#World Opinion

Nobel Prize for Peace — Probably Not Sufficiently Noble


The author discusses his interesting opinion about a shortcoming which he finds in the selection of the annual Nobel Peace Prize winner. The 2011 Prizes were awarded in Oslo yesterday.

A leisurely walk through the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, Norway indeed takes one through a journey of witnessing pain and suffering. From stories of remote parts of the Congo, to the tales of Chad—unknown to the world—the displays give one an insight into the need for those who work towards uprooting this pain and suffering. However, it is to be noted that each of these ingenuities need an extensive network to function independently.

My question is: since there is a need for support from a large group of people in order to execute a movement (a change, a revolution), what is the point of conferring the Nobel Peace Prize to just one individual? The most trivial justification for it would be that the man—the leader—behind the idea and the execution of such a revolution or change indeed deserves to be honoured.

However, something as prestigious as the Nobel Prize cannot be conferred on such flimsy pretexts. The Nobel Peace Prize in itself does not have strong fundamentals, upon which not even the committee can strongly support its endowment. Meanwhile, arguments with respect to other Nobel prizes (categories other than Peace) can be directed towards claiming that it’s definitely not the entire group of scientists whose efforts are acknowledged. It is to be noted that scientific breakthroughs function on a completely different basis when compared to societal problems, which need careful rendering from all aspects so as to ensure success.

In fact, one cannot refrain from cringing at the thought of Yasser Arafat being a Nobel Laureate. It is an undeniable fact that his contributions, though significant, were achieved by the use of force. A plausible justification would be that he had to restrain the advancement of attacks and therefore resorted to violence. However, it is not to be forgotten at the outset, that the motive of awarding the Nobel ‘Peace’ Prize, in this case, has been completely defeated. So, what does it take to impress the committee?

It is ironic that the Nobel Prize is awarded for ‘peace’ when in fact it is named after the Father of the Dynamite.

Several controversies have been lingering around the vouchsafing of the prize to Barack Obama. His accomplishments are perhaps the least revolutionising compared to the other winners of the prize. The year 2009 was one with maximum number of nominees (205) and Barack Obama was one of them. Although it is claimed that his nomination for the prize was completed prior to the Presidential elections, several experts do believe that the proceeds of the election campaign and the widespread rumours of Obama being able to sweep the election could have influenced the decision of the committee.

The most famous of the controversies surrounding the nominees for Nobel Peace Prize is Mahatma Gandhi. It is claimed that he was nominated 5 times, but never won it. Although there are strong theories on how manipulative he was during the freedom struggle, his efforts are certainly worth a mention.

Despite all this, it is ironic that the Nobel Prize is awarded for ‘peace’ when in fact it was advocated by the Father of the Dynamite.


About the author

Swaroop Sriram

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