Section – IV : English Language
Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words/phrases have been given in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.
If there’s one thing practically all futurologists once agreed on, it’s that in the 21st century there would be a lot less work. What would they have thought, if they had known that in 2012, the 9-5 working day had in the UK become something more like 7am to 7pm? They would surely have looked around and seen technology take over in many professions which previously needed heavy manpower, they would have looked at the increase in automation and mass production, and wondered – why are they spending 12 hours a day on menial tasks?
It’s a question which isn’t adequately answered either by the right or by the official left. Conservatives have always loved to pontificate about the moral virtue of hard work and much of the left, focusing on the terrible effects of mass unemployment, understandably gives “more jobs” as its main solution to the crisis. Previous generations would have found this hopelessly disappointing.
In almost all cases, utopians, socialists and other futurologists believed that work would come near to being abolished for one reason above all – we could let the machines do it. Oscar Wilde, in his 1891 essay “The Soul of Man Under Socialism”, scorns the “nonsense that is written and talked today about the dignity of manual labor”, and insists “man is made for something better than distributing dirt. All work of that kind should be done by a machine”. He makes quite clear what he means: “Machinery must work for us in coal mines, and do all sanitary services, and be the stoker of steamers, and clean the streets, and run messages on wet days, and do anything that is tedious or distressing”.
Wilde would have been horrified if he’d realized that only 20 years later manual work itself would become an ideology in itself with Labor and Communist parties dedicating themselves to its glorification rather than abolition.
Here too, though, the idea was that this would eventually be superseded. After the Russian revolution, one of the great advocates of the cult of work was Aleksei Gastev, a former metalworker and trade union leader who became a poet, publishing anthologies with titles like “Poetry of the Factory Floor”. He became the USSR’s leading enthusiast for Taylorism, the American management technique usually criticized by the left for reducing the worker to a mere cog in a machine. When asked about this in 1926 by the German leftist Ernst Toller, Gastev replied: “We hope by our discoveries to arrive at a stage when a worker who formerly worked eight hours on a particular job will only have to work two or three”.
American industrial theorists, strangely enough, seemed to share the socialists’ view. The designer, engineer and polymath Buckminster Fuller declared that the “industrial equation”, i.e. the fact technology enables mankind to do “more with less”, would soon eliminate the very notion of labor altogether. In 1963, he wrote: “Within a century, the word ‘worker’ will have no current meaning. It will be something you will have to look up in an early 20th-century dictionary”. If that became true over the past 10 years, it was only in the “we are all middle class now” sense of New Labor – not in the sense of actually eliminating menial work, or the divide between workers and owners. Yet the utopian vision of the elimination of industrial labor has in many ways come to pass. Over the past decade Sheffield steelworks produced more steel than ever before, with a tiny fraction of their former workforce; and the container ports of Avonmouth, Tilbury and Southampton got rid of most of the dockers, but not the tonnage.
The result was not that dockers or steelworkers were free to, as Marx once put it, “hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon and criticize after dinner”. Instead, they were subjected to shame, poverty, and the endless worry over finding another job, which, if it arrived, might be insecure, poorly paid, ununionized work in the service industry. In the current era of casualisation, that’s practically the norm, so the idea of skilled, secure labor and pride in work doesn’t seem quite so awful. Nonetheless, the workers’ movement was once dedicated to the eventual abolition of menial, tedious, grinding work. We have the machines to make that a reality today – but none of the will.
Choose the word/group of words which is most similar in meaning to the word given in bold as used in the passage.
Which of the phrases (1), (2), (3) and (4) given below each statement should be placed in the blank space provided so as to make a meaningful and grammatically correct sentence? If none of the sentence is appropriate, mark (5) i.e. ‘None of the above’ as the answer.
6. Citing the growing trend of health consciousness, Britannia launched the new digestive range of biscuits, ________.
- hoping that the world becomes a healthy place to live in
- hoping to cash in on this trend and make some profits
- firmly believing that it was the first in the market to do so
- thus exiting the general trend of fattening Britannia cookies
- None of these
7. The residents of the society were gravely worried about the muddy drinking water they received, ________.
- and drafted a written complaint to the Mayor’s office
- but stopped worrying about it
- thus making their farms unsuitable for cultivation
- and hence hoped for monsoon to arrive sooner
- None of these
8. The President has a very tight schedule, but rarely _____.
- follows it.
- makes trips to his daughter’s school
- fails to keep it
- drinks alcohol
- None of these
9. Sony Xperia P has been a great success, _____.
- but it didn’t sell well
- and hopefully will go down well with the public
- becomes the greatest mobile phone it has launched yet
- primarily owing to its brilliant camera, and wonderful sleek touch features
- None of these
10. For a change start helping others, rather than donating money for selfish reasons _____.
- and that will be the greatest gift to God.
- but be careful of strangers.
- because donations are never truly appreciated.
- and ask for help from others, if it is fine with them.
- None of these
1. 2 ‘Wonder’ means to have interest in knowing or learning something; to think about something with curiosity. Its synonym is ‘ponder’.
2. 1 The word similar in meaning to ‘abolition’ is ‘abrogation’, which means to abolish by authoritative action.
3. 4 The word similar in meaning to ‘horrified’ is ‘scared’
4. 1 The word similar in meaning to ‘hunt’ is ‘pursue’.
5. 2 The word similar in meaning to ‘tedious’ is ‘tiresome’.
6. 2 The sentence clearly states that Britannia has launched the biscuits after viewing the current trend, thus indicating a business interest. No hints are dropped regarding its market situation, the kind of cookies it made earlier or whether it believed it was the first in the market or not.
7. 1 Since the drinking water is muddy and the residents are worried about the situation, the best option to fill in the blank is that the residents wrote a written complaint to the Mayor’s office.
8. 4 The sentence hints at highlighting the positives of the President. So, option (3) is the clear choice.
9. 3 Option (1) clearly contradicts the claim made in the question. Option (2) is not correct since it has been a success only after a public launch. Option (3) makes the sentence grammatically incorrect. Option (4) is the correct answer since it states the reasons for the camera being a success.
10. 1 The tone of the sentence suggests that the speaker is preaching that one shouldn’t indulge in deceptive practices, rather genuinely help people. Only option (1) follows this line of thought.