The oxford word of the year 2016 was “Post Truth” which means “Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Knowingly or unknowingly this word has many implications in our life. It won’t be wrong if I assert that we are living in a world full of lies. If my assertion is wrong then how can you explain the result of Brexit vote or rise of Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen, or the silence of Indian masses after demonetisation?
We choose to believe the realities served to us by our politicians. Fake propaganda, fake twitter accounts, misinformation on social media these are just accessories to create a world of lies. What we actually fail to assess are the ramifications of such choices. For us facts and illusions become substitutive terms, gossips become gospel; emotions become roadblock to our rational thinking.
For many, Brexit vote marked the emergence of “Post Truth Era” and Trump’s victory approved it. This is not just about an election or a referendum result but it gives us a larger picture of the world we live in. For years we have led politicians dictate the truth for us rather than finding it ourselves. If Nigel Farage says “sanctions to EU is a waste of money” then it must be true, If Donald Trump says “I’ll make America great again” then it must be true, If our honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi says “I’ll curb black money and Rs. 15,00,000 will be deposited in every Indian’s account” then it must be true?
When intellect is subdued by emotions rational thinking becomes impossible and our politicians take advantage of this very “sentiment”. Lines will be drawn between being a “Nationalist” or an “Anti-National”, world’s worst mandate will be painted as a “Popular Mandate” and it would lead 48 million Americans to vote for a “wanna be” politician who thinks women are a sex object.
Role Of University campuses:
Universities are the places where dissent should be nurtured and not condemned. In times where internet is full of propaganda and fake news, it’s “dissent” and “debate” which can guide us to the truth. It’s saddening that university campuses in India have become a playground of politics for our politicians. The students questioning the “Popular Sentiment” of the nation becomes “Anti-Nationalists” and Campus debates are called “Terrorist Activities”.
Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels once said “A lie told once remains a lie but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth”. This is the reality of the world that we live in today lies are more acceptable than the actual truth. Facts are moulded to the point it becomes suitable for us to use them. “Post Truth” might be a premature term it might just be a word but as the author of “Theatres of Democracy” said “when a word is born, a world is born with it”.