The near axiomatic theory that a lie repeated hundred times will be taken as truth, is usually attributed to Goebbels, the minister of propaganda of German dictator Adolf Hitler.
That is a formula that Fascist politicians and rulers invariably uphold. They know that if they tell people truth as it is, their illusionary towers will crash. And what the Fascists in India - who see Hitler as their role model - consistently carry out for achieving their destructive goals, is false propaganda and coloured lies, has been proven by hundreds of examples. The most recent revelations by BBC, a source that more or less still maintains its credibility, only underline this fact.
The BBC survey released the other day, shows that fake news that stir nationalistic fervour spread very fast in India. The survey also warns that while the right wing tries to circulate fake news in a planned manner, the strength of those who resist it is very poor. In the BBC study for the programme 'Beyond Fake News" , it was discovered that when messages revolve around the theme of nationalism, people do not care for truth. It turned out that fake news was spreading relentlessly through the intervention in social media by supporters of prime minister Narendra Modi, more so via Twitter. The ideas figuring in most of the tweets were for establishing the premise that Hindu nationalism or India as a Hindu nation, and they included minority hatred, extolling the Vedic era, maintaining and reviving old traditions, and narrating the greatness of Modi – all of them spread via fake news, as discovered in BBC's research. Of the Twitter accounts following the prime minister, 56.2 percent are those that cannot be confirmed as genuine. Of the 30 accounts found to create fake news, 15 accounts are those that Modi himself follows.
If the prime minister of a democratic country himself does not believe in any difference between fact and fiction or truth and lies, better not speak of others. It may be recalled that during February 2002 in Gujarat, when Modi was the chief minister of the state, and communal riots resulted in bloodbath of Muslim minority, the role of false news spread by right wing papers was subjected to severe strictures by Press Council. And recently Kerala witnessed the speech of BJP state president PS Sreedharan Pilla, at a meeting of Yuva Morcha in Kozhikode, in which he tried to vitiate to the utmost the atmosphere around, in the light of Sabarimala women's entry, in order to win the support of Hindus. Sreedharan Pilla, who is also a poet, writer and a lawyer to boot, said that before the Tantri of Sabarimala made a threat of closing the temple 'nada' if women would enter there, he had consulted Pilla. But when the Tantri denied that, Sreedharan Pilla made a somersault.
People were forced to believe that Sreedharan Pilla uttered a lie. It may be worthwhile to recall a similar lie by his venerated leader, when he was in the Vajapyee cabinet. He let it out with closed eyes that one of the demands raised by the Pak terrorist gang who hijacked the Indian aircraft from Srinagar to Kandahar in Afghanistan, was that Abdunnaser Maadani who was in a Coimbatore jail should be released. To be added to that is this incident: a fake picture of a policeman with his boot on the chest of a pilgrim in Sabarimala misfired in Kerala, but the Sangh parivar spread the clip in lakhs of copies in Delhi. As we get closer and closer to the general elections, we may be in for a flood of lies. For the Hindutva forces, who are convinced that they cannot win votes by telling the truth or doing good, what else to do than rely on lies? It is the national media who copy them without filtering or corroboration, that has become, as BBC indicated in the report mentioned, the bane of India. At any rate lies have a very short life. Time will tell that false propaganda like those related to note ban, were just myths. But by that time, perhaps we have to fear that the peace, security and democratic order of the country may slip out of our hands. The only remedy for that will be eternal vigilance of the people and their discernment to differentiate truth from falsehood.