India-Pakistan –Joint Winner of Nobel Peace Prize -2014
- A lesson for India and Pakistan
- Part 2 -

Dr. Khomdon Lisam *

Why Joint Award

The joint Nobel Prize is a silent message to both India and Pakistan to solve the Kashmir problem with peaceful means and to restore peace between India and Pakistan. . The award was made at a time when hostilities have broken out again between India and Pakistan along the border of the disputed, mainly Muslim region of Kashmir-the worst fighting between the nuclear-armed rivals in more than a decade.

"The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism," said Thorbjoern Jagland, the head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The 67 year old Kashmir conflict is the legacy inherited from Panadit Jawaharlal Nehru due to his inapt handling of the situation. India has fought three wars with Pakistan over Kashmir problem in 1947, 1965 and 1999. Why India who believed in Gandhiji's non-violence indulged in fighting wars with neighbours.

Why were Thomas Alva Edison and Mahatma Gandhi not awarded with Nobel peace prizes?

I was wondering why did Norwegian Nobel Committee not awarded Nobel Prize to Thomas Alva Edison (11 February, 1847- 18 October, 1931) for inventing the first commercially practical incandescent electric bulb, the very symbol of scientific inspiration.. Edison was a prolific inventor holding 1,093 US patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. At the age of 7, Edison returned from school with a chit in his pocket from the Headmaster, Reverend G. B. Engle that "he is dull, he will not learn anything. Do not send him to school any more"

His mother Nancy became angry at the teacher's remarks. She withdrew Edison from school and taught him at home. Without Edison, we might not have electricity, cars, modern gadgets like mobile phones, radio, TV, CDs, computers, X-Ray machines or space travel etc. When Edison was born, electricity had not been developed. By the time he died, entire cities were lit by electricity. I remember Edison because in this modern world, we can not live without electricity and no industry can surive without electricity. Many authorities described the omission of Edison's name in the list of Nobel Prize winners as a historic injustice on the part of Nobel Committee.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee confirmed that Gandhiji was nominated for the Nobel peace prize five times (1937,38,39,47, and 48), and was short listed three times (1937,47, and 48) and a few days before he was assassinated on 30 January 1948. Later members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee expressed regret that he was not given the prize. Geir Lundestad, Secretary of Norwegian Nobel Committee in 2006 said, "The greatest omission in our 106 year history is undoubtedly that Mahatma Gandhi never received the Nobel Peace prize.

In 1937, some members recognised his greatness, whereas the others felt he was inconsistent in his pacifism and was too much of a nationalist and an ordinary politician. In 1947, the committee was more favourably disposed to Gandhiji but thought it odd to select him for the prize when India and Pakistan were engaged in a bitter separation and conflict. In 1948, after the assassination of Gandhiji, the Nobel committee almost finalised selecting Gandhiji for the award, but held back their decision, as several advisors of the committee felt that the Nobel prize cannot be given to anybody posthumously. When in 1989, Dalai Lama was chosen for the award, the committee stated that the award was in part a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi.

Laureates who declined the Nobel Prize
Involuntary refusals

In 1936, the Nobel Foundation offended Adolf Hitler when it awarded the 1935 Nobel Peace Prize to Carl von Ossietzky, a German writer who publicly opposed Hitler and Nazism. Hitler reacted by issuing a decree on 31 January 1937 that forbade German nationals to accept any Nobel Prize. Awarding the peace prize to Ossietzky was itself considered controversial. While Fascism had few supporters outside Italy and Germany, those who did not necessarily sympathize felt that it was wrong to offend Germany.

Hitler's decree prevented three Germans from accepting their prizes: Gerhard Domagk (1939 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine), Richard Kuhn (1938 Nobel Prize in Chemistry), and Adolf Butenandt (1939 Nobel Prize in Chemistry). The three later received their certificates and medals, but not the prize money.

On 9 November 1939, the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences awarded the 1938 Prize for Chemistry to Kuhn and half of the 1939 prize to Butenandt.. When notified of the decision, the German scientists were forced to decline by threats of violence. Their refusal letters arrived in Stockholm after Domagk's refusal letter, helping to confirm suspicions that the German government had forced them to refuse the prize. In 1948, they wrote to the Academy expressing their gratitude for the prizes and their regret for being forced to refuse them in 1939. They were awarded their medals and diplomas at a ceremony in July 1949.

Otto Heinrich Warburg, a German national who won the 1931 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine, was rumored to have been selected for the 1944 prize, but was forbidden to accept it. According to the Nobel Foundation, this story is not true.

Boris Pasternak at first accepted the 1958 Nobel Prize in Literature, but was forced by Soviet authorities to decline because the prize was considered a "reward for the dissident political innuendo in his novel, Doctor Zhivago." Pasternak died without ever receiving the prize. He was eventually honored by the Nobel Foundation at a banquet in Stockholm on 9 December 1989, when they presented his medal to his son.

The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Liu Xiaobo while he was serving a prison sentence for "subversion of the state", with the Chinese government not allowing him or his family members to attend the ceremony.

Voluntary refusals

Two laureates voluntarily declined the Nobel Prize. Jean-Paul Sartre declined the 1964 prize for Literature, stating, "A writer must refuse to allow himself to be transformed into an institution, even if it takes place in the most honourable form." The second person who refused the prize is Le Duc Tho, who was awarded the 1973 Peace Prize for his role in the Paris Peace Accords. He declined, claiming there was no actual peace in Vietnam.

I personally feel that we can also nominate prospective candidates who work fearlessly, tirelessly with a mission and vision for the cause of peace, communal harmony, human rights crossing all barriers. We can mobilise support through our network at national and international levels. One time nomination may not be sufficient. Unless we recommend , the Nobel Committee may not be able to pick up on its own. We should know how candidates are nominated and selected for Nobel Prize. Manipur is a conflict zone. We may consider inviting the Nobel Laureates to visit Manipur either through university or through civil service organisations.

Who Can Nominate for a Nobel Prize?

Each year, thousands of members of academies, university professors, scientists, previous Nobel Laureates and members of parliamentary assemblies and others, are asked to submit candidates for the Nobel Prizes for the coming year. These nominators are chosen in such a way that as many countries and universities as possible are represented over time.

Nomination and Selection of Peace Prize Laureates

A nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize may be submitted by any person who meets the nomination criteria. A letter of invitation to submit is not required. The names of the nominees and other information about the nominations cannot be revealed until 50 years later.

Nominations for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has received 278 candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014. 47 of these are organizations. 278 is the highest number of candidates ever. The previous record was 259 from 2013. From the statutes of the Nobel Foundation:

Proposals received for the award of a prize, and investigations and opinions concerning the award of a prize, may not be divulged. A prize-awarding body may, however, after due consideration in each individual case, permit access to material which formed the basis for the evaluation and decision concerning a prize, for purposes of research in intellectual history. Such permission may not, however, be granted until at least 50 years have elapsed after the date on which the decision in question was made.

To be continued...

* Dr. Khomdon Lisam write this articlee for to
The writer is a resident of Palace Compund , Imphal , can be contacted at khomdon(dot)lisam(at)yahoo(dot)com
This article was posted on December 19, 2014.

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