PRAGRAPH,WORDS AND MEANINGS

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TOPIC – An eviction in Sri Lanka, this day, that age

As societies overwhelmed by the novel coronavirus pandemic witness heightening fear, economic deprivation, and a persisting curtailment of public events, remembering the past to chart a progressive future has become a casualty. On October 30, 1990, the northern Muslims of Sri Lanka, a population of 75,000, were abruptly evicted by the LTTE that sought to reign supreme as the “sole representative” of the Tamils and their “homeland”. The families were forced to leave with just a shopping bag and a few 100 rupees in hand. For the 30th anniversary of the inhuman expulsion, there will not be any public events of remembrance, unfortunately. Over the last decade since the end of the war, remembering this act of ethnic cleansing at gunpoint (which displaced generations to live in refugee camps) was a way of mobilising support for resettling this long-suffering community, and in doing so, rebuilding fraught relations between Muslims and Tamils, fellow minorities in Sri Lanka. The tragic predicament of the Northern Muslim community, distraught by an unwelcoming Tamil nationalist political landscape and in fear of being attacked by Sinhala Buddhist majoritarian forces, is but a symptom of polarisation that gravely threatens Sri Lanka’s chances for a plural and democraticpostwarfuture. After the end of the war in 2009,the Muslim community began returning to the North gradually, butthe state had no coherent plan for their resettlement. Of the approximately 8,000 families who originate from Jaffna, about 2,000 registered with the local authorities to return; now only about 700 families have been able to return as residents. The displaced families have faced social and economic challenges, including bureaucratic hurdles to gain housing grants for the war-affected, contested claims over land after their displacement, and the abject lack of support for livelihoods. While there has been some progress with respect to their housing needs, the changig political contextin the back dropof attacks on Muslims in the south, particularly by chauvinist goon squads since 2012, to the vilification of  Muslims after the  Easter Sunday 2019 bombings, has cornered the community even in places like Jaffna.  Constituting about 10% of Sri Lanka’s population, Muslims have proved ready targets in the past even if they are geographically spread over and are mainly Tamil speaking but with a distinct ethnic identity. The extreme nationalists among the Sinhalese and Tamils, seem to be objective allies when it comes to the Muslims as they draw from the global and South Asian discourses of Islamophobia. The “war on terror” spearheaded by the United States in 2001 continues to resonate with the militarised Sri Lankan state; the anti Muslim assertions of Hindutva in neighboring India are also being emulated by chauvinist actors in Sri Lanka.  In a country fast coming under the grip of majoritarianism and authoritarian populism, the everyday lives of minorities are eclipsed by fear. And the dynamics of such polarising politics at the national level inevitably manifests itself regionally as well. Indeed, the current context does not bode well for Tamil ­Muslim relations in the remotest villages in the island’s north and east. For, when polarisation is the dominant game in politics, suspicion, and fear of treachery prevail.

MEANINGS AND WORDS

Curtailment (noun) – The reduction of expenditures in order to become financially stable

Synonyms – retrenchment, suppression, decrease, diminution, epitome

Antonyms – extension, plethora, updation, enlargement, exhort

Abruptly (adverb) – Without giving notice or without the usual forms

Synonyms – suddenly, briskly, curtly, bluntly, tersely

Antonyms – gradually, lightly, blandly, calmly, affably

Expulsion (noun) – The act of forcing out someone or something

Synonyms – ejection, removal, dismissal, discharge, exile

Antonyms – recruitment, blend, avow, assimilation, integration

Predicament (noun) – A situation from which extrication is difficult especially an unpleasant or trying one

Synonyms – plight, difficulty, dilemma, crisis, mess

Antonyms – ease, luck, boon, agreement, elucidation

Distraught (adjective) – Deeply agitated especially from emotion

Synonyms – overwrought, agitated, worried, disturbed, anxious

Antonyms – calm, gladdened, normal, tranquil, idle

Polarization (noun) – The condition of having

Synonyms – bias, arguing, hostility, variance, repelling

Antonyms – reunion, convergence, confluence, concourse

Coherent (adjective) – Capable of thinking and expressing yourself in a clear and consistent manner

Synonyms – consistent, lucid, clear, orderly, perspicuous

Antonyms – irrational, incoherent,

Abject (adjective) – Most unfortunate or miserable

Synonyms – miserable, wretched, despicable, contemptible, scummy

Antonyms – noble, exalted, worthy, magnificent, excellent

Goon (noun) – An aggressive and violent young criminal

Synonyms – hoodlum, thug, punk, lummox, toughie

Antonyms – wizard, ace, thinker, genius, virtuoso

Vilification (noun) – Slanderous defamation

Synonyms – smear, libel, slander, revilement, obloquy

Antonyms – blessing, acclaim, flattery, eulogy, applause

Assertions (noun) – A declaration that is made emphatically

Synonyms – affirmations, declaration, contentions, theses

Antonyms – applesauce, denials

Emulated (verb) – Strive to equal or match especially by imitating

Synonyms – imitate, mimic, echo, ape, mime

Antonyms – neglect, spurn, disregard, dispossess, affront

Eclipsed (verb) – Be greater in significance than

Synonyms – overshadow, surpass, outdo, beat, trump

Antonyms – reveal, accretion, explain, addendum, increase

Bode (verb) – Indicate by signs

Synonyms – augur, portend, presage, betoken, foretell

Antonyms – unforeseen, approachable, genial, assail

Treachery (noun) – Violation of allegiance or of faith and confidence

Synonyms – betrayal, perfidy, treason, deceit, disloyalty

Antonyms – honesty, devotion, allegiance, fidelity, bluntness