13 COMPREHENSION TEST
Directions (1-10) : In these questions, you have two 1. The lowest common denominator of the Indian cul-
brief passages with five questions following each passage. ture today is
Read the passages carefully and choose the best answer to (1) Hema Malini
each question out of the four alternatives. (2) songs of Vividh Bharati
(SSC Section Officer (Audit) Exam. 1997) (3) Masala Dosa
(4) synthetic fibre
What one wonders, is the lowest common denomina-
2. The synthetic fibre has
tor of Indian culture today. The attractive Hema Malini!
The songs of Vividh Bharati! Or the mouth-watering Masala (1) always been popular in India.
Dosa! Delectable as these may be, each yields pride (2) become popular during the last twenty years.
of place to that false symbol of a new era–the synthetic fi- (3) never been popular in India.
bre. In less than twenty years, the nylon sari and the (4) been as popular as other kinds of fibre.
terylene shirt have swept the countryside, penetrated to 3. The latest symbol of modernity for the rural people is
the farthest corners of the land and persuaded every com- (1) the bicycle. (2) the wristwatch.
mon man, woman and child that the key to success in the
(3) the transistor. (4) the synthetic cloth.
present day world lies in artificial fibres : glass nylon, crepe
nylon, tery mixes, polysters and what have you. More than 4. The term Neo-rich means
the bicycles, the wristwatch or the transistor radio, syn- (1) the aristocracy.
thetic clothes have come to represent the first step (2) the industrialists.
away from the village square. The village lass treasures (3) the newly rich people.
the flashy nylon sari in her trousseau most dearly; the (4) the common people.
village youth gets a great kick out of his cheap terrycot 5. The tone of the passage is
shirt and trousers, the nearest he can approximate
(1) tragic (2) ironic
to the expensive synthetic sported by his wealthy citybred
contemporaries. And the Neo–rich craze for ‘phoren’is no- (3) sombre (4) satiric
where more apparent than in the price that people will pay PASSAGE-II
for smuggled, stolen, begged, borrowed secondhand or Most people who bother with the matter at all would
thrown away synthetics. Alas, even the unique richness of admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is
the traditional tribal costume is being fast eroded by the generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do
deadening uniformity of nylon. anything about it. Our civilization is decadent and our lan-
guage—so the argument runs—must inevitably share in the
SOME IMPORTANT WORDS general collapse. It follows that any struggle against the
penetrated : went into or through something. abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like prefer-
persuaded : made somebody do something by giving ring candles to electric light or handsome cabs to
him good reasons for doing it. aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief
trousseau : the clothes and the possessions collected that language is a natural growth and not an instrument
by a woman who is soon going to get mar- which we shape for our own purposes.
ried in order to begin her married life Now it is clear that the decline of a language must
kick out : a great feeling of excitement and pleasure. ultimately have political and economic causes : it is not
city bred : brought up in a city. simply due to the bad influence of this or that individual
writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the
contempor– : belonging to the
original cause and producing the same effect in an intensi-
aries same time.
fied form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink
Neo-rich : Newly rich people. because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fails all
‘phoren’ : foreign. the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the
eroded : gradually destroyed something or made it same thing that is happening to the English language. It
weaken over a period of time. becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are fool-
deadening : making something such as a sound, a feel- ish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier
ing, etc. less strong. for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the pro-
tragic : making you feel very sad, because some- cess is reversible. Modern English, especially written En-
body has died or has suffered a lot. glish, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and
which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary
ironic : showing that you really mean the opposite
trouble. If one gets rid of these habits, one can think more
of what you are saying.
clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step
sombre : sad and serious.
towards political regeneration : so that the fight against
satiric : using humour to show the faults and weak- bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive con-
nesses of a person. cern of professional writers.