Was geography a reason why Mahatma Gandhi was not awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?

Only three Peace laureates were outside western Europe and North America until 1950

October 02, 2019 03:29 pm | Updated October 31, 2019 05:50 pm IST

The rare and unique pose of Mahatma Gandhi was taken on February 02, 1946 at Trichy Junction, on his way to Madurai and Palani. He was standing on a special dais beneath a temple umbrella.

The rare and unique pose of Mahatma Gandhi was taken on February 02, 1946 at Trichy Junction, on his way to Madurai and Palani. He was standing on a special dais beneath a temple umbrella.

Despite being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize on five occasions - 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947, and a few days before he was assassinated in 1948 - Mahatma Gandhi was never awarded the prize. Most Peace Nobels in the first part of the 20th century was secured by those from Western Europe and the United States of America, a fact that may have led to this omission.

Nobel Peace prize winners

The chart shows the Nobel Peace Prize winners since 1901. The first non-American and non-western European to win the prize was in 1936, 35 years after the prize was instituted. The first African to win the prize was in 1960 while the first Asian won the Peace Prize in 1973, 72 years after the first award was given.

Winners over the decades

image/svg+xmlPeace Nobel winners from Western Europe or North AmericaAll other regions/ U.N.Year when award wasn't given or nationality not specifed1901-19101911-19201921-19301931-19401941-19501951-19601961-19701971-19801981-19901991-20002001-20102011-2018Carlos SaavedraLamas (Argentina):First winner outsideWestern Europe &the U.S.Albert John Lutuli(South Africa):First African winnerLe Duc Tho (Vietnam):First Asian (declined)
 

Until the 1960s, very few people residing outside Western Europe and North America were awarded the Peace Nobel. Oyvind Tonnesson, former Nobelprize.org Peace Editor, in a blog post has commented that “in retrospect, the horizon of the Norwegian Nobel Committee may seem too narrow.”

In his memory

The table shows the recipients of the International Gandhi Peace Prize awarded by the Government of India. The award was instituted in 1995 and carries a prize money of Rs 1 crore and a citation. It is presented annually.

International Gandhi Peace Prize winners

 

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