THE HINDU EDITORIAL – August 28, 2018 is one of the must read section for the competitive exams like IBPS RRB PO, IBPS RRB Office Assistant 2018, RBI Grade “B” 2018 & NIACL Assistant 2018. These topics are widely expected to be asked in the reading comprehension , Cloze Test or Error Detection topics in the forthcoming exams. So gear up your Exam preparation and learn new words daily.

A) The time has come to end the stigma and discrimination against the leprosy-affected

It has long been a blot on Indian society that while leprosy is completely curable, there lingers a Social stigma attached to it.Even more shocking is that colonial laws that predate leprosy eradication programmes and medical advancements remain on the statute book. These were unconscionably discriminatory from the beginning, but even in independent India, where the law has been an instrument for social change, the process of removing them has been bafflingly slow. The Lepers Act of 1898 was repealed only two years ago. It is time for concerted action to end the entrenched discrimination in law and society against those afflicted by it. Two recent developments hold out hope. One was the introduction of a Bill in Parliament to remove leprosy as a ground for seeking divorce or legal separation from one’s spouse, and the other was the Supreme Court asking the Centre whether it would bring in a positive law conferring rights and benefits on persons with leprosy and deeming as repealed all Acts and rules that perpetuated the stigma associated with it. The Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018, is only a small step. An affirmative action law that recognises the rights of those affected and promotes their social inclusion will serve a larger purpose. It may mark the beginning of the end to the culture of ostracisation that most of them face and help remove misconceptions about the disease and dispel the belief that physical segregation of patients is necessary. It is sad that it took so long to get such proposals on the legislative agenda.

Since last year, the Supreme Court has been hearing a writ petition by the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy seeking to uphold the fundamental rights of people with leprosy and the repeal of discriminatory laws against them. The court has been approaching the issue with sensitivity and is seeking to find legal means to ensure a life of dignity for them. The 256th Report of the Law Commission came up with a number of suggestions, including the repeal of discriminatory legal provisions. It listed for abolition personal laws and Acts on beggary. The report cited the UN General Assembly resolution of 2010 on the elimination of discrimination against persons with leprosy. The resolution sought the abolition of laws, rules, regulations, customs and practices that amounted to discrimination, and wanted countries to promote the understanding that leprosy is not easily communicable and is curable. The campaign to end discrimination against those afflicted, and combating the stigma associated with it, is decades old. While governments may have to handle the legislative part, society has an even larger role to play. It is possible to end discrimination by law, but stigma tends to survive reform and may require more than legal efforts to eliminate.

B) India’s greatest ‘scoop-man’

Kuldip Nayar’s presence in the newsroom was electric and his network of contacts the stuff of legend

The news gatherer

We bring this up in this tribute to Kuldip Nayar because reporters/news gatherers versus editorialists is the oldest power tussle in the newsroom. The latter, with their superior intellect, weighty arguments and fine turn of phrase, have mostly won it. Their domination was total in India, until Nayar broke it in 1970-80.

He was Indian journalism’s first rock star in an era when any editor would have taken umbrage at being described as such. Nayar’s rise as India’s pre-eminent byline came when there was no news TV or glossy magazine profiles and decades before Twitter. And for my journalism school, in prison and out of it that year, Nayar’s was the most inspirational story ever. More stirring than even the then recent Bob Woodward-Carl Bernstein Watergate exposé.

He is India’s greatest “scoop-man” ever, our teacher, B.S Thakur, would say to his pupils, most of whom had strayed into his journalism class after failing to get into something more worthwhile, to teach them that “scoop” also meant something sweeter than a mere dollop of ice cream. There were classroom debates on what the Emergency meant for the press (nobody said ‘media’ then) and especially for our employment prospects. The Indian press had caved in, but some had shown that a fight-back was possible. After all, Nayar had even gone to jail.

A golden era

After the end of the Emergency began the first golden era of Indian journalism. Pre-censorship had sensitised the people to how much a free press mattered to them. If The Indian Express was the Emergency’s shining star, Nayar was its face. Never mind that in the Express’s formidable editorial star-cast, he featured third, after editor-in-chief S. Mulgaonkar and editor Ajit Bhattacharjea. Nayar was editor, Express News Service. But he was the paper’s real masthead. His earlier books, Between The Lines, India: The Critical Years, Distant Neighbours, had also brought him greater intellectual heft than those above him, “in spite of being a mere reporter”.

His presence in the newsroom was electric and his network of contacts the stuff of legend. “Arrey kya, George (Fernandes), why are you bent on breaking the (Janata) Party,” you’d overhear him admonishing the great socialist. Or, “hello, Idris (Air Chief Marshal Idris Hassan Latif), I hope you and Bilkees know Chandigarh is such a boring place.” Later, around midnight, he walked in to give her a post-prandial tour of the newsroom and its hot-metal press underneath. His human rights/civil liberties phase also began in these heady post-Emergency months. He was a key member of the Justice V.M. Tarkunde Committee probing the killings of Naxalites in fake encounters in Punjab.

The best and the fairest tribute to Nayar would be that he made the reporter the prince of the Indian newsroom. The Indian Express itself produced a stellar team of young reporters under him, many of whom rose to editorships later. Three other young editors who emerged in that era, Arun Shourie, Aroon Purie and M.J. Akbar, then made Nayar’s reporter-prince the king.

Ramnath Goenka had a great eye for editorial talent. He brought Arun Shourie into journalism from scholarly activism as executive editor in 1979. Suddenly, from number 3, Nayar was 4, despite his stardom. More importantly, Shourie was more accessible, less distracted, brimming with ideas and energy. Younger reporters gravitated towards him. Goenka wanted to modernise his paper. He saw Shourie, 37, as the man for it, not Nayar at 55. Plus, as is often the case with owners, he wasn’t particularly dazzled, but impatient with Nayar’s new fame. Soon enough, all of the editors were sidelined and some, including Nayar, were let go. It’s a different matter that within three years Goenka grew insecure with Shourie as well and dismissed him peremptorily. Several of us reporters too left in Shourie’s wake.

With regrets

Nayar returned to the Express newsroom in the summer of 2014 “for the first time after 1980” (1981, actually) for a conversation with the editorial team while promoting his memoir, Beyond The Lines. He began that conversation by ruing that he had been fired by Goenka because Indira Gandhi returned to power in 1980 and he wanted to make peace with her by sacrificing him. This part of the recording has been re-published by the paper with its report on his passing away. This was untrue. It simply isn’t in that paper’s DNA to fire editors to please governments. Some of us did, respectfully, say this to Nayar.

Nayar also said, in the same recorded chat, that he regretted that “nobody offered me any job after 1980”. It rankled with him. As did the fact that many who worked at entry levels under him, and who he believed were way lesser journalists than him, rose to be editors of newspapers, a title that eluded him. He had the innocence and honesty to say this often to many of us. He later became High Commissioner in London, a Rajya Sabha member, but all this new eminence wouldn’t compensate for the title he had missed. The Express did make it up to him, at least symbolically, by conferring the Ramnath Goenka Lifetime Achievement Award to him in 2015.

What he missed by way of an editorial title, Nayar more than made up in fame, as a columnist and a subcontinental peace activist. Critics joked about him being the ‘neta’ of the ‘mombatti’ gang (candle-light marchers at the Wagah India-Pakistan border crossing). But he was unfazed in his commitment to India-Pakistan rapprochement. This peacemaking became his new calling and took him away too early in his career from the kind of journalism he was best at. He was indeed never offered a job after 1980, but it isn’t because he had become unemployable. He had chosen a more varied life, and excelled in it.

From the parochial point of view of us reporters, it is a loss that he gave up so soon. Or he would have risen as India’s finest reporter-editor and its most influential and insightful columnist too. Today’s generation of reporters could’ve done with a figure like him, just when the trend of reporter-editors that he pioneered is being reversed in India, with owners either becoming editors themselves, or preferring diligent, sharp but non-threatening back-room choices. Or when the venerable New York Times junks its reporters’ bylines from its home page, while retaining the columnists’. As that eternal newsroom tussle is again being lost by us, we will greatly miss Nayar for the reporter-editor he was and equally rue that he was denied what he could have been.


1) predate

Meaning : exist or occur at a date earlier than (something).

Tamil Meaning : தேதியிட்டு

Synonyms : outrank , presage

Antonyms : end

Example : “here parish boundaries seem clearly to predate Roman roads”

2) discriminatory

Meaning : making or showing an unfair or prejudicial distinction between different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race

Tamil Meaning : பாகுபாடுகள்

Synonyms : biased

Antonyms : fair

Example : “discriminatory employment practices”

3) baffle

Meaning : totally bewilder or perplex.

Tamil Meaning : தடுப்பு

Synonyms : amaze , astound

Antonyms : clarify

Example : “an unexplained occurrence that baffled everyone”

4) confer

Meaning : grant (a title, degree, benefit, or right).

Tamil Meaning : வழங்க

Synonyms : conversing

Antonyms : remove

Example : “the Minister may have exceeded the powers conferred on him by Parliament”

5) deem

Meaning : regard or consider in a specified way.

Synonyms : allow , assume

Antonyms : disbelieve

Example : “the event was deemed a great success”

6) ostracize

Meaning : exclude from a society or group.

Tamil Meaning : ஒதுக்கி

Synonyms : exclude

Antonyms : expel

Example : “she was declared a witch and ostracized by the villagers”

7) beggary.

Meaning : a state of extreme poverty.

Synonyms : destitution

Antonyms : wealth

Example : “they have no benefits to stand between them and beggary”

8) umbrage

Meaning : offence or annoyance.

Tamil Meaning : துயர நிலைக்கு ஆறுதலாகவும்

Synonyms : anger , annoyance

Antonyms : calmness

Example : “she took umbrage at his remarks”

9) strayed

Meaning : move away aimlessly from a group or from the right course or place.

Tamil Meaning : தவறியவர்கள்

Synonyms : lost

Antonyms : unrelenting

Example : “dog owners are urged not to allow their dogs to stray”

10) mere

Meaning : used to emphasize how small or insignificant someone or something is.

Tamil Meaning : வெறும்

Synonyms : bare , minor

Antonyms : decorated

Example : “questions that cannot be answered by mere mortals”

11) formidable

Meaning : inspiring fear or respect through being impressively large, powerful, intense, or capable.

Tamil Meaning : வல்லமைமிக்க

Synonyms : daunting

Antonyms : calm

Example : “a formidable opponent”

12) masthead

Meaning : send (a sailor) to the masthead as a punishment.

Tamil Meaning : தலையங்கம்

Synonyms : banner

Antonyms : worst

Example : “get below, sir, or I’ll masthead you!”

13) underneath

Meaning : situated directly below (something else).

Tamil Meaning : அடியில்

Synonyms : beneath , bottom

Antonyms : above

Example : “our bedroom’s right underneath theirs”

14) liberties

Meaning : the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s behaviour or political views.

Tamil Meaning : உரிமைகள்

Synonyms : authorization , autonomy

Antonyms : dependence

Example : “compulsory retirement would interfere with individual liberty”

15) probing

Meaning : explore or examine (something), especially with the hands or an instrument.

Tamil Meaning : ஆய்வு

Synonyms : discerning

Antonyms : idiotic

Example : “hands probed his body from top to bottom”

16) stellar

Meaning : relating to a star or stars.

Tamil Meaning : நட்சத்திர

Synonyms : astronomical

Antonyms : minor

Example : “stellar structure and evolution”

17) stardom

Meaning : the state or status of being a very famous or talented entertainer or sports player.

Tamil Meaning : நட்சத்திர அந்தஸ்து

Synonyms : acclaim

Antonyms : obscurity

Example : “her rise to stardom has been meteoric”

18) brimming

Meaning : be full to the point of overflowing

Tamil Meaning : விளிம்பு

Synonyms : filled

Antonyms : empty

Example : “a brimming cup”

19) dazzled

Meaning : (of a bright light) blind (a person or their eyes) temporarily.

Synonyms : awe , blind

Antonyms : bore

Example : “she was dazzled by the headlights”

20) combating

Meaning : take action to reduce or prevent (something bad or undesirable).

Tamil Meaning : போர்

Synonyms : fight , oppose

Antonyms : support

Example : “an effort to combat drug trafficking”

21) memoir

Meaning : a historical account or biography written from personal knowledge.

Tamil Meaning : நினைவுகளிலிருந்து

Synonyms : account , anecdote

Antonyms : ignorance

Example : “in 1924 she published a short memoir of her husband”

22) regretted

Meaning : feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that one has done or failed to do).

Tamil Meaning : வருந்துவதாக

Synonyms : apologize , bemoan

Antonyms : delight

Example : “she immediately regretted her words”

23) eluded

Meaning : escape from or avoid (a danger, enemy, or pursuer), typically in a skilful or cunning way.

Tamil Meaning : தப்பி செல்

Synonyms : confound

Antonyms : aid

Example : “he tried to elude the security men by sneaking through a back door”

24) eminence

Meaning : fame or acknowledged superiority within a particular sphere.

Tamil Meaning : மாண்புமிக்க

Synonyms : prestige

Antonyms : unimportance

Example : “her eminence in cinematography”

25) columnist

Meaning : a journalist contributing regularly to a newspaper or magazine.

Tamil Meaning : கட்டுரையாளர்

Synonyms : correspondent

Antonyms : patriot

Example : She’s a columnist for USA Today.

26) unfazed

Meaning : not disconcerted or perturbed.

Tamil Meaning : கலக்கம்

Synonyms : undaunted

Antonyms : unperturbed

Example : “the protestors were unfazed by the prospect of arrest”

27) peacemaking

Meaning : the process of bringing about peace, especially by reconciling adversaries.

Tamil Meaning : சமாதான

Synonyms : calm , friendly

Antonyms : agitated

Example : “a serious attempt to engage in peacemaking after years of violence”

28) excelled

Meaning : be exceptionally good at or proficient in an activity or subject.

Tamil Meaning : சிறந்து

Synonyms : outdo

Antonyms : fail

Example : “she excelled at landscape painting”

29) parochial

Meaning : having a limited or narrow outlook or scope.

Synonyms : insular , petty

Antonyms : broad

Example : “parochial attitudes”

30) diligent

Meaning : having or showing care and conscientiousness in one’s work or duties.

Tamil Meaning : விடாமுயற்சி

Synonyms : active , assiduous

Antonyms : careless

Example : “after diligent searching, he found a parcel”

31) retaining

Meaning : continue to have (something); keep possession of.

Tamil Meaning : தக்கவைத்து

Synonyms : arresting , cherishing

Antonyms : expelling

Example : “Labour retained the seat”

32) eternal

Meaning : lasting or existing forever; without end.

Synonyms : abiding , constant

Antonyms : ceasing

Example : “the secret of eternal youth”

33) denied

Meaning : state that one refuses to admit the truth or existence of.

Tamil Meaning : மறுத்தார்

Synonyms : contradict , oppose

Antonyms : accept

Example : “both firms deny any responsibility for the tragedy”

34) pioneered

Meaning : develop or be the first to use or apply (a new method, area of knowledge, or activity).

Tamil Meaning : முன்னோடியாக

Synonyms : begin , colonize

Antonyms : cease

Example : “the technique was pioneered by a Swiss doctor in the 1930s”

35) venerable

Meaning : accorded a great deal of respect, especially because of age, wisdom, or character.

Tamil Meaning : மதிப்பிற்குரிய

Synonyms : esteemed , revered

Antonyms : common

Example : “a venerable statesman”

36) influential

Meaning : having great influence on someone or something.

Tamil Meaning : செல்வாக்கு

Synonyms : dominant

Antonyms : inferior

Example : “her work is influential in feminist psychology”

37) junks

Meaning : discard or abandon unceremoniously.

Synonyms : clutter , debris

Antonyms : neatness

Example : “sort out what could be sold off and junk the rest”

38) continental

Meaning : forming or belonging to a continent.

Tamil Meaning : கண்ட

Synonyms : Continental

Antonyms : inland

Example : “continental Antarctica”

39) sidelined

Meaning : cause (a player) to be unable to play in a team or game.

Synonyms : confined , crippled

Antonyms : healthy

Example : “an ankle injury has sidelined him for two weeks”

40) intellectual

Meaning : a person possessing a highly developed intellect.

Tamil Meaning : அறிவுசார்

Synonyms : cerebral

Antonyms : physical

Example : “a prominent political thinker and intellectual”


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