Nearly universally, “truth” is rated a perfect 10 among the moral values. The scriptures exhort us to always speak the truth, so does the Maulvi from the pulpit, so do our parents, and so do we – when we become parents, and so on and so on.
I say this notion is a total falsehood.
I can right away see SuoMoto action against me for attempting to corrupt the good folks that read Dawn.com. Add to that a telephone call from Mr. Mohsinullah Mohsin that a bomb-laden motorcycle is on its way to a place near me. Goodbye dear world.
My position is that falsehood – more commonly known as lies, is the true foundation of an organised, civilised and humane society.
My first example is from the world of love and marriage. A pretty girl knows this wonderful man, who has many positives; decency, a good job, coming from a respectable family etc. etc. The only issue is that the man won a third prize in a beauty competition that had only two contestants, including him.
The man loves our pretty lady in question and asks her hand in marriage. The only reason for the lady not wanting the man as her husband is his challenged looks. She refuses politely. The miserable man asks her, “My fair lady, for what reason do you reject me?”
I now pose the question to the Truth brigade: what should be the lady’s answer?
Should she tell him the truth that he failed in the looks department, or cook up a lie about being un-decided or not being ready for marriage? I guess most of you decent folks will say that she should not tell him that he is butt ugly, since that is not a nice thing at all to say to an otherwise decent fellow. Thus, being humane is the criteria here and not the primacy of truth. Falsehood triumphs!
Second example: You work in an office and hate the guts of your boss but you need to stay employed. During the annual evaluation you are asked to rate your boss. The truth is that you want to spit in his face and kick him in his gut, but you say that he is the next best thing to mango ice cream. You keep your job, your family is happy, the boss is happy. Falsehood saves the day for everyone!
You ask your wife, “Do you love me darling?” Given that most marriages are not really about love but about sensible choices, she is quite likely to say in her mind, “No darling, it is the house and the car that I really love”. But what comes out of her mouth? “Of course, I love you!” She in turn asks the same question of you. If what you really feel is that you hate her, would you risk saying that and upset the whole marital apple cart in a second and face the mess that comes with it?
Truth be told, any so called civilised / organised society cannot afford to entertain much truth. The whole fabric of the society will be torn in a day if a “Speak the Truth” day is observed: most marriages will end up in divorce, half the employees fired, the policemen will shoot the horrid guys they are supposed to protect, a certain retired General bombard the Chief Justice with the choicest of invectives, Pakistan’s relations with friendly nations breaking as the friendly nation’s President says in his welcome speech what he really thinks of our exalted Head of the State, etc.
Finally, when I send this to Dawn.com, and the editor finds it the vilest piece of writing ever to arrive on her desk. She will send me a polite note saying something about too many other things in the queue etc. because, in general, she likes my blogs. When I receive the reply, I will curse the editor for her lack of appreciation for my masterpiece, but will send her an equally polite note saying that I understand, and that I hope the next one will be published.