One of Osho’s popular discourses is on the many emotions incited by everybody’s favourite F word. Arguing that it is among the most versatile words in the English language, Osho explains how it can be used to convey at least 16 different feelings, apart from its delightful sexual meaning.
Can ‘sorry’ be also as versatile as the F word? Can it convey anything other than an apology? Yes, if you have been following the art of saying sorry in the Narendra Modi government.
Sakshi Maharaj, the Nathuram Godse fan who is also an MP from Unnao, was forced to apologise in Parliament on Friday for calling the man who shot Mahatma Gandhi a 'patriot'. It is obvious that he got the baans, probably at the very anatomical spot Mamata Banerjee had recently popularised, from his bosses for eulogizing Godse in front of camera and was under immense pressure to make amends.
So, Maharaj—who is facing an entire range of criminal cases, including charges of murder—offered an apology that was an expression of irritation and frustration than of penitence. He first harangued the Opposition, flailed his hand pugnaciously, recited a couplet (hum aah bhi bharte hain to ho jaate hain badnam) and then quickly got the load off his chest saying: mein apne shabdon pe khed prakat karta hoon.
I am sorry is the word of a winner. Whenever somebody says sorry, he triumphs over his ego, ignorance, a lapse of judgment and a hurtful act committed in a fit of anger. It is an admission that helps a person win back the faith, friendship or a relation he may have lost in the absence of his words of repentance.
I am sorry can also be the word of a loser. The second type is either extracted from a person through threat, coercion, inducement or blackmail or is offered by person simply because it is the only option to get out of a harmful situation. This is an act of a coward who doesn’t have the courage to hold his ideological ground.
So, in which category did Maharaj’s apology fall?
All politicians have their individual style and tone for a sorry. Rajiv Gandhi offered it as a justification veiled in metaphors after the 1984 riots (big tree falls, earth shakes). His idea was later recycled by Modi (puppy comes under vehicle, everybody feels bad). And Arvind Kejriwal offered one recently as an admission of political hara-kiri (sorry, we shouldn’t have quit).
Since we are talking about Mahatma Gandhi, it won’t be remiss to remember his most famous apology. Gandhi could never forgive himself for being away from his father’s deathbed. And his public confession of guilt and remorse is well-documented in his My Experiments with Truth. But it would be too much expect Godse bhakts to learn from Gandhi.
Maharaj's role model was perhaps his bhagwa behen Sadhvi Jyoti, who took the art of offering apology to a different level.
After shooting off an apology in the Parliament, she headed straight to Trilokpuri—the site of a recent communal clash in Delhi—and, this time instead of showing the wrong finger to non-Ramzaadas, she asked them to show their fist.
‘I won’t say much because people get offended. But samajhdar ko ishara kaafi hai, hai na?’ was the sum total of her sermon before she broke into a bhajan. Symptoms of a person tormented by guilt? Jyoti seemed to be flaunting her apology as a badge of honour, a certificate of hard-earned notoriety.
Wonder what Osho would have said about the many meanings of the S word!
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Updated Date: Dec 13, 2014 18:23:24 IST