Resisting Rumour


In September 2019, a husband and wife living in Dimapur were very left disappointed about a rumour going around that the husband was dying of cancer. Apparently, the news had spread all across his village in Tseminyu district. The church prayer warriors and the clan group in his village even spent time praying for him on Sunday. The family of the supposedly “dying man” came to know of the sad story only when his aunty called, fuming as to why she was not informed. 

So where did the rumour start from? Who was the first person to spread the false tale? Was there any agenda behind it? No one knows the answer but it has, without doubt, disturbed the peace of mind of the couple, their families and in this case, the entire village including the church. 

The dictionary defines rumour as “a currently circulating story or report of uncertain or doubtful truth.” In simple words it is gossip, hearsay, word of mouth, idle talk, etc. In an objective sense, rumour is something totally vague and nonsense. It is often dismissed in the garbage and measured as valueless. Rumors carry no factual certainty. 

Rumours can be put into two categories: one is slander - ‘rumour with propaganda”, and second is dishing - ‘rumour with juicy fake information.’ Essentially both need to be instantly dismissed. Not much explanation is required to attest that rumour is dreadful and unhealthy. Here is another reality about rumour - “It is extremely dangerous.” They travel fast and cause nothing but damage. Only people who are irrational and unwise participate in any kind of rumours. “Trust” is often the greatest casualty of any rumour. 

The common proverb, “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much,” comes with a stern cautions against spreading rumours and those who engage in gossip and also those who eagerly listen to gossip. The context and relevance of rumour is equivalent to zero. In a crisis-ridden society, engaging and feeding rumour in the form of spreading fake news, misinformation and unverified information comes with the cost of altering the social consciousness towards building trust. The dynamics of false rumour is further exaggerated by the new technologies and social media. Thus, the concern is universal and the possibility is that it can influence political, economic, and social aspects globally. This implies that rumours are not just imaginary story telling or illusions, and it needs to be resisted. The resisting game will require interventions beginning from the individual to the societies worldwide, and in this every bit has to start from upholding the principal of truth-telling at all cost.  

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