Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Of politics and truth

On Sunday, I watched a talk show on Star Vijay titled "Neeya Naana". The topic under discussion was truth vs. lies. One section accepted that they lied and justified white lies on the grounds that they were necessary for survival. The other self-righteously proclaimed that lying under any circumstance was bad and compromised basic values. At the end of the show, I was left with the feeling that those who admitted to lying and justified it were, in fact, speaking the truth, and that those who denounced it were being the ultimate hypocrites.

Those who denounced lying were quite justified in their anger; if, they had admitted to lying about minor things every now and then on the process. But, pretending that they are descendants of Raja Harishchandra left nobody in doubt about their honesty. Tell me frankly, can you honestly say you don't ever lie. I admit I do. From claiming I never heard mum telling to bring milk when I was busy doing other things, to going to Cafe Coffee Day after seeking permission to go for culturals when I was in college, I have lied. I still do. But those lies are about things that will not, in any way, harm anyone else. And you know what's worse? On the side of truth, were two distinguished politicians of the Congress Party, both of whom hold important positions within the party. Tell me, can a politician honestly claim never to have lied? Would you expect me, as a common citizen to take any politician at his/her word? Well, no. I refuse to believe a politician who says he has never lied. After all, an honest politician is an oxymoron. And so, I could not simply not buy the argument.

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