TOPIC OF THE DAY:-“Wooing The Upper Castes”

But the Congress did nothing of the sort. It steered clear of the BJP’s majoritarian depredations, and opted to woo the same upper castes that constitute the BJP’s core vote base. It has embraced what has come to be known as ‘soft Hindutva’. In Madhya Pradesh, for instance, the Congress has promised to build cow shelters in every village if voted to power — this in a State where desperate farmers were fired upon by the administration. In Kerala, its State unit has played along with so-called religious sentiment, opposing the entry of women (between the ages of 10-50) in Sabarimala instead of standing by the constitutional principle of equality.

In Rajasthan, too, the Congress’s game plan is to retrieve the upper caste vote from the BJP. Hindutva politics has queered the pitch in such a way that today no party can specifically woo the savarna voter without pandering to communal sentiment. In effect, this means not confronting the infusion of religion into the heart of democratic politics. Conversely, challenging it would require two things from a party: certain ideological non-negotiables, among which, in the case of the Congress, would be the Nehruvian legacy of secularism and a politics of caste rooted in the principle of social justice.

Given the cynicism that has become commonplace in public discourse, it is fashionable to scoff at any expectation of principles in politics. But it is delusional to imagine that the very realpolitik that unleashed the genie of communal hatred on national politics will also be able — now that its disruptions are coming home to roost — to put that genie back into the constitutional bottle. In fact, the most troubling takeaway from the Congress’s approach to these Assembly polls is that even an outright victory for a Congress-led alliance in 2019, however improbable it may seem at present, may not really signify a defeat of communal forces.

The clearest indication yet that the Congress cannot be expected to counter the normalisation of Hindu majoritarianism came during party president Rahul Gandhi’s campaign tour in Madhya Pradesh, where he stated that the “Congress was a party of Hinduism”. He prefaced it by saying that it was “not a party of Hindutva” but the fact that he felt compelled to paint the Congress in Hindu colours marks a clear shift in the party’s overt political line.

For some time now, there has been a debate on the Congress’s use of ‘soft Hindutva’ as a counter to the BJP’s presumably ‘hard’ Hindutva. Mr. Gandhi’s supporters have argued that what has been labelled as ‘soft Hindutva’ is nothing but a free and open expression of his personal faith as a devout Hindu. Even if this were true, his temple visits, which rarely seem to take place without a photo-op, the recent emergence of vermilion on his forehead, his pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar, and his coming out as a Shiv bhakt, are all gestures saturated with political significance.


1) waivers

Meaning : an act or instance of waiving a right or claim.

Tamil Meaning : விலக்கு

Synonyms : deferm, grant

Antonyms : approve

Example : “their acquiescence could amount to a waiver”

2) rhetoric

Meaning : the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the exploitation of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.

Tamil Meaning : சொல்லாட்சி

Synonyms : hyperbole , oratory

Antonyms : quiet

Example : “he is using a common figure of rhetoric, hyperbole”

3) incurred

Meaning : become subject to (something unwelcome or unpleasant) as a result of one’s own behaviour or actions.

Tamil Meaning : ஏற்படும்

Synonyms : acquire

Antonyms : forfeit

Example : “I will pay any expenses incurred”

4) contingent

Meaning : subject to chance.

Synonyms : unforeseen

Antonyms : designed

Example : “the contingent nature of the job”

5) fructified

Meaning : make (something) fruitful or productive.

Synonyms : fecundate , impregnate

Example : “they were sacrificed in order that their blood might fructify the crops”

6) rivals

Meaning : a person or thing competing with another for the same objective or for superiority in the same field of activity.

Tamil Meaning : போட்டியாளர்கள்

Synonyms : adversary

Antonyms : helper

Example : “he has no serious rival for the job”

7) dodged

Meaning : avoid (someone or something) by a sudden quick movement.

Tamil Meaning : ஏமாற்றுவதற்கு

Synonyms : contrivance , method

Example : “marchers had to dodge missiles thrown by loyalists”

8) merely

Meaning : just; only.

Tamil Meaning : வெறுமனே

Synonyms : hardly

Antonyms : indefinitely

Example : “Gary, a silent boy, merely nodded”

9) outpaced

Meaning : go, rise, or improve faster than.

Tamil Meaning : தோற்கடித்துவிட்ட

Synonyms : dominate

Antonyms : lose

Example : “he outpaced all six defenders”

10) foreseeable

Meaning : able to be foreseen or predicted.

Tamil Meaning : எதிர்வரும்

Synonyms : certain

Antonyms : improbable

Example : “the situation is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future

11) campaigns

Meaning : a series of military operations intended to achieve a goal, confined to a particular area, or involving a specified type of fighting.

Tamil Meaning : பிரச்சாரம்

Synonyms : crusade

Antonyms : inaction

Example : “a desert campaign”

12) inferences

Meaning : a conclusion reached on the basis of evidence and reasoning.

Tamil Meaning : அனுமானம்

Synonyms : assumption

Antonyms : fact

Example : “researchers are entrusted with drawing inferences from the data”

13) conundrum

Meaning : a confusing and difficult problem or question.

Tamil Meaning : புதிர்

Synonyms : mystery

Example : “one of the most difficult conundrums for the experts”

14) adversary

Meaning : one’s opponent in a contest, conflict, or dispute.

Tamil Meaning : விரோதி

Synonyms : attacker

Antonyms : ally

Example : “Davis beat his old adversary in the quarter-finals”

15) sort

Meaning : a category of things or people with a common feature; a type.

Tamil Meaning : வகையான

Synonyms : character

Antonyms : individual

Example : “if only we knew the sort of people she was mixing with”