Atanu Dey On India's Development

Ramachandra Guha on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Longings for a Nobel Prize

It’s been a while since I wrote a post on SSRS. To remedy that neglect, here’s something about the man.

Ram Guha wrote a funny entry in his Oslo diary with the title “Nobel Longings.” (Thanks to Sushant for the link.)

After my talk, a lady comes up and introduces herself as a doctor, and an advisor to the Peace Institute. The names I had mentioned were all very good, she said, but surely it was time that the peace prize went to an Indian? She mentions the name of a fellow townsman of mine, a man who has grown long hair, given himself four fancy initials (HH/SS), and whose name is also that of a very great exponent of the sitar.
The Norwegian doctor had heard that this man had brought peace to Kashmir, and had promoted organic agriculture in thousands of Indian villages. She had been asked to promote his candidacy for the prize, and indeed the man himself had been to Oslo several times recently. She asked me if I would give my opinion on the matter.

I answered that so far as I knew, there was no peace in Kashmir. I observed that what the West refers to as ‘organic farming’ we knew as rain-fed agriculture—and that it is nothing new. Where there was no canal water and where they had little capital, millions of Indian farmers had, for the past thousands of years, grown crops without the use of any chemicals (and without any spiritual counselling) whatsoever.

Finally, I suggested to the doctor that if not giving Gandhi the prize was a scandal, awarding it to my fellow townsman would be an even bigger scandal.

I am not a big fan of Ram Guha and I don’t see eye to eye with him on the issue of Nehru and MK Gandhi. But he appears to share my disdain for the self-promotion of His Holiness (how does one anoint oneself HH with a straight face?) Sri Sri (not once but twice!) Ravi Shankar.

Interestingly, I like Francois Gautier, even though he is a big supporter of SSRS.

  • rummuser

    I am a great fan of RG. This article is the reason why. He can be devastating without appearing to be so.

    I like Gautier too. Not however because of his liking for SSRS.

  • akurnool

    The noble cause of the “Nobel” prize seems to be a greatest scam in the academic circles.

    I remember one Indian Academician, making rounds of India (for he being an NRI) and calling himself “nominated for Nobel”.

    There seems to be no scarcity of scamsters in these parts of world.