under the circumstance that “there was no suitable living candidate”. It cannot be known if Gandhiji was certainly a prospective nominee, for as Tonnesson wrote, he was “ no real politician or proponent of international law, not primarily a humanitarian relief worker and not an organizer of international peace congresses. He would have belonged to a new breed of Laureates.”However, one glaring criticism that Tonnesson ranks against the Norwegian committee was their evident selection for Europeans and Americans as laureates till 1960, and therefore naming Gandhiji as one during his time would have ranked him under a new “breed of laureates”.