The idea for this post came from an article I stumbled upon a few days back. The Amish school shooting was a horrific incident that took place in USA on Oct 2,2006. Innocent young girls lost their lives and the man who committed the crime ended up killing himself in the end. Tragedies like these that claim human life, especially young lives are met with lot of introspection,debate and criticism in the society/media. Amidst all the gloom and negativity around this incident, what shines out is the reaction of the victims’ family to the guilty man and his family. They realized that he was a troubled soul and his actions could not entirely be blamed on him. They reached out to his widow,his children,his parents and asked everyone else to be kind to them since they had also lost a loved one – maybe even before he took his life. I went through a few more articles surrounding this tragedy and realized that there was a major section of the US society that was shell-shocked at the reaction of the Amish community. They felt that an act as horrific as this deserved stronger reaction. Stronger in their opinion meant – ‘authority blaming, security bashing’ etc etc. I feel the reaction that actually came out was stronger than anything anyone could have ever imagined. To be so calm,wise and more importantly human amidst such heartbreak and chaos is not an easy thing to do. I am not an expert on religion but if the ideals of this particular community preach such tolerance,respect and compassion, then all I can say is hats off to them.
I don’t know if any of the readers till this point observed the fact that this incident happened on Oct 2 – the day we celebrate Gandhi Jayanti. The day we are meant to celebrate his ideals of peace,self -control,equality,hard work and compassion. Oct 2 is a national holiday. For most of us its just a holiday. I cannot remember the last time I actually did something worthwhile on a day we have dedicated to the ‘Father of our Nation’. It’s a pity isn’t it. I was home this year for Gandhi Jayanti and saw a statement made by Shashi Tharoor ( ya ya the same guy who made the cattle remark a few weeks prior) ,wherein he questioned the relevance of this day being a holiday. He remarked that on a day where we are supposed to remember the Mahatma, all we do is sit in our homes and do nothing. He was of the opinion that, instead on this day we should work harder. We should get our lazy bums off the couch and do something. I feel he got it right this time – good for him :). I am not here to question his opinion because I belong to the category of people he mentioned – the ones with a lazy bum. I did nothing special on Oct 2nd. For me it was a long weekend and I enjoyed it. I watched Lage Raho Munnabhai and it was then that I realized that the movie was being aired because of Gandhi Jayanti. I felt a little ashamed at myself after seeing a debate on a news channel regarding this whole issue and the relevance of Gandhian principles in modern day India.
Now,I am not a huge follower of his principles because by nature I am not the kind of person who would show her other cheek if someone slapped me on one. I would instead hit the person back. Having said that I also believe that it requires great strength to forgive someone.Yet, incidents like the Amish school shooting prove that there is nothing greater than forgiveness and if someone in such pain can find the courage and inner strength to forgive then we all can give it a shot. Life is too short to nurse grudges. I know the whole revenge thingy sounds very dramatic/exciting to many youngsters ,including me ,but going through all the articles around this subject made me understand why forgiving and not playing the blame game is such a big thing to do. I think today’s world needs more people like the ones I mentioned earlier. They have given a whole new relevance to forgiveness.