Myth Buster

"A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting its shoes on"

Here, for your entertainment, are some of the craziest tales spun by the opposition's propaganda factory. And the truth.

What about the viral video where Rahul Gandhi speaks about ‘aloo ki factory’?

Context is everything. That bit was a fragment of an interaction with distressed farmers in Uttar Pradesh. One farmer suggested a potato chip factory in the region, to which Mr Gandhi responded. The entire interaction is presented here (comment in question at 1.22) Farmers’ concerns and agricultural policy are clearly not as ‘viral’ as a sentence plucked out of context by an opposition more comfortable with jeering than thinking.

Wait, another aloo question. Why did he talk of a machine that would turn potatoes into gold (aloo se sona niklega)?

That is indeed a ludicrous thing to say. Only, Rahul Gandhi didn’t make that claim, he was making fun of the prime minister’s outrageous promises. Again, a fragment of the speech was deviously presented by the BJP’s team, to suggest the very opposite. Here is the full video, for those who care about the truth.

Why did he claim that connecting MRI machines would improve healthcare in India?

In a question about healthcare, one of the the ideas that Mr Gandhi referred to was the internet of things. Connecting devices like MRI machines, CT scanners and other equipment through the cloud and analysing their findings is an important part of diagnosis and care. This data-driven approach is the future of healthcare, and it is already a reality in many parts of the world. So Rahul Gandhi was referring to a global trend that his critics may not yet be aware of.

For those who want to know more, here is a handy article from the Economist

What in the world did he mean by escape velocity of Jupiter?

Rahul Gandhi was speaking about the extra push needed for Dalits to reach the same footing as others. As a socially disadvantaged community, it takes greater effort for them to shake off the downward pull of their environment. Just like it takes greater energy to escape Jupiter’s gravitational field than that of earth.

Escape velocity is also a commonly used term in social research – take this example from Harvard Research

It’s not that hard to understand, even for the BJP.

Why did he say ‘poverty is a state of mind’?

Rahul Gandhi had said that apart from material deprivation, poverty is also a state of mind. This is borne out by social science research on the psychogical effects and insecurities created by scarcity and precarity.

Media headlines mangled his words to suggest he said poverty is only a state of mind. As usual, the BJP cried hoarse. The Dalit Resource Centre of the Gobind Ballabh Pant Social Science Institute, where Rahul Gandhi made the statement, clarified the facts, and most newspapers carried corrections the next day, but the damage was done. Deliberately. Read: Hindustan Times, Indian Express

Why did his “woke up this morning, last night” go viral?

Because to err is human, and to mock is the BJP. It was a slip of the tongue. Happens to everyone, especially those whose words are constantly watched.

This list is likely to keep growing. Lies will continue being generated, because the only limits are in the BJP’s imagination. Some of these allegations, though, are more serious and unconscionable than others:

What is the truth about the Sukanya rape case?

This charge, cooked up by political opponents and peddled on foreign websites, was struck down by the Supreme Court of India for being “without substance and without an iota of evidence” . Not only that, the court heavily fined the petitioners for causing reputational damage to Rahul Gandhi. Half of that penalty was due to Rahul Gandhi, and half to the woman who they claimed had been raped. Read: NDTV, Mint

That this malicious lie continues to lurk in a right-wing echo-chamber shows that some people are impervious to the truth and contemptuous of due legal process. They will go to any length to discredit someone they don’t like.

Was Rahul Gandhi detained in Boston with drugs?

No. Those sharing these fantasies, without offering even a shred of evidence, are obviously smoking something strong.

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