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.