On Aurangzeb

I have it on good authority that Satyameva Jayate is India’s national motto. The English translation of the Sanskrit is “Truth Alone Prevails.” Is that claim itself true? Can it really prevail in a land where some people are afraid to speak what they perceive to be the truth because some others confront that expression with violence?

Thomas Jefferson claimed over 200 years ago that “it is error alone that needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.” I agree only partly. I don’t think that without courageous people truth has a chance. Truth, in the abstract, of course exists. But for it to triumph, surely it has to be expressed by humans and be part of the mental makeup of at least one human being. The world is spherical is a truth in the abstract. But at some point in the history of human civilization it became a concrete truth. But it required courage to express a truth that in some parts of the world was considered against god and morality.

Truth would have a hard time prevailing in a nation of people cowed down from fear and threat of violence. A recent example of violence shutting out an attempt at finding the truth occurred in Chennai. A bunch of people shut down an exhibition which revealed Aurangzeb to be a tyrant. The police were also involved in the vandalism. The state was involved in suppressing the expression of a viewpoint that some considered unpalatable. Most of the newspapers did not report this.

Isn’t it true that India’s motto basically pokes fun at India’s public actions?

Link: Details of what happened and Kanchan Gupta’s opinion piece.

[Follow up post: B Raman on “Aurangzebs of Today.”]

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