Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Maureen Dowd, Why Gandhi Never Won the Nobel Peace Prize

Many people comment on the fact that President Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize, yet Gandhi never did.

Gandhi was nominated five times for a Nobel Peace prize, but politics prevented its award the first four times he was considered, and his assassination prevented it the last.

So, Maureen Dowd, who on Sunday, October 10, 2009, said that because Gandhi had not won a Nobel Peace Prize, it "ain't worth a can of Alpo."

It's easy when you have a nice, cushy gig at the New York Times to forget that those of us who don't, have to make sure our facts are golden. Having graduate degrees means I know how to research, how to fact check, and how to site my sources. I write commentary, but I write commentary based on fact, and if I say someone said something, I give you the link, or provide the source. Maybe Maureen needs to go back to school and relearn basic research.

Actually, with the inter-tubes, it's not that hard. There's these things called search engines and most organizations have websites. Using Google, I found the website of the Nobel Prize Committee and read all about their decision about Gandhi. You can also read about the other prizes, all the prize winners and reasons why the committees have made the decisions that they have made. It's fascinating reading.

Maureen, you should check it out.

According to The Nobel Prize Committee, the only reason that Gandhi did not receive a Nobel Peace Prize is that he was assassinated 2 days before the nomination deadline for 1948. He had received 6 letters of nomination. The committee does not award prizes to the deceased. They actually considered it in Gandhi's case, but because he left no estate to which they could award the cash prize, had left no will, and belonged to no organizations who could have benefited from the funds, the decision was made to award no prize that year. Does this mean that the prize would have gone to Gandhi had he lived? Most likely. They won't say - obviously (if they did, that in effect would be making an award) - but they did say that there was no one living suitable to make the award.

A lawyer living in South  Africa, Gandhi returned to India in 1915 and spent the next years an active nationalist working to end British rule and attempting to unite the Hindus, Muslims, and Christians. He also tried, unsuccessfully, to integrate the untouchables into society. Attempts that were unsuccessful.

Between 1937 and 1947, India experienced 3 conflicts. The first, against British rule in which they succeeded. The second, was between Hindu and Muslim - a conflict that exists to this date, and the third, India's participation in WWII.

In 1947 came the Great Partition. British rule was ended, WWII was over, but attempts to unite the Hindus and Muslims was futile. With partition came the creation of Pakistan and India as two separate states. Along with violence and bloodshed, everyone had to move. Muslims to the west and Pakistan, Hindus to the east. Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence, his teachings, and his followers was credited with reducing the amount of bloodshed during the partition conflicts.

It appeared that war was inevitable between Hindus Muslims in Pakistan and some say he was wavering in his non-violent stance. In fact, his statements on justice for Pakistani Hindus were repeated without his concluding statement that "he had no place in a new order where they wanted an army, a navy, an air force and what not."

On January 30, 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment