Dear Banking Aspirants,

THE HINDU EDITORIAL – January 28, 2018, is one of the must-read section for the competitive exams like  NIACL AO Prelims Exam, IBPS SO Mains Exam. These topics are widely expected to be asked in the reading comprehension, Cloze Test or Error Detection in the forthcoming exams. So gear up your Exam preparation and learn new words daily.

A) For honour’s sake: on the Bharat Ratna awards

In an ideal world, the Bharat Ratna awards would be free from political considerations

It is in the nature of our polity to use any opportunity possible for political signalling, and the Bharat Ratna, the nation’s highest civilian honour, has not been spared from this propensity. Over the years, ideological considerations have influenced the choices. While the Narendra Modi government’s decision to confer the Bharat Ratna on the late Assamese singer Bhupen Hazarika (who contested on the BJP ticket in the 2004 Lok Sabha election) and the late Nanaji Deshmukh (a Bharatiya Jan Sangh leader and social activist) evoked little surprise, the choice of former President Pranab Mukherjee seemed to have caught everyone off guard and triggered fevered speculation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi described him as “an outstanding statesman of our times”. While Mr. Mukherjee’s seniority and contribution to the polity are not in doubt, the fact that he agreed to speak at an RSS event last year to the bemused disapproval of the Congress party was held out as a reason. And more unsympathetically, could the award have been a part of the BJP’s strategy of embracing old Congress leaders such as Vallabhbhai Patel to highlight that its real opposition is to the Nehru-Gandhi family? It is no secret that Mr. Mukherjee’s political ambitions were thwarted at one point by his inability to break the hold of dynastic politics in the Congress.

Whether or not someone deserves a particular honour is not an easy question to resolve. Idolised leaders are integral to the imagination of a community, and arguably, for nation-building. Such secular rites of veneration set an ideal that the community celebrates and strives for. This is of course different from the pursuit of partisan political interests. Unfortunately, competitive politics has overshadowed the majesty of the Bharat Ratna. The honour to M.G. Ramachandran in 1988 was widely seen as a cynical political move ahead of an election in Tamil Nadu. A promise to confer the Bharat Ratna to Madan Mohan Malaviya was made by Mr. Modi during the 2014 campaign, and he fulfilled it soon after coming to power. Claims and counterclaims for the honour have become part of assertions of power by various groups. The emergence of new political elites is often accompanied by a clamour for greater acceptance for their leaders in the national roll of honour. A democratic, plural community must resolve these demands with respect and sensitivity. But this must not lead to a devaluation of the honour. Transparency is not easy to achieve, and fairness is difficult to establish, given the contradictory demands of representation and majesty. But a good place to start is to discontinue posthumous awards. It is a slippery slope of arbitrariness. Idols and ideals unite diversities in a community, and Bharat Ratnas must be selected with this in mind. On this count at least, the Modi government’s list will be contested.

B) Shutdown surrender

Donald Trump is forced to retreat by accepting a temporary end to the shutdown

The partial shutdown of the U.S. government was the first major showdown between President Donald Trump and the Democrats after the latter took control of the House of Representatives in the mid-term Congressional elections in November 2018. Mr. Trump had threatened to keep the government shut down indefinitely unless Congress authorised $5.7 billion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, one of his key campaign promises. He finally agreed to reopen the federal departments, on the 35th day, without getting anything in return. The Democrats, on their part, had insisted from the beginning that they first wanted the shutdown to end before discussing border security. The President had stormed out of a meeting with the Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that was called to discuss the shutdown. But now he has agreed to hold talks, after reopening the government. There were a host of factors that influenced the turnaround. If the Trump team had hoped a prolonged government shutdown would break the Democratic Party’s rank and file, it didn’t happen. Instead, the longest government shutdown in America’s history created fissures within Congressional Republicans. The FBI Director, a Trump appointee, was among the senior functionaries who decried the governmental dysfunction. The President’s approval ratings fell and polls suggested that most Americans held him responsible for the crisis.

For Speaker Pelosi, who stuck to her demand despite the administration’s posturing, it was a victory of sorts in the game of chicken played between Mr. Trump and her. But the key issue remains unaddressed. For now, the spending bills will allow the government to run till February 15. President Trump has said he would not back off from his demand for funding for the wall, which he believes is necessary to stop illegal immigration and cut crime — a claim that is contested widely as border-crossing apprehensions hit a 46-year low in 2017. But Mr. Trump has threatened to shut down the government again in February unless the Democrats agree to fund the wall, or he would declare a national emergency using his executive powers and redirect public funds to build the barrier. Neither option will be easy. The shutdown tactic has failed. Pushing the U.S. into another government closure would be catastrophic for millions of Americans. The national emergency idea lacks support even among the Republicans. Mr. Trump will be better off if he realises that holding the government to ransom to extract compromises from Congress is not a sound tactic for a President. He could adopt a less confrontational approach towards Democrats and hold talks with them with an open mind on immigration and border security. He may just get a deal.


1) Propensity

Meaning : an inclination or natural tendency to behave in a particular way(n).

Synonyms : penchant

Antonyms : dislike

Example : “his propensity for violence”

2) confer

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

Tamil Meaning : வழங்க

Synonyms : consult

Antonyms : refuse

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

3) evoked

Meaning : bring or recall (a feeling, memory, or image) to the conscious mind(v).

Tamil Meaning : வெளிக்கொணர்ந்து

Synonyms : conjure

Antonyms : calm

Example : “the sight evoked pleasant memories of his childhood”

4) caught

Meaning : (of an object) accidentally become entangled or trapped in something(v).

Synonyms : entangled

Example : “a button caught in her hair”

5) triggered

Meaning : (of a response) caused by particular action, process, or situation(adj).

Tamil Meaning : தூண்டப்படலாம்

Synonyms : generate

Antonyms : destroy

Example : “a triggered memory of his childhood”

6) fevered

Meaning : having or showing the symptoms associated with a dangerously high temperature.

Synonyms : restless

Antonyms : calm

Example : “they mopped his fevered brow”

7) bemused

Meaning : puzzled, confused, or bewildered(adj).

Synonyms : distracted

Antonyms : bored

Example : “Lucy looked a little bemused”

8) embracing

Meaning : hold (someone) closely in one’s arms, especially as a sign of affection(v).

Synonyms : grasp

Antonyms : give

Example : “Aunt Sophie embraced her warmly”

9) thwarted

Meaning : prevent (someone) from accomplishing something(v).

Tamil Meaning : முறியடிக்கப்பட்டது

Synonyms : counter

Antonyms : aid

Example : “he never did anything to thwart his father”

10) deserves

Meaning : do something or have or show qualities worthy of (a reaction which rewards or punishes as appropriate)(v).

Tamil Meaning : உரியதாகும்

Synonyms : justify

Antonyms : forfeit

Example : “the referee deserves a pat on the back”

11) resolve

Meaning : settle or find a solution to (a problem or contentious matter).

Tamil Meaning : தீர்க்க

Synonyms : courage

Antonyms : fear

Example : “the firm aims to resolve problems within 30 days”

12) integral

Meaning : necessary to make a whole complete; essential or fundamental(adj).

Tamil Meaning : ஒருங்கிணைந்த

Synonyms : intrinsic

Antonyms : nonessential

Example : “games are an integral part of the school’s curriculum”

13) veneration

Meaning : great respect; reverence(n).

Synonyms : adoration

Antonyms : dishonor

Example : “the traditional veneration of saints”

14) strives

Meaning : make great efforts to achieve or obtain something.

Tamil Meaning : பாடுபடுகிறது

Synonyms : bickering

Antonyms : accord

Example : “national movements were striving for independence”

15) pursuit

Meaning : the action of pursuing someone or something.

Tamil Meaning : நோக்கத்தில்

Synonyms : inquiry

Antonyms : retreat

Example : “the cat crouched in the grass in pursuit of a bird”

16) assertions

Meaning : a confident and forceful statement of fact or belief.

Tamil Meaning : வலியுறுத்தல்

Synonyms : allegation

Antonyms : desertion

Example : “his assertion that his father had deserted the family”

17) elites

Meaning : a select group that is superior in terms of ability or qualities to the rest of a group or society(n).

Synonyms : establishment

Antonyms : proletariat

Example : “the elite of Britain’s armed forces”

18) accompanied

Meaning : go somewhere with (someone) as a companion or escort(v).

Synonyms : escort

Antonyms : abandon

Example : “the two sisters were to accompany us to London”

19) clamour

Meaning : a loud and confused noise, especially that of people shouting(n).

Synonyms : racket

Antonyms : silence

Example : “the questions rose to a clamour”

20) slippery

Meaning : (of a surface or object) difficult to hold firmly or stand on because it is smooth, wet, or slimy(adj).

Tamil Meaning : வழுக்கும்

Synonyms : perilous

Antonyms : secure

Example : “slippery ice”

21) contested

Meaning : engage in competition to attain (a position of power)(v).

Tamil Meaning : போட்டியிட்ட

Synonyms : debated

Example : “she declared her intention to contest the presidency”

22) insisted

Meaning : demand something forcefully, not accepting refusal(v).

Tamil Meaning : வலியுறுத்தினார்

Synonyms : demand

Antonyms : abandon

Example : “she insisted on carrying her own bag”

23) stormed

Meaning : move angrily or forcefully in a specified direction(v).

Tamil Meaning : தாக்கினார்கள்

Synonyms : assault

Antonyms : sew

Example : “she burst into tears and stormed off”

24) fissures

Meaning : a long, narrow opening or line of breakage made by cracking or splitting, especially in rock or earth(n).

Synonyms : crevice

Antonyms : closure

Example : “the bacteria survive around vents or fissures in the deep ocean floor”

25) decried

Meaning : publicly denounce(v) .

Synonyms : derogate

Antonyms : approve

Example : “they decried human rights abuses”

26) despite

Meaning : contemptuous treatment or behaviour; outrage(n).

Tamil Meaning : போதிலும்

Synonyms : against

Example : “the despite done by him to the holy relics”

27) posturing

Meaning : behaviour that is intended to impress or mislead.

Tamil Meaning : வெளிப்பாடுகள்

Synonyms : display

Antonyms : withhold

Example : “a masking of fear with macho posturing”

28) sorts

Meaning : a category of things or people with a common feature; a type(n).

Tamil Meaning : வகையான

Synonyms : description

Antonyms : individual

Example : “if only we knew the sort of people she was mixing with”

29) contested

Meaning : engage in competition to attain (a position of power)(v).

Tamil Meaning : போட்டியிட்ட

Synonyms : debated

Example : “she declared her intention to contest the presidency”

30) declare

Meaning : say something in a solemn and emphatic manner(v).

Tamil Meaning : அறிவிக்க

Synonyms : announce

Antonyms : conceal

Example : “the prime minister declared that the programme of austerity had paid off”

31) approval

Meaning : the action of approving something(n).

Tamil Meaning : ஒப்புதல்

Synonyms : consent

Antonyms : denial

Example : “the road schemes have been given approval”

32) immigration

Meaning : the action of coming to live permanently in a foreign country(n).

Synonyms : exodus

Antonyms : entrance

Example : “a barrier to control illegal immigration from Mexico”

33) influenced

Meaning : have an influence on(v).

Tamil Meaning : தாக்கம்

Synonyms : changed

Antonyms : kept

Example : “government regulations can influence behaviour, but often without changing underlying values and motivations”

34) suggested

Meaning : put forward for consideration(v).

Tamil Meaning : பரிந்துரைத்தார்

Synonyms : implied

Example : “I suggest that we wait a day or two”

35) executive

Meaning : relating to or having the power to put plans or actions into effect.

Synonyms : controlling

Antonyms : subordinate

Example : “an executive chairman”

36) tactic

Meaning : an action or strategy carefully planned to achieve a specific end(n).

Tamil Meaning : உத்தி

Synonyms : gambit

Example : “the minority attempted to control the Council by a delaying tactic”

37) catastrophic

Meaning : involving or causing sudden great damage or suffering.

Tamil Meaning : பேரழிவு

Synonyms : fatal

Antonyms : blessed

Example : “a catastrophic earthquake”

38) lacks

Meaning : the state of being without or not having enough of something.

Synonyms : dearth

Antonyms : abundance

Example : “there is no lack of entertainment aboard ship”

39) extract

Meaning : remove or take out, especially by effort or force(v).

Synonyms : excerpt

Antonyms : refusal

Example : “the fossils are extracted from the chalk”

40) confrontational

Meaning : tending to deal with situations in an aggressive way; hostile or argumentative(adj).

Synonyms : combative

Antonyms : agreeable

Example : “he distanced himself from the confrontational approach adopted by his predecessor”