Επιμέλεια: Εύα Πετροπούλου Λιανού


A Report

Chair: Dr. Jernail Singh Anand, President, International Academy of Ethics.

Panel: Dr. Philip Benesch, Assoc. Professor, Director or Pre-Law Prog., Lebanon Valley College, USA

Dr. V. Selvin, Head of the Department of English and Vice-Principal, Sree Saraswathi Thyagraja College, Pollachi, TN.

Anchor/Moderated by Dr. Payel Chattopadhaya Mukherjee, IIIT, Delhi.

The programme was initiated with a welcome speech by Dr. Maja Herman Sekulic, Vice-President, of IAE, who stressed on the increasing dangers to the idea of truth under the increasing digitalization and the AI.

Dr. Philip Benesch mentioned that truth relates to the verifiability of the facts. In the post-truth era, it is the powerful who exercise their right to explain the truth. But these are times  when even an ordinary person can criticize the truth being sponsored by the power lobbies. In this way, he calls it the democratization of truth, in the age of anxiety and skepticism which is the result of social media stories which resemble truth, or narratives which run parallel truth. He maintained that truth is what it has been, and what it is, only the way we approach it are different. He also pointed out that even history is a selective exercise, leaving scope for manipulation and at the same time, [what he calls democratization of truth] attempts to provide alternative attempts. Finally he said, we need an antidote to manipulation of truth by the powers that be.

Dr Payel, who was moderating the session, submitted that we are concerned with the possibility of newer literatures to fight off the division of truth  in view of the manipulative processes tampering with reality.

Dr. V Selin, covering a wide range of issues, talked of the different types of truth, referred to susceptibility to biases, confirmation bias, etc. and compared science and literature. Science he said keeps changing and evolving, altering its own truths. Truth, he said, is what you create, and you have to identity what is real and what is not real. Science he said: starts on journey for finding the truth, but it never reaches truth, because truth can be altered in 50 years. Whereas literature never claims it goes after truth. A poet observes, processes, compares, analyses, and by the end of the poem, shares his observations which can be called the truth of the matter. He connected fake news to Coleridge’s idea of willing suspension of disbelief, and this disbelief is forced these days because no one is interested in reading newspapers which he knows carry bluff. In the conclusion, he referred to the idea of objective and subjective truth as dealt with by Kant, Hegel and Marx.
What then is Truth? Let us go to Nietzsche:

A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, anthropomorphisms, – in short a sum of human relations which have been enhanced, transposed and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people.
Truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power;
coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.

Dr. Jernail Singh Anand, while summing up the debate, pointed out that in this Post-truth Kalyuga, only Literature can save man from further degeneration into the hollow of false narratives, perceptions, and manipulative fake news. He lamented the fall of poetry which deals with the essential truths of life. Fiction, he said, is in ascendance, the reason is the world now loves fiction. But even there is written; It is a work of fiction. If the characters resemble any real characters, it is coincidental. He wanted Literature to peel off the layers of dust from the face of truth. And the mission before poet is to : Save Truth from being divided and discredited.

Dr Molly Joseph commented on the event and presented the vote of thanks, particularly  mentioning  the gifted Anchor Dr. Payel Chattopadhaya Mukherjee for her keen observatins and deft handling of the event, and Prof. Randhir Gautam for being the host of the show. 


The Event was widely watched and commented upon by leading lights of the literary world.

Dr Kul Bushan Razdan quips:

“The present-day world is a world in which Doxa ( Altered apprehension of the Self ) creates all problems, besides promoting the issues of artificiality, hypocrisy, duplicity and double-speak. All these man-made “Viruses create the spectacle of “The Dangling Man “: neither belonging to the end nor to the beginning, instead tottering on the brink of The Abyss . Frank Kermode in his Archetypal work: Sense Of An Ending , says contemporary humans belong neither to the Beginning nor to the End, instead they go on becoming the pathetic victims of what he calls as “Clerky skepticjsm” .

Dr. Laksmisree Banerjee thinks that Literature has become the degenerate commodity of a decrepit, fallen and consumerist civilization, hanging on the dangerous precipice of annihilation….. Only Literature at its most ethereal heights with sublimity of essence, can redeem and save Humanity….

Maja Kapkobinh thinks: Art generally is precious, and priceless for being brave enough to reveal and point to the most hidden truths and fats of our lives, even if those truths are not always present.

Rawle Iam James, a poet and critic from Canada, was concerned with the role of
higher education plays in combating narratives that challenge objective truth. He observes:  News is like history. It is biased that contains the truth of the victors and is positioned as absolute truth.  Literature like many institutions, is being challenged. I guess the real question is what does truth mean in the 21st century. He questioned how our desire for convenience affects the objective reality.

Vinod Khanna raised his voice against the paid news and wanted to know how to identify fake news and separate grain from chaff

Shuchi Sharma focused her question on the theory of Truth and questioned how history is decided and shared and who gets to tell the story.

We are thankful to all the participants, listeners, and all those who commented, and to all those who are yet to listen to the video of this Event.