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THE HINDU EDITORIAL – November 12, 2018, is one of the must-read section for the competitive exams like  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) Ripples of discord: on gravitational waves

A forthcoming paper on the detection of gravitational waves will be illuminating

On September 14, 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) made the Nobel prize winning detection of gravitational waves. These waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time, arising from the merger of a pair of black holes in distant space, and their detection had been a long-time pursuit of physics. LIGO’s feat was among the most electrifying announcements in recent years. Since detecting this binary black hole (BBH) merger, the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) has made six such observations. Five of these were mergers of black holes in very different locations in space and with very different characteristics such as mass, and one was the merger of a pair of so-called neutron stars (binary neutron stars). Such mergers had been modelled theoretically even before the detection. The measurement was made easier because the team had templates for the type of signals to expect. The last few detections have been done in conjunction with another detector, Virgo. After the first discovery, the LSC made public its data. Analysing this, in 2017 a group of scientists questioned the validity of the first detection. They argued that the two detectors belonging to LIGO were correlated and that this led to a correlation in the noise factor. Weeding out noise from the signal is crucial in any such experiment, and James Creswell et al claimed that this had not been done properly by the LSC. Since then, a version of their preprint has been published in the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics. After a long silence, on November 1, the LSC has put up a clarification on its website.

The clarification is cryptic, referring to “misunderstandings of public data products and the ways that the LIGO data need to be treated” by those raising objections. This encompasses a range of things, starting with lacunae in the analysis of data by Mr. Creswell and his collaborators. It transpires that in their analysis Creswell et al had used the data supplied by LIGO for a figure in their paper rather than the raw time series data that were made publicly available. While responding with a defence regarding processing of data is fine, it is unfortunate that the LSC team supplied data for the figure in the published paper that differed from the raw data. That said, a simpler and more direct corroboration of LIGO’s discovery stems from the wide variety of its sources. Now, the LSC plans to come out with a paper that carries detailed explanations. This would not be a second too soon. Put together, this is how science makes progress — in leaps and bounds, with thoughtful critiques and interventions in between. And in this case, the attendant controversy has captured the interest of even those beyond the world of science.

B) Riding the tiger

The December election will decide whether Bangladesh can protect its socio-economic advance, democratically

From the outside, Bangladesh appears a country where democratic stability has ushered economic progress and shed the ‘basket case’ tag carried since its birth in 1971. Bangladesh no longer makes news for mass deaths from famines, cyclones and floods, and is ahead of neighbours India and Pakistan on human development, including life expectancy, maternal and child mortality, rural poverty and food security.

The eighth largest country in the world by population, Bangladesh is shedding the least developing country (LDC) label and is within striking distance of middle-income status. While grassroots development, the readymade garment industry and the phenomenon of mega-non-governmental organisations deserve credit, so does the stewardship of Sheikh Hasina and her two consecutive five-year terms as Prime Minister since January 2009.

She is applauded by the world for providing refuge to the Rohingya fleeing Myanmar pogroms, by the West for serving as a bulwark against Islamic extremism, and by India for the dismantling of camps of Northeast militants.

The run-up to the general elections announced for December 23 is an opportunity to observe Bangladesh from the inside, and the view is unsettling. The Prime Minister has moved progressively from autocracy to authoritarianism, and fears are rife in Dhaka of oncoming political calamity. With Ms. Hasina and her Awami League party expected to return to power assisted by well-oiled poll rigging, the only recourse thereafter for want of political paths of dissent would be self-igniting agitations.

Dhaka today is a city of guarded whispers. Given the brittle polity created by manifest intolerance, Ms. Hasina seems to have calculated that she simply cannot afford to lose at the polls. The daughter of ‘Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman rides a tiger, fearful of dismounting for what she has wrought.

Awami intolerance

Criticism of the Hasina regime is equated with treason against the state. The legislature, judiciary and bureaucracy have become rubber stamps even as the Prime Minister suffocates the polity, with U.S.-returned son and adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy by her side. The party machine has become her personal fief and the attempt at dynastic continuity is palpable, as seen in the ubiquitous billboards portraying father, daughter and grandson.

The harsh measures taken by the Hasina regime against journalists reflect the political whip being applied across the societal spectrum. Media houses submit meekly to self-censorship in the face of vengeful reaction even to timid criticism, and Parliament just passed a restrictive Digital Security Act in September despite well-articulated concerns about free expression.

In order to crush civil society, Ms. Hasina set out to make examples of well-known media personalities. Mahfuz Anam, editor of The Daily Star newspaper, was slapped with dozens of spurious charges of sedition and defamation. Today marks photographer and cultural activist Shahidul Alam’s hundredth day behind bars, for having had the impertinence to live-stream the attacks by Awami League goons on young protesters on the streets.

The international outcry on Mr. Alam’s imprisonment has failed to move the Prime Minister, who is ever-more belligerent. Terrified of her wrath, consecutive court benches shamefully refuse to consider his bail petition.

The Indian presence

Observers in Dhaka say Ms. Hasina’s family tragedy helps explain her political persona, motivations and geopolitical leanings. Her intense survival instinct can be traced back to the assassination of her father in 1975, together with her mother, brothers and other family members.

Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister, offered refuge to the two surviving sisters (Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana), which is said to account for Ms. Hasina’s decidedly New Delhi tilt. Today, Bangladesh is regarded as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s one foreign policy success in South Asia, and New Delhi has pursued Ms. Hasina for its own ends — the closure of Northeast militant camps, entry into the sizeable Bangladesh market, and access to the Northeast through Bangladesh (even as India surrounds Bangladesh with a barbed wire fence).

Dhaka’s opinion-makers grumble that Bangladesh has got little in return besides assurances, while government officials are tight-lipped about the quid pro quo, particularly on water sharing. For a densely populated lower riparian country which would be devastated by any further upstream flow diversion on the Ganga/Padma — salinity, desertification, loss of livelihood and migration — Bangladesh watches fearfully the ‘river linking project’ so favoured by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

While India has snubbed Bangladesh by abstaining on a December 2017 UN Human Rights Council resolution on the Rohingya co-sponsored by Dhaka, Ms. Hasina has been resoundingly silent on the anti-Bangladeshi tirade of the BJP following the release in July this year of the draft of Assam’s National Register of Citizens.

For two decades, Bangladesh politics was marked by the relentless feuding of Ms. Hasina and Begum Khaleda Zia, chair of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). But Ms. Zia has been outwitted by the sure-footed Ms. Hasina, especially after the BNP decided to boycott the general elections of 2014. Today, Bangladesh is essentially a one-party polity under the Awami League.

Ms. Zia, a two-time Prime Minister, is in prison, with her jail term for graft having just been increased to 10 years. She is in failing health, the lone inmate at the old Dhaka Central Jail, the other prisoners having been moved to a new facility outside city limits.

Fake encounters

That the BNP has not been able to build a movement for the release of its leader indicates an opposition in disarray, but also the regime’s hounding of BNP cadre countrywide, through outright violence and filing of false court cases. Despite assurances from the Prime Minister of a level field for election campaigning, BNP cadre are swelling the number of inmates in jails countrywide.

The absence of effective political opposition has helped transform Bangladesh into a country with a deathly record of enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings. Fake encounters have been institutionalised by the paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), while the Prime Minister has activated military intelligence in a manner not seen even under martial law, according to observers.

As people run for cover, the Awami League holds itself out as the sole custodian of the legacy of the Liberation War and of Sheikh Mujib, with all disagreeable forces and individuals variously tagged as ‘Jamaati’, ‘razakar’ collaborators, Westernised elite, ‘Tagorites’, Pakistani intelligence, and even Mossad operatives. Meanwhile, everyone else talks of Indian intelligence infiltrating the layers of Dhaka society.

Ms. Hasina is projected internationally as a fighter against Islamic fundamentalism, but has quietly accommodated the Hefazat-e-Islam, a conservative pressure group of clerics. The regime is busy excising secular content from textbooks, and has made madrasa degrees at par with university degrees for government jobs.

Spontaneous combustion

With the political opposition weakened, the people’s release is through outbursts that tend to snowball. This happened with the Shahbag movement which sought to rekindle the spirit of Liberation, an agitation against excessive quotas (56%) in public sector employment, and this summer’s uprising of youngsters demanding road safety.

Ms. Hasina deftly rode out these agitations, but in the absence of a democratic release through free and fair elections, a spontaneous combustion in the future may go outside her capacity to manage, engulfing all Bangladesh.

A faint hint of compromise appeared in the first week of November, when Ms. Hasina readily agreed to a meeting request from the Jatiya Oikya Front, an alliance formed on October 13 which includes the BNP and four other parties. Kamal Hossain, elder statesman and framer of the 1972 Constitution, leads the Front.

The Front’s seven-point demand included a neutral government to run elections and release of all political prisoners including Ms. Zia. The Prime Minister has turned a deaf ear to the demands, and instead elections were announced for December 23, denying the opposition alliance time to organise.

The intolerance and crony capitalism exhibited by the Hasina regime today colours the entire state structure of Bangladesh and jeopardises its journey towards middle-income country status. The very person who has worked to usher socio-economic advance seems ready to sacrifice it all. Ms. Hasina must try to get off the tiger, and others must help her do so.


1) agitation

Meaning :a state of anxiety or nervous excitement.

Tamil Meaning : கிளர்ச்சி

Synonyms :disturbance

Antonyms : serenity

Example : “she was wringing her hands in agitation”

2) pursuit

Meaning : the action of pursuing someone or something.

Tamil Meaning : நோக்கத்தில்

Synonyms : quest

Antonyms : retreat

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

3) conjunction

Meaning : the action or an instance of two or more events or things occurring at the same point in time or space.

Tamil Meaning :

Synonyms : union

Antonyms : separation

Example : “a conjunction of favourable political and economic circumstances”

4) correlated

Meaning : have a mutual relationship or connection, in which one thing affects or depends on another.

Tamil Meaning : தொடர்புடையதாக

Synonyms : related

Antonyms : differed

Example : “the study found that success in the educational system correlates highly with class”

5) Weed

Meaning : remove unwanted plants from (an area of ground).(V)

Tamil Meaning : களை

Synonyms : dope

Antonyms : necessity

Example : “I was weeding a flower bed”

6) claimed

Meaning : state or assert that something is the case, typically without providing evidence or proof(V).

Tamil Meaning : கூற்றை

Synonyms : assert

Antonyms : disclaim

Example : “the Prime Minister claimed that he was concerned about Third World debt”

7) cryptic

Meaning : having a meaning that is mysterious or obscure(Adj).

Tamil Meaning : ரகசிய

Synonyms : obscure

Antonyms : obvious

Example : “he found his boss’s utterances too cryptic”

8) encompasses

Meaning : surround and have or hold within.(v)

Tamil Meaning : சூழ்ந்திருக்கிறது

Synonyms : encircle

Antonyms : banish

Example : “this area of London encompasses Piccadilly to the north and St James’s Park to the south”

9) lacunae

Meaning : an unfilled space; a gap.

Tamil Meaning : இடைவெளி

Synonyms : gap

Example : “the journal has filled a lacuna in Middle Eastern studies”

10) transpires

Meaning : (of a secret or something unknown) come to be known; be revealed.(v)

Tamil Meaning : வெளிப்பாட்டாலும்

Synonyms : occur

Antonyms : vanish

Example : “it transpired that millions of dollars of debt had been hidden in a complex web of transactions”

11) corroboration

Meaning : evidence which confirms or supports a statement, theory, or finding; confirmation.

Tamil Meaning : விளைவைப்பற்றிய

Synonyms : confirmation

Antonyms : denial

Example : “there is no independent corroboration for this”

12) controversy

Meaning : prolonged public disagreement or heated discussion.

Tamil Meaning : சர்ச்சை

Synonyms : disagreement

Antonyms : harmony

Example : “the design of the building has caused controversy”

13) ushered

Meaning : show or guide (someone) somewhere.(v)

Tamil Meaning : வரவேற்போம்

Synonyms : lead

Antonyms : stop

Example : “a waiter ushered me to a table”

14) shed

Meaning : a simple roofed structure used for garden storage, to shelter animals, or as a workshop.

Tamil Meaning : சிந்தி

Synonyms : shack

Antonyms : acquire

Example : “a bicycle shed”

15) famines

Meaning : extreme scarcity of food.(n)

Tamil Meaning : பஞ்சங்கள்

Synonyms : hungers

Antonyms : feasts

Example : “drought resulted in famine throughout the region”

16) deserve

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

Tamil Meaning : தகுதி

Synonyms : merit

Antonyms : loss

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

17) applauded

Meaning : show approval or praise by clapping.(v)

Tamil Meaning : பாராட்டப்பட

Synonyms : praise

Antonyms : complain

Example : “the crowd whistled and applauded”

18) dismantling

Meaning : take (a machine or structure) to pieces.(v)

Tamil Meaning : அகற்றும்

Synonyms : destroy

Antonyms : assemble

Example : “the engines were dismantled and the bits piled into a heap”

19) autocracy

Meaning : a state or society governed by one person with absolute power.(n)

Tamil Meaning : சர்வாதிகார

Synonyms : dictatorship

Antonyms : democracy

Example : “the Grand Duchy of Tuscany was an autocracy”

20) rife

Meaning : (especially of something undesirable) of common occurrence; widespread.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : நிறைந்த

Synonyms : prevalent

Antonyms : infrequent

Example : “male chauvinism was rife in medicine”

21) rigging

Meaning : the system of ropes or chains employed to support a ship’s masts ( standing rigging ) and to control or set the yards and sails ( running rigging ).

Tamil Meaning : மோசடி

Synonyms : tackle

Antonyms : strip

Example : “I’m listening to the wind in the rigging”

22) dissent

Meaning : the holding or expression of opinions at variance with those commonly or officially held(n).

Tamil Meaning : எதிர்ப்பை

Synonyms : conflict

Antonyms : agree

Example : “there was no dissent from this view”

23) manifest

Meaning : clear or obvious to the eye or mind.(Adj)

Tamil Meaning : பகிரங்கமான

Synonyms : obvious

Antonyms : unclear

Example : “her manifest charm and proven ability”

24) afford

Meaning : have enough money to pay for.(V)

Tamil Meaning : வாங்க

Synonyms : furnish

Antonyms : deny

Example : “the best that I could afford was a first-floor room”

25) dismounting

Meaning : get off a horse, bicycle, or anything that one is riding.

Tamil Meaning : கழற்றும்

Synonyms : descending

Antonyms : ascending

Example : “he rode over and dismounted”

26) regime

Meaning : a government, especially an authoritarian one(n).

Tamil Meaning : ஆட்சி

Synonyms : rule

Antonyms : disorder

Example : “ideological opponents of the regime”

27) treason

Meaning : the crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to kill or overthrow the sovereign or government.(n)

Tamil Meaning : துரோகம்

Synonyms : treachery

Antonyms : loyalty

Example : “they were convicted of treason”

28) suffocates

Meaning : die or cause to die from lack of air or inability to breathe.(V)

Tamil Meaning : புழுங்கச்செய்கிறது

Synonyms : strangles

Antonyms : breathes

Example : “ten detainees suffocated in an airless police cell”

29) exhibited

Meaning : publicly display (a work of art or item of interest) in an art gallery or museum or at a trade fair.(V)

Tamil Meaning : காட்சிக்கு

Synonyms : demonstrated

Antonyms : concealed

Example : “only one sculpture was exhibited in the artist’s lifetime”

30) ubiquitous

Meaning : present, appearing, or found everywhere.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : எங்கும்

Synonyms : universal

Antonyms : rare

Example : “his ubiquitous influence was felt by all the family”

31) whip

Meaning : beat (a person or animal) with a whip or similar instrument, especially as a punishment or to urge them on.(V)

Synonyms : beat

Antonyms : surrender

Example : “Lewis whipped the boy twenty times”

32) spurious

Meaning : not being what it purports to be; false or fake.(Adj)

Tamil Meaning : போலியான

Synonyms : counterfeit

Antonyms : authentic

Example : “separating authentic and spurious claims”

33) sedition

Meaning : conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch.(n)

Tamil Meaning : துரோகம்

Synonyms : mutiny

Antonyms : obedience

Example : In some nations, the government censors television networks in order to prevent sedition.

34) defamation

Meaning : the action of damaging the good reputation of someone; slander or libel.(n)

Tamil Meaning : அவதூறு

Synonyms : slander

Antonyms : compliment

Example : “she sued him for defamation”

35) wrath

Meaning : extreme anger.(n)

Tamil Meaning : கோபம்

Synonyms : anger

Antonyms : calmness

Example : “he hid his pipe for fear of incurring his father’s wrath”

36) pursued

Meaning : follow or chase (someone or something).(v)

Tamil Meaning : பின்பற்றியது

Synonyms : chased

Antonyms : avoided

Example : “the officer pursued the van”

37) grumble

Meaning : complain about something in a bad-tempered way.(v)

Tamil Meaning : மனக்குறைப்படு

Synonyms :complain

Antonyms : cheer

Example : “‘I’m getting old,’ she grumbled”

38) riparian

Meaning : relating to or situated on the banks of a river(adj).

Synonyms : coastal

Antonyms : intercontinental

Example : “all the riparian states must sign an agreement”

39) devastated

Meaning : destroy or ruin(v).

Tamil Meaning : அழிந்தது

Synonyms : shattered

Antonyms : intact

Example : “the city was devastated by a huge earthquake”

40) relentless

Meaning : unceasingly intense.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : இரக்கமற்ற

Synonyms : inexorable

Antonyms : merciful

Example : “the relentless heat of the desert”


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