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Language matters: on Amit Shah’s ‘termite’ remark

The BJP should give up its shrill rhetoric on immigration and the NRC
The process of filing claims and objections by persons left out of the draft National Register of Citizens in Assam began on Tuesday, in an atmosphere (माहौल/वातावरण) fraught(भरा हुआ) with uncertainty(अनिश्चितता) about the documentation (दस्तावेज़ीकरण/प्रमाणों का प्रयोग) needed and possible recourse(सहारा/आश्रय) for those who may ultimately(अंत में/फलस्वरूप) not clear the final list. In the draft published on July 30, as many as 40 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants found their names missing. It is vital(महत्वपूर्ण/जीवनप्रद) that the state do all it can to create an enabling environment to assist(सहायता करना) people grappling with paperwork and bureaucracy(नौकरशाही/अधिकारी-वर्ग) to assert(दावा करना/जोर) their claim to being legitimate(वैध/कानूनी) citizens of India. It is equally important that the government, in Assam and at the Centre, think the future through humanely and practically in regard to those who may remain off the final list. These persons will have many levels of appeal as next resort — but India needs to officially give the assurance that it will not condemn(निंदा करना/अपराधी ठहराना) undocumented(अनियंत्रित) immigrants(आप्रवासियों), who lack(कमी) wherewithal and are the most unfortunate(दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण) victims(पीड़ितों) of poverty(निर्धनता/अभाव) and South Asia’s complicated history, to their own devices. This empathy(सहानुभूति/हमदर्दी) is in keeping with India’s tradition of giving refuge to those who have nowhere to go. It is disturbing that instead, even as the finalisation(अंतिम रूप देना) of the NRC is on, the register is becoming a pretext for political outreach based onxenophobia(विदेशी लोगों को न पसन्द करना) and demographic messaging. Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is also in power in Assam, are freely recommending NRCs across India, and using the process in Assam to create new fault lines.

This weekend, at a public meeting in Delhi, the BJP president, Amit Shah, rallied the crowd by referring to infiltrators(घुसपैठियों) allegedly(कथित तौर पर) in the country, claiming they were eating away at India’s future. The comparison(तुलना/मिलान) he made for this eating away from within was with “deemak” (Hindi for termites). Mr. Shah has, of late, dwelt many times on the need to identify illegal immigrants in the country, whose numbers he says are in crores. This has already drawn a response from Bangladesh, with Minister of Information Hasanul Haq Inu calling Mr. Shah’s comments “unwanted”, and also reiterating(दोहराया) Bangladesh’s position that the NRC exercise is India’s internal matter. Mr. Inu has also referred to Delhi’s own communication, including from Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, that the NRC process is India’s internal issue. Beyond the data and diplomacy(कूटनीति/व्यवहार कौशल) angles, there must be concern(चिंता/मामला)about the language being employed. Analogies(समानता/उपमा) to pests that attack a society from within are the staple of dangerous polarising(ध्रुवीकरण/फूट डालना) rhetoric(बयानबाजी). The use of the NRC in electoral rhetoric is even more dangerous. Regrettably, the BJP seems determined(निर्धारित) to proceed with such mobilization(संग्रहण/गतिमान करना), knowing full well the damage it will cause to Indian society


Important Vocabulary

1.Fraught(भरा हुआ) 
Synonyms: charged, filled, replete, abounding, attended
Antonyms: empty

2.Assert(दावा करना/जोर)
Synonyms: affirm, allege, argue, cite, claim
Antonyms: abandon, conceal, deny, desert, hide

3.Condemn(निंदा करना/अपराधी ठहराना
Synonyms: castigate, censure, chide, criticize, decry
Antonyms: approve, compliment, laud, praise, build up

Synonyms: affinity, appreciation, compassion, insight, pity
Antonyms: disdain, hatred, indifference, mercilessness, disagreement

Synonyms: penetrate, permeate, pervade, access, crack

6.polarizing(ध्रुवीकरण/फूट डालना)
Synonyms: part, separate, demarcate, isolate, partition
Antonyms: combine, connect, join, repair, merge

Synonyms: bankruptcy, debt, deficit, difficulty, famine
Antonyms: abundance, ease, enough, excess, plenty

Synonyms: remedy, aid, appeal, choice, expediency
Antonyms: blockage, hindrance, injury, obstruction, permanent




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