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Fear and Truth Dilemmas

Dr. Asangba Tzudir

“The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear.” These words by Mahatma Gandhi holds much relevance in the context of our society today. Fear seems to be our worst enemy in the face of truth. Such fear has unknowingly produced violent effects resulting in unwanted incidence of death. There is another form of fear which has also made truth obsolete, and thereby the desired truth is never allowed to surface. This fear has also curtailed our freedom to speak the truth openly. There is also an inherent psycho-social and philosophical problem that makes truth become a stranger in the face of fear. Ironically, up to a large extent, speaking the truth is becoming meaningless and is slowly losing its content and relevance.

Further, in the face of lies, it has become a difficult proposition to accept the truth or even seek the truth because acknowledgement of the truth means to surrender the lies or the historic-cultural ‘untruths,’ so also for the moral sanctioning imposed. Having accepted and adapted to so many lies, a process of normalisation has set in wherein, there is dissociation from speaking the truth because our society is conditioned in such a way that telling the truth is an uncomfortable subject. More so, ‘truth’ is directly or indirectly linked with fear and speaking the ‘truth’ becomes a painful dilemma. On the whole, such edifice of fear has curtailed the mind and the ‘will’ to challenge the existing lies, more so, the so called ‘structures’ that has held progress in captivity and which is yet to see the test of critical analysis.

Our society is not opened to a culture of ‘truth dialogue’ where criticisms can be openly shared across be it in the Church or in other different platforms. It is such that telling the truth becomes more hurtful or inconvenient or one that may invite unnecessary attention, while there are others that would rather escape being pinpointed for speaking ugly truths.

The church is one integral space that needs to be ruffled to make way for truth to grow. There are many compelling issues on which the church needs to take an affirmative stand rather than withholding the ‘truth’ for fear of possible criticisms. On another level, dialogue between the ‘church’ and its members is largely hampered due to a kind of fear that comes along with dogmatic religiosity and its associated activities within the interplay of power and control and thereby ‘truth dialogue’ becomes a casualty. On the whole, and currently the element of hypocrisy is killing the healthy growth and the Christian outlook of the Church. Likewise, the other socio-cultural and political spheres suffer from such a predicament.

For the progress of a society, truth dilemmas, ‘to be or not to be’ needs to be set free and nurtured by unsettling the fear to pave way for opening up the ‘zone of truth’ that would enable minds to seek the truth and recreate a new moral order.

Our society needs to realise that something else is more important than fear, that our society can no longer afford to be strangulated by fear at a time when the many ‘uncomfortable truths’ that are crippling our society needs to be voiced out.

(Dr. Asangba Tzudir writes a weekly guest editorial for The Morung Express. Comments can be mailed to