Daily Vocabulary Dose by SSCtube (15-02-2018)
Start learning most frequently asked words in SSC Exams through Daily Vocabulary Dose provided by SSCtube.
A smile is often an indication of pleasantness. A laugh is often an expression of approval. But a cackle is many things. It is instinctive, impulsive, and hard to hold back. It speaks of an abandonment of reserve. At its very core, a cackle is the sound of freedom. When the source of the cackle is a woman, it rings of many uncomfortable truths in a conservative society.
This is why MP Renuka Chowdhury’s cackle, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in Parliament last week, made headlines. When Mr. Modi mentioned, during his speech in the Rajya Sabha, that the idea of Aadhaar was first mooted by L.K. Advani, Ms. Chowdhury guffawed. Mr. Modi picked on this, paused his speech, and suggested she sounded like a demoness from the Ramayana.
The discomfort and the national debate around this laugh are telling. A cackling woman is a dangerous thing. Look at any public place. It’s rare to see a woman laughing. When a girl laughs, she’s advised — at home or in school — to do it noiselessly, and to politely cover her mouth. Mirth isn’t womanly, it speaks of a certain recklessness, an inability to rein yourself in. For, if a woman does not even have the will power to stifle a laugh, the logic goes, think of all the other, larger pleasures she is unlikely to say no to.
In our society, even in the relatively progressive urban parts of the country, a woman is judged entirely by how much control she can exert over herself. A “well-brought-up” girl is one who’s visible, not audible. Her opinions aren’t important. Her laughter implies trouble.
Enter, the cackle. It’s laughter on steroids. Loud, and often dismissive of the statement that provokes it, the cackle carries all the negative qualities of laughing in public with the addition of a sense of superiority. It highlights a perceived ignorance in the speaker. The cackle is the Meryl Streep of the smile — it singes, without any apparent effort.
It is, particularly, the dismissiveness of this gesture that riled the Prime Minister. But in using that to equate Ms. Chowdhury to a demoness, Mr. Modi endorsed exactly the kind of patriarchy that has brought us to the place where it is inappropriate for a woman to laugh.
Public discourse criticising Ms. Chowdhury has largely focussed on the decorum that is required in a House of Parliament. But, as decades of TV news has showed us, parliamentary behaviour is not always concerned about decorum. Microphones are broken and chairs are flung often enough.
If anything, Ms. Chowdhury’s cackle must be seen by women as an inspiration and an indicator of freedom of expression and the right to happiness.
- Instinctive: doing or being a specified thing apparently naturally or automatically. स्वाभाविक
Synonyms: intuitive, natural, inborn
Antonyms: acquired, extrinsic, learned
He was an instinctive cook.
- Abandonment: the action or fact of abandoning or being abandoned. परित्याग
Synonyms: desertion, neglect, stranding
She had a feeling of utter abandonment and loneliness.
- Guffawed: laugh loudly and heartily. ज़ोर से हंसे
Synonyms: roar with laughter, laugh uncontrollably
Antonyms: sad, unhappy
Both men guffawed at the remark.
- Recklessness: lack of regard for the danger or consequences of one’s actions; rashness. लापरवाही
Synonyms: disregard, carelessness
To fire a loaded shotgun was an act of utmost recklessness.
- Exert: apply or bring to bear (a force, influence, or quality). खींचना
Synonyms: apply, exercise, employ
Antonyms: relax, conceal, hide
The moon exerts a force on the Earth.
- Dismissive: feeling or showing that something is unworthy of consideration. खारिज
Synonyms: contemptuous, disdainful, scornful
Antonyms: admiring, interested
The monetarist theory is dismissive of the need to control local spending.
- Provoke: stimulate or give rise to (a reaction or emotion, typically a strong or unwelcome one) in someone. भड़काना
Synonyms: arouse, produce, cause
Antonyms: allay, deter
The decision provoked a storm of protest from civil rights organizations.
- Apparent: clearly visible or understood; obvious. स्पष्ट
Synonyms: evident, obvious, clear
Antonyms: unclear, obscure
For no apparent reason she laughed.
- Decorum: behaviour in keeping with good taste and propriety. शिष्टाचार
Synonyms: propriety, decency, appropriateness
Antonyms: casually, impropriety
He had acted with the utmost decorum.
- Flung: throw or hurl forcefully. मजबूती से फेंकना
Synonyms: throw, toss, sling
Antonyms: hold, keep, receive
He picked up the debris and flung it away.