January 23, 202 was a very very crucial day. On this day, Dr. Graham Stuart Staines an Australian medical missionary, who worked among leprosy patients in Orissa [Odisha], and his innocent two sons Philip (aged 10) and Timothy (aged 6) were burnt to death. In fact, they were burnt alive by some heartless, insensitive, and thoughtless cowards while they were just sleeping in his vehicle at Manoharpur village in Keonjhar district in Odisha, in the midnight of 22-23 January 1999. This is history. It cannot be simply disregarded and ignored by people who value human life.
What happened after this brutal murder? When the CBI Judge, Mahendra Nath Patnaik, handed out the death sentence to the wisest coward Dara Singh and sentenced 12 others to life imprisonment for killing the Australian missionary, Graham Stuart Staines, the wife of Dr Graham Stein, said that she had already forgiven the killers and had no bitterness for them. She even asserted that: ‘forgiveness brings healing and our land needs healing from hatred and violence.’
Can you believe it? Her thought-provoking statement might have broken millions of people across the globe. Frankly speaking, I could not understand what she was saying. Certainly, I believe, many people might have felt that she has gone ‘mad’ in the modern use of the term. Humanly speaking, if we were in her place, our blood must have boiled when we had a chance to see the killers face to face.
So what? I am sure, you all would agree with me that we live in a world where the idea ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,’ is a historical reality. It is good to think that ‘an eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind,’ as Mahatma Gandhi once uttered. Nevertheless, it is, indeed, a million dollar question to practice the ideology of Christ who said: ‘If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.’
Christ, the glorious rebel, not only made this statement, but did what he said exactly when he forgave the people who were making every effort to kill him brutally on the cross. His evergreen golden words at his killers: ‘Father, they do not know what they are doing,’ will continue to inspire billions of people, as long as this material world exists.
What does it mean to us? After reading about this historic and unforgettable woman, I am very sure, you will rethink the very idea of forgiveness itself. If you think forgivingness is an outdated concept, just ignore it. If you really believe forgiveness has something to contribute to your peace of mind, you can just think about it for a while as to how it can be further nurtured in your day-to-day life. If you are really serious that you have to contribute something substantial to the society where you live, then you can do a research on this interesting and inspiring woman in order to expand the historiography of forgiveness.
Is it possible to forgive those who hurt us? Yes, it is very much possible. Of course, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love,” as Mother Teresa once pronounced.
What is the message here? If you really wish to revenge the person who harms you, do good to him/her. I don’t think there is any other powerful weapon in this world than this mighty magic—joyous revenge by doing good to those who persecute you.