« Le faible ne peut pardonner. Pardonner appartient aux forts. »
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948)
« The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong »
Interview to the Press » in Karachi about the execution of Bhagat Singh (23 March 1931); published in Young India (2 April 1931), reprinted in Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi Online Vol. 51. Gandhi begins by making a statement on his failure « to bring about the commutation of the death sentence of Bhagat Singh and his friends. » He is asked two questions.
– First: « Do you not think it impolitic to forgive a government which has been guilty of a thousand murders? »
– Gandhi replies: « I do not know a single instance where forgiveness has been found so wanting as to be impolitic. »
– In a follow-up question, Gandhi is asked: « But no country has ever shown such forgiveness as India is showing to Britain? »
– Gandhi replies: « That does not affect my reply. What is true of individuals is true of nations. One cannot forgive too much. The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. »