India Confers 2020 Gandhi Peace Prize to B’desh’s Mujibur Rahman

The honour conferred on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman comes ahead of PM Modi’s visit to Bangladesh later in March.

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PM Modi; Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

The Government of India on Monday, 22 March, named Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh’s father of the nation, and Oman’s late ruler Sultan Qaboos for the 2020 and 2019 Gandhi Peace Prize respectively.

The award has been conferred on them posthumously in recognition of their “outstanding contributions towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violent and other Gandhian methods.”

An official statement said that the award “recognises the immense and unparalleled contribution of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in inspiring the liberation of Bangladesh, bringing stability to a nation born out of strife, laying the foundation for the close and fraternal relations between India and Bangladesh, and promoting peace and non-violence in the Indian subcontinent”.

Heading the jury for the Gandhi Peace Prize, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Rahman a champion of human rights and freedom, and a hero to Indians as well, according to a press release.

The honour conferred on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman comes ahead of PM Modi’s visit to Bangladesh later in March, making it his first foreign trip since the COVID-19 health crisis.

Tweeting about the development, PM Narendra Modi said that Rahman was “an icon of indomitable courage and tireless struggle for his millions of admirers.”

Gandhi Peace Prize for 2019

The 2019 award conferred on the Sultan Qaboos of Oman was also the first time that the prize was awarded posthumously.

The culture ministry also said that the award recognised his unparalleled vision and leadership in strengthening relations between India and Oman, and his efforts to promote peace and non-violence in the Gulf region.

Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said was the Middle East’s longest-ruling monarch, and was internationally renowned for his diplomacy in the volatile Persian Gulf. He often facilitated talks between adversaries, Iran and the US, and was of utmost importance in securing India’s energy security needs in the region.

PM Modi tweeted about the prize on Monday, saying that the late leader had been “a strong advocate of India-Oman friendship, and took special care of the welfare of the Indian community in Oman. I cherished my interactions with His Majesty, and benefited from his wise insights on many subjects.”

The award includes a citation, an amount of Rs 1 crore, a plaque and a traditional handloom article.

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