Truth belied

Truth belied

Politics has been associated more or less with two adjectives since long, tough and dirty. Whether the dirt found there is tough or the tough prevailing there are dirty is immaterial. The axiom ‘all is fair in love and war’ can be now applied to politics too where mudslinging is free for all. When it is hard to face a needless taunt or a deliberate insult in personal life, I wonder how political leaders brace themselves for endless vitriolic attacks.

In the Raj era, politics was all about iron-fisted administration on the one hand and executing strategies to gain precious independence on the other. Nowadays, it is not only about lack of direction but keeping oneself busy in either verbal assaults or counter assaults. Gan­dhiji upheld truth averring, “Satyameva Jayate”, but often it is seen that half-baked lies are masqueraded as truth.

Truth is easy to remember and recount as there is only one version. But a lie lends itself to modifications until there are many versions of the same issue or non issue. Even when confronted with the truth which is there for all to see, the politicians or their faithful henchmen may argue that the truth is a lie and what they say is nothing but the truth.

The recent Sasikala melodrama was an instance of this, where she and her loyalists reiterated that the MLAs were not under captivity or their cell phones unreachable or that access to the resort was barred for the public and media, when the truth was there for all to see and gasp. ‘Does a lie become the truth when told repeatedly?’ is debatable. But Lenin seemed to concur when he said, “a lie told often enough becomes the truth”.

The domestic help is an expert on this when she asserts loudly that she has swept the room even as I point out a mound in a corner which is waiting to be picked up. The vendor of greens is another veteran when he holds up wilting coriander and spinach leaves and says with all the energy he can muster that they are indeed farm fresh. I pretend to believe him, more out of pity for him having to walk long hours in the hot sun, and buy a couple of bunches.

A white lie is usually condoned as its purpose is believed to save a situation. The ever-truthful Yudhishtira was made to tell the truth in a devious manner to produce a counter-effect, arguably a lie. Again, ‘all is fair in love and war!’ However, it is sometimes surprising to see people bluffing for no reason at all.

Recently, I had lent a bag to a person. When we met the next time, I was asked if I would like the bag back as the person had it with them. Although I had not expected it back, since it was offered, I agreed. The person disappeared for a moment to bring it but returned saying, “Sorry ma’am, it’s at home.” I then realised that I had ended up calling the person’s bluff.