The Huddle

‘Truth cannot be eclipsed by blinkers of prejudices,’ says President Ram Nath Kovind at The Hindu’s Huddle

President Ram Nath Kovind at The Huddle on Saturday.

President Ram Nath Kovind at The Huddle on Saturday.  

He pays glowing tributes to The Hindu for “relentlessly aiming to capture the essence of this great country”

“Truth exists in absolute form which cannot be eclipsed by blinkers of prejudices. It cannot be a case of ‘your truth’ versus ‘my truth’. Truth has to be one,” President Ram Nath Kovind said on Saturday, while inaugurating the fourth edition of The Huddle organised by The Hindu group of publications.

Paying glowing tributes to The Hindu for “relentlessly aiming to capture the essence of this great country”, Mr. Kovind pointed out that sometimes dogmas and personal prejudices distorted the truth.

“In the 150th year of Gandhiji’s birth, let us ponder this question: Will it not be proper to pursue truth itself as the ideology. Gandhiji has shown us the path by walking ceaselessly in search of truth…” the President told a packed house at The Huddle.


Today, however, Mr. Kovind pointed out that the world seemed to be living in the post-truth era. “I wonder what Gandhiji would have said about it. Of late, there have been attempts to give various shades to truth and define its stages as if some truth exists beyond provisional truths.”

The President pointed out that debate and discussion were internalised in India’s social psyche since time immemorial. “They are means to an end. On a lighter side, I am talking about an era that preceded high-voltage TV debates!”

“Even in this period of transition, The Hindu continues with its tradition of conducting informed debate through news and views. It would not be an exaggeration to say that The Hindu seeks to protect the sanctity of the printed word and holds fast to the ideology of the truth,” the President stated.

Pointing out that the perception of truth was conditioned by circumstances, Mr. Kovind pointed out: “Through arduous research, we came to know it well that neither does the sun rise nor does it set. The conditions that cloud the truth’s positions are effectively dispelled by a contestation of ideas through debate, discussion and scientific temper. Prejudices and violence vitiate the search for truth.”

According to Mr. Kovind, the world was “above all” being shaped by information technology. “These trends have impacted journalism in all its aspects, from news gathering to delivering news to readers and finally making money to sustain the activity.”

“The internet and social media have democratised journalism and revitalised democracy. This process is ongoing, but in its current stage, it has also led to many anxieties. The new media is fast and popular and people can choose what they want to watch, hear or read. But only the traditional media has, over years, developed skills to authenticate a news report, and that is a costly operation. I hope that we will arrive at the ideal trade-off soon,” the President stated.

“In the meanwhile, the traditional media will have to introspect on its role in society and find ways to earn the reader’s full trust again. The project of democracy is incomplete without informed citizens – which means, without unbiased journalism,” Mr. Kovind stressed.

The President said that those at the helm of The Hindu began their journey with a “huddle”, 142 years ago, for a cause. “That thinking must also be behind naming the event ‘The Huddle’ that covers a wide array of topics ranging from politics, economics, the environment and entertainment to gender and sports.”

“At this conclave, speakers are invited to come together and form a huddle to deliberate and review the strategy for the benefit of society and the country. Implicit in this effort is welfare of the entire cosmos consistent with the philosophy of “Sarve bhavantu sukhinah”. I once again commend The Hindu group of publication for organising this conference that lays out a roadmap for posterity,” he added.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 3:08:14 PM |

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