a) End the violence

Longstanding issues such as the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland in the Darjeeling Hills of West Bengal cannot be wished away with a magic wand. State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee appears to think otherwise, as if charisma, short-term political tactics, and tokenism are enough. Ms. Banerjee had claimed to have solved the Gorkhaland issue after agreeing to the semi-autonomous Gorkhaland Territorial Administration in 2011, following a series of agitations by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. In the years since its establishment, little has been done on the ground to transfer many of the subjects to the body as was promised, rendering the notion of autonomous rule in the Hills rather moot. The hold of the GJM in the Hills was sought to be broken by reaching out to indigenous communities in the region through the creation of various tribal development boards. The GJM, on the other hand, believes that the GTA is just a stepping stone for the creation of a separate State. Legitimate grievances with the West Bengal government on transfer of powers to the GTA aside, the GJM, which has ruled the Authority, too has been guilty of lackadaisical administration. The party also mirrors Ms. Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress in Machiavellian tactics, such as dovetailing with the Bharatiya Janata Party in parliamentary elections alone so as to secure support for the statehood demand. The ad hocism and tokenism shown by these two political parties in West Bengal are responsible for the renewed violence in the Darjeeling Hills. For its part, the BJP is caught in a bind — it seems to be sympathetic to the statehood demand, allied as it is to the GJM in the Hills, but is afraid to articulate it openly as it has ambitions in the rest of the State. The proximate cause for the flare-up in the Hills was the State government’s announcement that Bengali should be compulsorily taught in all schools in West Bengal till Class X. Earlier this month the government had also held a cabinet meeting in the Hills after many years, drawing a sharp response from the GJM and other separatist political forces that saw this as a ploy to undermine the GTA’s authority. Ms. Banerjee later clarified that Bengali was optional in the hill district, but this was not enough to assuage sentiments as the GJM sought to use this point to ramp up agitations. The whipping up of passions in the Hills has coincided with the rise of Bengali chauvinism in the plains in the recent past. This polarisation does not portend well. The State government must reach out to the GJM and work out a way to transfer powers to the GTA as was promised in 2011. A signal in this direction will go a long way in tamping down the violent agitation. It should also abandon its wishful thinking that short cuts can solve the intractable Gorkhaland issue, which is culturally rooted.

b) Sunday revival

Pakistan’s thumping 180-run victory over India in the ICC Champions Trophy final at London’s Oval on Sunday shredded the form book and underscored the team’s reputation for being unpredictable. Perhaps India paid the price for banking on its batting might as on winning the toss, Virat Kohli preferred to chase, which is often difficult in a high-stakes final where the scoreboard pressure can be stifling. Only once has India successfully chased a big score in a big-ticket match — Sri Lanka’s 274 for six in the 2011 World Cup final in Mumbai. But back then it was Kumar Sangakkara who had won the toss and opted to take first strike. Besides overlooking history, India was unable to counter centurion Fakhar Zaman’s brilliance and failed to survive against Pakistan’s potent attack. Wasim Akram, one of the greatest fast bowlers, has said he sees a younger version of himself in Mohammad Amir, and on Sunday Amir emphatically lived up to the faith invested in him. He stunned the Indian batsmen and ripped apart the top order, leaving the defending champions wobbling at 33 for three in nine overs. After Amir’s precise incisions, there was only one way the match was headed, as the batting wilted, yielding a total of just 158. India was outplayed on all fronts. Extras had been conceded — India gifted 25 to Pakistan’s three — and the fielding lacked the passion that Sarfraz Ahmed’s men displayed. Stepping into the tournament, India had shades of Pakistan’s traditional troubles, especially with rumours floating about of a cold equation between Kohli and coach Anil Kumble — usually it is Pakistan that grapples with revolts in the dressing room. In any event, the arch-rivals did well to reach the tournament’s climactic end. An India-Pakistan final was the tonic that the International Cricket Council needed as viewership soared, and it backed the parent body’s earlier decision of not abandoning the Champions Trophy. The latest edition also lent hope about a revival in Pakistan cricket, as the squad ranked eighth walked away with the silverware. Ever since the terror attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009, Pakistan has been unable to have its home series in Pakistan, barring the odd fixture. Venues such as Sharjah and Dubai have been the home bases for its bilateral series. The team has mostly struggled, and its last significant triumph was the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 title in London at Sri Lanka’s expense. The tournament also had enabled a moment of redemption for Amir, who had once been banned for spot-fixing in 2010. Sarfraz spoke for Pakistan cricket’s well-wishers when he said, “Hopefully this will boost Pakistan cricket.” The absence of the West Indies, which failed to qualify for this event, was hardly noticed. Yet cricket, a sport with global ambitions but largely locked within Britain’s former colonies, cannot afford to watch pedigreed outfits lose their way.


1) Agitations

Meaning: A state of anxiety or nervous excitement; The arousing of public concern about an issue and pressing for action on it.

Example: She was wringing her hands in agitation.

Synonyms: Anxiety, Disquiet

Antonyms: Calmness, Relaxation

2) Rendering

Meaning: The way that something is performed, written, drawn, etc.

Example: Her rendering of the song was delightful.

Synonyms: Provide, Supply

Antonyms: Failure, Complication

3) Indigenous

Meaning: Naturally existing in a place or country rather than arriving from another place.

Example: So who are the indigenous people of this land?

Synonyms: Native, Original

Antonyms: Expatriate, Migrant

4) Legitimate

Meaning: To make something legal or acceptable.

Example: The government fears that talking to terrorists might legitimate their violent actions.

Synonyms: Legal, Lawful

Antonyms: Illegal, False

5) Lackadaisical

Meaning: Showing little enthusiasm and effort.

Example: The food was nice enough but the service was somewhat lackadaisical.

Synonyms: Careless, Lazy

Antonyms: Enthusiastic, Excited

6) Machiavellian

Meaning: Using clever but often dishonest methods that deceive people so that you can win power or control.

Example: Most of them, with Machiavellian cunning, were refusing to answer their telephones.

Synonyms: Devious, Cunning

Antonyms: Straightforward, Ingenuous

7) Dovetailing

Meaning: To cause something to fit exactly together.

Example: We tried to dovetail our plans with theirs.

Synonyms: Conform, Equate, Fit in, Agree

Antonyms: Disagree, Oppose

8) Tokenism

Meaning: Actions that are the result of pretending to give advantage to those groups in society who are often treated unfairly, in order to give the appearance of fairness.

Example: Unfairness and favouring someone unfairly.

9) Articulate

Meaning: Able to express thoughts and feelings easily and clearly, or showing this quality.

Example: She gave a witty, entertaining, and articulate speech.

Synonyms: Eloquent, Fluent

Antonyms: Hesitant, Inarticulate

10) Proximate

Meaning: Nearly accurate; approximate.

Example: He would try to change her speech into proximate ladylikeness.

Synonyms: Direct, Imminent

11) Assuage

Meaning: To make unpleasant feelings less strong.

Example: The government has tried to assuage the public’s fears.

Synonyms: Relieve, Ease

Antonyms:  Aggravate, Intensify

12) Whipping up

Meaning: To encourage or cause people to have strong feelings about something.

Example: He was trying to whip up some enthusiasm for the project.

Synonyms: Beating

13) Chauvinism

Meaning: The strong and unreasonable belief that your own country or race is the best or most important.

Example: The war stimulated an intense national chauvinism.

Synonyms: Jingoism, Ethnocentrism

14) Portend

Meaning: To be a sign that something bad is likely to happen in the future.

Example: It was a deeply superstitious country, where earthquakes were commonly believed to portend the end of dynasties.

Synonyms: Presage, Augur

15) Tamping

Meaning: Ram or pack (a substance) down or into something firmly.

Example: He tamped down the tobacco with his thumb.

Synonyms: Flatten

16) Shredded

Meaning: Having strong, well-developed muscles that can be seen through the skin, and little body fat.

Example: Here are 10 ways to look shredded for your best swimsuit body!

Synonyms: Outhouse, Shack

17) Emphatically

Meaning: Done or said in a strong way and without any doubt.

Example: The minister has issued an emphatic rejection of the accusation.

Synonyms: Aggressive, Assertive

18) Wobbling

Meaning: To (cause something to) shake or move from side to side in a way that shows poor balance.

Example: The Company’s shares wobbled with the news of a foreign takeover bid.

Meaning: To be uncertain what to do or to change repeatedly between two opinions.

Example: The government can’t afford to wobble on this issue.

Synonyms: Rock, Sway

19) Wilted

Meaning: To become weak and begin to bend towards the ground, or (of a person) to become weaker, tired, or less confident.

Example: After only an hour’s hiking they were beginning to wilt in the heat.

Synonyms: Droop, Sag

Antonyms: Thrive, Flourish

20) Soared

Meaning: To rise very quickly to a high level.

Example: All night long fireworks soared into the sky.

Synonyms: Float, Wing

Antonyms: Plummet

21) Silverware

Meaning: Silver cups, etc. that are won by sports teams in competitions.

Synonyms: Cutlery

22) Redemption

Meaning: To be too bad to be improved or saved by anyone.

Example: Unsuccessful (people and things).

Synonyms: Saving, Vindication

23) Colonies

Meaning: A country or area controlled politically by a more powerful country that is often far away.

Example: Australia and New Zealand are former British colonies.

Synonyms: Possession, Holding

24) Pedigreed

Meaning: Having a lot of experience or a good reputation in a particular activity or job.

Example: The movie made $18 million on its first weekend, though it lacked an expensive cast or a pedigreed filmmaker.

Synonyms: Ancestry, Descent