Dr.Thomas (Special Correspondent)
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.By doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,and the LORD will reward you. (From Bible)
In a world where violence,vengeance,and wrath take the prime spot in the human mind,Priyanka Gandhi’s choice to forgive her father’s assassinators is truly a puzzle.
For someone born into a family known for its political power,it would have been much easier for Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s daughter to appeal to the right forces and pull the right strings to get back at those who took her father away.
However,the entire family’s reaction to those involved is baffling to a layman.
To refresh the memory,Nalini was one of those who conspired to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi,Priyanka’s father.
The LTTE was a prominent group who were enraged by Rajiv Gandhi’s decision to send the Indian Peace Keeping Force to Sri Lanka,and Nalini was one among them.
Rajiv Gandhi was killed along with the suicide bomber at an election rally in Sriperumbdur in Tamil Nadu in 1991 and Nalini was given a death sentence.No sooner,Sonia Gandhi filed a clemency petition and reduced the term to a life sentence.
Years later,Priyanka Gandhi met Nalini at Central Jail in Tamil Nadu.Priyanka Gandhi says that she decided to take this step because she had processed her father’s death.
However,during their meeting,Priyanka asked Nalini why she had killed her father.Despite the years past the incident that changed the trajectory of their lives completely,Nalini did not seem to have an answer.
After her release in 2022 though,Nalini describes feeling sorry for the Gandhis and hopes that they are able to overcome the grief that comes with losing family.
She states that she feels a need to take care of her family after having Vanquished the most valuable years of her life due to a single decision.
On multiple occasions,both the children of Rajiv Gandhi have mentioned that they have forgiven their father’s assassinators.
Rahul Gandhi details the turmoil of emotions that went through the siblings when Mr.Prabhakaran, the leader of the group, was shown lying dead in a field.
He says,“I remember when I saw Mr Prabhakaran on TV lying dead,I got two feelings:one was why they are humiliating this man in this way.And second was I felt really bad for him and for his kids and I did that because I understood deeply what it meant to be on the other side of that thing.”
Considering the fact that the siblings have seen this particular brand of violence against their family not once, but twice in a lifetime,it is logical to expect them to retaliate and inflict the same pain on those who hurt them.
But the fact remains that,in grief and in the process of accepting it,going head to head to take an eye for an eye is so much more taxing than one might anticipate.
Resorting to violence may sound like the easiest way to settle the score,but the price of inflicting harm on another living human being is hefty.
Something even worse is that arming yourself with violence is only going to start a vicious cycle of ruthlessness and pain and that is hardly the outcome either party foresees.
In their choice to forgive their father’s killers, the siblings have come to terms with the truth.There is no other way to process the fact that taking a certain stand in politics comes with dissatisfaction and other consequences.
Losing your life might be just one of them.They have seen this with their grandmother and with their father.
Just like silence speaks more than words, nonviolence also carries a heavier message than violence.
As they chose to forgive their father’s assassinators,both Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi have taken the high road in life.It is incredibly easy to respond to outright violence.
Calling for war and baying for blood comes quickly to people.Yet,when faced with kindness, people become perplexed beyond comparison.
Unable to process the kindness that Rajiv Gandhi’s family has shown,Nalini would have certainly taken time in her years of confinement to rethink the choices she made.
As the coals of regret are heaped on the enemy’s heads,one might find peace despite the scars they have.
LTTE might have seemed and felt invincible when they unleashed hell and havoc by assasinating the most powerful man in the country.
However,a single powerful act of forgiveness shattered their image.Rajiv Gandhi might have lost his life,but the masterminds behind his assassination gained nothing.In fact,they lost more in life than he did in death.