Questioning the credentials of the Nobel Committee and peace activist Malala Yousafzai, spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Saturday said he would turn down the prestigious global award if given to him.

The Art of Living founder, who was in Latur, Maharashtra to take a look at the drought conditions, was speaking to journalists when he termed Malala’s peace prize as a political move.

Saying he had once turned down the award, Sri Sri said, “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.”

Pakistan’s Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel prize in 2014, becoming the youngest to receive the prestigious award at age 17. Yousafzai 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 UK. Yousafzai shared that year’s Nobel with India’s Kailash Satyarthi.

When asked by a journalist if he it was wrong to have awarded Yousafzai, Sri Sri responded, “Aur kya (of course).”

Alleging political machinations determined who won the award and not social work, he further said he was once ‘approached’ to do certain works to receive the award.

“Some people approached me... I was told to do certain things to get the prize. I refused to get drawn into these politics.”

Only recently, Sri Sri was at the centre of another controversy over his foundation’s World Culture Festival on the banks of Yamuna in March. The foundation faced the environment ministry’s ire for hosting the event at the ecologically fragile flood banks of the river. The Art of Living was ultimately allowed to conduct the event, but was fined Rs 5 crore.

Courtesy Hindustan Times