Public perception is a very strong phenomenon that is often undermined. The proof of it are ‘facts’ that aren’t facts at all. We have just accepted them because everyone has been saying so for decades and hence we never bothered to check their legitimacy. It’s safe to say reliance on narratives isn’t always healthy and for the sake of truth-telling, we debunk some commonly held incorrect perceptions here. Read on.
1. Hindi is our national language.
Incorrect, not only is Hindi not our national language, we do not have a national language, to begin with. It’s the “official language” adopted by the Parliament, along with English. What are these debates for then, right?
2. Hockey is our national sport.
Again, India does not have a national sport. According to the Government of India, there are only 7 national symbols, namely – National Flag, National Anthem, National Song, State Emblem, National Bird, National Animal, and National Flower. Anything beyond this is a lie.
3. Mahatma Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind”.
Well, there is absolutely no proof that he did. The statement finds its origin in the Bible – “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also”. So, there you go. Jesus probably said two of the lines wrongly attributed to Mahatma Gandhi.
4. Mahatma Gandhi is officially the “Father of the Nation”.
He is often called the Father of the Nation, because of his immense contributions to our freedom, but our constitution does not have the provision to give titles to any citizen, except for educational and military ones. A 10-year-old’s RTI application unearthed this fact and here we have fully grown adults believing anything they read on the internet.
5. The Indian football team played barefoot at the London Olympics in 1948 because of the lack of money.
Not true, they played barefoot because they preferred it that way. The team was far less financially supported than what would have been ideal, but the players had enough to buy shoes.
6. Varanasi is the oldest city in the world.
People believe that city was established by Lord Shiva himself in 3000BC, and there is no way to verify that, is there? Any actual evidence pointing toward the establishment of the city is much later and Plovdiv in Bulgaria seems to be winning this race with evidence that people started living there in 6000BC.
7. Jodha is Akbar’s wife.
This one is probably the most contentious. Some people say that Jodha was Akbar’s wife but others (mostly informed historians) say that she was, in fact, married to Jehangir. An article from Hindustan Times quotes Satish Chandra, the writer of history books for NCERT, as saying:
Historical documents, including Akbarnama and Jehangir’s memoirs, say it was not Akbar but Jehangir who got married to the House of Jodhpur. So the princess was later called Jodhabai.
Even Ashutosh Gowariker, the filmmaker who made Jodha Akbar admitted that “there is a confusion regarding the name”.
8. Rajma is an Indian dish.
Sorry to break your heart, mine was too. Rajma came to India from Portugal and it was Mexicans who started using it in the current popular manner – soaked and boiled. Much like samosa and gulab jamun, this delicacy isn’t ours – factually speaking.
Fact-checking is sacred.