THE HINDU EDITORIAL – September 12, 2018 is one of the must read section for the competitive exams like IBPS RRB PO, IBPS RRB Office Assistant 2018, RBI Grade “B” 2018 & NIACL Assistant 2018. These topics are widely expected to be asked in the reading comprehension , Cloze Test or Error Detection topics in the forthcoming exams. So gear up your Exam preparation and learn new words daily.

A) Imitating to flatter? On the Opposition’s response to BJP

The Opposition’s feeble and piecemeal response to the BJP’s challenge is mystifying

Whatever happens in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, or the decades thereafter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah have already won the prize for self-belief and swagger. They had announced a blitzkrieg of plans for 2022 when the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government was not yet midway through its first term. At the party’s National Executive meet on the weekend, Mr. Shah took aplomb to unexplored heights by announcing the BJP’s intention to stay put in office for another 50 years. Of course, with the caveat that the Opposition had a window of opportunity in the 2019 election.

Belligerent BJP

The BJP is genetically configured to exude confidence against the worst odds. But the current belligerence astounds in the face of the following: a less than exceptional record in office, a politics of polarisation that has kept the country in a state of tension and conflict, and new challenges to the party’s own carefully-constructed social constituency.

A microscopic scrutiny of the Modi government’s performance is beyond the scope of this piece. However, from the perspective of the common people, surely the failures stand out, especially those that have devastated the poor and small businesses. Among them: demonetisation; the Goods and Services Tax (GST); and galloping fuel prices pushed up further by a falling rupee. Today there is a near consensus (except in government circles) that demonetisation, while monumentally failing in its primary objective of nullifying black money and counterfeit notes, totted up unintended penalty points — slowing down the economy for several quarters and strangulating the cash-dependent informal sector. The GST, pushed at the midnight hour in an attempted equivalence with the new dawn at India’s Independence, has been turned into a byzantine nightmare by a government botching its implementation. The promised ‘Good and Simple Tax’ has become its ironic opposite.

On rising fuel prices and the falling rupee, it would be hard to beat the reactions from a different time — around 2013 when Mr. Modi and the then Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, lacerated Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with words that have come back to haunt them. Even the reported uptick in the GDP comes alongside feedback from the ground of severe distress among farmers, industrial labour and unemployed youth, graphically captured by a recent protest march by tens of thousands from these groups.

Social tensions

But by far the most troubling legacy of the government has been in the social sphere, which has been wrecked, possibly beyond restoration, by a pernicious brand of Hindu nationalism that has taken violence to new, grotesque levels. There are many milestones here. In the new order of things, communal violence is no longer episodic but a continuum without end. Its execution is in the manner of a ritual, with the victim held captive and a video crew filming for larger audiences every blow, every beating, especially the final sadistic kick before life ebbs away. The crime is not hidden, as would be the normal instinct, but worn as a badge.

In another first, the violence has been drawing approval not only from social media troll armies that applaud acts of depravity but from sections of the ruling class, including MPs and Ministers. Indeed, the Prime Minister’s occasional and generic condemnation of violence did not stop Union Minister Jayant Sinha from garlanding and posing with men accused of lynching.

The marauders have had their way so easily, openly and so often in these four and a half years that the lynchings, mainly of Muslims and Dalits, do not numb the senses, as happened in 2015 when Mohammed Akhlaq was killed in Uttar Pradesh for the alleged sin of storing beef. At the time a further shock was how unconscionably the debate moved to whether it was beef or mutton that was stored. Since then we have had Pehlu Khan, Junaid and many more. The names have morphed into statistics… 10, 11, 15 and so forth.

Incendiary calls from the right have become the expected thing. Neither Mr. Sinha nor those found to have repeatedly crossed the red lines have been punished with expulsion. Undoubtedly because of the impunity offered to the offenders, the violence has spread and taken different forms, including copycat lynchings of people suspected to be child lifters, and mob vandalism by Kanwariya processionists returning from pilgrimage.

The descent into darkness can be judged from increasingly worried public voices. Industrialist Anand Mahindra took to Twitter to express his disapproval: “If there’s one thing that worries me about the future, it is dictatorship by mobs… Quelling these mobs has to be non-negotiable.” The Supreme Court, which felt constrained to call for a law against lynching, wondered if mobocracy had become the new normal: “Horrendous acts of mobocracy cannot be permitted to inundate the law of the land.”

The arrests recently of rights activists with a record of support and service to Dalits and Adivasis has added to the liberal perception of a vindictive regime that has already whipped up public opinion against them by publicising unproven charges, some of them ludicrous. The Supreme Court has had to intervene to restrain the police and ease the terms of their detention.

Opposition’s strategy

So why is the BJP so confident? Is it because the party has calculated that the lawlessness visible to the naked eye is in fact its achievement, and will be viewed as such by an already Hindutva-ised India? The liberal opinion may be appalled by what it sees as an ‘undeclared emergency’, the apex court in its decision in the 377 case, felt to have wider applicability, may have emphatically upheld minority rights, but there is no evidence that the middle class with a vital role in moulding public opinion feels the same way. The social media has become the place to air and rejoice in collective bigotry. Besides, the BJP continues to find support among the Other Backward Classes, belying the conviction that proponents of social justice are necessarily opposed to Hindutva majoritarianism.

The fear of the ‘Hindu vote’ must then explain the Opposition’s feeble and piecemeal response to the BJP’s aggression. Civil society has been louder in its condemnation of the ‘culture of impunity’ under the NDA government than the Opposition which held its first joint protest on Monday — but only on the runaway fuel prices, not on the threat to democracy from a party and government seen to have laid siege to India’s social landscape.

The Opposition strategy, if there is one, is predicated on forming State-level alliances, not on ideologically challenging the incumbent coalition. The only leader who’s been something of a thorn in the BJP’s flesh is Congress president Rahul Gandhi. There are signs that the BJP is discomfited by his Kailash Mansarovar yatra. But not to worry. Mr. Gandhi’s intention is only to prove he is a better Hindu. This is a game that can spin out of control, and that might already be the case, with the Congress declaring Brahminism to be in its DNA and cow protection as its creed. If there is a threat to the BJP, it is possibly from within, judging by the upper caste anger against the party’s overtures to Dalits, a community itself in ferment over felt discrimination.

B) Avoidable suspense: on Indian-origin FPIs

SEBI could have handled better the issue of Indian-origin foreign portfolio investors

Foreign investors in the Indian market are used to unexpected twists in the regulatory landscape, but they seldom talk tough in the public domain. So it was unusual for a group of foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) to openly appeal to the Prime Minister for an urgent intervention last Monday. The Asset Managers Roundtable of India (AMRI) warned that India’s booming stock markets will be in for a tight bear-hug and the embattled rupee could face even greater pressure if an April 10 diktat from the Securities and Exchange Board of India is not scrapped. The SEBI circular, they argued, disqualifies about $75 billion of portfolio investments into India made by FPIs backed by domestic institutions, NRIs, Persons of Indian Origin and Overseas Citizen of India card-holders. The total portfolio investments in India’s financial markets are estimated at $450 billion. The circular, issued to enhance the Know Your Client norms for FPIs, ended up imposing a blanket ban on certain types of investments where NRIs, PIOs or OCIs were investors (beyond a threshold) or even served as senior managing officials of these funds. The circular delegates the task of identifying high-risk jurisdictions, with tighter KYC norms, on custodian banks.

Last week, SEBI called AMRI’s warning as “preposterous and highly irresponsible”. Yet, by the weekend the H.R. Khan Committee set up by SEBI recommended changes that may be made to the regulator’s directive, addressing most of the concerns raised by the FPIs. The panel’s report clarified that NRIs, OCI card-holders and resident Indians can manage the investments of any FPI registered with SEBI and, more importantly, hold up to 50% of an FPI’s assets under management. This has removed any ambiguity and provided relief to foreign investors who were left guessing how the term ‘majority’ — as stated in the April circular — would be determined by SEBI while applying the beneficial ownership test. The committee said the deadline for complying with the circular, which was already extended from August 31 to December 31, must be extended further, and funds with investments breaching the final thresholds that the regulator decides upon should be granted 180 days to unwind positions. SEBI has now announced public consultations before it finalises these norms, and in the process created some breathing space for such funds to remain invested on Dalal Street. No one should have a grouse with attempts to curb round-tripping of illegal domestic wealth into the Indian market through the foreign investments route. But treating all FPIs with Indian-origin managers as potential conduits of illicit money is unwise. SEBI could have managed all of this as an independent regulator had it held a timely dialogue with stakeholders before framing these norms, as it usually does. Such policy uncertainty and sharp about-turns will do little to enhance India’s credibility among global investors.


1) swagger

Meaning : walk or behave in a very confident and arrogant or self-important way.

Tamil Meaning : நடை

Synonyms : bluster , sashay

Antonyms : deprecate

Example : “he swaggered along the corridor”

2) blitzkrieg

Meaning : an intense military campaign intended to bring about a swift victory.

Tamil Meaning : மின்னலடி தாக்குதல்

Synonyms : assault , attack

Antonyms : defense

Example : Adolf Hitler failed with his blitzkrieg to defeat the western alliance.

3) caveat

Meaning : a warning or proviso of specific stipulations, conditions, or limitations.

Tamil Meaning : எச்சரிக்கை

Synonyms : admonition

Antonyms : consonance

Example : “there are a number of caveats which concern the validity of the assessment results”

4) exude

Meaning : (with reference to moisture or a smell) discharge or be discharged slowly and steadily.

Tamil Meaning : வெளியிடும்

Synonyms : emanate

Antonyms : deny

Example : “the beetle exudes a caustic liquid”

5) belligerence

Meaning : aggressive or warlike behaviour.

Tamil Meaning : விரோத மனோபாவத்துடன்

Synonyms : antagonism , aggressiveness

Antonyms : favor

Example : “Mortimer was eyeing Guy with belligerence”

6) astounds

Meaning : shock or greatly surprise.

Tamil Meaning : வசீகரிக்கிறாள்

Synonyms : astonish , confound

Antonyms : clarify

Example : “her bluntness astounded him”

7) scrutiny

Meaning : critical observation or examination.

Tamil Meaning : கண்காணிப்பின்

Synonyms : analysis , audit

Antonyms : flash

Example : “every aspect of local government was placed under scrutiny

8) devastated

Meaning : destroy or ruin.

Tamil Meaning : பாழாக்கி

Synonyms : ravage , raze

Antonyms : build

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

9) galloping

Meaning : (of a horse) go at the pace of a gallop.

Synonyms : dash

Antonyms : slow

Example : “we galloped along the sand”

10) strangulate

Meaning : prevent circulation of the blood supply through (a part of the body, especially a hernia) by constriction.

Synonyms : suffocate

Antonyms : breathe

Example : “a strangulated hernia”

11) byzantine

Meaning : excessively complicated, and typically involving a great deal of administrative detail.

Synonyms : daedal

Antonyms : glance

Example : “Byzantine insurance regulations”

12) lacerated

Meaning : tear or make deep cuts in (flesh or skin).

Tamil Meaning : சிராய்த்துக் காயப்படுத்து

Synonyms : mangle , claw

Antonyms : aid

Example : “the point had lacerated his neck”

13) conviction

Meaning : a firmly held belief or opinion.

Tamil Meaning : தண்டனை

Synonyms : confidence , faith

Antonyms : distrust

Example : “she takes pride in stating her political convictions”

14) wreck

Meaning : cause the destruction of (a ship) by sinking or breaking up.

Tamil Meaning : விபத்து

Synonyms : crash , debris

Antonyms : building

Example : “he was drowned when his ship was wrecked”

15) pernicious

Meaning : having a harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way.

Tamil Meaning : தீய

Synonyms : dangerous

Antonyms : assisting

Example : “the pernicious influences of the mass media”

16) crew

Meaning : a group of people who work on and operate a ship, aircraft, etc.

Tamil Meaning : குழுவினர்

Synonyms : crowd , squad

Antonyms : individual

Example : “he was one of nine members of the crew killed when the plane went down”

17) ebbs

Meaning : (of tidewater) move away from the land; recede.

Tamil Meaning : உள்ளடக்கியிருந்த

Synonyms : drop , depreciation

Antonyms : advance

Example : “the tide began to ebb”

18) instinct

Meaning : an innate, typically fixed pattern of behaviour in animals in response to certain stimuli.

Tamil Meaning : உள்ளுணர்வு

Synonyms : aptitude , hunch

Antonyms : inability

Example : “the homing instinct”

19) badge

Meaning : mark with a badge or other distinguishing emblem.

Synonyms : marker , ribbon

Antonyms : sarcasm

Example : “vendors can badge their products ‘certified’”

20) depravity

Meaning : moral corruption; wickedness.

Tamil Meaning : தீய

Synonyms : degradation , criminality

Antonyms : morality

Example : “a tale of depravity hard to credit”

21) impunity

Meaning : exemption from punishment or freedom from the injurious consequences of an action.

Tamil Meaning : தண்டனைகளிலிருந்து

Synonyms : immunity

Antonyms : denial

Example : “the impunity enjoyed by military officers implicated in civilian killings”

22) pilgrimage

Meaning : a pilgrim’s journey.

Tamil Meaning : யாத்திரை

Synonyms : crusade , excursion

Antonyms : jaunt

Example : “he wanted to go on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela”

23) lynching

Meaning : (of a group of people) kill (someone) for an alleged offence without a legal trial, especially by hanging.

Tamil Meaning : தாக்கி

Synonyms : execution

Example : “her father had been lynched by whites”

24) mobocracy

Meaning : rule or domination by the masses.

Tamil Meaning : ஒன்றுகூட்டு

Synonyms : ochlocracy , syndicalism

Antonyms :discipline

Example : “the court will never permit mobocracy to overwhelm the law of the land”

25) inundate

Meaning : overwhelm (someone) with things or people to be dealt with.

Tamil Meaning : மூழ்கடித்து

Synonyms : deluge , overflow

Antonyms : underwhelm

Example : “we’ve been inundated with complaints from listeners”

26) booming

Meaning : having a period of great prosperity or rapid economic growth.

Tamil Meaning : பூரிப்பைக்

Synonyms : growing , thriving

Antonyms : failing

Example : “the booming economy of the 1920s”

27) vindictive

Meaning : having or showing a strong or unreasoning desire for revenge.

Tamil Meaning : பழிவாங்கும்

Synonyms : cruel , merciless

Antonyms : considerate

Example : “the criticism was both vindictive and personalized”

28) intervene

Meaning : take part in something so as to prevent or alter a result or course of events.

Tamil Meaning : தலையீடு

Synonyms : arbitrate

Antonyms : combine

Example : “he acted outside his authority when he intervened in the dispute”

29) restrain

Meaning : prevent (someone or something) from doing something; keep under control or within limits.

Tamil Meaning : தடுத்து

Synonyms : confine , curtail

Antonyms : allow

Example : “the need to restrain public expenditure”

30) emphatically

Meaning : in a forceful way.

Tamil Meaning : உறுதியுடன்

Synonyms : absolutely , assuredly

Antonyms : doubtfully

Example : “she closed the door behind her emphatically”

31) siege

Meaning : a military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, with the aim of compelling those inside to surrender.

Tamil Meaning : முற்றுகை

Synonyms : closure , restriction

Antonyms : beginning

Example : “Verdun had withstood a siege of ten weeks”

32) rejoice

Meaning : feel or show great joy or delight.

Tamil Meaning : சந்தோஷப்படுங்கள்

Synonyms : exult , revel

Antonyms : be sad

Example : “we spent the evening rejoicing at our victory”

33) bigotry

Meaning : intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself.

Tamil Meaning : விடாப்பிடித்தனம்

Synonyms : discrimination

Antonyms : fairness

Example : “the difficulties of combating prejudice and bigotry”

34) feeble

Meaning : lacking physical strength, especially as a result of age or illness.

Tamil Meaning : அற்பமான

Synonyms : ailing , decrepit

Antonyms : capable

Example : “by now, he was too feeble to leave his room”

35) embattle

Meaning : make (an army) ready for battle.

Synonyms : arm

Antonyms : discourage

Example : “it was three o’clock before the king’s army was embattled”

36) scrapped

Meaning : abolish or cancel (a plan, policy, or law).

Tamil Meaning :

Synonyms : chunk , lump

Antonyms : lot

Example : “he supports the idea that road tax should be scrapped”

37) preposterous

Meaning : contrary to reason or common sense; utterly absurd or ridiculous.

Tamil Meaning : அபத்தமானது

Synonyms : crazy , fantastic

Antonyms : believable

Example : “a preposterous suggestion”

38) ambiguity

Meaning : contrary to reason or common sense; utterly absurd or ridiculous.

Tamil Meaning : தெளிவின்மை

Synonyms : absurd , impossible

Antonyms : balanced

Example : “a preposterous suggestion”

39) breaching

Meaning : an act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct.

Tamil Meaning : மீறினால்

Synonyms : crack , rift

Antonyms : closing

Example : “a breach of confidence”

40) illicit

Meaning : forbidden by law, rules, or custom.

Tamil Meaning : சட்டவிரோத

Synonyms : clandestine , furtive

Antonyms : allowed

Example : “illicit drugs”


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