The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Monday 12 October 2009


The five-member Nobel Committee for Peace Prize has delivered a decision based on its own circle of reasons which they would find mired in circle of unreason if they look back into logics of their most famous omissions in the list so far.

Post World War II Peace Nobel decisions were made more and more dependent on future aspirations that a person and his agenda would raise; and on domestic and internal matters of countries and regions rather than what the Alfred Nobel’s will had wished - "A Peace Nobel to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." The will does not deliberate extensively on defining peace, a pragmatic step, as peace has always has contemporary dwellings and connotations.

This scope by Nobel has been used by the various Nobel committees over the years to make political underpinnings associated with the Peace Nobel just not a stated but functional aspect of decisions as stated by Francis Sejersted, the chairman of the Nobel Committee in the 1990s - "The prize is not only for past achievement. The committee also takes the possible positive effects of its choices into account. Nobel wanted the prize to have political effects. Awarding a peace prize is, to put it bluntly, a political act."

And so a Peace Nobel to Obama can be justified for he has lifted aspirations of billions across the globe; he dared to speak a different tune in a country largely secular but still dogmatic; he embarked on to change hostile maneuvers into more acceptable ‘guns and ‘roses’ sort of policy – thus raising hopes. The Nobel committee is banking on Obamamania, something that has started to test the roughness of the calm waters of authoritative diplomacy externally and persuasive diplomacy internally. After assuming the office his popularity ratings were constantly dropping until recently but concerns of family, health and war continue to persist strongly as an Associated Press-Gfk study reveals. But if studies are parameters then Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking poll for October 9 showed 35% of nation’s voters strongly disapproved on how Obama was performing while 29% rated him positively. The day when Peace Nobel was announced for Obama, the Presidential Approval Rating Index for Obama was -6, the lowest level of strong disapproval for the President since mid-July. Agreed, outcome of popularity ratings are debatable. But the debate on Obama’s Peace Nobel has some inherent ingredients of logic.

If we scan through the pages of Nobel Foundation website and Nobel committees’ rationale behind awarding the Peace variant, we will find prominence of candidates working on issues related to human development; on issues ranging from environment to genocide to insurgency to gender equality. Obama Nobel may be in line with policy shift of awarding Peace Nobel focused more on subtle dimensions of peace away from inter-nation and global areas of trouble and conflict in the post World War II period. The face of global dominance has adopted a larger shade of economic supremacy and military might is the supplementary factor for expanding domination now. This basic change has led to the emergence of stronger domestic voices in well-to-do countries concerned more with policies on economy. That is why a US President, the most powerful man in the world, is working hard to earn domestic goodwill for a further troop surge in Afghanistan; is reducing troops in Iraq. We cannot expect then the larger than life figures who would complement to the idea of dominating a wave to bring inter-nation peace year after year. This has to be ‘once-in-a-while’ phenomenon now.

But at this point, the decision to award the Peace Nobel to Obama becomes questionable. More or less, the recipients till date have a quantum of work and time into their work before they were considered for and were awarded the coveted work on gold. Though Obama has raised hopes and we all wish for him to deliver, he is yet to prove. He needs time to prove himself and worth of his agenda. Certainly the body of achievements that he has doesn’t qualify him for the Nobel. He has been given the Prize for his policies that can change the world, but, certainly, a Nobel cannot and should not be given merely on propounding policies of change and initiating on their implementation. Any Nobel consideration for Obama was to be in after seeds of his ideas had germinated.

Now we come to the graver irony in the face of Nobel. The most famous omission that it has in list of Peace Nobel recipients. The Nobel Foundation has devoted a page on its website explaining why Mahatma Gandhi was not given the Nobel Peace Prize. Gandhi was nominated thrice, in 1937, 1947 and in 1948.

• Mahatma Gandhi could not be awarded the Nobel due to his dual role a peace activist and political leader of an independence movement. The committee advisor had written – “he is frequently a Christ, but then, suddenly, an ordinary politician.”
A US President, that Barack Obama is, can never be a peace activist given the country’s global geo-strategic stakes. Meddling in matters of other countries in name of promoting democracy and liberating masses, while resulting in innumerable casualties, can never be part of peace initiatives. Obama has inherited it and he is bound to act on it as evident from his mulling over on Af-Pak policy for major policy shift. We need to remember a war kills and kills only.
• Gandhi led India and Pakistan to independence in 1947. The Nobel committee opined that he could not be awarded the Peace variant as he was closely identified with combatants in the aftermath of communal violence that followed India-Pakistan partition.
As US is engaged in fighting in many parts of the world to liberate people, to crush terrorism, then Obama should be identified as someone with one of the combatants and should be denied even a nomination.

There cannot be any argument when Mahatma Gandhi was considered posthumously for Peace Nobel in 1948 but could not be given as it was against clearly mentioned tenets of Alfred Nobel’s will.

Peace Nobel has had a debated, controversial history deeply buried in political and regional biases. Omission of Mahatma Gandhi’s name is the most debated one but we Indians know Gandhi was much above the likes of Nobel. Something so politically biased never and cannot deserve a figure like Gandhi. And Mahatma Gandhi is not the standalone case of omission. The list is quite long and is certainly not listless. In the same vein, Barack Obama is not the standalone case, just one more addition to a long list of Nobel ironies, ironies that fuel debates that go on and on.