Monday, December 7, 2009

Gandhi also did not get the Nobel Peace Prize

It was not until Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize that the feverishness to get him the award mellowed. Otherwise, every year prior to that, we all felt the pressure of working towards getting the prize we all knew he deserved but it was time for the world to know about his greatness.

First, it was to get him nominated by getting letters from university professors, members of parliament, members of international organizations. Teachers were pressured to produce at least 5 to 10 letters. Constantly, we’d get emails from the “NPP team” making us feel bad if did not get any. When, on the other hand, it was always obvious those in the NPP team had pressure from the Guru himself, and they wanted to win more affection and approval from him by making us all get letters. Our hard work would be their Guru prize. Their Guru Prize would be the Guru’s prize.

Once nominated, it was about getting him meetings in Norway to brown nose officials, so-called “VIPs.” Bottom line, he claimed to work towards getting this prize for the world, not for himself: We all knew he deserved it. He did not care about awards. Bu the world is shallow and needs these kinds of recognition in order to value someone’s work.

I never really understood this hype, although, I must confess, I eagerly worked in favor of it as well, even if it did not make sense at all. For example, the year that we were asked to get as many support letters as possible and send them to the Nobel Committee. I even heard a teacher encourage everyone to get letters from everyone, anyone, “grocery keeper, the butcher, the bus driver … write a letter, write anything, have anyone sign it, our Guruji needs to get this award.” The result was, of course, chaos and hundreds of funny letters such as, “I am writing to support Sri Sri Ravishankar to the Nobel Peace Prize. Since I did his AoL course I no longer suffer of PMS.”

Of course, he did not win the award that year, and the NPP committee woke up to the realization it requires a lot more than just support letters to win the NPP. It required subject, content, focus. Why should Sri Sri win the NPP? Because he is teaching millions of people breathe and feel relaxed? Because he ONCE took a picture or two in the areas affected by the tsunami? Because he included projects in the prisons? Because he invited a few terrorists and few Iraqis to the Bangalore Ashram?

After I left the organization, I was invited to an event held by Amma’s group. I could not believe my eyes when they showed their video. It was almost the same as AoL’s: Amma at the UN, Amma accepting this and that award, Amma with such and such famous person, Amma helping out in the Tsunami, Amma in the prisons, Amma building hospitals, Amma’s rural schools, Amma’s work with terrorist, Amma … Actually, I have to say, Amma has done a lot more than Sri Sri and her video is a lot better than his! I wonder, is Amma also lobbying to get the NPP?

It was weird to see Ravishankar intensely follow the news when Bono showed up as a strong candidate. He would shut us up to watch the news. His eyes, wide open, focused, intense. Even then, a devotee myself, I found his attitude strange. For someone so enlightened, he seemed too feverish about winning this US$1 mi award. For someone who claimed to have done such great work, he was actually worried about the possibility of losing to Bono? Of course, if someone else won, “it is all about politics. Gandhi was nominated many times and never won. Mother Theresa was recognized only post-mortum.” When it came in handy, Gandhi and Mother Theresa were mentioned in positive manners, otherwise, he’d always speak ill about them.

Thank God Al Gore won. Otherwise, every year prior to that, we’d get statements: “Guruji says he will win the NPP this year. We need to work for it.” Now that I think about it, what an incoherent statement! Why did we have to work hard for it if it was a given he’d win it? Oh yes, of course, I forgot the knowledge: we are not the doers, it is all a happening, but we need to take responsibility for it and do something. (I am now confused, am I or am I not the doer? Is it, or is it not all a happening? Does he or does he not know everything?).

It is funny. Even after missing it so many years, the dissonance of the group was so big, noone wondered about his false prediction (again). Every year’s disappointment would be interpreted as, for example, “He would have won it if it wasn’t because of Al Gore. He obviously had a stronger pull. It is all politics. Guruji was going to win it this year though.”

What about the previous years though? Ah, what does it matter? Gandhi also did not get it.

I, of course, have lost respect for the Nobel prizes and every year, close to the deliberation of the winners, I worry Sri Sri may win the award. If that ever happens, I would have confirmed the world really is suffering of a hopeless crisis.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As you mentioned, Amma has also got a huge devoted brain-washed fan following, who'd die for "amma"'s hug leaving their own old mothers in the street, tending for themselves :-) and Amma' has got bigger chain of real estates, colleges, hospitals than ssrs [well she was in business for such a long time than him ;)] where they'd kill the families of patients with their unjustified huge bills, the donations to their institutions is like only the creamy posh layer of society can get an admission, once i was considering to get enrolled into one of their insti, but backed myself after seeing the hostel atmosphere, where all were chanting amma geethams* in the eve, and was like a jail, where everyone has a dress code, also the classroom where i visited, the desks were engraved with words like "Amma the god", "Matha A--- devi sarananam" and all those BS, which I wouldn't have been able to accept from 19-20 year olds :-) Its all brainwashing, whether in AOL or with Ammachi or saibaba :-)