TOPIC OF THE DAY:-“Turning point in 1967”

The story of Prime Minister Gandhi’s ascent in politics begins in the 1967 elections, when she campaigned for the party across the country. She travelled thousands of kilometres in an open jeep, addressed crowds, and secured acclaim. She quickly grasped that older power equations in rural India had given way to palpable tensions between the landed and the landless. Displaying considerable political acumen, and a great sense of timing, Mrs. Gandhi positioned herself firmly for the poor — garib — the new politically significant factor in Indian politics. Appealing directly to this section of Indians, and deploying dexterously the slogan ‘garibi hatao’ (remove poverty), she assiduously forged and nurtured a national constituency over the heads of regional leaders. After Mahatma Gandhi it was Indira Gandhi who was seen as the saviour of the poor, and over time as ‘Mother India.’ Following distinctively pro-poor policies, she nationalised 14 commercial banks in 1969, and abolished the privy purses of the erstwhile royals. In the process, she exposed the pro-rich stand of existing leaders, their incompetence and their advancing age that pre-empted any radical move. Shortly thereafter the party split, and Mrs. Gandhi became the undisputed leader of the dominant wing of the party. In retrospect, ‘garibi hatao’ rhetoric appears unpretentious and simple. But used for the first time in Indian politics to directly address the concerns of the poor, it contributed to the consolidation of authority. In the 1971 elections, the Congress came back to power with an overwhelming majority. And Mrs. Gandhi secured the sort of legitimacy her father had enjoyed. Mrs. Gandhi was adept at emotionally mobilising the masses. The electoral successes of her party gave her the authority to select which leader she catapulted into, or dismissed from, ministerial posts. Under her leadership, India secured food self-sufficiency, and made gigantic strides in developing nuclear and space technology. The Indian Army won a decisive victory over Pakistan in 1971, and opposition leaders began to hail her as Durga, the vanquisher of all evil. Conversely her disdain for procedures and parliamentary proprieties led to the rapid decline of democratic institutions. Prime Minister Gandhi changed the rules of Indian politics by calling for a committed judiciary and a committed bureaucracy. Above all, she changed the Congress party. As her stature rose in the eyes of Indians, her party declined dramatically. The same Congress that had specialised in addressing, negotiating, and resolving demands of different groups within the framework of its organisation became captive to the leader. This was at a time when popular expectations of parties and of the government had escalated. The lasting mystique of Indira Gandhi: Sagarika Ghose speaks about her book ‘Indira, India’s Most Powerful Prime Minister’ By the late 1960s, disgruntlement had coalesced rapidly under the leadership of Jayaprakash Narayan. Mrs. Gandhi imposed an internal emergency from 1975 to 1977 in response. Civil liberties were suspended, opposition leaders were jailed, petty rulings censored films, with songs of Kishore Kumar banned from All India Radio. The government tried to legitimise the Emergency by issuing a 20-point programme for economic and social reform. This did not work. The Emergency regime was voted out in the 1977 elections.


1) Logjam

Meaning: A situation that seems irresolvable.

Example: “the president can use his power to break the logjam over this issue”

Synonyms: A backlog

2) Enhancing

Meaning: Intensify, increase, or further improve the quality, value, or extent of.

Example: “his refusal does nothing to enhance his reputation”

Synonyms: Increase, Intensify

Antonyms: Diminish, Mar

3) Fostering

Meaning: Encourage the development of (something, especially something desirable).

Example: “the teacher’s task is to foster learning”

Synonyms: Encourage, Promote

Antonyms: Neglect, Suppress

4) Conjunction

Meaning: The action or an instance of two or more events or things occurring at the same point in time or space.

Example: “a conjunction of favourable political and economic circumstances”

Synonyms: Concurrence, Coincidence

5) Therein

Meaning: In that place, document, or respect.

Example: “it shall be sufficient evidence of the facts therein contained”

6) Temptations

Meaning: The desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.

Example: “he resisted the temptation to call Celia at the office”

Synonyms: Desire, Impulse

7) Distinctive

Meaning: Characteristic of one person or thing, and so serving to distinguish it from others.

Example: “juniper berries give gin its distinctive flavour”

Synonyms: Typical, Individual

Antonyms: Common

8) Veritable

Meaning: Used for emphasis, often to qualify a metaphor.

Example: “the early 1970s witnessed a veritable price explosion”

9) Messiah

Meaning: A leader regarded as the saviour of a particular country, group, or cause.

Example: “the club’s supporters have been tempted to regard him as a messiah rather than a manager”

10) Disdaining

Meaning: Consider to be unworthy of one’s consideration.

Example: “he disdained his patients as an inferior rabble”

Synonyms: Scorn, Deride

Antonyms: Respect, Value

11) Inchoate

Meaning: Just begun and so not fully formed or developed; rudimentary; confused or incoherent.

Example: “a still inchoate democracy”

12) Steered

Meaning: Guide or control the movement of (a vehicle, vessel, or aircraft), for example by turning a wheel or operating a rudder.

Example: “he steered the boat slowly towards the busy quay”

Synonyms: Guide, Direct

13) Manoeuvring

Meaning: Move skillfully or carefully.

Example: “the lorry was unable to manoeuvre comfortably in the narrow street”

Synonyms: Guide, Navigate

14) Thickets

Meaning: A dense group of bushes or trees.

Example: “a horned owl perfectly camouflaged in a dense thicket”

Synonyms: Grove, Covert

15) Patronised

Meaning: Give financial or other support to (a person, organization, or cause).

Example: “she patronizes worthy causes”

Synonyms: Sponsor, Support

16) Heckled

Meaning: Interrupt (a public speaker) with derisive or aggressive comments or abuse.

Example: “he was booed and heckled when he tried to address the demonstrators”

Synonyms: Taunt, Disrupt

Antonyms: Cheer

17) Disparagingly

Meaning: Regard or represent as being of little worth.

Example: “he never missed an opportunity to disparage his competitors”

Synonyms: Belittle, Denigrate

Antonyms: Praise, Overrate

18) Wracked (past tense of rack)

Meaning: Cause extreme pain, anguish, or distress to.

Example: “he was racked with guilt”

Synonyms: Torment, Afflict

19) Belittled

Meaning: Dismiss (someone or something) as unimportant.

Example: “she belittled Amy’s riding skills whenever she could”

Synonyms: Disparage, Denigrate

Antonyms: Praise, Magnify

20) Mists of time

Meaning: Used to show that something happened a very long time ago and is difficult to remember clearly

Example: The precise details of what happened have been lost in the mists of time.