The Hindu Editorial With Vocabulary ( 24 Nov 2017 ) : Politics and Padmavati

The Hindu Editorial With Vocabulary,

  • Given the violence and the threats, it is perhaps not surprising that the producers of Padmavati have decided to ‘voluntarily’ defer its release. But irrespective of how this changed timetable plays out, the conduct of politicians over the past few days has been cynical and deeply unmindful of the rule of law. In February 1989, days after Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran had issued a fatwa against him for his novel The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie published an open letter to Rajiv Gandhi, then Prime Minister.
  • He reminded the Prime Minister that his book had already been banned in India in October 1988, under the Customs Act, and that while issuing the curb on its import the Finance Ministry clarified that the “ban did not detract from the literary and artistic merit of Rushdie’s work”. “Thanks for the good review,” wrote Rushdie, adding that it appeared “as if your Government has become unable or unwilling to resist pressure from more or less any extremist religious grouping”. It is worth recalling that letter, as it provides a benchmark to map the race to the bottom in the current row over Padmavati. Today, as a number of Chief Ministers across north India rail against the film and threaten to disallow its screening without requisite cuts, there is no longer even that perfunctory clarification that their action has nothing to do with the artistic merit of the film. And it is no longer the case that the governments are unwilling to resist pressure from extremist groups such as the Karni Sena. Chief Ministers now are actually rallying opinion against the film to whip up caste and religious anxieties.
  • Yogi Adityanath of Uttar Pradesh has forged an absurd equivalence between “those giving death threats” and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the film’s director, for “hurting public sentiments”. Vijay Rupani in Gujarat has taken a cue from Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Madhya Pradesh and called for a ban. This is in complete disregard of the Supreme Court judgment in S. Rangarajan v. P. Jagjivan Ram that the state cannot cite concerns about a “hostile audience” in curbing freedom of expression. Vasundhara Raje of Rajasthan, in fact, has argued that the “censor board” must go beyond just certifying a film, and should be mindful of the possible results after its release. And Amarinder Singh in Punjab has said he opposes a ban but “cinematic licence” cannot extend to twisting “historical facts”. The fact that these open appeals against cinematic expression are going mostly unchallenged across the political spectrum carries dark forebodings. The issue here is no longer Padmavati, its artistic merit or the factuality or otherwise of multiple retellings of the narrative. What is of real concern is the spectacle of state functionaries ignoring their constitutional responsibility in upholding free expression, and placing themselves alongside those out to intimidate, and release sectarian furies.

Vocabulary

Perhaps: used to express uncertainty or possibility.

Example: Perhaps I should have been frank with him

Synonyms: maybe, for all one knows, it could be, it may be

Irrespective: not taking something into account; regardless of.

Example: Child benefit is paid irrespective of income levels

Synonyms: regardless of, without regard to/for, notwithstanding

Cynical: believing that people are motivated by self-interest; distrustful of human sincerity or integrity.

Example: Her cynical attitude

Unmindful: not conscious or aware.

Example: Danielle seemed unmindful of her parents’ plight

Fatwa: a ruling on a point of Islamic law given by a recognized authority.

Example: They should intervene with fatwas or rulings when legislation arises that affects Islamic issues.

Curb: a check or restraint on something.

Example: Curbs on the powers of labor unions

Synonyms: restraint, restriction, check, brake, rein

Detract: reduce or take away the worth or value of.

Example: These quibbles in no way detract from her achievement

Synonyms: belittle, take away from, diminish, reduce, lessen

Given the violence and the threats, it is perhaps not surprising that the producers of Padmavati have decided to ‘voluntarily’ defer its release. But irrespective of how this changed timetable plays out, the conduct of politicians over the past few days has been cynical and deeply unmindful of the rule of law. In February 1989, days after Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran had issued a fatwa against him for his novel The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie published an open letter to Rajiv Gandhi, then Prime Minister.

He reminded the Prime Minister that his book had already been banned in India in October 1988, under the Customs Act, and that while issuing the curb on its import the Finance Ministry clarified that the “ban did not detract from the literary and artistic merit of Rushdie’s work”. “Thanks for the good review,” wrote Rushdie, adding that it appeared “as if your Government has become unable or unwilling to resist pressure from more or less any extremist religious grouping”. It is worth recalling that letter, as it provides a benchmark to map the race to the bottom in the current row over Padmavati. Today, as a number of Chief Ministers across north India rail against the film and threaten to disallow its screening without requisite cuts, there is no longer even that perfunctory clarification that their action has nothing to do with the artistic merit of the film. And it is no longer the case that the governments are unwilling to resist pressure from extremist groups such as the Karni Sena. Chief Ministers now are actually rallying opinion against the film to whip up caste and religious anxieties.

Yogi Adityanath of Uttar Pradesh has forged an absurd equivalence between “those giving death threats” and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the film’s director, for “hurting public sentiments”. Vijay Rupani in Gujarat has taken a cue from Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Madhya Pradesh and called for a ban. This is in complete disregard of the Supreme Court judgment in S. Rangarajan v. P. Jagjivan Ram that the state cannot cite concerns about a “hostile audience” in curbing freedom of expression. Vasundhara Raje of Rajasthan, in fact, has argued that the “censor board” must go beyond just certifying a film, and should be mindful of the possible results after its release. And Amarinder Singh in Punjab has said he opposes a ban but “cinematic licence” cannot extend to twisting “historical facts”. The fact that these open appeals against cinematic expression are going mostly unchallenged across the political spectrum carries dark forebodings. The issue here is no longer Padmavati, its artistic merit or the factuality or otherwise of multiple retellings of the narrative. What is of real concern is the spectacle of state functionaries ignoring their constitutional responsibility in upholding free expression, and placing themselves alongside those out to intimidate, and release sectarian furies.

Vocabulary:

Perhaps: used to express uncertainty or possibility.
Example: Perhaps I should have been frank with him
Synonyms: maybe, for all one knows, it could be, it may be

Irrespective: not taking something into account; regardless of.
Example: Child benefit is paid irrespective of income levels
Synonyms: regardless of, without regard to/for, notwithstanding

Cynical: believing that people are motivated by self-interest; distrustful of human sincerity or integrity.
Example: Her cynical attitude

Unmindful: not conscious or aware.
Example: Danielle seemed unmindful of her parents’ plight

Fatwa: a ruling on a point of Islamic law given by a recognized authority.
Example: They should intervene with fatwas or rulings when legislation arises that affects Islamic issues.

Curb: a check or restraint on something.
Example: Curbs on the powers of labor unions
Synonyms: restraint, restriction, check, brake, rein

Detract: reduce or take away the worth or value of.
Example: These quibbles in no way detract from her achievement
Synonyms: belittle, take away from, diminish, reduce, lessen

Resist: withstand the action or effect of.
Example: Antibodies help us to resist infection
Synonyms: withstand, be proof against, combat, weather

Disallow: refuse to declare valiExample: The judge disallowed his evidence
Synonyms: reject, refuse, dismiss, say no to, ban, bar, block, debar

Requisite: made necessary by particular circumstances or regulations.
Example: The application will not be processed until the requisite fee is paid
Synonyms: necessary, required, prerequisite, essential, indispensable

Absurd: wildly unreasonable, illogical, or inappropriate.
Example: The allegations are patently absurd
Synonyms: preposterous, ridiculous, ludicrous, farcical, laughable

Equivalence: the condition of being equal or equivalent in value, worth, function, etc..
Example: The Court began by setting out the principle of national procedural autonomy, as qualified by the conditions of equivalence and practical possibility.
Synonyms: equality, sameness, interchangeability, comparability

Foreboding: fearful apprehension; a feeling that something bad will happen.
Example: With a sense of foreboding she read the note
Synonyms: apprehension, anxiety, trepidation, disquiet, unease

Intimidate: frighten or overawe someone, especially in order to make them do what one wants.
Example: He tries to intimidate his rivals
Synonyms: frighten, menace, terrify, scare, terrorize, cow, dragoon withstand the action or effect of.
Example: Antibodies help us to resist infection
Synonyms: withstand, be proof against, combat, weather

Disallow: refuse to declare valid.
Example: The judge disallowed his evidence
Synonyms: reject, refuse, dismiss, say no to, ban, bar, block, debar

Requisite: made necessary by particular circumstances or regulations.
Example: The application will not be processed until the requisite fee is paid
Synonyms: necessary, required, prerequisite, essential, indispensable

Absurd: wildly unreasonable, illogical, or inappropriate.
Example: The allegations are patently absurd
Synonyms: preposterous, ridiculous, ludicrous, farcical, laughable

Equivalence: the condition of being equal or equivalent in value, worth, function, etc..
Example: The Court began by setting out the principle of national procedural autonomy, as qualified by the conditions of equivalence and practical possibility.
Synonyms: equality, sameness, interchangeability, comparability

Foreboding: fearful apprehension; a feeling that something bad will happen.
Example: With a sense of foreboding she read the note
Synonyms: apprehension, anxiety, trepidation, disquiet, unease

Intimidate: frighten or overawe someone, especially in order to make them do what one wants.
Example: He tries to intimidate his rivals
Synonyms: frighten, menace, terrify, scare, terrorize, cow, dragoon