Dear Banking Aspirants,

THE HINDU EDITORIAL – October 27, 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) Touching base: On PM Modi’s visit to Japan

THE HINDU EDITORIAL : OCTOBER 27, 2018 PM Modi’s visit to Japan should clarify the shared reading of a changing world order

Ever since they institutionalised annual summit-level meetings in 2006, India and Japan have held a closely aligned world-view. Prime Minister Narendra Modi now heads to Japan for meetings with his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, and they are expected to take stock of all the challenges they face, notably with regard to the U.S. and China. President Donald Trump’s recent actions on trade tariffs, sanctions against Iran and Russia, as well as the U.S.’s exit from several multilateral and security regimes are impacting both countries in different ways. For India, the impact is more direct, as the economy has been hurt by new American tariffs, review of its GSP (trading) status, and restrictions on visas for professionals. Moreover, possible U.S. sanctions over Indian engagement with Iran as well as defence purchases from Russia pose a looming challenge. For Japan too, U.S. trade tariffs are a concern and Washington’s exit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership is corralling Southeast Asian countries into a free trade regime under Chinese domination. In addition, the U.S.’s on-again, off-again nuclear negotiations with North Korea are keeping Tokyo on tenterhooks. India and Japan must closely cooperate on how to manage these challenges from the U.S. while maintaining their growing security ties with Washington, as members of the trilateral and quadrilateral formations in the Indo-Pacific. The other common concern is managing an increasingly influential China. Mr. Abe will meet Mr. Modi a day after he returns from a visit to Beijing, the first by a Japanese Prime Minister in seven years. Mr. Modi has re-engaged Beijing through multiple meetings with President Xi Jinping this year. The Prime Ministers are bound to compare notes on the way forward with their common neighbour, especially on building and financing alternatives to China’s Belt and Road projects for countries along the “Asia-Africa growth corridor”.

On the bilateral front, there are several loose ends that Mr. Modi and Mr. Abe will work to tie up. The Shinkansen bullet train project has gathered speed, with the Japan International Cooperation Agency releasing the first tranche of ₹5,500 crore recently. But it could still run into delays over land acquisition issues. India and Japan have stepped up military exchanges, and will begin negotiations on a landmark acquisition and cross-servicing logistics agreement. However, there has been little movement on the pending purchase of ShinMaywa US-2 amphibian aircraft. And while Japanese investment has grown several-fold in India, trade figures are lower than levels five years ago. None of these issues is insurmountable, and the larger concerns of how to navigate uncharted and stormy geopolitical terrain, while maintaining strong positions on the international rules-based order, are likely to dominate Mr. Modi’s visit.

B) Who will speak truth to unfreedom?

THE HINDU EDITORIAL : OCTOBER 27, 2018 The latest effort to control research and prevent academics from protesting will kill the spirit of critical inquiry

It is time to re-read the politically charged play, The House of Bernarda Alba, (1936) by Federico García Lorca. After their father’s death, five young women are forced to live in a barricaded house of mourning for eight years. The doors are latched, windows are curtained with thick black fabric, and every nook and cranny closed. The consequences of living in claustrophobic spaces without men are tragic. The sisters repeatedly attack each other in grotesque performances of frustrated desire.

Bernarda, the mother, is the poster-girl of fascism. One of her daughters dares to wear make-up, Bernarda snatches the make-up and viciously smears it on the face of the young woman. Beyond the barred room, we catch tantalising glimpses of sunlight. Within the house we encounter pitifully deformed psyches and disturbed minds. Lorca authored a formidable play. It was to be his last. Shortly after, he was murdered by fascist forces in Spain. His message remains with us, repressed sexuality is a powerful metaphor for political frustration.

Costs of subjugation

Lorca proved prophetic. Open societies encourage us to accept and welcome different ideas and practices. They liberate and expand our imaginations and our commitments. When societies turn inwards, they construct barricades between themselves and the outside world. At some point members transfer the notion of the outsider to parts of the collective self. Political subjugation carries heavy costs.

Ruled by a government that verges on authoritarianism, Indians have turned savagely on their own fellow citizens, sometimes in the name of cow-protection, and often because someone has identified A or B as a kidnapper. Sometimes individuals are attacked because they are migrant workers and therefore ‘outsiders’, and often because they are represented as ‘infiltrators’. Disorder is the order of the day, and violence is the currency of social transactions. Sane voices have to speak up.

But where will these sane voices come from? The party in power has identified and cracked down on three sites of debate and dissent, the media, civil society and the public university. Incalculable damage has been done. Public universities are accessible and affordable. They provide training in skills, but more importantly, they expose young minds to nuanced debates in the social sciences and the humanities. The objective is to fine-tune sensibilities and push back horizons, familiarise young people with the best in literature, philosophy, political science, history, sociology, aesthetics and psychology, and keep alive the spirit of critical inquiry.

Power of the humanities

That is why imaginatively designed courses in the humanities and social sciences lie at the heart of any university worth its name. They encourage students to challenge and interrogate, even as they explore the past and the present. Teachers inspire students to understand the complexities of the human condition, to know what should be done for human beings, and what should not be done to them. Above all students are introduced to categories that allow them to think, reflect, and critically engage with people, places and things.

When academics acquaint students with Indian politics through the searing prose of Shrilal Shukla’s Raag Darbari, communicate the densities of human emotions through King Lear, acquaint them with spectres of domination and the exhilarating prospect of resistance through the poetic lens of Antigone, or convey the horrors of communal conflagration through the powerful pen of Yashpal in his Jhootha Sach, they do not just transmit information — they contribute to the making of knowledge. In the process, university teachers promote the notion of citizenship as solidarity with the less advantaged and warn students of the horrors of authoritarian rule that seeks to control and dominate. The idea is to produce aware and enlightened citizens conscious of their own power and the responsibilities of an elected government.

This is precisely why the latest avatar of capitalism in the 1990s, neoliberalism, devalued social sciences and humanities. Capitalism demands docile bodies and submissive minds. In 2010, Terry Eagleton, the celebrated literary critic, spoke of the death of universities. Academia, he rued, has become a servant of the status quo. Can we have a university without the humanities? It would be like a bar without alcohol! If history and philosophy vanish from academic life, they may be replaced by a technical training facility or corporate research institute, he wrote. But this will not be a university in the classic sense of the term. Eagleton is perceptive. Without critical disciplines, universities are no more than teaching shops, producing so much unthinking labour for the market.

The second attack on the university has come from the current government. Shortly after they came to power in 2014, leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party began to demonise one of the finest centres of academic excellence and enlightened debate, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Ignoble attempts to subjugate the faculty and students followed. This was replicated in other Central universities by the appointment of Vice-Chancellors of questionable merit, and the elevation of storm troopers of the ruling party to faculty positions.

Now the government has decided that teaching and research have to be controlled. University administrations have ruled that faculties of Central universities will be subject to Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules. This, it is said, is the diktat of the University Grants Commission, which is at best a funding and administrative organisation. In JNU, the decision has been adopted without regard for procedures of rule-making: the passage of a proposed policy through the Academic Council, the Executive Council and the University Court.

Starkly put, these regulations stipulate that academics cannot protest, howsoever grave be the provocation. In the academic world, invitations to join editorial boards of prestigious journals are rightly seen as a justifiable reward for academic excellence. This is now banned. Faculty members cannot criticise the policies of the government in their research work. Nor can they dare to critique a flawed foreign policy. And they cannot join political parties.

Just court history

The policy strikes at the very idea of a public university that embodies the spirit of critical inquiry. Now no academic can ask her students to reflect on the shortcomings of economic policies that reproduce inequality, on social practices that foster gender and caste discrimination, on the politics of intolerance, on historical inquiry, or on cultural practices that disable rights in the name of tradition. Academic research has been reduced to court history.

It is clear that holders of power and their academic courtiers have extracted retribution and punished those who have dared to speak back to unfreedom. But in the process, the ruling party and compliant Vice-Chancellors have shot themselves in the foot. A society is known ultimately by the knowledge its universities and research centres produce, by the excellence of the faculty and by the curiosity of the students. Today, knowledge has been replaced with trite information. Mediocrity rules, and eminent academics are crudely harassed. Above all, the order demeans reputed academics the precise way in which Bernarda, the mother in Lorca’s play, humiliated her daughter. The difference is that now the censor board will gag analytical and insightful scholarship. Instead of strengthening the public university, which was meant to be a training ground for citizenship, the government has deliberately weakened an academic structure that has great potential to chart a route to opportunity and social justice.


1) aligned

Meaning : give support to (a person, organization, or cause).(v)

Synonyms : adjust , regulate

Antonyms : break

Example : “newspapers usually align themselves with certain political parties”

2) regimes

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

Tamil Meaning : ஆட்சி

Synonyms : administration

Antonyms : disorder

Example : “ideological opponents of the regime”

3) loom

Meaning : appear as a vague form, especially one that is large or threatening.(v)

Tamil Meaning : தறி

Synonyms : impend, rise

Antonyms : disappear

Example : “vehicles loomed out of the darkness”

4) corralling

Meaning : gather together and confine (a group of people or things).

Tamil Meaning : கட்டிப்போட

Synonyms : cage

Antonyms : detached

Example : “the organizers were corralling the crowd into marching formation”

5) acquisition

Meaning : an asset or object bought or obtained, typically by a library or museum.

Tamil Meaning : கையகப்படுத்தல்

Synonyms : acquirement , perks

Antonyms : dearth

Example : “the legacy will be used for new acquisitions”

6) stormy

Meaning : (of weather) characterized by strong winds and usually rain, thunder, lightning, or snow.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : புயலடித்த

Synonyms : turbulent , furious

Antonyms : clear

Example : “a dark and stormy night”

7) barricade

Meaning : block or defend with a barricade.(v)

Tamil Meaning : தடுப்பரண்

Synonyms : block obstruct

Antonyms : entrance

Example : “they barricaded the building and occupied it all night”

8) mourn

Meaning : feel or show sorrow for the death of (someone), typically by following conventions such as the wearing of black clothes.

Tamil Meaning : துயரப்படுவார்கள்

Synonyms : grieve

Antonyms : laugh

Example : “Isobel mourned her husband”

9) nook

Meaning : a corner or recess, especially one offering seclusion or security.

Tamil Meaning : மூலை

Synonyms : recess

Antonyms : displace

Example : “the nook beside the fire”

10) cranny

Meaning : a small, narrow space or opening.

Tamil Meaning : சிறிய பிளவு

Synonyms : crevice , fissure

Antonyms : blockade

Example : “bugs and spiders conceal themselves in crannies of the bark”

11) grotesque

Meaning : comically or repulsively ugly or distorted.(adj), a very ugly or comically distorted figure or image.(n)

Tamil Meaning : கோரமான

Synonyms : hideous, monstrous

Antonyms : gorgeous

Example : “a figure wearing a grotesque mask”

12) insurmountable

Meaning : too great to be overcome.(adj)

Synonyms : impassable

Antonyms : attainable

Example : “an insurmountable problem”

13) viciously

Meaning : deliberately cruel or violent.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : தீய

Synonyms : cruel , wicked

Antonyms : kind

Example : “a vicious assault”

14) smear

Meaning : coat or mark (something) messily or carelessly with a greasy or sticky substance.(v), a mark or streak of a greasy or sticky substance.(n)

Synonyms : slander sully

Antonyms : dignity

Example : “his face was smeared with dirt”

15) glimpse

Meaning : a momentary or partial view.(n), see or perceive briefly or partially.(v)

Tamil Meaning : பார்வை

Synonyms : peek , look

Antonyms : stare

Example : “she caught a glimpse of the ocean”

16) formidable

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

Tamil Meaning : வல்லமைமிக்க

Synonyms : mighty , terrific

Antonyms : feeble

Example : “a formidable opponent”

17) repressed

Meaning : subdue (someone or something) by force.

Tamil Meaning : அடக்குதல்

Synonyms : suppress

Antonyms : express

Example : “the uprisings were repressed”

18) prophetic

Meaning : accurately predicting what will happen in the future.

Tamil Meaning : தீர்க்கதரிசன

Synonyms : predictive , portentous

Antonyms : unpredictive

Example : “his warnings proved prophetic”

19) liberate

Meaning : set (someone) free from imprisonment, slavery, or oppression.

Tamil Meaning : விடுவித்து

Synonyms : release

Antonyms : imprison

Example : “the serfs had been liberated”

20) notion

Meaning : a conception of or belief about something.

Tamil Meaning : கருத்து

Synonyms : impression

Antonyms : accuracy

Example : “children have different notions about the roles of their parents”

21) verges

Meaning : an edge or border.(n), be very close or similar to.(v)

Tamil Meaning : விளிம்பில்

Synonyms : edges , limits

Antonyms : retreats

Example : “they came down to the verge of the lake”

22) savage

Meaning : (of an animal or force of nature) fierce, violent, and uncontrolled.(adj), (especially of a dog or wild animal) attack ferociously and maul.(V)

Synonyms : brutal

Antonyms : tame

Example : “packs of savage dogs roamed the streets”

23) dissent

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

Tamil Meaning : எதிர்ப்பை

Synonyms : disagree

Antonyms : assent

Example : “there was no dissent from this view”

24) interrogate

Meaning : obtain data from (a computer file, database, storage device, or terminal).(v)

Tamil Meaning : வினவும்

Synonyms : examine

Antonyms : reply

Example : “an interactive system enables users to interrogate the database”

25) searing

Meaning : extremely hot or intense.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : கடுமையான

Synonyms : scorching

Antonyms : freezing

Example : “the searing heat of the sun”

26) prose

Meaning : written or spoken language in its ordinary form, without metrical structure.(n), talk tediously.(v)

Synonyms : prosaicism

Antonyms : verse

Example : “a short story in prose”

27) spectres

Meaning : something widely feared as a possible unpleasant or dangerous occurrence.

Tamil Meaning : ஒழிப்பதற்கு

Synonyms : phantom

Antonyms : reality

Example : “the spectre of nuclear holocaust”

28) exhilarate

Meaning : make (someone) feel very happy, animated, or elated.

Tamil Meaning : மகிழ்வி

Synonyms : invigorate

Antonyms : depress

Example : “she was exhilarated by the day’s events”

29) deliberate

Meaning : done consciously and intentionally.

Tamil Meaning : வேண்டுமென்றே

Synonyms : consider reflect

Antonyms : unintentional

Example : “a deliberate attempt to provoke conflict”

30) conflagration

Meaning : an extensive fire which destroys a great deal of land or property.

Tamil Meaning : பெருந்தீ

Synonyms : blaze , flame

Antonyms : secure

Example : “tinder-dry conditions sparked fears of a conflagration in many drought-devastated communities”

31) enlightened

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

Tamil Meaning : அறிவொளி

Synonyms : informed , rational

Antonyms : uninformed

Example : “the more enlightened employers offer better terms”

32) precisely

Meaning : in exact terms; without vagueness.(adv)

Tamil Meaning : துல்லியமாக

Synonyms : exactly

Antonyms : vaguely

Example : “the guidelines are precisely defined”

33) docile

Meaning : ready to accept control or instruction; submissive.

Tamil Meaning : வசப்படுத்தத்தக்க

Synonyms : obedient , tame

Antonyms : defiant

Example : “a cheap and docile workforce”

34) perceptive

Meaning : having or showing sensitive insight.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : பகுத்தறியும்

Synonyms : sharp

Antonyms : unperceptive

Example : “an extraordinarily perceptive account of their relationship”

35) subjugate

Meaning : bring under domination or control, especially by conquest.(v)

Tamil Meaning : கட்டுப்பாட்டுக்குள்

Synonyms : overpower

Antonyms : liberate

Example : “the invaders had soon subjugated most of the population”

36) Starkly

Meaning : in a way that is severe or harsh in appearance or outline.(adv)

Tamil Meaning : அப்பட்டமாக

Synonyms : severely

Antonyms : lushly

Example : “the scar stood out starkly against his bronzed skin”

37) discrimination

Meaning : the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age

Tamil Meaning : பாகுபாடு

Synonyms : discernment

Antonyms : tolerance

Example : “victims of racial discrimination”

38) Mediocrity

Meaning : the quality or state of being mediocre.(n)

Tamil Meaning : நடுத்தர

Synonyms : inferiority

Antonyms : excellence

Example : “the team suddenly came good after years of mediocrity”

39) eminent

Meaning : (of a person) famous and respected within a particular sphere.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : சிறந்த

Synonyms : prominent

Antonyms : inferior

Example : “one of the world’s most eminent statisticians”

40) gag

Meaning : a piece of cloth put in or over a person’s mouth to prevent them from speaking.

Synonyms : muzzle stifle

Antonyms : snivel

Example : “they tied him up and put a gag in his mouth”


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