Most people in the world would consider the Nobel a rich honour. Not Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The Art of Living founder pronounced on Saturday that he had once turned down the Nobel Peace Prize and would do it again if it was offered to him again.
“I was in the past offered the Nobel Peace Prize, but I had rejected it as I only believe in working and not in being honoured for my work,” Deccan Herald quoted him as saying. He added he would never accept the award.
Ravi Shankar made the statement in Latur district in Maharashtra, where he was reviewing the drought. According to the Economic Times, he was asked by the accompanying scrum of journalists whether he was interested in getting the Nobel for Peace.
In reply, he decried the prize because it has been given to the undeserving. “What is the importance of an award when it is being presented to a 16-year-old girl, without even looking at what she has contributed,” he said, hinting at Malala Yousafzai.
Yousafzai, a young Pakistani activist, was shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking up for the right of female education. She was the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, for her “struggle against the suppression of children”.
Ravi Shankar has been in the news lately for organising an ostentatious cultural festival on the Yamuna floodplains that environmental activists say damaged the local ecology.
Last year, Baba Ramdev, a self-styled yoga guru, had claimed that he was denied the Nobel Prize because he was “black”.
On Monday, people took to Facebook and Twitter to educate Ravi Shankar on how a Nobel is awarded. There were a lot of brickbats too.