THE HINDU EDITORIAL – September 21, 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) When Brecht speaks as Ambedkar

Citing literary sources, turning to parables, prose, plays, poetry is the wherewithal of political discourse

Policemen and policewomen are not mindless digits in khaki. They have all been to school. Many of them are MAs, some PhDs. And they have families, friends just like anyone else who has not been clad in hide-tough uniforms the whole day. When at end of duty hours they return home, get back to home-clothes, settle down to a tired day’s evening, like anyone else, they talk of all they went through during the day, good and bad, honest and wicked, how they had to respond to political orders, ‘high’ influence, low intrigue. They laugh then at the ways of the cunning world of which they have become part, and feel sometimes proud of what they did and sometimes not. And then turn on their television sets to watch not news — of which they have had enough and more — but, to lighten their minds, old and new cinema, hear Lata Mangeshkar singing through the lips of Meena Kumari, or Asha Bhosle through those of Madhubala. In States like West Bengal and Maharashtra, with their strong traditions of theatre and musical arts, they can well go to see a play, ‘with family’, based on old epics or written by bold new playwrights staged in theatre-houses invariably named after Tagore, in his grey-flowing beard or the great Chhatrapati Shivaji in his sharp-pointed black one.

Brecht at Bhima-Koregaon

Yet, Bertolt Brecht’s is not a name all policemen on duty in Maharashtra’s Bhima-Koregaon village on January 1, 2018 are likely to have known. The great German playwright is, sadly, ‘niche’. Why sadly? Because he is bound to have amused, inspired, delighted, enthralled the non-kitabi, the not-a-bookworm-at-all as much as the bespectacled ‘intel’. And because Brecht speaks the truth and doesn’t care a hoot whether his truth is seen as the truth or is not. And Brecht’s truth, rather like truth itself, is non-denominational, non-sectarian. The Marathi translation of his timeless play The Good Person of Szechwan is more than likely to have passed by the police force on duty at the village celebrating, as it has done for decades, on that day the great Dalit-Mahar battalion’s vanquishingdisputed by some – of the much stronger army of the Peshwa order known for its rough-handling of Dalits. Only, this year the celebration was the more celebratory, being the centenary year of that 1818 victory. And since one group’s celebration is seen as another group’s lamentation, ‘law and order’ was a concern. And rightly so. Violence and counter-violence saw ‘the law’ swing into action, ‘order’ asserting itself. And months later, arrests are still being made. Has all this been without ‘fear or favour’? The courts will, without doubt, tell us.

Those who know Brecht’s play laugh at lines in it like these:

“I am afraid of making enemies of other mighty men if I favour one of them in particular. Few people can help us, you see, but almost everyone can hurt us.”

“Stomachs rumble even on the emperor’s birthday.”

“The First God: Do people have a hard time here? Wang the water-seller: Good people do.”

“The First God to Shen Te the prostitute: Above all, be good, Shen Te, Farewell!”

“Shen Te: But I am not sure of myself, Illustrious Ones! How can I be good when everything is so expensive?”

“The Second God: We can’t do anything about that. We mustn’t meddle with economics!”

And they would have understood, with a sigh, the line: “No one can be good for long when goodness is not in demand.”

The same play, one of the funniest, wittiest, most profoundly thoughtful and mind-rinsingly disturbing in that genre, has the woman prostitute-protagonist burst out with the words: “Unhappy men! Your brother is assaulted and you shut your eyes! He is hit and assaulted and you are silent!… What sort of a city is this? What sort of people are you? When injustice is done there should be a revolt in the city. And if there is no revolt, it were better that the city should perish in fire before the night falls…”

In Ambedkar’s words

In words that powerfully echo Brecht’s, the architect of our Constitution, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, said in the Constituent Assembly: “How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this Assembly has so laboriously built up.”

Here is a great, perhaps the greatest, German writer of our times, using a Chinese parable to give the world a touch of truth about the human condition, the human propensity for domination and the human impulse for freedom, justice. And when on January 1, 2018, in the Bhima-Koregaon event these lines with a timeless and location-free message were recited in their Marathi rendering, they were seen as “an incitement to violence”. If, instead of Brecht’s the reciter had cited Babasaheb’s words, would he have been charged with incitement to violence? Today, who can tell?

Mohandas Gandhi was charged, likewise, in the spring of 1922 “for inciting disaffection towards His Majesty’s government” for articles by him published in Young India. In one of them, titled ‘Shaking the Manes’, he used a phrase from then current political discourse and ‘shook’ the Raj. The accused said in his famous trial: “I have no personal ill-will against any single administrator, much less can I have any disaffection towards the King’s person. But I hold it to be a virtue to be disaffected towards a government which in its totality has done more harm to India than any previous system.”

We have our own Brechts.

Just before the declaration of the national emergency in 1975, Jayaprakash Narayan had, before a massive rally in Delhi, quoted the great Hindi poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar’s lines: “Singhasan khali karo ki janata aati hai (vacate your throne, here come the people).” We know what happened thereafter to JP, to India. Also, what happened subsequently to the system that imprisoned him.

We shall see

Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s poem Hum Dekhenge (We Shall See) is a classic in the same vein, quoted time and again as a call against oppression.

Citing literary sources, turning to parables, prose, plays, poetry is the wherewithal of political discourse. Our Prime Minister has in a Dinkar commemoration cited the same line with pride.

Just as policemen on duty are only human beings in uniform, so are lawyers in black silk. They know true from false, fact from fiction.

India, the theatre from time immemorial of a hundred injustices, a thousand oppressions is also the site of a million awakenings. Therein lies its strength.

Kuchh bat hai (there is that something), as Iqbal sang, about Hindustan that cannot let its self-hood fade.

Gopalkrishna Gandhi, a former Governor of West Bengal, is distinguished professor of history and politics, Ashoka University

B) For liberty’s sake: on the scope of Article 32 in the activists case

The stage is set for determining the scope of Article 32 in the activists case

The Supreme Court’s intervention following the arrest of five prominent activists by the Pune police last month has been truly extraordinary and raises the bar for protection of personal liberty. The court has granted them the rare relief of remaining in house arrest while it examines the charges against them. It has reserved its decision in the case and now must decide on one of the following courses. They are: to allow the police in Maharashtra to pursue its investigation against the activists for allegedly being members of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) and joining a conspiracy against the government, to set them at liberty on the ground that this is a trumped-up case, to order a probe by an independent team. The story so far has thrown up a legal tussle between the Centre’s contention that it is probing a terrorist conspiracy involving Maoist insurgents and their urban supporters and the counter-argument that this is a thinly disguised crackdown on political dissent. The petitioners, led by historian Romila Thapar, have questioned the motivation for the police raids on the residences of these activists and a few others in a coordinated operation across several States. They want those arrested to be released and demand an independent investigation. The Maharashtra and Union governments have sought to defend the arrest and prosecution, contending that the case is based on incriminating evidence seized during the probe and has nothing to do with the ideology or the political views of those under investigation.

In entertaining this petition, the Supreme Court has set the stage for an examination of some fundamental questions at the intersection of criminal procedure and constitutional law. The procedural question is whether in a criminal matter the court can entertain a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution, under which the Supreme Court enforces fundamental rights, for which the accused are expected to seek their remedy under the Code of Criminal Procedure. The substantive question is whether the court should intervene when the liberty of citizens and their right to dissent are sought to be denied by arbitrary police action. Observations that “dissent is the safety valve of democracy” and “personal liberty cannot be sacrificed at the altar of conjecture” indicate the court’s thinking. It is against this backdrop that the Bench has decided to examine the case diary to see whether the charges have some basis. The government may have reason to worry about a precedent being set, whereby every accused can rush to the Supreme Court immediately on arrest. At the same time, one cannot wish away the peculiar circumstances in which a case relating to violence at a Dalit commemoration dramatically morphed into a Maoist plot. Further, it is unusual, and even suspicious, that one city’s police is investigating a crime that supposedly spans several States and involves purchase of arms and providing strategic inputs to armed rebellion, instead of handing it over to a national agency.


1) clad

Meaning : clothed.

Tamil Meaning : உடையில்

Synonyms : arrayed , attired

Antonyms : exposed

Example : “they were clad in T-shirts and shorts”

2) wicked

Meaning : evil or morally wrong.

Tamil Meaning : பொல்லாத

Synonyms : impish , nasty

Antonyms : behaved

Example : “a wicked and unscrupulous politician”

3) intrigue

Meaning : arouse the curiosity or interest of; fascinate.

Tamil Meaning : சூழ்ச்சி

Synonyms : conspiracy , fraud

Antonyms : honesty

Example : “I was intrigued by your question”

4) epics

Meaning : an exceptionally long and arduous task or activity.

Tamil Meaning : இதிகாசங்கள்

Synonyms : legend , tale

Antonyms : short story

Example : “the business of getting hospital treatment soon became an epic”

5) beard

Meaning : boldly confront or challenge (someone formidable).

Tamil Meaning : துணிச்சலான

Synonyms : imperial

Antonyms : fear

Example : “he was afraid to beard the sultan himself”

6) enthralled

Meaning : capture the fascinated attention of.

Tamil Meaning : ஈர்க்கப்பட்டார்

Synonyms : beguile , intrigue

Antonyms : bore

Example : “she had been so enthralled by the adventure that she had hardly noticed the cold”

7) bespectacled

Meaning : a visually striking performance or display.

Tamil Meaning : காட்சியை

Synonyms : display event

Antonyms : hiding

Example : “the acrobatic feats make a good spectacle”

8) hoot

Meaning : (of an owl) utter a hoot.

Tamil Meaning : கூப்பாடு போடு

Synonyms : heckle , howl

Antonyms : cheer

Example : “owls hooted, the new moon rose”

9) Szechwan

Meaning :

Tamil Meaning :

Synonyms :

Antonyms :

Example :

10) vanquish

Meaning : defeat thoroughly.

Tamil Meaning : வெற்றியடையலாம்

Synonyms : conquer , rout

Antonyms : release

Example : “he successfully vanquished his rival”

11) disputed

Meaning : argue about (something).

Tamil Meaning : பிரச்சினைக்குரிய

Synonyms : contend , contradict

Antonyms : agree

Example : “the point has been much disputed”

12) Peshwa

Meaning :

Tamil Meaning :

Synonyms :

Antonyms :

Example :

13) centenary

Meaning : relating to a hundredth anniversary.

Tamil Meaning : நூற்றாண்டு

Synonyms : centenary , centennial

Example : “the centenary year of the artist’s birth”

14) lamentation

Meaning : the passionate expression of grief or sorrow; weeping.

Tamil Meaning : புலம்பலும்

Synonyms : elegy , dirge

Antonyms : enjoyment

Example : “scenes of lamentation”

15) asserting

Meaning : state a fact or belief confidently and forcefully.

Tamil Meaning : உறுதிப்படுத்தும்

Synonyms : affirm , contend

Antonyms : abandon

Example : “the company asserts that the cuts will not affect development”

16) wittiest

Meaning : showing or characterized by quick and inventive verbal humour.

Tamil Meaning : நகைச்சுவையான

Synonyms : brilliant , crazy

Antonyms : serious

Example : “a witty remark”

17) protagonist

Meaning : the leading character or one of the major characters in a play, film, novel, etc.

Tamil Meaning : கதாநாயகன்

Synonyms : combatant , idol

Antonyms : antagonist

Example : “the novel’s main protagonist is an American intelligence officer”

18) assaulted

Meaning : make a physical attack on.

Tamil Meaning : தாக்கினார்

Synonyms : abuse , invade

Antonyms : praise

Example : “he pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer”

19) revolt

Meaning : take violent action against an established government or ruler; rebel.

Tamil Meaning : கிளர்ச்சி

Synonyms : defection , mutiny

Antonyms : obedience

Example : “the Iceni revolted and had to be suppressed”

20) perish

Meaning : (of rubber, food, etc.) lose its normal qualities; rot or decay.

Tamil Meaning : அழிந்து

Synonyms : crumble , succumb

Antonyms : arrive

Example : “an abandoned tyre whose rubber had perished”

21) peril

Meaning : serious and immediate danger.

Tamil Meaning : ஆபத்தில் சிக்க

Synonyms : hazard , menace

Antonyms : certainty

Example : “you could well place us both in peril”

22) parable

Meaning : a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels.

Tamil Meaning : நீதி

Synonyms : fable , reference

Antonyms : factual

Example : “the parable of the blind men and the elephant”

23) propensity

Meaning : an inclination or natural tendency to behave in a particular way.

Tamil Meaning : முன்னேற்றப் போக்கு

Synonyms : leaning , penchant

Antonyms : dislike

Example : “his propensity for violence”

24) recited

Meaning : repeat aloud or declaim (a poem or passage) from memory before an audience.

Tamil Meaning : ஓதி

Synonyms : deliver , explain

Antonyms : conceal

Example : “he recited passages of Dante”

25) incitement

Meaning : the action of provoking unlawful behaviour or urging someone to behave unlawfully.

Tamil Meaning : தூண்டுதல்

Synonyms : instigation , provocation

Antonyms : hindrance

Example : “this amounted to an incitement to commit murder”

26) wherewithal

Meaning : the money or other means needed for a particular purpose.

Tamil Meaning : சாதனம்

Synonyms : assets , finances

Antonyms : debt

Example : “they lacked the wherewithal to pay”

27) awakenings

Meaning : an act or moment of becoming suddenly aware of something.

Tamil Meaning : விழித்திருக்க

Synonyms : activation , incitement

Antonyms : destruction

Example : “the war came as a rude awakening to the hardships of life”

28) intervention

Meaning : the action or process of intervening.

Tamil Meaning : தலையீடு

Synonyms : interference

Antonyms : laxity

Example : “a high degree of state intervention in the economy”

29) prominent

Meaning : projecting from something; protuberant.

Tamil Meaning :

Synonyms : arresting , embossed

Antonyms : depressed

Example : “a man with big, prominent eyes like a lobster’s”

30) liberty

Meaning : a right or privilege, especially a statutory one.

Tamil Meaning : சுதந்திரம்

Synonyms : birthright , choice

Antonyms : denial

Example : “the Bill of Rights was intended to secure basic civil liberties”

31) pursue

Meaning : continue or proceed along (a path or route).

Tamil Meaning : தொடர

Synonyms : seek

Antonyms : assist

Example : “the road pursued a straight course over the scrubland”

32) outlawed

Meaning : deprive (someone) of the benefit and protection of the law.

Tamil Meaning : தடை

Synonyms : banned , prohibited

Antonyms : allowed

Example : “he lost the estate in 1626, having been outlawed for non-payment of debts”

33) conspiracy

Meaning : a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful.

Tamil Meaning : சதி

Synonyms : sedition , treason

Antonyms : honesty

Example : “a conspiracy to destroy the government”

34) trumped

Meaning : surpass (something) by saying or doing something better.

Tamil Meaning : துருப்பு

Synonyms : avail , gain

Antonyms : hurt

Example : “if the fetus is human life, that trumps any argument about the freedom of the mother”

35) tussle

Meaning : a vigorous struggle or scuffle, typically in order to obtain or achieve something.

Tamil Meaning : மோதல்

Synonyms : brawl , fray

Antonyms : peace

Example : “there was a tussle for the ball”

36) contention

Meaning : an assertion, especially one maintained in argument.

Tamil Meaning : கருத்து

Synonyms : argument , rivalry

Antonyms : harmony

Example : “Freud’s contention that all dreams were wish fulfilment”

37) disguised

Meaning : give (someone or oneself) a different appearance in order to conceal one’s identity.

Tamil Meaning : மாறுவேடமிட்டு

Synonyms : camouflaged

Antonyms : exposed

Example : “he disguised himself as a girl”

38) dissent

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

Tamil Meaning : எதிர்ப்பை

Synonyms : discord , protest

Antonyms : acceptance

Example : “there was no dissent from this view”

39) conjecture

Meaning : an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information.

Tamil Meaning : அனுமானம்

Synonyms : hunch , supposition

Antonyms : proof

Example : “conjectures about the newcomer were many and varied”

40) commemoration

Meaning : the action or fact of commemorating a dead person or past event.

Tamil Meaning : நினைவு

Synonyms : tribute

Antonyms : neglect

Example : “local martyrs received public commemoration”


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