Data, Lies and Politics: Elusive Development Goals to Exclude Majority

16 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2015

Date Written: October 23, 2015


The current debate on beef ban, cow slaughter, meat ban and so on overlooks one of the crucial aspects that is how many poor people are really in the position to make such choices as to consume luxurious diet consisting of animal proteins or afford daily food consisting of cereal, pulses and vegetables. In a country where millions could not afford two proper meals a day, can they really exercise option of exercising choices in a period when inflation is increasing and economic policies are resulting in yawning income inequalities between the rich and the poor? However, the media, the politicians and the international organizations paint the picture otherwise for their vested interest. In order to divert attention from the basic issues like increasing hunger, growing poverty, escalating incidences of crime, mounting violence, rising pollution, falling health situation, decline in quality of education, rolling back of welfare provisions, reduction in the social security provisions, increase in infringement of basic freedoms, meaningless debates are being initiated. And often to substantiate the unjust discussions the data or the facts are being twisted and manipulated to suit the interest of presenter or a particular group rather than benefiting masses. This work looks at this aspect of politics of data where much difference persists between what the numbers shows and what actually exists on ground and the manner in which real focus is ignored. It points out to the situation where data and facts are often being controlled in a manner to present partial and distorted picture to serve the interest of a few. Moreover, in the free market economy where traditional ideologies are joining hand with the neoliberal agenda, often data and facts are being used to tell the stories befitting those in power while curtailing the everyday stories of masses of people who are struggling in the everyday life and rewriting their own destiny. An Irish singer, architect and a lecturer Frank Harte has very rightly stated “Those in power write the history, while those who suffer write the songs... and, given our history, we have an awful lot of songs.”

Keywords: data, development, politics, hunger, poverty, manipulation, data deficit, exclusion, lies, revolution, history, information, violence, state

Suggested Citation

Nigam, Shalu, Data, Lies and Politics: Elusive Development Goals to Exclude Majority (October 23, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Shalu Nigam (Contact Author)

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