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THE HINDU EDITORIAL – November 8, 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) Shape of sanctions: on U.S. waiver on Chabahar port

The U.S. waiver on Chabahar and on oil purchases from Iran brings relief, temporarily

The U.S. administration’s decision to grant India and seven other countries waivers on the sanctions it re-imposed on Iran provides some temporary relief to India. While the details of the waivers are yet to be released, the Trump administration has agreed to waive sanctions on the purchase of oil from Iran for about six months, which would help the Modi government tide over until the general elections, without any major oil price shocks. The waivers announced cover Indian investment in Iran’s Chabahar port and the plan to build a railway line from Chabahar to Afghanistan to facilitate trade. The waivers are welcome also as they indicate that despite all the harsh rhetoric on “choking Iran”, the U.S. may have had a rethink on its sanctions, and the costs incurred in pushing around allies and partners such as India, Japan and South Korea to “zero out” oil purchases. This conclusion stems from the fact that both India and China, Iran’s two biggest oil importers, have been extended waivers. This flexibility could be a sign that the U.S. is leaving space for leeway in resuming talks with Iran in the long term.

However, the fact that the waivers are temporary, and contingent on further reductions in oil trade with Iran, means that for now India will need to continue to find alternatives to its offtake from Iran. The alternative rupee-rial mechanism, which was operationalised in 2012 during the last round of sanctions, depends on increasing Iranian demand for Indian goods to balance India’s annual purchases of about $10 billion, which hasn’t fructified yet. The European Union, Russia and China have also been working on a “special payment mechanism” to circumvent sanctions. But they have yet to launch it, limiting India’s options. Moreover, despite the waivers from the U.S., India will still face the impact of the U.S. sanctions, both on oil and on its investment in Chabahar, as very few international companies may be willing to undertake contracts. Above all, by seeking the waivers, instead of sticking to its earlier line that it accepted only UN and not “unilateral” sanctions, India has lost its moral leverage. Unlike China, it chose to reduce its oil intake from Iran, and entered into negotiations for alternative fuel supplies from Iran’s rivals in the Gulf. This could, in turn, impact Delhi-Tehran ties in the long run. Meanwhile, India will have to keep engaging the U.S. in order to secure further waivers, both in this case and for CAATSA-related U.S. sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea. As a result, by securing the waiver the government has not exactly dodged the figurative bullet, but merely outpaced it. It will need to keep outrunning that bullet for the foreseeable future.

B) The party of Hinduism?

Liberals hoping that Rahul Gandhi’s Congress would rescue them from Hindutva may be in for a rude awakening

The stage is all set for Assembly elections in five States — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Telangana. Described as a ‘semi-final’ for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, they offer a foretaste of the electoral strategies likely to be on view next year. Though State and national elections often have their own specific dynamic, some useful inferences may be drawn from the campaigns of the national parties, especially the Congress.

An important conundrum is whether the Congress can emerge as a meaningful alternative to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its Hindu majoritarian politics. On the evidence of its campaign so far, especially in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the party appears to have chosen the path of least resistance. Given that these two States also happen to be among those where the BJP’s Hindutva dimension is in full bloom, they presented the Congress with a good opportunity to test its political counter to the divisive agenda of its adversary. The combination of high anti-incumbency and a two-way contest with the BJP meant that the Congress could have taken the ideological battle to the Sangh Parivar.

Wooing the upper castes

But the Congress did nothing of the sort. It steered clear of the BJP’s majoritarian depredations, and opted to woo the same upper castes that constitute the BJP’s core vote base. It has embraced what has come to be known as ‘soft Hindutva’. In Madhya Pradesh, for instance, the Congress has promised to build cow shelters in every village if voted to power — this in a State where desperate farmers were fired upon by the administration. In Kerala, its State unit has played along with so-called religious sentiment, opposing the entry of women (between the ages of 10-50) in Sabarimala instead of standing by the constitutional principle of equality.

In Rajasthan, too, the Congress’s game plan is to retrieve the upper caste vote from the BJP. Hindutva politics has queered the pitch in such a way that today no party can specifically woo the savarna voter without pandering to communal sentiment. In effect, this means not confronting the infusion of religion into the heart of democratic politics. Conversely, challenging it would require two things from a party: certain ideological non-negotiables, among which, in the case of the Congress, would be the Nehruvian legacy of secularism and a politics of caste rooted in the principle of social justice.

Given the cynicism that has become commonplace in public discourse, it is fashionable to scoff at any expectation of principles in politics. But it is delusional to imagine that the very realpolitik that unleashed the genie of communal hatred on national politics will also be able — now that its disruptions are coming home to roost — to put that genie back into the constitutional bottle. In fact, the most troubling takeaway from the Congress’s approach to these Assembly polls is that even an outright victory for a Congress-led alliance in 2019, however improbable it may seem at present, may not really signify a defeat of communal forces.

The clearest indication yet that the Congress cannot be expected to counter the normalisation of Hindu majoritarianism came during party president Rahul Gandhi’s campaign tour in Madhya Pradesh, where he stated that the “Congress was a party of Hinduism”. He prefaced it by saying that it was “not a party of Hindutva” but the fact that he felt compelled to paint the Congress in Hindu colours marks a clear shift in the party’s overt political line.

For some time now, there has been a debate on the Congress’s use of ‘soft Hindutva’ as a counter to the BJP’s presumably ‘hard’ Hindutva. Mr. Gandhi’s supporters have argued that what has been labelled as ‘soft Hindutva’ is nothing but a free and open expression of his personal faith as a devout Hindu. Even if this were true, his temple visits, which rarely seem to take place without a photo-op, the recent emergence of vermilion on his forehead, his pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar, and his coming out as a Shiv bhakt, are all gestures saturated with political significance.

Smart politics?

They could either be read as a smart political response to the widespread ‘Hinduisation’ of the socio-political sphere, or as an admission of defeat to Hindutva forces, for this is exactly what they seek — an India where Hindu identity would be the starting point of any mobilisation for political power.

Last month, a Rajasthan Minister was booked for violating the Representation of the People Act after he gave a speech asking all Hindus to vote for the BJP. Mr. Gandhi has never verbalised such a plea with regard to his own party. But can we truly characterise his description of the Congress as a “party of Hinduism”, or his embodiment of Hindu symbolism on the campaign trail, as actions in keeping with either the spirit of the Representation of the People Act or the secularism the Constitution speaks of?

There are other aspects of this symbolism-driven ‘soft Hindutva’ that are as troubling: an overriding anxiety not to be seen as sympathetic to Muslims; and a low key yet consistent messaging that underscores Mr. Gandhi’s position at the apex of the caste hierarchy as a “janeu-wearing Hindu”. The phrase, used by a Congress spokesperson after Mr. Gandhi’s visit to the Somnath temple last year, was invoked by a BJP leader recently in the context of yet another temple visit by Mr. Gandhi, when he asked, “What kind of janeu-dhari are you? What is your gotra?” The focus on Mr. Gandhi’s caste pedigree once again reveals how temple politics is never without its attendant caste politics.

Put simply, it gives the lie to Mr. Gandhi’s self-serving distinction between Hindutva and Hinduism, a distinction that is also becoming increasingly popular among an influential section of Indian liberals who, much like Mr. Gandhi, seem to have suddenly woken up to their Hindu identity in the last four years. For these ‘proud Hindus’, one of whom has recently penned a bestselling book on why he is one, the classical secularist position that one’s religion is a private matter and not an instrument to garner social or political capital is, of course, past its sell-by date.

The distinction between Hinduism and Hindutva — which only matters because of the political uses of religion —rests on two premises. First, that Hinduism is inclusive and progressive, while Hindutva is exclusionary and regressive; second, that Hinduism is individualistic and preaches tolerance, whereas Hindutva is a supremacist ideology that deploys angry mobs to subjugate other religious communities.

On Sangh Parivar’s page

While this is, no doubt, an interesting distinction, it is even more interesting that no Hindutva ideologue has ever expressed any discomfort with this definition of Hinduism that categorically rejects Hindutva. If anything, representatives of the Sangh Parivar have been pleased with the transformation of the Congress president into a tilak-wearing, temple-hopping ‘Hindu politician’.

The Congress becoming more ‘Hindu’ is but another sign of savarna consolidation, a movement of which Hindutva is the flag-bearer. Mr. Gandhi’s version of non-threatening Hinduism and the Parivar’s aggressive Hindutva are in complete agreement on one issue: caste. They both want to be the party of choice for the upper castes, and so long as this remains the case, the Congress cannot be expected to operationalise in its politics the principle of equality. In other words, liberals and other good-hearted people hoping that Mr. Gandhi and the Congress would rescue them from Hindutva may be in for a rude awakening. As is well known, god doesn’t help those who don’t help themselves.


1) waivers

Meaning : an act or instance of waiving a right or claim.

Tamil Meaning : விலக்கு

Synonyms : deferm, grant

Antonyms : approve

Example : “their acquiescence could amount to a waiver”

2) rhetoric

Meaning : the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the exploitation of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.

Tamil Meaning : சொல்லாட்சி

Synonyms : hyperbole , oratory

Antonyms : quiet

Example : “he is using a common figure of rhetoric, hyperbole”

3) incurred

Meaning : become subject to (something unwelcome or unpleasant) as a result of one’s own behaviour or actions.

Tamil Meaning : ஏற்படும்

Synonyms : acquire

Antonyms : forfeit

Example : “I will pay any expenses incurred”

4) contingent

Meaning : subject to chance.

Synonyms : unforeseen

Antonyms : designed

Example : “the contingent nature of the job”

5) fructified

Meaning : make (something) fruitful or productive.

Synonyms : fecundate , impregnate

Example : “they were sacrificed in order that their blood might fructify the crops”

6) rivals

Meaning : a person or thing competing with another for the same objective or for superiority in the same field of activity.

Tamil Meaning : போட்டியாளர்கள்

Synonyms : adversary

Antonyms : helper

Example : “he has no serious rival for the job”

7) dodged

Meaning : avoid (someone or something) by a sudden quick movement.

Tamil Meaning : ஏமாற்றுவதற்கு

Synonyms : contrivance , method

Example : “marchers had to dodge missiles thrown by loyalists”

8) merely

Meaning : just; only.

Tamil Meaning : வெறுமனே

Synonyms : hardly

Antonyms : indefinitely

Example : “Gary, a silent boy, merely nodded”

9) outpaced

Meaning : go, rise, or improve faster than.

Tamil Meaning : தோற்கடித்துவிட்ட

Synonyms : dominate

Antonyms : lose

Example : “he outpaced all six defenders”

10) foreseeable

Meaning : able to be foreseen or predicted.

Tamil Meaning : எதிர்வரும்

Synonyms : certain

Antonyms : improbable

Example : “the situation is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future

11) campaigns

Meaning : a series of military operations intended to achieve a goal, confined to a particular area, or involving a specified type of fighting.

Tamil Meaning : பிரச்சாரம்

Synonyms : crusade

Antonyms : inaction

Example : “a desert campaign”

12) inferences

Meaning : a conclusion reached on the basis of evidence and reasoning.

Tamil Meaning : அனுமானம்

Synonyms : assumption

Antonyms : fact

Example : “researchers are entrusted with drawing inferences from the data”

13) conundrum

Meaning : a confusing and difficult problem or question.

Tamil Meaning : புதிர்

Synonyms : mystery

Example : “one of the most difficult conundrums for the experts”

14) adversary

Meaning : one’s opponent in a contest, conflict, or dispute.

Tamil Meaning : விரோதி

Synonyms : attacker

Antonyms : ally

Example : “Davis beat his old adversary in the quarter-finals”

15) sort

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

Tamil Meaning : வகையான

Synonyms : character

Antonyms : individual

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

16) steered

Meaning : guide or control the movement of (a vehicle, vessel, or aircraft), for example by turning a wheel or operating a rudder.

Tamil Meaning : விலகி

Synonyms : escort , herd

Antonyms : abandon

Example : “he steered the boat slowly towards the busy quay”

17) depredations

Meaning : an act of attacking or plundering.

Tamil Meaning : களவு

Synonyms : wasting

Antonyms : construction

Example : “protecting grain from the depredations of rats and mice”

18) embraced

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

Tamil Meaning : தழுவி

Synonyms : grasp

Antonyms : free

Example : “Aunt Sophie embraced her warmly”

19) desperate

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

Synonyms : bold daring

Antonyms : afraid

Example : “a desperate sadness enveloped Ruth”

20) retrieve

Meaning : get or bring (something) back from somewhere.

Tamil Meaning : மீட்டெடுக்க

Synonyms : fetch

Antonyms : damage

Example : “I was sent to retrieve the balls from his garden”

21) confronting

Meaning : face up to and deal with (a problem or difficulty).

Tamil Meaning : எதிர்கொள்ளும்

Synonyms : meeting

Example : “we knew we couldn’t ignore the race issue and decided we’d confront it head on”

22) Conversely

Meaning : introducing a statement or idea which reverses one that has just been made or referred to.

Tamil Meaning : மாறாக

Synonyms : antithesis

Antonyms : same

Example : “he would have preferred his wife not to work, although conversely he was also proud of what she did”

23) delusional

Meaning : characterized by or holding idiosyncratic beliefs or impressions that are contradicted by reality or rational argument, typically as a symptom of mental disorder.

Tamil Meaning : மருட்சி

Synonyms : unrealistic

Antonyms : lucid

Example : “hospitalization for schizophrenia and delusional paranoia”

24) disruptions

Meaning : disturbance or problems which interrupt an event, activity, or process.

Tamil Meaning : தடைகள்

Synonyms : interruption

Example : “the scheme was planned to minimize disruption”

25) improbable

Meaning : not likely to be true or to happen.

Tamil Meaning : சாத்தியமற்றதாக

Synonyms : fanciful

Antonyms : believable

Example : “this account of events was seen by the jury as most improbable”

26) prefaced

Meaning : provide (a book) with a preface.

Tamil Meaning : முன்னுரை

Synonyms : foreword

Antonyms : conclusion

Example : “the book is prefaced by a quotation from William Faulkner”

27) presumably

Meaning : used to convey that what is asserted is very likely though not known for certain.

Tamil Meaning : முன்கூட்டிய

Synonyms : apparently

Antonyms : improbably

Example : “it was not yet ten o’clock, so presumably the boys were still at the pub”

28) gestures

Meaning : a movement of part of the body, especially a hand or the head, to express an idea or meaning.

Tamil Meaning : சைகைகள்

Synonyms : action

Antonyms : speech

Example : “Alex made a gesture of apology”

29) plea

Meaning : a request made in an urgent and emotional manner.

Tamil Meaning : மனு

Synonyms : appeal

Antonyms : demand

Example : “he made a dramatic plea for disarmament”

30) embodiment

Meaning : a tangible or visible form of an idea, quality, or feeling.

Tamil Meaning : வடிவமாகும்

Synonyms : archetype

Antonyms : exclusion

Example : “she seemed to be a living embodiment of vitality”

31) verbalise

Meaning : express (ideas or feelings) in words, especially by speaking out loud.

Tamil Meaning : சொற்களால்

Synonyms : articulate

Antonyms : ask

Example : “they are unable to verbalize their real feelings”

32) invoked

Meaning : cite or appeal to (someone or something) as an authority for an action or in support of an argument.

Tamil Meaning : செயல்படுத்தப்படுகின்றது

Synonyms : conjure

Antonyms : answer

Example : “the antiquated defence of insanity is rarely invoked in England”

33) reveals

Meaning : make (previously unknown or secret information) known to others.

Tamil Meaning : வெளிப்படுத்துகிறது

Synonyms : admit

Antonyms : conceal

Example : “Brenda was forced to reveal Robbie’s whereabouts”

34) penned

Meaning : write or compose.

Synonyms : hedge

Antonyms : free

Example : “Olivia penned award-winning poetry”

35) inclusive

Meaning : including all the services or items normally expected or required.

Tamil Meaning : உள்ளடக்கிய

Synonyms : broad

Antonyms : exclusive

Example : “menus stating fully inclusive prices”

36) preaches

Meaning :deliver a sermon or religious address to an assembled group of people, typically in church.

Tamil Meaning : உபதேசி

Synonyms : exhort

Example : “he preached to a large congregation”

37) supremacist

Meaning : an advocate of the supremacy of a particular group, especially one determined by race .

Tamil Meaning : மேலாதிக்கவாத

Synonyms : bigot

Example : “a white supremacist”

38) aggressive

Meaning : ready or likely to attack or confront; characterized by or resulting from aggression.

Tamil Meaning : ஆக்கிரமிப்பு

Synonyms : combative

Antonyms : calm

Example : “he’s very uncooperative and aggressive”

39) awakening

Meaning : an act of waking from sleep.

Tamil Meaning : விழித்துக்கொள்ள

Synonyms : activation

Antonyms : destruction

Example : “since my awakening I had realized it was a very special day”

40) rescue

Meaning : save (someone) from a dangerous or difficult situation.

Tamil Meaning : மீட்பு

Synonyms : recovery

Antonyms : failure

Example : “firemen rescued a man trapped in the river”


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