Corruption has been a way of life for us Indians and the denial of it in our personal life acceptable. At the end of the day, we don’t accept our wrong deeds even after conviction by the court of law. The perpetual denial that our near and dear ones have wronged makes us a nation of dishonest people. Former South African cricket star Hansie Cronje, before he died in an air crash, had accepted his crime in these words, “Yes, I am not an honest person”, admitting he wronged the gentlemen’s game by indulging in match-fixing. Months after the admission, he died. We respect him more for his honesty, apart from his contribution to the game he played. Former US President Bill Clinton also admitted to what he called “inappropriate relationship” with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. By doing so, he saved his marriage with Hillary and the presidency. He admitted what he did and moved on. Today, people remember him as the two-term American President.

Back home, several Indian cricketers were also named in the match-fixing scandal and some of them later absolved by the court of law. None of these cricketers ever apologised for having wronged the profession. The same goes for politicians and other professionals. Late ND Tiwari didn’t accept his son who was born out of wedlock until he was dragged to court and asked to undergo the paternity test. Yes, running out of options, he did accept the youth and solemnised his marriage with the mother of his son at the age of 80. Recently, around 12 women called out powerful journalist-turned-politician MJ Akbar as part of the #metoo movement but rather than admitting to what he may have done in the past, he chose to sue them. Irrespective of the legal battle, he could have apologised for the fact that so many women felt harassed at some point of their career because of him.

On the corruption index, India always ranks high. Corruption has been a huge electoral agenda for political parties. For instance, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s top agenda during Lok Sabha polls 2014 was corruption. Some of the country’s top politicians are in jail over corruption charges but their progenies play the victim card and seek sympathy votes in their name. They set a narrative that they have been framed. They don’t feel the guilt of being raised on ill-gotten wealth. They can simply say sorry for what their kith and kin did and distance themselves when the need arises. They can still make a career and come clean too; people would certainly forgive.

Every time there is news of wrong sirs or wrong madams, their families try to find a conspiracy without doubting those first who wronged them and brought shame to them.

To err is human, to forgive is divine. But between erring and forgiving must be accepting the mistake. We must realise we go wrong and there is a way to course-correct instead of defending our misdeeds. And, to achieve this, we need to create a space for forgiveness.

In this clip of the blockbuster movie, Deewar, when Vijay’s family comes to know about his criminal activities, his cop brother tries to convince him to admit the wrong and do a course-correction. Vijay says he would surrender only after those who wronged him and his family were brought to justice. However, the mother rejects all his argument and says, “Someone might have written ‘Mera Baap Chor Hai (My father is a thief)’ on your hand, but why did you write on my forehead ‘Mera beta chor hai (my son is a thief). ” The Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor-starrer released in 1975 and I am yet to find a mother who could say so in real life. Let’s first admit the wrong and then create a space for apology and forgiveness. By doing so, we would be able to create a better environment for the generations to come.

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