Sunday, January 4

..., to forgive divine!

In a recent post Gurcharan Das comments upon human rights activist J.S. Bandukwala's call to the Muslims in Gujarat to forgive the 2002 riots. This would bring closure and allow Gujarat to move on. Das adds that Modi should apologise for it.

The idea is in line with Gandhi's philosophy and would apparently resolve a lot of issues, if indeed people were able to forgive and forget. And I would like to believe that humans and societies are capable of it. But I seriously doubt it. I have personally encountered very few people who readily forgive their wrongdoer and move on contently. And unilateral forgiveness is even rare. So Das' addition of Modi apologizing seems more plausible to me in terms of generating forgiveness. But that would be political suicide. And I don't see him doing that any sooner than perhaps his deathbed.

Gandhi told us that "forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." And that is where the problem lies. I doubt how strong we as individuals and as a group are. We prefer shouting, yelling, building big tanks and weapons, our ability of attack and inflict maximum damage as the sign of our strength. The one with the biggest and greatest weapons is considered the strongest. Very few geographically small countries have been considered strong. We perceive a tall and heavily built person to be strong. We believe in strength in numbers. The idea of forgiveness and strength are paradoxical.

While Bandukwala's idea could be the ultimate solution for world peace, I don't think we are ready for it as yet.

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