The Art of Living Foundation says its leader was misquoted as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s reported statement that he would reject a Nobel peace prize drew negative reactions.
A statement by AoL clarified that Sri Sri was responding to a journalist asking if the foundation’s work was aimed at a Nobel peace prize, and that the leader had no ulterior motive.
“What will I do with a prize?.. When good work is done, people think it is for a prize. There is no logic in this.”
Sri Sri was visiting the drought-hit Latur in Maharashtra when he made the statements. He was there to review the relief work his foundation was carrying out in the area.
At a press meet, the spiritual leader reportedly said the Nobel Peace Prize had become a political issue and that he was approached to take up specific issues in order to receive the coveted award. In the course of the conversation, Sri Sri questioned the value of the prize, saying a 16-year-old who hadn’t done much was awarded.
Malala Yousafzai, an activist for education of girls, was awarded the prize in 2014, becoming the youngest at the age of 17. She shared the prize with India’s Kailash Satyarthi.
When a journalist clearly asked if it was wrong for Yousafzai to have been awarded, Sri Sri responded affirmatively.
A TV news channel even posted video footage of the said conversation.
In response to Sri Sri’s comments on the Pakistani activist, the statement quoted him as saying: “When a 16-year-old, without any body of work, gets the prize, you get a sense that you don’t need to do much to get the Peace Prize. There are political factors at play.”
Early this year, there were speculations that Sri Sri’s name could figure in a list of nominees for the peace prize given his contribution to the Columbian peace negotiations.
The foundation has played a significant role in attempting to bring peace in the Latin American country since November 2012. The Colombian government had in fact honoured Sri Sri with their highest civilian award, ‘Orden de la Democracia Simón Bolívar’, in recognition of this in July last year.