Making an exception from the norm, India conferred the prestigious Gandhi Peace Prize to two statesmen posthumously on Monday. The 2019 Prize was conferred on Late Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman, while the 2020 Prize was conferred on ‘Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the late founder of Bangladesh.
The announcement comes days before PM Narendra Modi is scheduled to travel to Dhaka to be chief guest at the Mujib centenary celebrations. The year is also being celebrated as Mujib Barsho in both Bangladesh and India. In Dhaka, Modi will oversee a digital exhibition — Bangabandhu-Bapu Digital Exhibition, launched by him and Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina. Announcing the prize, Modi said, “The Gandhi Peace Prize 2019 being conferred on His Late Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman is a fitting recognition of His Majesty’s standing as a leader of remarkable compassion, and of his contributions to furthering peace and prosperity in the region.”
According to a government readout, the selection procedure for the Gandhi Peace Prize did not allow it to be awarded posthumously but given the contribution of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman towards peace, non-violence and amelioration of human sufferings and special relationship with India, the exception was made as a special gesture to honour and celebrate them.
The Gandhi Peace Prize is given for social, economic and political transformation through non-violence.