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English Questions: Vocabulary Set 323

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The Hindu : The Sedition Debate

Rulers everywhere tend to treat trenchant criticism as attempts to excite disaffection and disloyalty. That is perhaps the only reason that Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code, enacted under colonial rule, remains on the statute book. There have been repeated instances of its misuse. Regimes at the Centre and the States have often been shown in poor light after they invoked the section against activists, detractors, writers and even cartoonists. Since Independence, many have seen the irony of retaining a provision that was used extensively to suppress the freedom struggle. Despite all this, Section 124-A has tenaciously survived all attempts by successive generations to reconsider it, if not repeal it altogether. The Law Commission, for the third time in five decades, is now in the process of revisiting the section. Its consultation paper calls for a thorough reconsideration and presents the various issues related to it before the public for a national debate. In particular, it has raised the pertinent question: how far is it justified for India to retain an offence introduced by the British to suppress the freedom struggle, when Britain itself abolished it 10 years ago? In an earlier report in 1968, the Law Commission had rejected the idea of repealing the section. In 1971, the panel wanted the scope of the section to be expanded to cover the Constitution, the legislature and the judiciary, in addition to the government to be established by law, as institutions against which ‘disaffection’ should not be tolerated. The only dilution  it mooted was to modify the wide gap between the two jail terms prescribed in the section (either three years or life) and fix the maximum sanction at seven years’ rigorous imprisonment with fine. The foremost objection to the provision on sedition is that its definition remains too wide. ‘Overbroad’ definitions typically cover both what is innocuous and what is harmful. Under the present law, strong criticism against government policies and personalities, slogans voicing disapprobation of leaders and stinging depictions of an unresponsive or insensitive regime are all likely to be treated as ‘seditious’, and not merely those that overtly threaten public order or constitute actual incitement to violence.

1. Trenchant ( Adjective ) : कटु

Meaning : vigorous or incisive in expression or style

Synonym : dynamic , sardonic , intense , effectual

Antonym : bland , gentle , weak

Usage : It was one of his most trenchant utterances, full of fancy, wit, eloquence and elevated thought.
The work consists of brief, vigorous and trenchant delineations of moral types, which contain a most valuable picture of the life of his time.

2. Detractors ( Noun ) : आलोचक

Meaning : a person who disparages someone or something

Synonym : critic , defamer

Antonym : promoter , supporter

Usage : His detractors claim that his fierce temper makes him unsuitable for party leadership.

3. Extensively ( Adverb ) : बड़े पैमाने पर

Meaning : in a way that covers or affects a large area

Synonym : broadly , largely

Antonym : slightly , negligibly

Usage : The interior has recently been extensively restored.

4. Tenaciously ( Adverb ) : मजबूती से पकड़े हुए

Meaning : with a firm hold of something

Synonym : firmly , obdurately

Antonym : graciously , obediently

Usage : In spite of his illness, he clung tenaciously to his job.

5. Pertinent ( Adjective ) : उचित

Meaning : relevant or applicable to a particular matter

Synonym : relevant , suitable , related

Antonym : improper , irrelevant , unsuitable

Usage : After he returned my phone, he wrote down all our names and pertinent information.

6. Dilution ( Noun ) : पतला करने की क्रिया

Meaning : the action of making something weaker in force, content, or value

Synonym : infusion , mixture , solution

Antonym : increase , rise

Usage : This is a serious dilution of their election promises

7. Mooted ( Verb ) : विवादास्पद

Meaning : raise (a question or topic) for discussion

Synonym : announce , offer , recommend

Antonym : conceal , refuse , withhold

Usage : His name was mooted as a possible successor.
The scheme was first mooted two years ago.

8. Rigorous ( Adjective ) : कठिन

Meaning : extremely thorough and careful

Synonym : brutal , stringent , rugged , inflexible

Antonym : careless , easy , false

Usage : The arms trade should be subject to rigorous controls.
The soldiers were not yet seasoned to the rigorous climate.

9. Foremost ( Adjective ) : सबसे महत्वपूर्ण

Meaning : most prominent in rank, importance, or position

Synonym : front , head , paramount , prime

Antonym : inferior , least , unimportant

Usage : This is one of the country’s foremost arts centres.
Economic concerns are foremost on many voters’ minds.

10. Innocuous ( Adjective ) : अहानिकर

Meaning : not harmful or offensive

Synonym : banal , weak , inoffensive

Antonym : delicious , bad , harmful

Usage : It seemed a perfectly innocuous remark.
The interviewer only asked boring, innocuous questions.

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