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Mainstream, VOL LVII No 22 New Delhi May 18, 2019

Are Facts also Partial Truths?

Saturday 18 May 2019, by Badri Raina

If a fact is a fact is a fact is a fact,
And truths are multiple,
Then every fact may have a truth
That justifies a quibble.

Would there be words were it not so—
Words on words on words—
Would we distrust what exists,
But trust an absent God?

The perfection that Plato saw
In an imagined perfect circle—
Is that the truth we never reach,
However we may prattle?

Did Jesus say “forgive them, father,”
Or “why hast thou forsaken me?”
What was the truth about that fact
On mount Calvary?

Was India always whole and sole,
Or a chip of the African plate?
Who then were the Aryans—
Inhabitants of what state?

If I use just seven per cent still
Of what brain is in my skull,
And Einstein several times more,
Then is evolution not yet full?

What passionate certainties we wield
From our interested turfs!
Are we an infant that loudly calls her
Arrival and attitude burps?

Is God a fact or just a truth
We invent severally?
How stirring to be just human
Battling a fathomless sea.

Condemned to facts, we build big truths,
And contest common spaces;
We may have Jacks, Queens, Kings,
But where are the bloody Aces?

Badri Raina

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