Section – IV : English Language
Read the following passages carefully and answer the questions below them. Certain words/phrases have been printed in bold to help you them while answering some of the questions:
The ordinary Indian soldier is a much-maligned fellow trapped in a thankless job. Generally belonging to the poorer, marginalised sections of the society, the primary reasons for his joining the armed forces are economic in nature. Typically, he has been brought up in a milieu which is mildly communal, vaguely patriotic, faintly democratic but still perceptibly humane. His experience in “troubled areas” quickly washes off the rudiments of ‘mera Bharat mahaan’ (India is great) from his persona – being part of an institution which is made to do the State’s dirty work makes him realise that the hands of the State are so blood-stained that all the perfumes of Arabia cannot clean them. The deeply chauvinistic discourse built in and around the armed forces is in direct contradiction with these personal experiences, creating a surplus neurosis which exhibits itself every now and then through the violent assertion of nationalism, alternating with an equally intense assertion of humanism on other occasions. As a consequence of the experience in troubled areas, the original patriotism in him is replaced by a feeling of solidarity and brotherhood for his fellow soldiers who like him are instruments and victims in equal measure. Loyalty to this band of brothers becomes the new nationalism and love for it becomes the new patriotism.
Faced with a mass uprising like the one in Kashmir, nothing equips these soldiers to deal with the situation humanely; their primary concern, other than following state orders, being the security and wellbeing of their unit in particular, and the armed forces in general. The State recognizes this. An overwhelming majority of the soldiers have had no previous experience of living in a setting in which Hinduism is not the dominant religious discourse. So many loudspeakers blaring from so many mosques on all sides, beards and burqas galore, a million symbols of a religion they are taught to tolerate, not let dominate, rubs their mild communalism the wrong way. The State recognises this. The realisation that a language, a culture and a society, about which they were schooled is an integral part of India, has nothing Indian about it, is bound to not only violate their vague patriotism, but also to produce a surge of alienation in the soldiers. The State recognises this. Coming from marginalised communities and classes, these soldiers have never had any measure of control over their immediate surroundings before being posted to the “disturbed areas”. Thirsting for some power and control, the soldiers are tempted by the combined seductive powers of the guns and the impunity. The othering of the entire native community as the enemy lures them into the abuse of their newly-found power. Killing natives in fake encounters for monetary and other benefits is one of the visible outcomes of the way this structure works, but there are a million other outcomes which are hidden under rhetoric and deceit. The State recognises this.
Over this base of emotions and feelings, the State builds the superstructure of its command and control. The probable instructions given to the soldiers, oftrepeated in the media these days by ministers, bureaucrats, politicians and high-ranking officers of the armed forces, are to “exercise maximum restraint in crowd control”. These instructions can be broken up into three laws mirroring Asimov’s Laws of Robotics, because each latter law is subject to the preceding law(s):
(1) Control the crowd. (2) Ensure the security of self and fellow soldiers. (3) Exercise restraint.
When applied to soldiers who are human, subject to the emotions and sentiments described above (which emotions and sentiments, we should remember, are a product of the manner in which the State employs, in every sense of the word, these soldiers) these laws become even more dangerous because in addition to the structured instructions from the State, the unstructured emotions and sentiments of the soldiers, again a construction of the State, also come into play.
For example, notice that the provision of self-defence is wedged between crowd control and exercise of restraint, subject to the former but having precedence over the latter. The soldiers have instructions to control the crowd at any cost possible, even if that means putting their own lives in jeopardy. If and when the confrontation with angry protestors, who are seething with indignation at the injustices committed against them and brimming with selfrighteousness because of the moral superiority of their demand for their basic human rights, puts the life of the soldiers in peril, they will obviously (and in line with the policies of the State, courtesy the second law above) fire in self-defence to protect themselves and their fellow soldiers. But can we ignore the fact that this need for self-defence is necessitated in the first place by the State’s refusal to acknowledge demands of the people and its insistence on using the hapless soldiers to confront the crowds? The State therefore becomes doubly culpable for the actions of its soldiers.
The struggle in Kashmir is a people’s movement. This gives it legitimacy. All the attempts by the State to portray it as a planned, funded and organised monstrosity,when the State itself fits that description; and the inverse attempts to prove the State to be individual, emotional and human, when the Kashmiris are all those things, are just a perverse endeavour to usurp the legitimacy which belongs to the Kashmiri people. Unable to come out of the colonial legacy it has inherited, of giving precedence to territory over people, the best the Indian state can do is to be cunning enough to use the marginalised and the poor from one part of the Empire, whose energies would otherwise be spent in fighting the same oppressive, hegemonic State structures of which they are the soldiers, to control another part of the Empire, where the natives are demanding azadi and spending their energies fighting the soldiers.
1. What is the tone of the author?
2. According to the passage, which of the following is incorrect?
- The soldiers develop a feeling on animosity towards each other.
- The soldiers lose their original nationalism and it gets replaced by loyalty towards their fellow soldiers.
- The soldiers usually belong to the marginalized sections of the society.
- The condition and situation of the soldiers is known to the State.
- None of these
3. Which of the following statements cannot be inferred from the passage?
- The soldiers are controlled by the State.
- The state exploits the soldiers to serve its own purpose.
- The soldiers easily get accustomed to the new environment that exists in the disturbed areas.
- The State is responsible for the actions of its soldiers.
- None of these
4. . Which of the following cannot be inferred from the passage?
- The State gives more importance to the territory rather than the citizens.
- State portrays the struggle and riots in Kashmir to be planned and organized by the violent and unhealthy elements of the society.
- The soldiers are reasonable enough in fighting against the citizens of Kashmir.
- The citizens of Kashmir are humane.
- None of these
5. What does the author intend to convey by the repeated use of the statement “The State recognizes this”?
- The State has a good vision.
- The State is familiar to the problems of its citizens.
- The State can very well realize its duty towards its soldiers.
- Despite knowing the exact mental state of its soldiers , the State exploits it.
- None of these
Choose the word/group of words, which is most similar in meaning to the words, printed in bold as used in the passage.
Choose the word/group of words which is most opposite in meaning of the word/ group of words printed in bold as used in the passage.
1. 4 The tone of the author is analytical.
2. 1 Option (1) is incorrect. According to the passage, the soldiers develop a feeling of brotherhood towards other soldiers. Refer to the lines “As a consequence of the experience…feeling of solidarity and brotherhood for his fellow soldiers …” Option (2) can be inferred from the line “Loyalty to this band of brothers becomes the new nationalism and love for it becomes the new patriotism.” Option (3) is also correct. Refer to the second sentence of the passage. “Generally belonging to the poorer, marginalized sections of the society…” Option (4) can be inferred from the first two sentences of the second paragraph.
3. 3 Option (3) cannot be inferred from the passage. Refer to the second paragraph of the passage. The phrase “a surge of alienation in the soldiers” suggests that the soldiers do not easily get accustomed to the new environment.
4. 4 Options (1) and (2) are explicitly mentioned in the passage. Refer to the lines “…giving precedence to territory over people…” and “All attempts by the state to portray it as a planned…” Option 3 can be inferred from the last paragraph of the passage. Option (4) has neither been mentioned nor implied in the passage.
5. 4 The phrase “The state recognize this” means that the State exactly knows what the soldiers are going through but instead of helping them and supporting them the State takes advantage of the situation to achieve its own purpose.
6. 1 “Humane” means kind or gentle.
7. 4 “Blare” means declare.
8. 4 “Indignation” means anger caused by something that is unfair or wrong. So, its antonym is pleasure.
9. 3 “Hapless” means very unfortunate. So, its antonym is lucky.
10. 2 “Perverse” means wrong or different in a way that others feel is strange or offensive. So, its antonym is uncorrupted or pure.