In Kashmir, in 2014, while some of all faiths are willing to forgive and go back to the valley, some just do not want to do this. If this is the scenario, how can the situation ever be resolved? There has been violence but to change the situation, there must be forgiveness and understanding, not bullets and security checks. This can be done only if there is a resolve to bring the valley back to normalcy.
Some time back, we had all seen the terrible situation after the terror attacks on 26th November 2008 in Mumbai after the terror attacks. After that, many people rejoiced after Kasab who was kept in jail for s long time was sentenced to death. Now, has anything changed in the scenario ? We can see there has been no change.
Shantanu Saikia, who lost his wife Sabina Sehgal Saikia, a senior journalist with a leading newspaper, in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, had said he and his family have forgiven the person who killed her and his twelve year old son wants to meet him. “What he did was indoctrinated into him and his group. She was not the target, but a victim. There was no feeling of revenge, anger or rancour,” and he added, “my son wants to meet him. Probably he wanted to come to terms with his mother`s death, by doing that,“ said Saikia, while participating in a discussion on television.
“Is this really possible?” I had thought, dumbstruck and awed at his equanimity and way of dealing with the unfortunate loss.
When we think about this more deeply, it is no coincidence that most religions have emphasized the flowering of a heart that can forgive. Jains begin theirdus lakshan dharma (10 days to learn about and rededicate their lives to each of the 10 pillars of Jainism) with uttam kshama (forgiveness based on correct perception and correct knowledge) and conclude it with kshama vani (the asking of forgiveness from each other). They believe that in forgiveness lies the essence of all the principles of Jainism.
The real spirit of the Indian festival of color of the Hindus, is to embrace everybody by forgetting and forgiving the wrongs of others.
“Lord, forgive them for they know not what they are doing, “ said Jesus, the essence of whose very life and teachings is the practice of forgiveness.
Prophet Mohammed is said to have climbed up the steps of a house to inquire about the health and well being of a lady, when, unlike other days, she did not hurl abuses or throw garbage at him.
The Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhism, is full of verses that emphasize the need to forgive. ‘Bure da bhala mana. Gussa man na vasa (Be grateful to the one who is bad to you since he is only an instrument. Don`t allow anger to fester in your mind),’ goes one verse.
As we know, Gandhi is a prime example who tried his best to lead his life following this tenet. In South Africa, when three white young men wished to hurl stones, Charles Andrews, his friend and a white clergyman suggested they turn back. Instead Gandhi, quoted the Bible, saying “to the man who slaps you on one cheek present the other cheek too. “
Are these just tenets which are impossible to implement? Not really.
As Shantanu and many stalwarts have shown, it is the only possible way to continue living. Perhaps, this may also call on something in the enemy that makes his hatred decrease and respect increase.
So, while we allow the judicial process to proceed, at the personal level, it is forgiveness and empathy that are the key to a change.
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