Mendacity in Our Midst: Treatments in Ramanujan, Max Muller and in Ancient Indian Behaviour Codes
Publication Type:Journal Articles
Source:Economic and Political Weekly, Volume 38, Number 18, p.1795–1799 (2003)
Cultural observers like Ramanujan and Max Muller have implied that untruthfulness amongst Indians is prevalent because of its approval by ancient behaviour codes. Ramanujan also attributed a lack of universality in Indian thought to the same codes. While the ancient codes contain many assertions which would be considered problematic today, lack of universality is not one of them as far as preference for truthfulness is concerned. The only occasion wherein any of the ancient codes prefer lies to truth is when someone's life is at stake. The quantitative prevalence of untruthfulness in different groups can only be empirically estimated by carefully designed questionnaires or experimentally. To minimise getting answers that the respondents will assume are expected of them, the first investigations should deal with instances of petty untruthfulness, where the consequences are trivial.
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