A dangerous turn: on the violence in Basirhat (THE HINDU)

The West Bengal government should urgently restore law and order in North 24 Parganas

Political violence is commonplace in West Bengal, where every level of elections is fiercely contested. Over the last three years, however, the escalating violence has entered more dangerous terrain, with a marked increase in communal tension and rioting. On July 2 in Basirhat, an inflammatory Facebook post, allegedly by a 17-year-old, provoked a round of wanton violence orchestrated by some radical Muslim outfits in the North 24 Parganas district. While the person was arrested quickly, the State government displayed a lack of resolve to immediately halt the protests that led to blocked roads, an attack on a police station, and vandalisation of shops and houses in Basirhat and nearby areas. Paramilitary forces were finally deployed by July 4, returning a degree of calm but only after the damage had been done. Soon, accusations and recriminations followed as the BJP sought to make this a case of minority-led communalism while the ruling Trinamool Congress complained that the BJP was fanning communal tensions. The politics spilled over into a needless spat between Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, attended by allegations and name-calling. Rather than personalise and politicise a meeting between constitutional functionaries to extract political mileage, Ms. Banerjee should have shown greater initiative to defuse the situation by tackling the violence firmly and bringing to book those responsible for the acts of arson. The incidents in Basirhat seem eerily similar to what transpired in Kaliachak in Malda district in January 2016. Then, too, the State government had not shown alacrity in ending the violence, or acting against those responsible for it.

Such communal violence is not common in West Bengal, which makes it all the more worrisome. The State had largely escaped the communal trouble that erupted in many parts of North India during the run-up to and in the wake of the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992. In terms of political discourse, the contestation between the Congress and the Left Front, and later with the TMC, was mainly on the basis of class politics or patronage. Ever since the Muslim peasantry, especially in southern Bengal, abandoned its support for the Left Front — a fallout of the anti-land acquisition agitations in Nandigram and Singur — the TMC has worked assiduously to consolidate its support among them. But it has done this by blatantly pandering to conservative and reactionary sections among Muslims, in the hope of earning the community’s support. Such an approach is exactly what the BJP, which was once electorally irrelevant in the State, feeds on in order to frame its own polarising narrative. From all accounts this has worked, as the party has grown into something of a political force in the State. Some of West Bengal’s districts have been hit particularly hard by the increasing hold of sectarian politics, which risks turning the State into a communal hot spot. Steps must be taken to urgently reverse this trend before further damage is done.


1) Alacrity (तत्परता) (Noun):  Ah-lak-ri-tee
Meaning - Liveliness and eagerness; cheerful readiness
Synonyms -  Enthusiasm, readiness, briskness, willingness, 
Antonyms - laziness, apathy, reluctance
Example -Having studied really hard last night, the student took the exam with alacrity.

2) Vandalisation   (तोड़फोड़ ) (Noun): van-dal-ai-ze-shun
Meaning - the act of deliberately destroying or damaging public or private property.
Synonyms - destruction, ruin, damage, annihilation
Antonyms -  Creation, construction, renaissance, building
Example - Due to vandalization in the past, a security system has been installed in the house.
3)Wanton  ( प्रचंड) (Adjective): won-tn
Meaning -  having no concern for the rights, feelings, or safety of others
Synonyms - Immoral, Profligate, lewd, unprovoked
Antonyms - Moral, kind, decent
Example -  The man is probably going to get the death penalty for his wanton killing of six schoolchildren.

4) Contestation  (मुक़ाबला)  (Noun): con-tes-ta-tion
Meaning - The action or process of disputing or arguing.
Synonyms - fight, confrontation, conflict.
Antonyms-consesnsus, negotiation, agreement 
Example -The statement is certainly open to contestation among reasonable people

5) Assiduously (परिश्रम से)(Adverb): as-sid-u-ous-ly
Meaning - marked by care and persistent effort
Synonyms - diligently, carefully, meticulously.
Antonyms - Casually, indolently, Unhardworkingly
Example -  I finish those financial reports weeks ahead of schedule assiduously.

6) Terrain (इलाक़ा)  (Noun): ter-rayn
Meaning -the attributes of a geographic region
Synonyms region, territory, land, area
Antonyms -sky, air, space
Example - If you’ll be travelling on muddy roads, you should purchase tires suitable for that terrain.
7) Pander (बढ़ावा देना) (Verb): pan-der
Meaning - to spoil a person by giving him his desires, usually something immoral or illegal
Synonyms - indulge, gratify, fulfil.
Antonyms - deny, dissatisfy 
Example -  I hate reality shows because I believe they pander to people who enjoy watching immoral activities.

8) Orchestrate (व्यवस्थित करना ) (Verb): awr-kuh-streyt
Meaning - to organise or plan all of the details of an event
Synonyms -   organise, arrange, plan.
Antonyms -  Disorganise, dislocate
Example - It seemed unlikely that the terrorist was able to orchestratesuch a large-scale crime alone.

9) Transpire  (प्रकट होना, घटित होना ) (Verb): tran-spire
Meaning - to occur or take place
Synonyms - happen, occur, take place.
Antonyms - Vanish, perish, stop, remove
Example -Although the new law has passed, you should not expect changes to transpire immediately.

10) Spat  (झगड़ा)(Noun): spat
Meaning - to quarrel or argue briefly
Synonyms - quarrel, scuffle, tussle.
Antonyms - agreement, concord, acquiescence, harmony
Example - It is often common for siblings to have a spat and start playing again shortly after.

11) Discourse ( बहस, चर्चा)(Noun): dis-course
Meaning -written or spoken communication or debate
Synonyms - debate, argument, discussion.
Antonyms - Silence, quiet, agreeable
Example -A major disadvantage of online discourse is that people can often say whatever they like in complete anonymity.

12) Obfuscate (Verb)  -उलझानाMeaning - make something obscure, unclear, or unintelligible.
Synonyms - Confuse , complicate, perplex
Antonyms -  Clarify, elucidate, simplify, Interpret 
Example (English) - Local councils have been warned over a slew of jargon that baffles ordinary people, but why do they love to obfuscate
Example (Hindi) - स्थानीय पंचायतों को आम जनता को चकरा देने वाली अपरिचित शब्दावली का प्रयोग न करने की चेतावनी दी जा चुकी है, लेकिन इन्हें बात को उलझाने का क्या शौक है? 

Now considering the article above as a Reading Comprehension, try to answer the following questions-
  •  What is the reasons behind a fallout of the anti-land acquisition agitations in Nandigram and Singur according to the article ?
  • Under what reasons  the politics spilled over into a needless spat between Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi ?
Now it's time to check your vocabulary . We have given below some words from the same article . Try to make sentences with these words in the comment section which will be reviewed by us.
  • Inflammatory 
  • Consolidate
  • Blatantly
  • Marked
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