Not honouring Mahatma was mistake: Nobel Prize panel


New Delhi : The Nobel Foundation has admitted that it was a “mistake” not to have honoured Mahatma Gandhi, whose birth anniversary Tuesday is being celebrated as International Day of Non-Violence.

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Gandhi was nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize but the Norwegian Nobel Committee believed that he could not be selected as he was “neither a real politician nor a humanitarian relief worker”.

Talking to an Indian TV news channel, Michael Sohlman, executive director of the Nobel Foundation in Sweden, said missing out on the Mahatma was a mistake by the Norwegian Peace Committee.

“We missed a great laureate and that’s Gandhi. It’s a big regret,” Sohlman told CNN-IBN.

“I usually don’t comment on what the Nobel Committees or prize awarding institutions decide. But here, they themselves think he is the one missing,” he added.

Nobel Museum curator Anders Barany said the irony is that eminent personalities, who were guided by the Mahatma’s teachings, were awarded the Nobel in later years though the apostle of peace and non-violence himself did not figure on the list of awardees.

“Mahatma Gandhi is the one we miss the most at the Nobel museum. I think that’s a big empty space where we should have had Mahatma Gandhi. I think it was a mistake. I think they could have made up for that little difference,” Barany said.

The Nobel Committee made amends to some extent by not awarding the peace prize to anybody in 1948 – the year Gandhi was assassinated.

According to the rules in existence then, only those who were living as on Feb 1 in the given year could be considered for nomination, but Gandhi was killed on Jan 30.

The committee then skipped the award, saying there was no suitable living candidate.