Indian spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has questioned the credentials of the Nobel Committee and education activist Malala Yousafzai, saying he would turn down the prestigious global award if given to him.
The Art of Living founder termed Malala’s peace prize as a political move.
He also claimed he had once turned down the award, “Nowadays, there is no value to the Nobel Prize. When you award it to a 16-year-old girl who hasn’t done anything, what value is left? It has become a political prize.”
Malala was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2014, becoming the youngest to receive the prestigious award at age of 17. She shared the prize with India’s Kailash Satyarthi.
Malala has been a vocal activist for education for girls. She was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012 in Pakistan, after which she moved to the United Kingdom.
When asked by a journalist if he was wrong to have awarded Malala, Sri Sri responded, “Aur kya? [of course].”
Sri Sri also shared his view that the winner of the Nobel Prize is not chosen on the basis of social work, but instead through political agents.
“Some people approached me… I was told to do certain things to get the prize. I refused to get drawn into these politics,” he added.
This is not the first time the spiritual leader has attracted attention over his controversial remarks.
Recently his foundation, The Art of Living, faced the environment ministry’s ire for hosting the World Culture Festival at the ecologically fragile flood banks of the river. As a result, he was fined INR 5 million, but was allowed to hold the event.