Xi unlimited: on Xi Jinping’s presidential term
With the presidential term limit set to go, Xi Jinping’s rise takes China into a new era
The Chinese Communist Party’s proposal to abolish (समाप्त करना) term limits on the presidency, and thereby allow Xi Jinping to stay on in power beyond 2023 when his second term ends, is not completely unexpected. When he was re-elected party chief and President for a second term in October, no one was projected as a potential successor. This was a break with tradition and triggered speculation (अनुमान) about him remaining President beyond the second term. Mr. Xi is arguably the most powerful leader of China since Mao Zedong. At the 19th Party Congress in October, “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” was written into the party charter, setting him apart from his recent predecessors (पूर्वाधिकारी). He does not just control the main pillars of the Chinese state — the party, the government and the military. In 2016, the party accorded him special stature by making him the “Core Leader”. Just as Deng Xiaoping oversaw (निरीक्षण करना) China’s economic rise, Mr. Xi has raised its profile in global geopolitics. He has pursued a more assertive (निश्चयपूर्वक) foreign policy in China’s neighbourhood and launched massive infrastructure programmes across the world as part of the Belt and Road Initiative. But despite the power amassed (संकलित), long-term projects launched and his own apparent (प्रत्यक्ष) ambitions, the constitution was seen as a limit to his stint (सीमा बांधना) in power. With the latest proposal on removing the term limit, which is certain to be endorsed by parliament, Mr. Xi may find greater room for manoeuvre in speeding up the next generation of economic reforms.
The timing of the announcement itself, however, has taken many by surprise. Mr. Xi was about to begin his second term as President next month, and so has five years to introduce the constitutional changes needed. But with a proposal moved to amend the constitution a week ahead of a People’s Congress convention, Mr. Xi has made it clear he does not want to leave anything to chance while consolidating (संघटित करना) his position. At present there is no rival power centre within the Communist Party to challenge Mr. Xi. But the centralisation of so much power in one individual, which is the antithesis (प्रतिपक्ष) of China’s professed commitment to ‘collective leadership’, may well impact the power dynamics, given the succession battles of the past. The party introduced the term limit in the post-Deng era principally to bring in order and stability at a time when China was becoming an economic powerhouse. Two of Mr. Xi’s immediate predecessors stepped down after their second term, having groomed the next generation of leaders, including Mr. Xi. By breaking with this pattern, Mr. Xi risks taking China back to the days of personality cults, internal power struggles and possibly chaotic successions.
- Abolish: to put an end to by formal action
Synonyms: abate, abrogate, annul, avoid, cancel, dissolve, invalidate, negate, null, nullify, quash, repeal, rescind, roll back, strike down, vacate, void
Antonyms: allow, approve, authorize, clear, endorse (also indorse), permit, sanction, warrant, command, decree, mandate, order, prescribe
- Speculation: a risky undertaking
Synonyms: adventure, chance, enterprise, flier (also flyer), gamble, throw, venture
Antonyms: sure thing
- Predecessors: something belonging to an earlier time from which something else was later developed
Synonyms: ancestor, antecedent, archetype, daddy, foregoer, forerunner, granddaddy (also grandaddy), precursor, prototype
Antonyms: descendant (also descendent)
- Oversaw: to look after and make decisions about
Synonyms: administer, administrate, carry on, conduct, control, direct, govern, guide, handle, keep, manage, operate, overlook, preside (over), regulate, run, steward, superintend, supervise, tend
- Assertive: having or showing a bold forcefulness in the pursuit of a goal
Synonyms: aggressive, ambitious, enterprising, fierce, go-getting, high-pressure, in-your-face, militant, pushy, self-asserting, self-assertive
Antonyms: ambitionless, low-pressure, nonassertive, unaggressive, unambitious, unassertive, unenterprising
- Amassed: to bring together in one body or place
Synonyms: accumulate, assemble, bulk (up), collect, concentrate, congregate, corral, garner, gather, group, lump, pick up, round up
Antonyms: dispel, disperse, dissipate, scatter
- Apparent: appearing to be true on the basis of evidence that may or may not be confirmed
Synonyms: assumed, evident, ostensible, presumed, prima facie, putative, reputed, seeming, supposed
Antonyms: actual, authenticated, confirmed, corroborated, established, genuine, real, substantiated, sure, valid, validated, verified
- Stint: Restrict (someone) in the amount of something, especially money, given or permitted.
Synonyms: hitch, tenure, term, tour
- Consolidating: to bring (something) to a central point or under a single control
Synonyms: center, centralize, compact, concenter, concentrate, polarize, unify, unite
Antonyms: decentralize, deconcentrate, spread (out)
- Antithesis: something that is as different as possible from something else
Synonyms: antipode, contrary, counter, negative, obverse, opposite, reverse
Ms. India: on Sridevi’s pan-India appeal
The entire Indian film industry was Sridevi’s playground
Sridevi Kapoor Ayyappan, who passed away on Saturday, made her debut in cinema as a child artiste (कलाकार) in the Tamil film Thunaivan in 1969. It was the same year that Amitabh Bachchan, more than 20 years her senior, faced the camera for the first time in Saat Hindustani. Even that early start does not take away from her remarkable feat of packing into her short life of 54 years almost 300 films and a career spanning (पूर्ण काल) five decades. More than the numbers, her career stands out for the sheer diversity of roles she played. Sridevi could not be restricted by linguistic (भाषा संबंधी) or territorial boundaries. She could pull off Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam films with the same ease with which she ruled over the Tamil and Hindi film scenes. In this respect she outdid (किसी से ज्यादा बेहतर काम करना) almost all her contemporaries (समकालीन व्यक्ति), male or female. Sridevi is often credited with rewriting the rules of stardom and wresting the rightful space for the heroine in cinema. From Sivaji Ganesan to Nawazuddin Siddiqui, she acted with several generations of heroes and was that rare heroine to have starred as the lead with a real-life father and son, Dharmendra and Sunny Deol. But none of her superstar heroes — be it Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Kamal Haasan or Rajinikanth — could achieve success in as many languages as she did. They were kings of their own fiefdoms (जागीर), while all of India was her playground. What she lost out on was childhood. Her first adult role happened at the age of 13, opposite Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth, in K. Balachander’s Moondru Mudichu (1976). Apart from Balachander, her other significant mentors were Bharathiraja and Balu Mahendra. Their complicated, moving love stories, 16 Vayathinile (1977) and Moondram Pirai (1982), did not just firmly entrench Sridevi in the Tamil film industry; the Hindi remakes Solva Sawan (1979) and Sadma (1983) forced the Hindi film industry to take note. It is widely agreed that her performances in southern cinema were far more organic than her glamorous turns in the north, be it Varumayin Niram Sivappu, Meendum Kokila or Kshana Kshanam. But she managed to display her enormous (अत्यंत) range in Hindi films too. She comfortably swung between parallel streams of critical and commercial hits in Hindi. She started off with kitschy (भड़कीला) song-and-dance routines in southern productions. Despite being initially unversed (अकुशल) in Hindi, she worked hard on her way to the top. Chandni, Mr. India, Chaalbaaz and Lamhe showed her versatility — drama, emotion, dance, comedy, even action. Sridevi may not have crossed over to international projects but her appeal went beyond India. Spontaneous outpouring of affection is expected when a young life is suddenly cut short. In her case it was also to do with the personal connect she established with individual viewers. Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam — in each industry she had a special place for herself. But the fact is that she couldn’t be owned by any one; she belonged to all.
- Artiste: A professional entertainer, especially a singer or dancer.
Synonyms: entertainer, performer, trouper, showman, artist
- Spanning: to find out the size, extent, or amount of
Synonyms: gauge (also gage), measure, scale
- Linguistic: of or relating to words or language
Synonyms: lexical, rhetorical (also rhetoric), verbal, vocabular, wordy
- Outdid: to be greater, better, or stronger than
Synonyms: beat, better, eclipse, exceed, excel, outclass, outdistance, outshine, outstrip, overtop, surpass, top, tower (over), transcend
Antonyms: lose (to)
- Contemporaries: being or involving the latest methods, concepts, information, or styles
Synonyms: current, designer, hot, mod, modern, modernistic, new, new-fashioned, newfangled, present-day, red-hot, space-age, ultramodern, up-to-date, up-to-the-minute
Antonyms: antiquated, archaic, dated, fusty, musty, oldfangled, old-fashioned, old-time, out-of-date, passé
- Fiefdoms: A territory or sphere of operation controlled by a particular person or group.
- Enormous: Very large in size, quantity, or extent.
Synonyms: huge, vast, extensive, expansive, broad, wide
Antonyms: bantam, bitty, diminutive, infinitesimal, little bitty, micro, microminiature, microscopic (also microscopical), midget, miniature, minuscule, minute, pocket, pygmy, teensy, teensy-weensy, teeny, teeny-weeny, tiny, wee
- Kitschy: (of art, objects, or design) considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.
- Unversed: Not experienced, skilled, or knowledgeable.
Synonyms: inexpert, unpractised, lacking experience, untrained, untutored, unschooled, unqualified, unskilled, amateur, uninitiated