Early Life of Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2nd October in Porbandar, a city of Gujarat. He was born to a Hindu family and it was his family’s belief and culture that kept him away from violence since his childhood days. His father was Karamchand Gandhi and mother was Putilibai Gandhi. He went London to study law and after completing his studies, he came India to serve himself as a barrister but in 1983 he was employed by an Indian trading company in South Africa.
Gandhi’s Struggle for the Nation
Mahatma Gandhiji was known as the father of the nation, just because of his deeds. He used to help everyone, he never discriminated people as per their cast or religion, he loved everyone and called the schedule cast people as “Harijan”.
He was a person who always preferred khadi and encouraged others to raise their livelihood rather being a parasite. He initiated various freedom movements like the Swadeshi Movement, Dandi March, etc. He was the true hero of India.
He was further known as the symbol of peace and non-violence. Gandhiji was continuously nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 and in 1948 for Nobel Peace prize. But the Nobel committee never found him suitable for Nobel, but once he died the committee also regret their decision.
1937: The First Nomination for Nobel
The first time when Gandhiji was nominated, he was marked as a freedom fighter or a leader who continuously worked for his country. Although he was in the limelight because of his work, around the world there was a group which believed Gandhi has done nothing more than a freedom struggle and it was only for Indians. His main motive was just the betterment of Indians and India.
Some critics also stated that he was centralized towards his country only. As he also lived in South Africa; but never worked for those Blacks who were treated badly over there. In South Africa Gandhi was focused on Indians only and has done nothing extraordinary for others which could be noticed. This was his first nomination.
After his first nomination, one of the committee adviser naming Jacob wrote a report on him in an unfavourable way. From one side he addressed him as a freedom fighter, as an ordinary politician, a dictator, a nationalist, and an ideologist; he praised his importance as a noble person. He called him a nobleman and a person who is deeply honoured and liked by Indians. He said:
“The sharp turns in his policies as sometimes he is found as a dictator, sometimes as an idealist, a nationalist and all in sudden a politician. There are sharp changes in his policies.”
And because of this although he was nominated in the continuous years 1938 and 1939 still was not shortlisted and was reconsidered in 1947.
Nomination in 1947
Govind Ballabh Pant and many others recommended Gandhi for Nobel Peace for the year 1947. As they wrote:
“Recommend for this year Nobel Prize Mahatma Gandhi architect of the Indian nation the greatest living exponent of the moral order and the most effective champion of world peace today.”
By this time, Gandhi already raised his state and print his mark on the international order and the committee members appreciated his motives and stated his thoughts as decent.
In the meanwhile, a historian Jens Arup Seip wrote a report on Gandhi’s life and the works he did in between 1937-1948. It contained a detailed report of the three major events held in the decade. The very first thing was the Indian freedom struggle, the Second World War and India’s participation. He described the Gandhian principles of non-violence and this report gave a positive impression and confirmed his candidature for the next Nobel Prize.
Things were positive and it was to be decided on October 30, 1947 although two committee members naming Herman Smitt and Christian Oftedal favoured Gandhi. But were not able to convince the other three members of the committee. The Labour politician Martin Tranmæl and a former Foreign Minister Birger Braadland (other committee members) both believed that Gandhi should not be nominated in between the conflict scenario of partition between India-Pakistan.
After this conflict among the committee members Tranmæl and Jahn reconsidered the matter and found the strong rejection of war made by Gandhi, a month earlier in a prayer meeting. The evidence were found in a newspaper article “Mr. Gandhi on war” published in ‘The Times’ on 27 September with Pakistan’s report.
This letter confirmed that Gandhi was a true patriot and never supported any type of war and this was accepted by all the jury members. It was just two days before the closing date of the Nobel Prize nominations, Gandhiji was assassinated; black day of Indian history 30th of January 1948.
The Posthumous Award
As per Nobel Foundation, it was never awarded posthumously. But in certain circumstances, it was possible for the foundation. As Gandhiji did not belong to any organization, he had no property; not even any will who can receive this prize money.
So, it was not possible by any means to award Gandhiji. Finally, in the year 1948, no living candidate was found suitable for Nobel Peace prize and the award was kept vacant by a statement “no suitable living candidate”. In this way, Gandhi was not awarded, Nobel.
The Bharat Ratna
Gandhiji was assassinated in the year 1948 and the Bharat Ratna awards started from 1956, after six years of his death. Even there are many who have been awarded posthumously, but in an appeal filed by an Indian demanding Bharat Ratna for Gandhi, the Supreme Court rejected his appeal and remarked Gandhi as a person who holds a lot of respect and honour and it cannot be compared to any award like Bharat Ratna. He and his deeds are immortal. Bharat Ratna or any award will just harm his status.
Gandhiji was a great demigod and was matchless, so how can an award justify his status. The reason behind his nominations for Nobel Peace Prize was just a stroke of bad luck and Bharat Ratna does not deserve the equivalent honour. So, we can say that he is immortal and also his deeds. They are incomparable so he was never awarded these awards. Gandhiji was given a sobriquet of “Mahatma” a great soul which really, he was.
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