Ignore people who have hurt you and show no remorse. There’s no point in lamenting their behavior. Forgive them if you can, and even if you can’t forgive or forget, simply move on…
Picture Courtesy: BBC World/Leslee Udwin/Internet
I finally watched Leslee Udwin’s controversial – and now banned – documentary India’s Daughter that tells the horrific story of the gang rape (and subsequent death) of 23-year-old Jyoti Singh on December 16, 2012. What struck me most was the remorselessness of Mukesh Singh, one of the convicts on death row. He is one of the six who is convicted of rape and murder – he has since appealed against his conviction in the Supreme Court. He tells Udwin in the film: “When being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape.” As he says this, Mukesh’s face is expressionless, dead-pan and his tone is cold, showing no signs of either guilt or repentance. Of course, there’s a huge debate going on out there whether it is right to allow such an unrepentant and heinous view as Mukesh’s – which seeks to justify violence against women – publicly or not. Each side of this debate has its own argument. For now, the Indian government has banned the documentary. But my personal opinion is that it ought not have been banned – people must know how people who commit such crimes actually think. The film only portrays, brutally honestly, the mind of a rapist and murderer.
But if you pause to reflect and consider another perspective, Mukesh Singh is also a metaphor. He personifies anyone who tries to justify their unjust actions. And there are several people like that around us – in our families, among our friends, at our workplaces and in public, in society. These are people who continue to do what they do, often at the cost of other people’s rights, emotions and liberties, and, in almost as cold-blooded a fashion as Mukesh does in Udwin’s film, they justify that their actions are right. They believe vehemently that they did what they thought appeared to be right to them. So, there’s no question of them feeling guilty or repentant at all. And so they go on – often, mercilessly and remorselessly, trampling on people, emotionally, and at times, even physically. Now, here’s a view you may want to consider: what’s right and what’s wrong is always subjective. What appears right to you may not be so to me. And what’s wrong to me may appear right to you. Look at Mukesh – the way he looks at women is very different from the way all of us look at them. But Mukesh couldn’t care less. To him his view is the right one. So, he may as well go to the gallows, than repent – let alone reform. So, people who cause pain and suffering to others do so only because they firmly believe what they are doing is right. Period. No amount of our efforts to make them see reason, or reform them, is bound to bear fruit unless something within them changes; until their conscience awakens.
The tragic truth we must all live with is that our society and our lives abound with people like Mukesh. The best way to deal with them, if they are in your personal circle of influence, is to simply let them be. Don’t try to educate them. No education will be possible until there are both ready and willing to unlearn and learn. Don’t try to reform them. They won’t awaken unless they realize the futility of the path they have chosen. Don’t try to avenge them. This will only make you bitter – for they are likely to fight you to the end. It is best to leave such people to a higher energy, to a cosmic retribution, if you will. As for you, if you at all have one of these people in your Life, well, simply forgive them if you can. And if you can’t forgive or forget them, leave them alone and move on. This is the only way to protect your inner peace.