Achievements: Mohandas K. Gandhi was the spiritual and political leader of the Indian independence movement and an advocate of nonviolent resistance as a means to effect social change. Gandhi assumed a leading role in the Indian National Congress in 1921 and transformed the party into a mass movement dedicated to ending social and economic discrimination against Indians and achieving India’s complete independence. He was also a vocal advocate for the emancipation of the Hindu “untouchable” class, as well as unity between the Hindu and Muslim communities. Following India’s declaration of independence, he opposed the partition of India and Pakistan. Gandhi was shot and killed by a radical Hindu nationalist on Jan. 30, 1948.
Close calls: History’s most famous pacifist is probably the peace prize’s most famous omission, and the Nobel Foundation has even a Web page explaining its side of the story. Gandhi made the Nobel short list three times: in 1937, 1947, and then posthumously in 1948. In 1937, the committee’s advisor criticized Gandhi’s dual role as a peace activist and political leader of an independence movement, writing that he “is frequently a Christ, but then, suddenly, an ordinary politician.”
Read more Nobel Peace Price close calls on Foreign Policy.