The Art of Manufacturing Truths


Baba Ramdev, Anna Hazare and others seem to be specialising in the art of fabricating truths.  This is not my allegation.  Harish Khare’s article in today’s Hindu [6 June 2012] says it eloquently. 

Khare’s argument is that the Hazare Team has been trying to instil into the minds of the Indians certain truths they have created.  Last year they harped on the theme that Dr Manmohan Singh might not be corrupt but he was guilty of protecting the corrupt.  Now “the demonisation game has been ratcheted up to declare Manmohan Singh to be corrupt…” 

Courtesy: The Hindu

Courtesy: The Hindu

Those readers who are fanatic supporters of the Hazare Team might take Khare’s article as mere hagiography.  Those who tend to be more objective will analyse the facts mentioned by him realistically and find many acceptable facts in it. 

Of late, I’ve been fascinated by the social constructionist theory which argues that all knowledge, including scientifically obtained knowledge, is a construct of culture, language and social roles and has no claim to final truth.  The relativity of knowledge and truth is something that started fascinating me from my early 20s.  It is only recently, however, I came across a theory that justifies my thinking. 

Any dominant section of people in a society can manufacture knowledge and truths.  That’s a simple layman’s version of the social constructionist theory.  Harish Khare is arguing in slightly different words that the Hazare team is manufacturing some such knowledge and truths not only about the country’s Prime Minister but others such as Ms Sonia Gandhi.  Khare is of the opinion that Mr Singh and Ms Gandhi may be “guilty” of certain omissions and commissions such as “pursuing a politics of decency and of elevating reconciliation to a matter of state policy.”

In plainer words, Mr Singh and Ms Gandhi failed in dealing effectively with the corrupt people around them not because they are corrupt but because they were not “ruthless enough.”  They have been too “decent.”

Personally I can’t disagree with Khare, let me be labelled anything.  

Khare also raises a very valid point.  Why don’t Hazare and his team take on the “corporate sharks” who are the real threat to India’s welfare today?  Instead when the team focuses on certain red herrings like the PM’s inefficiency in dealing with corruption, Khare rightly finds in it a Goebbelsian strategy.

Hazare & Co are manufacturing truths which the gullible people of the country (the vast majority of people in any country are gullible) may lap up out of a desire for a political change and consequent betterment of their lives.  The people can’t always be blamed for not perceiving the hidden agendas of certain propaganda.

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8 Responses to The Art of Manufacturing Truths

  1. Although I plainly disagree with your interpretation and apparent approval to what Harish Khare had to say about ‘these people’, I find the text pretty biased in the sense that Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi deserved a salutation from you but ‘these people’ don’t.
    I really couldn’t stop myself from noting such a ‘subtle detail’ ….

    • matheikal says:

      I agree with you that Harish Khare may have his own personal reasons to defend Dr Singh and his team. But I’m sufficiently convinced by the facts and arguments he has given…

  2. For some reasons, nowadays i am getting hatred feel on reading such articles on Hindu.
    i have nothing to say than sighing about our future

    • matheikal says:

      Hatred is a sign that you are thinking emotionally, Deepak. Think rationally is the only answer I can offer. Let reason prevail.

      The Hindu may have its own reasons to publish certain articles and not to publish some. But the point is whether what is published stands to reason. For example, how would you respond (not react) to the anecdote mentioned by Khare about Dr Singh’s request to him on possible corruption allegations against members of his family?

  3. Raghuram Ekambaram says:

    Matehikal, there are two distinct things that you had tried to connect and the conenction is tenuous – Khare’s piece and your focus on social construction of truth. I did like your change of Team Anna to Hazare Team.

    Thomas Kuhn has said that science is strongly biased by dominance of a group within its class. If science is vulnerable, there is not much surprise that other human endeavors (politics in one) are also vulnerable.

    Right from before noise from Hazare, I had asked many times why and how the corporates go unscrutinized. It is because politicains need that class, need the money from that class to be distributed any which way to all the other classes periodically, during elections. No wonder the corporates remain untouchable, by any and all political formulations. There is no business-unfriendly political outfit – even the left only murmurs.

    Khare is OK because he has made full diclosure – he cannot but be sympathetic to MMS. It is for the discerning lot among his readership to filter what appears reasonable. I like overt biases so that I can react. It is just the same on racism. I prefer in-your-face racism because I can see the enemy.


    • matheikal says:

      First of all, I don’t think the connection is tenuous though in my writing it may appear to be so. That only proves that I’m a bad writer. I am connecting the social constructionism of the Hazare Team with Khare’s arguments which point to the same thing in different words. The only thing that might have irked you is my bringing in science… But science is a pet ‘object’ of mine! [In Freudian psychology, object is a thing or a person which/who is the target of one’s un-gratified feelings/emotions (as I’m defining it for a lay person) not you, but other readers who may require such a definition.]

      I too would prefer open racism to clandestine versions of it. I strongly feel that the Hazare Team is up to much mischief culturally. They will rewrite the whole Indian history when they get power. [I say ‘when’ because my intuition says that they are going to get it, alas!]

      I agree with you about the alliance between politics and business. Money is power and power is money.

  4. subhorup says:

    somewhere along the road, the civil society’s anger and agitation at the corruption pervading governance has been hijacked by the forces that are really driving team anna. i think it is sad since it was societal anger that took the movement where it is today. as the agenda has evolved into an overtly political one, the profile of the supporter has also changed. i doubt if the same people who came out in the streets earlier will do so now.

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