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THE HINDU Editorial Vocabulary - August 8, 2018 - Topic 1

M. Karunanidhi, 94: the end of an era
The life story of Muthuvel Karunanidhi is also a history of Tamil Nadu politics. A five-time Chief Minister, and the longest serving legislator, winning 13 terms in the Assembly and not losing even once, Karunanidhi was the engineer of many of the progressive measures adopted by the State since Independence. As the leader of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an offshoot of the rationalist social reform movement, the Dravidar Kazhagam, he was an influential figure at both State and national levels, whether in or out of power. 

He excelled as both administrator and organiser, adopting different styles, but always displaying a clinical efficiency while interacting with bureaucrats and party workers. Although his administrative acumen was often contrasted with the welfarism of his political rival, M.G. Ramachandran, Karunanidhi was not beyond the draw of populism. Extending the Public Distribution System and increasing food subsidies were coupled with efforts at generating employment and encouraging industrial investment. Towards the latter part of his political career, he emulated his political opponents, MGR and Jayalalithaa, in handing out freebies indiscriminately to every household, rich or poor. He was a crusader for federalism, often standing up to the Centre for the State’s rights. He was one of the foremost opponents of the Emergency. In 1976 and 1991, his governments were dismissed by the Centre, the first time citing corruption charges, and the second time citing support to the terror outfit, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
In his home State, he ran the DMK with an iron hand; at the same time, he provided some space for the second rung, even indulging the odd dissenter now and then, as long as there was no threat to his leadership. District secretaries and ministers had a long reign under him. His longevity permitted him the leeway to promote his immediate family members to positions of power within the party and the government. His designated successor, his younger son M.K. Stalin, had to work his way up the party ladder — from ordinary worker and youth wing leader before being accommodated in the top rungs of the party and government. But elder son M.K. Alagiri and grand-nephew Dayanidhi Maran were rewarded with Cabinet berths in their very first terms in the Lok Sabha. Karunanidhi will be remembered for being an astute politician, one with a quick wit and ready repartee; an able administrator with an uncanny eye for detail and a keen sense of the occasion; and as an elder statesman who could take the long-term view of events and issues. He straddled different generations and contrasting worlds with a reflexive ease. With his passing, less than two years after his rival Jayalalithaa succumbed to illness, Tamil Nadu is staring at a huge political void, one that that will be very hard to fill.

Progressive: happening or developing gradually or in stages
Example: A progressive decline in popularity
Synonyms: continuing, continuous, increasing, growing, developing, ongoing

Efficiency: the state or quality of being efficient.
Example: Greater energy efficiency
Synonyms: organization, order, orderliness, regulation, coherence

Efforts: a vigorous or determined attempt.
Example: Hammer birdhouses to country fenceposts in an effort to bring back the eastern bluebird
Synonyms: attempt, try, endeavor, crack, shot, stab, essay

Emulate: match or surpass a person or achievement, typically by imitation.
Example: Lesser men trying to emulate his greatness
Synonyms: imitate, copy, mirror, echo, follow, model oneself on, match, equal

Crusader: a fighter in the medieval Crusades.
Example: Participation in the Crusade was said to have great spiritual value for the individual crusader
Synonyms: campaigner, fighter, champion, advocate, reformer

Indulging: allow oneself to enjoy the pleasure of.
Example: We indulged in some hot fudge sundaes
Synonyms: wallow in, give oneself up to, give way to, yield to, abandon oneself to

Leeway: the amount of freedom to move or act that is available.
Example: The government had several months' leeway to introduce reforms
Synonyms: freedom, scope, latitude, space, room, liberty, flexibility, license

Statesman: a skilled, experienced, and respected political leader or figure.
Example: He called for more effort on the part of all statesmen, politicians and church leaders to resolve the schism in the Orthodox church.
Synonyms: senior politician, elder statesman, political leader

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