A few years ago I read about fifty-eight old Pratibha Tripathi, on a train to Bangalore, when a robber tries to snatch her handbag. She holds on to it, is dragged bleeding to the door, where she falls onto the tracks outside.
She lies there, bleeding profusely, broken arm and hip, and dastardly thief who’s jumped off, even as she lies injured, picks up same bag and flees.
Fortunately, she is picked up by a motorman from an oncoming train and is now in hospital.
“She’s always been a fighter!” her family says, and her son continues, “Her motto has always been that one should fight for what’s right!” Well, she did, didn’t she? She walked her talk, and the good news is that the thief has been arrested.
But, it is her words at the hospital that moved me. When told that the same robber who had brutally pushed her out, then callously picked up her bag even as she lay injured was arrested, she said, “Please see that he is not beaten!” I stare at the paper with tears in my eyes, “How can one forgive, even as one lies broken and battered?”
Against this, I see an old man in the park I walk in who waxes eloquent about a particular community, “Why do you do it?” I asked him angrily. “Do you know what Tipu Sultan did to us Christians two hundred years ago?” he asked.
In front of me are two vivid images: One a lady, badly bruised and injured, yet forgiving her assaulter, the other carrying a dead two hundred old Tipu on his back.
And there are many in our country who are not like Pratibha Tripathi. According to her son, she’s a fighter! There’s no doubt, in today’s world, this is what we need to be; to have determination and courage, persistence and perseverance and achieve our goals.
Tenacity to hold on and not let go of our dreams, but the same strength to let go off our grudges.
While traveling in Spain our road went through mountains and we stopped at an old historical town.
Why do the walls and houses look so strange?” I asked a local. “We never pulled down, what the Moors, the Turks had built before!” he replied, “we just continued with our own buildings, and we live the same way together!” How beautiful the town looked!
How beautiful India looks, with its different cultures all interwoven! And for this to continue, we need to stop carrying Tipu or other people, incidents, even cruel memories on our backs! Because that which you carry, is what politicians exploit! God bless Ms Tripathi, and may our country produce more like her: Her strength, resilience, indomitable courage and her spirit of forgiveness..!