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Daily Editorial Updates with Vocabulary
India’s Politics Of Fear
When Yogi Adityanath, the newly appointed chief minister of UP, held his first cabinet meeting on Ram Navami, did he have in mind that Rama is regarded as maryada purushottam, the epitome of rectitude , or was he merely playing politics? Is India’s secularism in danger, or will governance rectitude triumph over religious divides?
History has its own serendipities (the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.). On 6th December 1948, exactly 44 years before the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the Constituent Assembly, which drafted our Constitution, was in the throes of a heated discussion on the question of secularism and the new Republic. While there was unanimity that India would not be a theocratic(relating to or denoting a system of government in which priests rule in the name of God or a god.)state, and that secularism did not imply contempt or marginalisation of religion, Loknath Mishra, a member of the Constituent Assembly from Orissa (who later, in the 1990s, became Governor of Assam) warned that a “secular state is a slippery phrase, a device to bypass the ancient culture of the land … justice demands that the ancient faith and culture of the land should be given a fair deal if not restored to its legitimate place after a thousand years of suppression“.
In their infinite wisdom, the founding fathers of our Constitution allayed Mishra’s fears, and resolved that India would be a country where all faiths would be respected, while the state itself would be secular. This ideological clarity was based on pragmatic grounds. Hindus and Muslims, and other minorities, don’t live in separately demarcated geographical areas. Nor are the minorities, especially Muslims, in insignificant numbers. They constitute over 14% of the population and live cheek by jowl with other religious communities across the country.
Even the much smaller Christian community, not more than 2% of the population, is cumulatively more than the entire population of Hungary and Greece put together. Co-existence, and respect for each other’s faith, is therefore an imperative and not an option for India.
But this ideology-based pragmatism is being tested today, not because the ideology or the pragmatism has become irrelevant, but because electoral calculations have created cynical expediencies on all sides of the political spectrum. Some political parties that reflexively genuflect before the altar of secularism have blatantly (in an open and unashamed manner.) used Muslims as a vote bank in order to win elections, but done very little to address the real needs of the community. And parties like BJP haveassiduously worked to consolidate a Hindu vote in opposition to the Muslims, while privileging divisiveness over governance.
What we are seeing is a vicious cycle. Because BJP and even more so its ultra-right affiliates openly espouse a Hindu India, it heightens fears among Muslims. And this fear psychosis in turn prompts some parties to specifically target the Muslim vote, without which they cannot win.
This was evident in recent UP elections. BJP, in a transparent attempt to consolidate the majority vote, proclaimed that Hindus were being discriminated against in the matter of land for cremation grounds and electricity supply for festivals like Diwali. Not a single Muslim was given the BJP ticket. In contrast, parties like BSP, which has worked to empower Dalits, went overboard in giving nearly a hundred tickets to Muslims to stitch a winning combine, triggering a reverse Hindu consolidation. Excess fosters excess. When in 1985 the Congress party, then in power at the Centre, succumbed , in a perhaps well intentioned but hasty move, to Islamic hardliners and overruled through Parliament the Supreme Court’s decision for the payment of alimony to Shah Bano, a mother of five children divorced by her husband, it fuelled accusations of Muslim appeasement.
Such accusations then made BJP point an accusatory finger to even needed interventions for the uplift of Muslims. Fears that Hindus were being marginalised were played up without factual basis.More recently , artificially simulated campaigns like ghar wapsi and love jihad were launched. In the ensuing turbulence sane voices both among Hindus and Muslims were sidelined, while extremists grabbed the headlines.
If India is to survive as a nation, the time has come for such insanity to stop. Indian politics badly needs a return to balance and statesmanship. Inclusion not exclusion, and hope not fear needs to guide our political class. If politicians do not understand this, the only hope is that, ultimately, the people of India will.
The Rama temple issue, and the unnecessary politics over the singing of the Vande Mataram or the Surya Namaskar, will only go that far if, as latest statistics reveal, only some one lakh jobs were created in eight key non-farm sectors from April to September last year including, shockingly, only 12,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector even as farmers continue to commit suicide in droves due to rampant agrarian distress.
Ordinary Indians want good governance, jobs and economic development, an end to endemic social instability, and peace and security in their lives. If given a chance they will, beyond the machinations of clever politicians, vote in the long run for someone who promises these ends, and not for those who only use them as cannon fodder to win elections. Secularism will then not be the `slippery slope’ that Loknath Mishra cautioned us about, but a firm foundation for a mature and truly democratic republic.
Magical Vocabulary from “ The Times of India”
- Epitome(noun):A person or thing that is a perfect example of a particular quality or type. (प्रतिमान/प्रतीक)
Synonyms: Personification, Paragon, Ideal, Exemplar.
Example: Because our mayor is the epitome of a good citizen, he has been in office for over ten years.
- Rectitude(noun):Morally correct behaviour or thinking. (सत्यपरायणता/न्याय)
Synonyms: Morality, Righteousness, Character, Decency, Principle.
Antonyms: Evildoing, Immorality, Iniquity, Sin, Villainy.
Example: Aidan’s rectitude inspired him to give his lottery winnings to charity.
- Demarcate(verb):Set the boundaries or limits of/ separate or distinguish from. (सीमांकन करना/अलग करना)
Synonyms: Separate, Divide, Delineate, Divide,
Antonyms: Attach, Combine, Connect, Couple.
Example: The fence was put in place to demarcate one piece of property from the next.
- Sane(adjective):Reasonable or sensible. (उचित तथा विचारशील)
Synonyms: Sensible, Rational, Logical, Reasonable.
Antonyms: Irrational, Unrealistic, Unreasonable.
Example: Wearing earplugs was the only way for the worker to stay sane in the noisy boiler room.
- Imperative(adjective):Of vital importance; crucial. (अत्यावश्यक)
Synonyms: Vital, Crucial, Critical, Essential.
Antonyms: Inessential, Trivial, Uncritical, Unnecessary.
Example: If you’re serious about getting healthy, it’s imperative that you follow a healthy lifestyle, make the right food choices, and exercise regularly.
- Expediency(noun):The quality of being suitable to the circumstances to avail them./ the quality of being convenient and practical despite possibly being improper or immoral. (लाभ/औचित्य)
Synonyms: Prudence, Desirableness, Advisability, Advantageousness, Utility, Gainfulness.
Antonyms: Inopportuneness, Untimeliness.
Example: After being surrounded by two dozen police officers, the criminal felt it was an expedient time to lower his weapon.
- Genuflect(verb): Literally –Lower one’s body briefly by bending one knee to the ground, typically in worship or as a sign of respect. Metaphorically – show deference or servility. (आदर करना)
Synonyms: Bow, Kowtow, Curtsy, Show Reverence or Deference.
Antonyms: Defy, Disregard.
Example: Faithful Catholics genuflect to the pope.
- Assiduously(adverb):With great care, attention, and effort. (लगन से/परिश्रम से)
Synonyms: Diligently, Carefully, Laboriously, Arduously, Indefatigably.
Antonyms: Idly, Inactively.
Example: With your assiduous attempt at learning Spanish, I think you will master the language in no time.
- Succumb(verb):Fail to resist pressure, temptation, or some other negative force./ to yield to superior strength or force or overpowering appeal or desire. (परास्त होना/हार जाना)
Synonyms: Give In, Surrender, Capitulate, Yield.
Antonyms: Resist, Defend.
Example: In his speech, the president stated that our country will not succumb to fear and terror.
- Insanity(noun):Extreme foolishness or irrationality. (उन्माद/मूर्खता)
Synonyms: Folly, Foolishness, Idiocy, Stupidity, Imbecility.
Antonyms: Sensibleness, Intelligence, Prudence, Wisdom.
Example: His friends thought his decision to quit his job over a trivial fight was pure insanity.
Courtesy And Copyright :- The Times of India
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