Mahatma Gandhi. (Getty Images)
Mahatma Gandhi. (Getty Images)

Opinion | Nobel for Gandhi

Yes, we know—no Nobel prize is to be awarded posthumously. But still. He ought to have been awarded while he was alive. But he wasn’t. It’s time an exception is made for greatness

Among the frontrunners for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize is said to be Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist who gave world leaders an earful at the United Nations for their apparent inaction over global warming. In all, there are 301 nominees: 223 individuals and 78 organizations. Missing from that list is a man we know as Mahatma Gandhi. Yes, we know—no Nobel prize is to be awarded posthumously. But still. He ought to have been awarded while he was alive. But he wasn’t. It’s time an exception is made for greatness.

Of course, the Mahatma, or our memory of him, would not need any such honour. But this is not about the individual who showed us the power of non-violence to do what few thought possible in the first half of the 20th century: have the sun set on the British Empire. A Nobel for Gandhi would be about the prize redeeming itself. It would be the Nobel Committee’s statement of values. It would also answer those who see a political agenda in its choices. Former US President Barack Obama won just for his White House campaign. If that was intended to inspire the world, can Gandhi not be far more effective? Yes, he can.

Close