Strengthening your vocabulary is very important these days to clear any competitive Examination and banking examinations are no exception to that. In order to help you in enriching your vocabulary, we are bringing to you a passage from ‘The Hindu’ (dated October 24th, 2016) and the difficult words from it, in a highlighted manner so that you can identify how they are applied in a sentence. These words have been explained at the end of the passage with synonyms and antonyms and usage as well. Hope this helps in your preparation.
Article: A Dark Turn in the City of Dreams
On Saturday, October 22, representatives from the Film and Television Producers Guild of India Ltd., Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met in Mumbai to resolve a month-long predicament facing film-maker Karan Johar and his soon-to-be-released movie Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. The meeting lasted between 45 and 60 minutes, during which several proposals were reportedly put forward.
At the end of the meeting, Mukesh Bhatt, the president of the Producers’ Guild, announced that a voluntary donation of “a certain amount” would be made to the Army Welfare Fund, regardless of whether the film makes a profit or not. If the film turns in a profit, there would be further donations, the Guild said. Mr. Thackeray later pronounced to the press that this amount was “penance money of Rs.5 crore to be paid as tribute to the armed forces”.
The Guild also agreed to not cast any Pakistani actor in their movies in future. Mr. Johar said he would put a slide to honour and pay tribute to the armed forces before the slide honoring his late father Yash Johar appears on screen.
This development raises many questions. A democratic society should not only ask them, but also be able to weather the uncomfortable answers. What does it say about the state’s inability, or unwillingness, to stand up to extra-constitutional threats? Two, should the Chief Minister’s office be used to broker a deal between two parties, instead of asserting its authority and standing up to hooliganism and ensuring law and order? And three, what does it tell us about Mumbai’s fading status as a hub for liberal, progressive political discourse when the Chief Minister plays mute spectator to what many would term political extortion?
To be sure, Mr. Johar, Mr. Bhatt, and the rest of the Hindi film industry do not come out of this looking very good either. If the support to the Indian military comes as an afterthought because a film’s massive investment is at stake, even the most apolitical, non-opportunistic constituencies would get angry. This sentiment is evident among the Indian public, the same people who would fork out hundreds for a ticket. To argue that film-makers are not involved in politics, or are not influenced by it, is a weak excuse, a cop-out. Mr. Johar and his colleagues in the Hindi film industry have done exactly that.
Mr. Johar was, like the rest of us, not aware of the sudden turn of events and the anti-Pakistan sentiment being whipped up. It is a simplistic explanation, however, to a complex situation. Therefore, we must get back to the questions at hand.
The first is to ask is how the MNS (or any political party, for that matter) can presume, and be allowed, extra-constitutional power to enforce a ban on cultural expression, be it films, books, plays, cartoons, paintings, stand-up comedy, etc, solely because it does not cohere to its ideology, or because it allegedly hurts nationalist sentiments.
There is a significant difference between a call for boycott and a ban. A boycott is a democratic way of protest; indeed it is something our freedom fighters quite effectively used against the British. A ban, on the other hand, refuses to acknowledge the citizen as an individual who can think and decide for herself, and imposes the will of the state on her. This is not only unconstitutional, it is also an assault on the democratic principles upon which our Republic was established — that the first and foremost duty of any government in any democracy is to protect its citizens’s freedoms and rights at any cost.
The Ae Dil Hai Mushkil episode is not the first time that the freedom of expression has been sought to be suppressed. In 1988, the Rajiv Gandhi government prohibited the import of Salman Rushdie’s bookThe Satanic Verses following complaints by Muslim organisations. In 2004, a little-known outfit named Sambhaji Brigade in Maharashtra attacked the renowned Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune because James Laine had used it to research a book about Chhatrapati Shivaji, a passage from which they were objecting to. In 1998, painter M.F. Husain’s house was attacked by Hindutva outfits for his paintings depicting Hindu goddesses. In 2005, then aged 90, he left India and lived out the rest of his life in exile. The list is endless.
One could argue that these cases did not have patriotism or nationalism as the basic point of dispute, and that Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is different because it has a Pakistani actor in a small role at a time when India is attempting to isolate Pakistan diplomatically for state support to terror acts targeted at India.
Coming to the second question: why was the Maharashtra Chief Minister’s office — irrespective of who occupies it — used to mediate and broker a deal between a film producer and a political party? In fact, why did Mr. Fadnavis, who also holds the Home portfolio, not stand up to MNS hooliganism by assuring adequate protection to Mr. Johar for the screening of his film?
Brokering a peace deal between warring factions can be a noble cause. This wasn’t the case here. It was akin to a case of a school bully taking on a soft target, and the principal deciding to side with the former. Let’s not forget two things: one, it was the Union government (led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, to which Mr. Fadnavis belongs) who gave (and continues to give) work visas to Pakistani actors; and two, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had announced last week that all measures would be taken to aid the release of the film.
With his inability to stand up for the politically weak and succumbing to threats of violence, the Chief Minister has set a precedent for similar protests in the future. It is a dangerous template, and enough vigilante groups will see the terrain to be easy for political pickings. Mr. Thackeray’s party, which has negligible clout in the State legislature or in policymaking, has been trying to retain its public relevance by consistently using threats of violence against chosen communities (migrant workers from north India, the film industry, etc), threats that are eventually ignored by the state.
Silence, in such cases, is complicity, and let’s not pull our punches, the Chief Minister’s silence speaks volumes.
In Maharashtra, Mr. Fadnavis has been surrounded by political fires in the last three months, the biggest being the silent Maratha agitations across the State with a cumulative 1.25 crore people having protested on the streets. To placate them, the State government introduced a new education quota. That has clearly not worked, as the silent marches continue, and the anger simmers. And now, by tacitly agreeing to Mr. Thackeray’s demands, even while coming across looking as a mediator, Mr. Fadnavis has weakened the office of the Chief Minister.
This brings us to the third question, that of the idea of Mumbai itself. The city has been defined by its various qualities, but three things stand out: it has historically stood for liberal thought, respect for law and order, and embracing newcomers as its own. This openness has been under attack for many years now. And by siding with Mr. Thackeray, the Chief Minister has struck another blow against the city’s ethos. It is for this reason that Mr. Fadnavis’s role in the Ae Dil Hai Mushkil imbroglio is yet more disturbing. He has activated a vicious vortex, and being the astute politician that he is, he will soon realise that there is no way out.
1. Predicament (noun): A difficult, unpleasing or embarrassing situation
Synonym: circumstances, crisis, deadlock, dilemma
Antonym: Advantage, Benefit, Agreement, Blessing
Sentence: The century old club’s financial predicament is not a sudden one as the signs of the same were evident even a decade ago.
2. Voluntary (adjective): Done, given or acting on one’s own will / done or working or maintained without any payment
Synonym: discretionary, optional, elective
Antonym: Compulsory, mandatory, necessary
Sentence: The team made a voluntary contribution out of their own pockets to help the victims of the devastating earthquake in the country.
3. Penance (noun): Punishment inflicted on oneself for expressing repentance for any wrongdoing of one’s own
Synonym: Atonement, Expiation, Reparation
Antonym: happiness, joy, reward
Sentence: He had done public penance for those hasty words.
4. Tribute (noun): An act, statement or gift that is intended to show respect, gratitude or admiration
Synonym: Accolade, eulogy, compliment
Antonym: admonition, censure, criticism
Sentence: The children gave a fitting tribute to the best cricket captain of India on his birthday last week.
5. Weather (verb): wear away or change the appearance or texture of something as a result of long exposure to atmosphere / manage something amicably
Synonym: Cope, deal, confront, encounter
Antonym: avoid, dodge, evade, surrender
Sentence: His defence could weather all the criticism faced by the board from the shareholders regarding the failure of the latest launch of the company.
6. Hooliganism (noun): Disruptive or unlawful behavior such as rioting, vandalism, bullying etc
Synonym: rowdiness, disorganization, disruption
Antonym: continuation, peace, assistance, beginning
Sentence: The party cadres resorted to hooliganism when their demands were not met in the meeting by the government.
7. Fading (adjective): gradually grow faint or disappear / come or cause to come gradually into or out of view (about a television image or a film)
Synonym: evanescent, dying. Paling, declining
Antonym: emerging, developing, reviving
Sentence: The fame of the city was fading at that time as the hub of international business arbitration centre and another place had been identified for the same by then.
8. Extortion (noun): The practice of obtaining something, especially money, by force or threats
Synonym: coercion, fraud, badger, demand, exaction
Sentence: He used bribe and extortion to build himself a huge, art-stuffed mansion in the centre of the city.
9. Excuse (noun): A reason or explanation given in order to justify a fault or offence
Synonym: pretext, alibi, justification
Antonym: charge, indictment, question
Sentence: The excuse he gave for not defending his client in front of the jury was not only bizarre but also a white lie.
10. Presume (verb): Suppose that something is the case on the basis of probability / be arrogant or impatient enough to do something
Synonym: surmise, guess, believe, assume
Antonym: calculate, doubt, measure
Sentence: I presume that the man had been escorted from the building safely.
Question (1-5): Answer the following questions as directed
1. Find out the word which means the same as ‘impetuous’
- Other than those given in options
Solution: Option (2)
Explanation: The given word means that somebody is impulsive or violent in behaviour. Among the given options, option (2) is the right choice as the synonym of the given word among the given options.
2. Find out the word which means the opposite to ‘juvenile’
- Other than those given in options
Solution: Option (3)
Explanation: The given word means that somebody is in the adolescent stage or at a tender age. Among the given options, ‘dotage’ means senile or old and that makes it the right choice among the given options.
3. Find out the word which means the same as ‘jovial’
Solution: Option (2)
Explanation: The word ‘jovial’ means that somebody is cheerful or happy on the outset. Among the given options, ‘frolicsome’ means the same and that is why, it is the right choice among the given options.
4. Find the word which means the same as ‘immaculate’
Solution: Option (4)
Explanation: The given word means something that is untainted or untarnished in its image. Among the given options, option (4) means the same and that is why, it is the right choice among the given options.
5. Find the word that means the opposite to ‘ignominious’
- Other than those given in options
Solution: Option (4)
Explanation: The given word means that something is disgraceful or shameful. Among the given options, option (4) refers to something that is creditable or distinguished and that makes it the right choice among the given options.