Learn Vocabulary from Newspaper Articles (THE HINDU)

The commendation: On award to Major Leetul Gogoi

The Army commending a soldier still under probe for use of a human shield is unfortunate

There are two issues that are pertinent about the commendation awarded to Major Leetul Gogoi of the Army’s 53 Rashtriya Rifles. The first relates to the timing — it was conferred on him by Army chief General Bipin Rawat before a Court of Inquiry has concluded its probe into his role in the use of a human shield during the Srinagar Lok Sabha election on April 9. Without casting any doubt whatsoever about Major Gogoi’s “sustained efforts in counter-insurgency operations”, it is impossible but to conclude that the timing of the award sends a truly unfortunate message, one that risks a loss of public confidence in the Court of Inquiry, ordered by the Army itself. Since the Major was being probed for a possible transgression in an area plagued by insurgency, wouldn’t the commendation be regarded as a tacit approval of his action? The second issue relates to the circumstances in which Major Gogoi resorted to the use of a human shield, something that he admitted to doing a day after news of the commendation broke. Many of the specifics relating to this are irrelevant insofar as they do not constitute a justification for tying someone to the bonnet of a jeep and driving him through the street as a deterrent to stone-pelting. For instance, the discussion on whether Farooq Ahmad Dar was instigating a group to throw stones (as Major Gogoi states) or whether he was merely a bystander who was out to exercise his franchise (as Mr. Dar says) cannot cloud the larger issue — the impropriety of the Indian Army using someone as a human shield.

The Indian Army prides itself on a long and honourable tradition in guarding the Republic; indeed, it operates in places such as Kashmir in extremely trying circumstances that risk life and limb. But surely it must accept that the rules of conduct for men in uniform must be adhered to, despite the difficulties in doing so in the conduct of what is clearly an asymmetric engagement. If the use of human shields has been declared a war crime by the Geneva Conventions and opposed for the same reason in both “international and non-international conflicts” by organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, it is because such acts put people at risk and constitute a gross human rights violation. It is no accident that the use of such shields has been perfected by terrorist organisations, ranging from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to the Islamic State. It could be argued that in the fog of operations, some improvisation in standard operating procedures is inevitable. But the use of a human shield, in this instance of a civilian, can hardly be justified on this ground, because it militates against the basic principles that govern the rules of conduct in war and war-like situations. It would have been proper if this incident was met with stern disapproval rather than being exploited, as it has been in some hyper-nationalistic quarters, to reinforce an us-versus-them binary and pit the security forces against the Kashmiri street. Source:  The Hindu


1) Pertinent (उचित) - Per-ti-nent
Meaning - relevant or applicable to a particular matter, apposite - Adjective
Synonyms - relevant, appropriate
Antonyms - improper, inapplicable
Example - He asked me a lot of very pertinent questions.

2) Probe (जांच) - Pr-o-b
Meaning - a thorough investigation into a crime or other matter - Noun
explore or examine (something), especially with the hands or an instrument - Verb
Synonyms - investigation, inquest
Example - They will probe deeply into the matter

3) Transgression (उल्लंघन) - Trans-gre-shun
Meaning - an act that goes against a law, rule, or code of conduct, an offence - Noun
Synonyms - breach, crime
Antonyms - goodness, kindness
Example - On the other hand, modern science was used to list a new vocabulary of transgression.

4) Insurgency (विद्रोह) - In-sir-gen-c
Meaning - an active revolt or uprising - Noun
Synonyms - dissent, revolution
Antonyms - calm, peace
Example - The government is reported to be concerned about the growing insurgency in the South.

5) Tacit (मतलब रखा हुआ) - Taa-sit
Meaning - understood or implied without being stated - Adjective
Synonyms - implicit, implied
Antonyms - stated, express
Example - The deal had the tacit approval of the President.

6) Deterrent (निवारक) - De-ter-rent
Meaning - a thing that discourages or is intended to discourage someone from doing something- Noun
able or intended to deter - Adjective
Synonyms - disincentive, hindrance
Antonyms - assistance, incentive
Example - They seriously believe that capital punishment is a deterrent.

7) Adhered (चिपकना) - Ad-here-ed
Meaning - stick fast to (a surface or substance) - Verb
believe in and follow the practices of - Verb
Synonyms - clung, held
Example - All safety requirements must be adhered to.

8) Inevitable (अपरिहार्य) - In-evi-table
Meaning - certain to happen, unavoidable - Adjective
a situation that is unavoidable - Noun
Synonyms - imminent, impending
Antonyms - avoidable, distant
Example - It was inevitable that there would be job losses.

9) Militate (युद्ध में भाग लेना) - Mili-tay-t
Meaning - (of a fact or circumstance) be a powerful or conclusive factor in preventing - Verb
Synonyms - resist, hinder
Antonyms - disregard, estimate
Example - Today's crowded world militates against a sense of community.

10) Cloudburst (मूसलधार बारिश) - Cloud-burst
Meaning - a sudden violent rainstorm - Noun
Synonyms - deluge, storm
Example (English) - Chaos erupted during a heavy cloudburst, forcing everyone in the crowd to run for shelter.
Example (Hindi) - मूसलाधार वर्षा के दौरान अफरा-तफरी मच गई और भीड़ में सबको आश्रय के लिए भागना पड़ा।
Now considering the article above as a Reading Comprehension question, try to answer the following -
  • Suggest a catchy title to the article.
  • What are the issues being highlighted in the article & how it can be resolved?
Given below are some words to check your vocabulary you can make sentences with those words in the comment section which will be reviewed by us.
  • Plagued
  • Insofar
  • Instance
  • Justification
Team Aimsuccess!!

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