What is the meaning of 'universe' in the sentence in bold?

"Contrary to the international propaganda being disseminated by anti-India forces in collusion with their anti-national collaborators within our borders, the government of India is a staunch advocate of the right to dissent,” said a very senior official in the Ministry of Home Affairs, who did not wish to be identified or come on record or even share his phone number. He shared this information, which is classified as ‘top secret’ under the Official Secrets Act, through an intermediary from a parallel universe.

"Indian democracy: A thing of beauty" (G. Sampath, "The Hindu" 13 March 2021)


  • A parallel universe is an imaginary 'other world', like the real one except for certain details. I don't know exactly what the journalist had in mind. Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 11:06
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    It's a joke, meaning "I'm not revealing where I heard this information, and, in fact I made it up". The article link starts "Satire". Paralles universes exist mainly in science fiction. Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 11:18

2 Answers 2


In most contexts, a 'parallel universe' would refer to the concept from science-fiction. There may be many differing versions of the concept throughout fiction, and while it is generally considered to be entirely fictional there are some aspects of the concept that are borrowed from the theoretical framework known as string-theory. Additionally, there are some credible scientists who argue for a 'multiverse' theory that bears some similarities to parallel universes in fiction.

Most fictional concepts of 'parallel universes' suggest that there are other universes that run parallel to our own, not occupying an adjacent space that can be travelled to by conventional space-travel, but either in a different 'bubble' or existing on a different 'frequency'. In many science-fiction stories, parallel universes bear resemblances to our own but may have diverged at some point in history convenient to the story. A common trope in parallel universe stories is that a historical war, such as WWII, was won by a different side therefore creating a different 'branch' of history.

In your example though, which does not appear to be science-fiction, it seems to be used figuratively to mean someone in a parallel position (ie fulfilling the same role) but in a different place (perhaps a different country?), in which case 'universe' is not literal but being used to perhaps show that the two 'worlds' in which the persons inhabit are so far apart.


Q. What is the meaning of 'universe' in the sentence in bold?

To answer the question directly and not to speculate on the article I would suggest that the meaning is "just as it says on the tin"

universe; noun; a universe that could be imagined to exist outside our own: Scientists have speculated about the possibility of parallel universes.

Ref CED universe

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