By Dr R Neerunjun Gopee
Last weekend I was on a video call with a Mauritian medical colleague settled in the USA, as we do from time to time to discuss things other than medicine. After we had exchanged some personal news, he began the rest of the conversation by saying that nowadays it is only humourists who can speak the truth to power. In reply, I told him that there must be some… truth in what he had just said, pointing out that in the English playwright Shakespeare’s plays, quite often there was a character called a court jester who would fulfill that role – of speaking truth to the king. In Indian palaces in the olden days there was Birbal, a more refined version who was equally fearless in revealing truths though questions and puzzles addressed to the emperor or to his subjects in the latter’s presence.
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* Published in print edition on 11 March 2022
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