English Challenge for Advanced Learners – 1

An one of a kind English Challenge for those aspiring for careers in Civil Service, Law, Journalism and Management is to be able to write impeccable English. It comes through practice.

You will see two write-ups on the same topic –the violence during farmer protest in Delhi on Republic Day. One is the editorial of Hindu and the other is written by the editors of this blog. Please go through both (Draft1 and Draft 2) and identify which is whose.

Draft 1..

A wrong turn

Farmers must suspend agitation and return to talks without their maximalist approach.

The chaos and mindless violence unleashed on the national capital by a section of protesting farmers on Republic Day were abhorrent. It is plausible that agents provocateurs infiltrated the farmers’ march but that does not absolve the leaders of responsibility. The chances of fatigued agitators breaking loose were high as were the possibilities of vested interests triggering violence. The leaders of the agitation should have taken note of the divergence in the rank and the rejection by certain recalcitrant groups of the routes for the march they had agreed with the Delhi police. True, no popular mobilisation can be held hostage to the threat of violent deviation by a handful, but there is judgement to be made at each turn. The leadership, itself an association of disparate individuals and organisations, should have been more realistic about its capacity to manage such a gathering. In the end, unruly elements took over the streets of Delhi. They broke barricades, thrashed, and tried to mow down police personnel. The police resorted to lathi charge and used tear gas, but, given the circumstances, showed restraint. More than 300 personnel were injured, at least 40 of them seriously. All this, and the march itself, was avoidable.

The Delhi police must investigate and hold to account individuals and groups responsible for the violence. Farmer leaders have the unenviable task of cooperating with the police in the investigation. False friends and real enemies of the agitators have painted them with a communal brush. Bringing the culprits to book is essential not only to salvage the reputation of an agitation that had remained largely peaceful for nearly two months but also to nip in the bud a dangerous communal slant before it slips out of control. The Centre has said it would continue to engage the protesters in negotiations. The offer of the government to keep in abeyance for up to 18 months the three controversial farm laws that are at the heart of the current face-off remains an opportunity for the leaders to seek a negotiated settlement. The agitators want the laws to go lock, stock, and barrel but their maximalist approach is unhelpful. They must discontinue the protest for now and disperse, while reserving the option of restarting it later. They should consider options short of a complete repeal of the laws. The Centre must consider more concessions, including the suspension of the laws until a broader agreement can be arrived at. It must make more efforts to allay the fears of those most affected by these reforms. The Centre’s imperious refusal to engage with political parties and State governments on critical questions of agriculture reforms has come back to haunt it. The resolution to this impasse can come only by involving them all.


Draft 2

A costly misstep

It’s time for farmers to step back from their very confrontational stance and sit down for talks with attainable objectives.

On the Republic Day, the national capital saw rampaging famer groups unleashing mayhem in the capital’s streets, footages of which were seen around the world. When the official celebrations were showcasing the growing military might of the country, such visuals of tractor-borne farmers in duel with the vastly-outnumbered police present the country in very poor light. Possibly, miscreants of rival groups or even the ruling party infiltrated the agitating groups to nudge them towards violence, but the leaders of the farmers can’t be absolved of their culpability in the chaos. No doubt, anger was simmering among the agitators who have spent nearly two months in the roadside braving the extreme cold and drizzles. A small spark was needed to let their frustration boil over and find expression through vandalism. Such a situation made the task of the saboteurs much easier. It is known that a certain section of the farmer groups had insisted on a different route till the last moment, but the police and the majority of the farmer groups didn’t heed them. This failure to agree on a single route for the tractor procession led to a section of the agitators to break the barricades and force their way in venting their anger on the resisting police contingent. Nearly 300 police personnel were injured as the angry agitators thrashed them with great vengeance. Lathi charge and tear gas shells proved ineffective, and firing on the agitators was an absolute ‘no, no’ option.

The Delhi police must investigate and hold to account individuals and groups responsible for the violence. When the dust settles down, the Delhi Police must track the miscreants who triggered the violence and bring them to justice. Happily, most farmer groups have expressed their anguish at the sad turn of events that has robbed them of their moral ground for eschewing violence in all forms till just before January 26. The farmer leaders must rise to the occasion and help the police to nab the masterminds behind the violence. It’s an unpleasant task, but it would restore the moral strength to the agitation that suddenly seems to be losing steam after the Republic Day’s mayhem. With an open heart, both the sides – the government and the farmer groups – should come forward to reach a negotiated settlement. Government could possibly further extend the 18-month moratorium on enforcement of the three controversial bills, and do some honest negotiation to address the farmers’ fears squarely. The trust deficit between the two sides has been due to the chicanery and cavalier attitude of the government side in the past. Now is the time to undo such aloofness. Farmers are simple folks who get swayed easily. Antagonizing them over a key bread and butter issue will be ruinous for any government. Allaying their concerns, giving them a decisive say in all farm policy matters, and most importantly, dealing with them with a clean heart are prerequisites for any thawing to take effect. It’s now very important to break the impasse and bring the curtains down on this confrontation. Only through empathy and sincerity, the government negotiators can hope to soften the hard attitude of the agitators that has rendered almost ten rounds of talks futile.


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