Sunday, October 3, 2010

What is Truth?

Pilate's famous question.(John 18:38)

We have come up with an interesting perspective over the past week.

I am referring, of course, to the Ayodhya verdict.

While I think the verdict is pragmatic, and perhaps offers a solution that may be finally acceptable to all parties, as the least dangerous option, and the one most likely to work, I am afraid the verdict seems to have been based on a suspect interpretation of 'Truth'.

I heard a BJP leader ask rhetorically on TV before the verdict, "What greater proof can be presented to show that Ram was born at this spot in Ayodhya than the fact that millions of Hindus believe this happened?".

Read these two opinions from The Hindu, and the South Asian Observer. Apparently, the court decided "that the Hindu plaintiffs in the case have a claim to the disputed site because “as per [the] faith and belief of the Hindus” the place under the central dome of the Babri Masjid where the idols of Ram Lalla were placed surreptitiously in 1949 is indeed the “birthplace” of Lord Ram." even though the weight of evidence is that it is highly unlikely a temple ever existed at that site.

I am concerned.

"Truth" is absolute. There is only one "Truth" about any question. "Truth" does not change depending on what the majority think, even if the majority is millions of people.

Take an example:
Imagine if a court in the time of the ancient Greeks ruled, "The fact that millions of people believe the earth is flat is the greatest proof that the world is indeed flat. We rule in favour of the majority: The Earth is flat."

That would not have changed the "Truth". "Truth" is absolute. The earth is not flat, even though that was the faith and belief of the majority at the time.

Majorities have been famously wrong. The majority thought Jesus deserved to die. The majority believed the sun revolves around the earth and Galileo was found 'vehemently suspect of heresy' and kept under house arrest . The majority in Germany believed Hitler was right. Peer Pressure often results in people doing something wrong

I would like to see this dispute peacefully settled, but I would also like to see that absolutes exist.......and therein lies my difficulty: What can the court decide if the "faith and beliefs" of the majority is wrong, and they have made historical mistakes, and are willing to resort to violence to forcefully take what they wrongly believe is theirs? Simple adherence to the "Truth" will result in violence and bloodshed, and hence the country is arm-twisted into a political and pragmatic solution. Not ideal, but is there any other option?

1 comment:

Babu said...

On the day of the Ayodhya verdict, BJP MP and famous lawyer Ram Jathmalani said "This is a verdict which accepted the limitation of law". I thought there is a point in what he said.