That Gandhi was never awarded the Nobel Peace Prize is something that has always puzzled me. It is common sense that the Peace Prize has its own political overtones . So, the guess would be that it was due to political reasons. Surely, Gandhi not getting the Nobel matters very little to us… . but still, if the Nobel foundation thought is fit to give the award to Arafat (an ex-terrorist), why not Gandhi? Atleast wrt the Physics prizes, The Nobel Foundation has been pretty much above serious criticism. However, I never thought that I would get an answer to my question.. but I was surprised when I saw an article titled “Mahatma Gandhi, the Missing Laureate”.. on the Official Nobel site itself.!!!
The article starts with some obvious questions…
These questions have been asked frequently: Was the horizon of the Norwegian Nobel Committee too narrow? Were the committee members unable to appreciate the struggle for freedom among non-European peoples?” Or were the Norwegian committee members perhaps afraid to make a prize award which might be detrimental to the relationship between their own country and Great Britain?
It appears that Gandhi’s killing in 1948 and the practice of not giving a Nobel posthumously had a significant role to play.
Gandhi was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 and, finally, a few days before he was murdered in January 1948. The omission has been publicly regretted by later members of the Nobel Committee; when the Dalai Lama was awarded the Peace Prize in 1989, the chairman of the committee said that this was “in part a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi”.
And the author makes a valid point in the final section :
Up to 1960, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded almost exclusively to Europeans and Americans. In retrospect, the horizon of the Norwegian Nobel Committee may seem too narrow. Gandhi was very different from earlier Laureates. He was no real politician or proponent of international law, not primarily a humanitarian relief worker and not an organiser of international peace congresses. He would have belonged to a new breed of Laureates.
Do read the entire article!