[Reader-list] Shamsher Chowdhury: In search of truth (Financial Express, Dhaka)

Patrice Riemens patrice at xs4all.nl
Fri Nov 26 16:54:37 IST 2010

In search of truth

Shamsher Chowdhury

Since the beginning of the modern-day civilization one of the most
frequently made statements by politicians and civil society members alike
has been, "Truth shall prevail". But to be truthful, for decades now,
truth has been a major victim in all societies of the East and the West,
including that of Bangladesh. But in recent years the lone superpower
exceeded them all. Recall the extensive lies and twisting of facts that it
resorted to prior to the invasion of Iraq. One might, however, say now
that the truth has finally prevailed with the exposition of the facts from
the originally recorded US files on Iraq by Wikileaks, an international
media agency.

In Bangladesh, too, in the past few years or so, truth has been victimized
in all conceivable ways. Distortion of truth even at the state level has
become a regular practice. A large section of our traders and members of
the business community are either resorting to deception or withholding
the truth. Traders are either hiding the truth or indulging in blatant
lies. Media too is often engaged in toying and tossing with truth,
politicians are routinely using and abusing the truth for their partisan
and selfish gains. Rulers are feeding the people with all kinds of
misinformation; they are often engaged in turning a truth into a lie or a
lie into a truth.

To be truthful, we shall no longer see or experience truth the way our
forefathers taught us. It appears that lies have become endemic in all
spheres of our lives. Yet we should continue with our struggle to give
truth a "chance". Admittedly, truth in totality can never be restored but
certainly can be institutionalized to a great extent through an effective
and committed judiciary and revamping of other cardinal institutions of
the state.

In this business of dealing with the truth the media is one of the key
sources for the public. Here too truth seems to grove in the dark. Today
pick up as many as five or six leading dailies of the country, go through
them word by word yet you are far from the truth. In this, however, both
parties are to blame, the authorities that regulate the media and the
owners including the respective editors. One of the major problems in
protecting and advancing truth is that even the traditional defenders and
the custodians of truth have chosen the easy way-out by keeping quiet when
an injustice is committed or a blatant lie is told. William Hamilton, a
Scottish philosopher once said, "Truth like a torch, the more it is shook
it shines:" Our march for truth, therefore, must never cease. Sometimes
there may emerge a compulsive need to tell a truth even if it sends one to
the gallows. There is a popular saying, ""Charity begins at home". Let us
inculcate this culture of indulging in truth right from the family level.
Let the parents speak the truth to their offspring and teach them the
value and essence of truth right from their childhood. Also spread it
amongst all good men and women across the country, irrespective of their
caste, creed or colour, no matter how hard or tedious a job it may be.

Despite the fact that today the idea of truth itself is considered
irrelevant, we must not forget that it not only has a universal appeal but
also is enduring at all times and under all circumstances. Truth is as
enduring as birth, death and life itself. People who believe in any of
these eventualities cannot be too far from truth. But here in this
country, our political gurus or those entrusted with the management of the
state continue to distort truth in all conceivable ways. It is high time
we woke up to the call of truth. Our salvation lies in holding on to truth
in all spheres of our life.

It is high time for us to decide which path we should follow -- one that
is bumpy and hard that leads us to "truth" or one that is full of lies and
deception and easy to trudge along. While the first will lead us to truth
and ensure a life of dignity, honour and humility, the second may for a
while help us to gain pecuniary gains. The choice is ours to make.

E-mail: chowdhury.shamsher at yahoo.com

Everything about Wikileaks:

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