English Vocab

In A Transformed Electoral Arena
To check the increasing lurch to the right, the left and centre-left must upgrade their toolkits.
Results of Assembly elections in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland, coming after the results in the 2016 Assam elections, and alongside the ascendance of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in as many as 17 other States gives rise to a vision of a monochromatic India. Many may well deplore this state of affairs, since democracy is generally seen as a platform to encourage the ‘blooming of a hundred flowers’ of varying colours and shapes. What is more important in the extant situation, however, is to understand how this phenomenon has come about, and try to assess what it signifies.

Message from Tripura
Perhaps the most significant of the recent victories achieved by the BJP and its allies was in Tripura. The electoral alliance of the BJP and the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) produced a spectacular result, winning 43 of the 59 seats up for elections. The incumbent party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPI(M), could win only 16 seats. In terms of vote percentage, the BJP-IPFT combine secured a little over 50%, compared to the 42.7% for the CPI(M). The Congress and the rest of the Opposition were completely eclipsed.
In Nagaland and Meghalaya, the results were less one-sided, though the BJP and its allies were able to stitch together a winning combination, and push other parties including the Congress to the sidelines.
Elections to smaller northeastern States do not normally attract nationwide attention. With the BJP having repeated its earlier success achieved in Assam, in the process overturning some long-held beliefs, it is perhaps time to take serious notice of what are the underlying factors dictating the overall election scene today. It would be highly myopic to treat election results in any one part of the country, as for instance in the Northeast, as due solely to local or regional factors. It would be an equally serious mistake to treat the results, or the reasons for them, as of lesser national significance than elections in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra or Madhya Pradesh.
The usual excuses
Reams have been written on the reasons why parties such as the CPI(M) and the Congress have fared poorly in Tripura. The usual hackneyed (lacking in freshness or originality) reasons are being trotted out (to bring to the attention of; introduce). For instance, the Congress debacle (a great disaster or complete failure) is attributed to poor election management. In the case of the CPI(M), apart from anti-incumbency, the loss is being ascribed to not having provided adequate jobs for aspiring youth in the State. There may be some merit in these arguments, but the reality is that none of them adequately answers the velocity and success of the BJP-led electoral offensive.
The basic causes for the results, especially the extent of victory, have hence to be found elsewhere. Apart from traditional aggressive electioneering, today’s electoral dynamics include a mixture of many and different attributes. What is seldom mentioned is that of all the parties in India (with the possible exception of the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress), it is the BJP today that is a votary of the assertive leadership approach, often seeking out younger leaders who can impart innate dynamism to even mundane issues. In most cases, the Opposition tends to wilt (to lose strength, vigor, assurance) under their sustained offensive.
Tripura’s former Chief Minister, Manik Sarkar (undoubtedly one of the most respected Chief Ministers till now in the country), is a case in point. He was portrayed by the BJP-led Opposition as a ‘status quoist’ leader of a party in decline, viz. the CPI(M), which itself was out of touch with current realities. The CPI(M)’s defeat in Tripura, hence, had little to do with the handling of affairs in the State, or the traditional rivalry between the CPI(M) and tribal groups. To use the idiom of modern politics, it was the portrayal of Manik Sarkar as no longer being a ‘conviction politician’ that tilted the scale.
The new ecosystem
The BJP does appear to have successfully created a new political ‘ecosystem’ that contrasts with the earlier ethos of participatory politics. Mega rallies with the Prime Minister himself addressing electoral audiences on a scale seldom seen previously, backed by technological advances, seem to produce a mesmeric effect on those listening. The more strident (characterized by harsh, insistent, and discordant) the attack against opposing political parties, the greater seems to have been the impact. Issues may remain much the same; it could be livelihood or jobs. The solutions also may not be different. Yet, the alchemy seems to alter due to the impact of these newer techniques.
One is not certain whether parties such as the BJP are adopting the new science of psychometrics. Across the world, psychometrics is beginning to be employed by political parties to achieve their predetermined objectives. The success rate though is yet to be fully gauged. What is obvious is that traditional campaigning, and electioneering in the old way seem unable to withstand the ‘new wave’ that is altering electoral dynamics today.
What is again discernible (to see, recognize, or understand something) today is the attempt to delegitimise the Opposition, especially its leadership. In a world dominated by social media and the prevalence of ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’, it has become far easier to do this than in the past. This, compounded with the inherent failure of both the Left as well as entrenched parties such as the Congress to modernise their methods, has left the latter at a disadvantage.
When the Prime Minister declared at a meeting of BJP parliamentarians in Delhi (March 6) that the party’s recent victory in Tripura was an “ideological victory”, he was perhaps stating the truth, but not in the way that he possibly meant. The BJP’s win owes a great deal to its alliance with the tribal group (IPFT), but the victory also signifies the fundamental changes taking place in public attitudes across the world, towards moderate left and social democratic parties. In Europe — the birthplace of the moderate left and social democratic parties — both are in a state of decline. It is the right, and in some cases the far right, that has taken the pole position. By and large, the traditional left and social democratic parties appear to have declined due to their inability to change with the times and modernise their methodologies, tactics, attitudes and approach to problems. Their failures could also be attributed to not using modern technology to spread their message to larger audiences, especially those who do not attend political meetings.
The Tripura election exemplifies this. To all intents and purposes, the CPI(M) was well entrenched in the State and seemingly unbeatable. The Chief Minister seemed to be well positioned to lead the party to yet another victory. Still, his failure to read the writing on the wall, or rather the signature tune of a new political era, proved to be the CPI(M)’s downfall.
This has possibly been in the making for some time. The defeat of the CPI(M) — followed by its eclipse — in West Bengal should have alerted the party to the winds of change blowing. Yet, and despite a transition from the pragmatic Harkishan Singh Surjeet to party apparatchik, Prakash Karat, little fresh thinking has been induced into the party’s thinking. This is well demonstrated in the nature of the current tussle (an intense argument, controversy, or struggle) between Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury (a Surjeet acolyte) regarding the line that the CPI(M) should follow.
As in the rest of the world, the moderate left and social democratic parties in India are currently facing an onslaught from the right wing and similar groups. In many cases they are being eclipsed. Unless the left and social democratic parties make certain fundamental alterations in their thinking and methodology, they are bound to wither (to lose vitality, force, or freshness) away and become political relics. With the CPI(M) having been decimated in both Tripura and West Bengal, it has become easier for the right to delegitimise the left leadership.
The message is loud and clear. Political parties cannot hope to survive today’s economic onslaughts by adhering to past attitudes, beliefs and techniques. They have to constantly evolve and consider new ways to communicate with the people and, above all, come up with fresh ideas. They need to jettison (abandon or discard (someone or something that is no longer wanted)) past shibboleths and let fresh ideas course through their minds. This is vitally important to check the increasing lurch to the right that is evident across the world, and to ensure that the far right does not trample (to inflict injury or destruction especially contemptuously or ruthlessly) upon what we treasure as democracy.
Courtesy-The Hindu (National)
1. Hackneyed (adjective) : (Lacking in freshness or originality) (साधारण, मामूली, घिसापिटा)
Synonyms: Trite, Stale, Banal, Platitudinous, Vapid, Insipid
Antonyms: Original, Fresh, Creative, Peculiar, Inventive
Example: Every time my internet goes down, the cable company gives me a hackneyed explanation.
Related words: Hackneyism, (noun)
2. Trot out (verb) : (To bring to the attention of; introduce;) (ध्यान में लाना)
Synonyms: Show Off, Demonstrate, Flaunt, Reveal, Disclose, Exhibit
Antonyms: Conceal, Hide, Disguise, Veil, Camouflage, Shroud, Obscure
Example: The boss trotted out his daughter and introduced her as a new vice president.
Verb forms: Trot, Trotted, Trotted
Related words: phrase:-‘ on the trot’ (following one after another/ busy all the time)
 Trot (noun)
3. Debacle (noun) : (A great disaster or complete failure) (पराजय, असफलता, शिकस्त)
Synonyms: Fiasco, Failure, Catastrophe, Disaster, Disintegration, Mess, Wreck, Ruin
Antonyms: Triumph, Achievement, Accomplishment, Acquirement
Example: Based on low album sales, the singer’s new release can be classified as a debacle.
4. Wilt (verb) : (To lose strength, vigor, assurance,) (ताकत, सामर्थ्य या आश्वासन खोना)
Synonyms: Wither, Droop, Languish, Wane, Diminish, Dwindle, Weaken, Ebb
Antonyms: Bloom, Develop, Flourish, Surge, Alacrity, Bolster
Example: We worried that the long hours of my new job would cause our relationship to wilt.
Verb forms: Wilt, Wilted, Wilted
Related words: Wilt (noun) (any of a number of fungal or bacterial diseases of plants characterized by wilting of the foliage.)
5. Strident (adjective) : (Characterized by harsh, insistent, and discordant) (तेजी से, जोर से)
Synonyms: Harsh, Raucous, Rough, Grating, Rasping, Jarring, Loud, Stentorian
Antonyms: Soft, Dulcet, Mellifluous, Euphonious, Harmonious, Muffled
Example: The strident tone in his voice revealed his anger.
Related words: Stridently (adverb) Stridence, Stridency (noun)
6. Discernible (adjective) : (To see, recognize, or understand something) (प्रत्यक्ष,देख पड़ने योग्‍य, दृष्टिगोचर, अनुभव योग्‍य)
Synonyms: Visible, Detectable, Noticeable, Perceptible, Observable, Perceivable, Distinguishable
Antonyms: Indistinct, Invisible, Imperceptible, Obscure, Vague, Ambiguous
Example: High gas prices are expected to have a discernible effect on the number of road trips taken this summer
Verb forms: Discern, Discerned, Discerned
Related words: Discerner (noun) Discernibly (adverb)
7. Tussle (noun) : (An intense argument, controversy, or struggle) (खींचतान,संघर्ष)
Synonyms: Struggle, Skirmish, Brawl, Scramble, Scrum, Fracas
Antonyms: Agreement, Compromise, Harmonize, Truce, Accord
Example: They began to tussle with each other for the handgun.
Verb forms: Tussle, Tussled, Tussled
Related words: Tussle (verb) (to struggle or fight roughly or vigorously; wrestle; scuffle.)
8. Wither (verb) : (To lose vitality, force, or freshness) (नष्ट हो जाना)
Synonyms: Shrivel, Desiccate, Languish, Disappear, Wane, Weaken
Antonyms: Thrive, Flourish, Rehabilitation, Reclamation, Sprout, Recuperate
Example: My grandfather said that he would wither away if my mother wasn’t there to take care of him.
Verb forms: Wither, Withered, Withered
Related words: Witheredness, Witherer (noun) Witheringly (adverb)
9. Jettison (verb) : (Abandon or discard (someone or something that is no longer wanted)), (निकाल फेंकना, छुटकारा पाना)
Synonyms: Discard, Cast Off, Abandon, Relinquish, Eliminate, Junk, Abdicate
Antonyms: Keep, Retain, Preserve, Reminisce, Encumber, Restrain
Example: The company president’s decision to jettison most of the workforce was made in order to save the business from bankruptcy.
Verb forms: Jettison, Jettisoned, Jettisoned
Related words: Jettisonable (adjective)
10. Trample (verb) : (To inflict injury or destruction especially contemptuously or ruthlessly) (रौंदना)
Synonyms: Squash, Stomp, Oppress, Thrash, Overwhelm, Ravage, Subdue          
Antonyms: Assist, Liberate, Emancipate, Foster, Magnify
Example: After her boyfriend cheated on her, she wanted to trample him so she took all of his gifts and crushed them instead.
Verb forms: Trample, Trampled, Trampled
Related words: Trample, Trampler (noun) Untrampled (adjective)

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