Dear Banking Aspirants,

THE HINDU EDITORIAL – November 1, 2018, is one of the must-read section for the competitive exams like IBPS PO, IBPS Clerk 2018, Indian Bank PO & LIC HFL 2018. 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) Adrift on stormy seas

Dravidian politics must re-invent every aspect of itself: its modes of operation, its emotional motifs, and its leadership

Tamil Nadu at different points in history has been considered the bane of Indian politics as much as it has been the enlightened torch-bearer of progressive reform. Today, the foundation of its political superstructure is facing tectonic shifts and an entirely new paradigm may be on the horizon.

In the heyday of the Dravidian movement, Tamil Nadu was one of those rare States that issued the clarion call of secession and autonomy for the Tamil people, ethnic-based demands that would, in today’s India, be instantly branded “anti-national”. Toward the turn of the century, one of its leaders brought down a coalition government at the Centre by suddenly pulling the plug on an alliance agreement. It has always been a State that has shown resistance to certain diktats from New Delhi, from the micro concerns about Hindi imposition in the State to macro disputes over inter-State river-water sharing arrangements.

Notwithstanding the frictions generated by Tamil Nadu’s posturing on all these contentious issues, it has simultaneously been the vanguard among its peers in the provision of mass welfare goods and services.

Leader among States

It was an early pioneer of the Noon Meal Scheme that led to better nutritional, educational and inter-caste harmony outcomes across the State. Subsequently, seeing its dramatic impact on development goals, the Supreme Court made it a mandatory policy in other States, and the World Bank and others stepped in to extend its reach. It leads most other States in Programme for International Student Assessment or PISA rankings that measure pedagogical effectiveness in school education. Almost every government in the State supplied mass welfare goods at a subsidised or zero cost, including essential household items such as rice, water, cooked meals, cooking stoves, personal clothing, television sets, bicycles, and even mass-wedding services.

Fast-forward to 2018, and every aspect of that political edifice is under strain, especially after certain earth-shaking events left its democratic machinery facing an uncertain future. How best to understand what outcomes these changes could bring to the Tamil Nadu polity? Consider two analytical threads that explain the underlying processes: power vacuums and governance.

First, the passing of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo Jayalalithaa and Dravida Munnetra Kazhgam (DMK) president M. Karunanidhi has created a black hole in the balance of power within and across the Dravidian parties. Both leaders single-handedly ran their party operations, including cadre organisation, networking, fund-raising, election planning and campaigning. Between them, Jayalalithaa concentrated power in her own hands to a much greater extent than Karunanidhi did. While his genius was in organisational planning, negotiations and bargain-making, Jayalalithaa, contrarily, degraded four rungs of leadership beneath her.

Consequently, in the aftermath of her death, the AIADMK’s relatively weak leadership has allowed the party to slip into a semi-comatose, slow-implosion mode. The informal power of the V.K. Sasikala clan, currently manifested in the troubles posed by her nephew T.T.V. Dhinakaran’s challenge to the ruling combine, threatens to rip the fabric of the party apart. In parallel there are unspoken insecurities about how long the uneasy truce between Chief Minister E. K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam will hold, especially since the latter split from the main party faction last year. Other party heavyweights may flirt with the idea of migrating to Mr. Dhinakaran’s party, the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam. New entrants like Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan may steal away slivers of the AIADMK’s vote share.

Simultaneously, M.K. Stalin, Karunanidhi’s son and inheritor of the DMK leadership mantle, remains an untested political quantity at a State-wide level, notwithstanding his experience as Chennai Mayor and posts in his father’s cabinet. His older brother M.K. Alagiri, a strongman from the southern districts, was ejected from the party by Karunanidhi in 2014 for “anti-party activities”, but has challenged Mr. Stalin’s otherwise unquestioned mandate within the party. Will Mr. Stalin hold his own in the upcoming Assembly by-elections and Lok Sabha elections? Will the man who appears far less comfortable before the public spotlight rally the troops and deliver an impressive victory like his father did so often?

Governance concerns

Regardless of how this flux in the balance of power within both parties plays out, there is an unanswered but vital question about whether the Dravidian “movement” as such is coming, or has come, to an end or is metamorphosing into an entirely new paradigm in response to the power vacuum. This brings us to the second issue, governance.

In fostering and becoming dependent upon a culture of what neoclassical economics would derisively label “freebies”, Tamils appeared to have entered a Faustian bargain with those they empower to lead them. The high values and political dexterity of the early leaders of the Dravidian movement in the 1950s and ’60s — including Periyar E.V. Ramasamy and C.N. Annadurai — metastasised into something quite ugly by the turn of the century: leaders who ruled their parties with an iron fist and built up personality cults around themselves and their closest circles, but who also inflicted an enormous cost on the State by engaging in grand larceny, an unhinged loot on the resources of Tamil Nadu through extortion, bribe-taking, thuggery and corporate malfeasance.

Opportunity for the BJP?

There are some who argue that the antidote to this crisis of runaway corruption could be the kind of “good governance” reforms that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has introduced at a national level, including a purported crackdown on bureaucratic inefficiency, the Goods and Services Tax, and macroeconomic shock-therapy policies such as demonetisation. Simultaneously, there has been speculation on whether, in its bid to saffronise the politics of every Indian State, the Bharatiya Janata Party is desperate to get a backdoor entry into Tamil Nadu through an informal partnership with the AIADMK.

Yet such expectations are built on heroic assumptions and reveal ignorance of Tamils’ historical voting preferences. It is true that Dravidianism no longer exists in its prior radical form, which implies that since the 1990s it has shed its anti-Brahmin, anti-Hindu, anti-Hindi, anti-Delhi rhetoric in favour of a broad, inclusive strand of political accommodationism for all Tamils.

Yet there is a residual feeling of Tamil exceptionalism among the voter demographic, which motivates their behaviour at the polls and continues to present an opportunity to politically mobilise.

Thus, notwithstanding the gradual creep of saffron politics in Tamil Nadu — notable here are rising incidents of communal clashes, generally a rarity in the State — the hegemonic influence of regional parties, which began in 1967, abides. The reasons for this are three-fold. First, half a century of mass welfare policies have left an indelible footprint on the electorate, which positions the Dravidian parties favourably as benevolent populists relative to a distant, alien, “north Indian” BJP or Congress.

Second, the genius of Annadurai, Karunanidhi, and AIADMK founder M.G. Ramachandran was to supplant the elites-driven fund-raising and campaigning networks of the Congress with grassroots, cadre-based networks of their own, a model that has now acquired deep roots and cannot be easily out-manoeuvred.

Third, it may be difficult for the likes of the BJP to breach the ramparts of Tamil politics because the people do not fret as much about high-level macro corruption as they do about the transactions cost of individualised micro corruption, which impacts their day-to-day existence. Mr. Modi’s utopian promise of delivering a hyper-efficient, digital-savvy vision of Indian institutions implies a reform that ostensibly targets the first kind of corruption. Since Tamils are well accustomed to rule by elite robber-barons, Mr. Modi’s vision may be no more to them than an abstract construct.

Nevertheless, in the broadest arc of history, it would be hard to deny that Dravidian politics has reached a tipping point at the current juncture. It must re-invent every aspect of itself — its modes of operation, its emotional motifs, and its crop of leadership — if it is to survive as the champion of Tamils in the coming decades.

B) Age of Bolsonaro: on Brazil’s newly elected President

The victory of the divisive firebrand raises serious anxieties about the future of Brazil

In electing retired army Captain Jair Bolsonaro as its President, Brazil has chosen to be governed by a man described as the “Trump of the Tropics”, after the 45th U.S. President, Donald Trump. Mr. Bolsonaro swept a runoff election over the weekend, winning nearly 55% of the vote to defeat the left-of-centre Fernando Haddad. Mr. Bolsonaro’s campaign, run largely on social media, evoking comparisons to Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign, vowed to tackle political corruption and economic mismanagement, and crack down hard on rising crime, especially gang violence. That this campaign promise resonated more with Brazilian voters than they were put off by Mr. Bolsonaro’s dangerously regressive outbursts and polarising verbal attacks denigrating women and minorities, supporting torture, and threatening opponents with violence, says much about the mood of the nation today. However, years from now, Brazilian pollsters, like the political pundits baffled by Mr. Trump’s win, will be asking how a presidential candidate such as Mr. Bolsonaro, who also openly professed his love of dictatorships, could not only find acceptance but soar meteorically in its domestic politics. To comprehend this outcome and the path on which Brazil has put itself in electing Mr. Bolsonaro, it is important to remember the legacy of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and his leftist Workers’ Party.

When Brazil’s military dictatorship ended in 1985, the balance of power tipped toward leaders of centrist and leftist leanings. After Mr. da Silva, known as Lula, and his Workers’ Party won in 2003, they settled in for 13 years of rule, including five years under Dilma Rousseff. Throughout this period the government made alleviating the poverty of millions of Brazilians its top priority and achieved remarkable strides in this space. Yet, over time Brazil’s political class became corruption-stained, and at some point most voters lost faith in that leadership. That happened as the economy gradually descended into deep recession, even as the far-reaching Petrobras “Car Wash” corruption scandal started toppling dozens of political and business elites across the spectrum, culminating in the controversial impeachment of Ms. Rousseff in 2016 and then the jailing of Mr. da Silva in April 2018 with a 12-year sentence for corruption and money-laundering. In the longest arc of history, the rise and fall of Brazil’s leftist politics may have brought succour to the most vulnerable demographic but it left the middle class feeling neglected. Now, the backlash is complete. Mr. Bolsonaro brings to high office the promise to reduce regulation and tax and boost investor confidence, and also the threat to more extensively exploit Brazil’s vast natural resources, including the Amazon rainforest; he has proposed to build a highway through it. This, along with his disdain for the Paris climate change accord, could mark a disturbing departure from Brazil’s historical sensitivity to keeping its precious environmental resources intact.


1) enlightened

Meaning : having or showing a rational, modern, and well-informed outlook.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : விழிப்பூட்ட

Synonyms : informed

Antonyms : uninformed

Example : “the more enlightened employers offer better terms”

2) reform

Meaning : make changes in (something, especially an institution or practice) in order to improve it.(v) , the action or process of reforming an institution or practice.(n)

Tamil Meaning : சீர்திருத்தம்

Synonyms : improve

Antonyms : impair

Example : “the Bill will reform the tax system”

3) tectonic

Meaning : relating to the structure of the earth’s crust and the large-scale processes which take place within it.(adj)

Synonyms : structural

Example : “the movements of the tectonic plates”

4) paradigm

Meaning : a typical example or pattern of something; a pattern or model.(n)

Tamil Meaning : முன்னுதாரணம்

Synonyms : pattern

Antonyms : atypical sample

Example : “society’s paradigm of the ‘ideal woman’

5) clarion

Meaning : loud and clear.

Tamil Meaning : முழக்கம்

Synonyms : fine , fair

Antonyms : quiet

Example : “clarion trumpeters”

6) secession

Meaning : the action of withdrawing formally from membership of a federation or body, especially a political state.(n)

Tamil Meaning : பிரிவினை

Synonyms : separation

Antonyms : entry

Example : “the republics want secession from the union”

7) coalition

Meaning : a temporary alliance for combined action, especially of political parties forming a government.(n)

Tamil Meaning : கூட்டணி

Synonyms : league

Antonyms : isolation

Example : “a coalition between Liberals and Conservatives”

8) diktats

Meaning : an order or decree imposed by someone in power without popular consent.

Tamil Meaning : ஆணைகளை

Synonyms : rulings

Example : “a diktat from the Bundestag”

9) disputes

Meaning : a disagreement or argument(n).

Tamil Meaning : சர்ச்சை

Synonyms : conflicts

Antonyms : accepts

Example : “a territorial dispute between the two countries”

10) posturing

Meaning : behave in a way that is intended to impress or mislead.(v)

Tamil Meaning : வெளிப்பாடுகள்

Synonyms : stating

Antonyms : humility

Example : “a masking of fear with macho posturing”

11) vanguard

Meaning : a group of people leading the way in new developments or ideas(n).

Tamil Meaning : முன்னணி

Synonyms : forefront

Antonyms : followers

Example : “the experimental spirit of the modernist vanguard”

12) contentious

Meaning : causing or likely to cause an argument; controversial.

Tamil Meaning : சர்ச்சைக்குரிய

Synonyms : combative

Antonyms : pacifist

Example : “a contentious issue”

13) harmony

Meaning : the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce a pleasing effect.(n)

Tamil Meaning : நல்லிணக்கம்

Synonyms : accord

Antonyms : discord

Example : “the piece owes its air of tranquillity largely to the harmony”

14) pedagogical

Meaning : relating to teaching.

Tamil Meaning : வழிகாட்டி

Synonyms : didactic

Antonyms : nonacademic

Example : “innovative pedagogical methods”

15) edifice

Meaning : a complex system of beliefs.(n)

Tamil Meaning : மாளிகை

Synonyms : building

Example : “the concepts on which the edifice of capitalism was built”

16) implosion

Meaning : an instance of something collapsing violently inwards.(n)

Synonyms : collapse

Antonyms :explosion

Example : “the star undergoes a violent implosion caused by gravity”

17) contrary

Meaning : opposite in nature, direction, or meaning.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : மாறாக

Synonyms : opposite

Antonyms : alike

Example : “he ignored contrary advice and agreed on the deal”

18) manifested

Meaning : show (a quality or feeling) by one’s acts or appearance; demonstrate.(v)

Tamil Meaning : பகிரங்கமான

Synonyms : evident

Antonyms : unclear

Example : “Lizzy manifested signs of severe depression”

19) rip

Meaning : tear or pull (something) quickly or forcibly away from something or someone.(v)

Synonyms : split

Antonyms : sew

Example : “a fan tried to rip his trousers off during a show”

20) impeachment

Meaning : the action of calling into question the integrity or validity of something(n).

Tamil Meaning : கண்டனத்தீர்மான

Synonyms : indictment

Antonyms : rise

Example : “the prosecutor’s detailed impeachment of the character witness”

21) vulnerable

Meaning : exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

Tamil Meaning : பாதிக்கப்படக்கூடிய

Synonyms : exposed

Antonyms : secure

Example : “we were in a vulnerable position”

22) entrants

Meaning : a person or group that enters or takes part in something.

Tamil Meaning : வரவுகள்

Synonyms : contestant

Antonyms : companion

Example : “the prize will be awarded to the entrant who wins the tiebreak”

23) mantle

Meaning : a loose sleeveless cloak or shawl, worn especially by women.(n)

Tamil Meaning : கவசத்தை

Synonyms : blanket

Antonyms : brew

Example : “she was wrapped tightly in her mantle”

24) derisively

Meaning : a loose sleeveless cloak or shawl, worn especially by women.(n)

Tamil Meaning : இழிவுப்படுத்த

Synonyms : sarcastically

Antonyms : deferentially

Example : “she was wrapped tightly in her mantle”

25) dexterity

Meaning : skill in performing tasks, especially with the hands.(n)

Tamil Meaning : திறமை

Synonyms : adroitness

Antonyms : clumsiness

Example : “her dexterity with chopsticks”

26) purported

Meaning : appear to be or do something, especially falsely.

Tamil Meaning : கருத்து

Synonyms : import

Antonyms : unbraid

Example : “she is not the person she purports to be”

27) bureaucratic

Meaning : relating to a system of government in which most of the important decisions are taken by state officials rather than by elected representatives.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : அதிகாரத்துவ

Synonyms : administrative

Antonyms : anarchy

Example : “well-established bureaucratic procedures”

28) speculation

Meaning : the forming of a theory or conjecture without firm evidence.(n)

Tamil Meaning : ஊகம்

Synonyms : presage

Antonyms : fact

Example : “there has been widespread speculation that he plans to quit”

29) desperate

Meaning : feeling or showing a hopeless sense that a situation is so bad as to be impossible to deal with.(adj)

Synonyms : hopeless

Antonyms : safe

Example : “a desperate sadness enveloped Ruth”

30) creep

Meaning : move slowly and carefully in order to avoid being heard or noticed.(v)

Tamil Meaning : தொய்வு

Synonyms : sneak

Antonyms : bolt

Example : “he crept downstairs, hardly making any noise”

31) abides

Meaning : accept or act in accordance with (a rule, decision, or recommendation).(v)

Tamil Meaning : என்றென்றும்

Synonyms : endure

Antonyms : reject

Example : “I said I would abide by their decision”

32) ramparts

Meaning : a defensive wall of a castle or walled city, having a broad top with a walkway and typically a stone parapet.(n)

Tamil Meaning : பாதுகாப்பு அரண்

Synonyms : barrier

Antonyms : hazard

Example : “a castle with ramparts and a moat”

33) utopian

Meaning : modelled on or aiming for a state in which everything is perfect; idealistic.

Synonyms : visionary

Antonyms : real

Example : “a utopian ideology”

34) accustomed

Meaning : make someone or something accept (something) as normal or usual.

Tamil Meaning : பழக்கப்படத்து

Synonyms : familiarize

Antonyms : denaturalize

Example : “I accustomed my eyes to the lenses”

35) juncture

Meaning : a particular point in events or time.

Tamil Meaning : சூழ்நிலையில்

Synonyms : joint

Antonyms : division

Example : “it is difficult to say at this juncture whether this upturn can be sustained”

36) evoking

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

Tamil Meaning : தூண்டும்

Synonyms : causing

Antonyms : halting

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

37) resonated

Meaning : produce or be filled with a deep, full, reverberating sound.(v)

Tamil Meaning : போகின்றன

Synonyms : resound

Example : “the sound of the siren resonated across the harbour”

38) denigrating

Meaning : criticize unfairly; disparage.(v)

Tamil Meaning : சிறுமைப்படுத்த

Synonyms : disparage

Antonyms : praise

Example : “doom and gloom merchants who denigrate their own country”

39) regressive

Meaning : returning to a former or less developed state; characterized by regression.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : பின்னடை

Synonyms : reactionary

Antonyms : progressive

Example : “regressive aspects of recent local government reform”

40) alleviating

Meaning : make (suffering, deficiency, or a problem) less severe.

Tamil Meaning : போக்க

Synonyms : relieve

Antonyms : intensify

Example :”he couldn’t prevent her pain, only alleviate it”


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