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Raj Kumar Makkad (Adv P & H High Court Chandigarh)     26 February 2010


BOOKS rule the world, said Voltaire. So is true of words. Famous words of the French Revolution "Liberty, fraternity and equality" created a ferment that changed the destiny of French nation and shaped it for many others.


Winston Churchill was once asked: "What were the most powerful weapons you used to win the war". His answer was "words, words and words". His speeches have made the history of World War unforgettable: "we shall fight on the seas and on oceans, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight in the streets and fields, we shall never surrender". These words lifted the mood of the nation and stirred Englishmen to face the bombardments that Hitler was hurling on England.


Gandhi's "do or die" call breathed a new life into the freedom movement. People woke up from their slumber and gave a fight which became historic for not having to use violence or weapons. Lokmanya's slogan "Freedom is our birth right" altered the course of freedom struggle.


And when the freedom dawned, nothing could describe it better than Pandit Nehru's 'Tryst with Destiny' speech: "When the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom". So moving. And so true. History of India's struggle for freedom can never be complete without this speech.


Two cataclysmic words— 'perestroika' and 'glasnost' — rocked the Soviet Union. Used by Mikhail Gorbachev to restructure the Soviet Union, these words unleashed such transformative forces that brought down the Soviet monolith.


And the latest in word-power are Obama's magic words 'Yes we can' that inspired his election campaign. These words put his oratory on everyone's lips and him in the White House.


Current phase of history will not be remembered by the vogue words that dominate its idiom and phraseologies. Advent of globalisation spawned a new lexicon which has pushed out the language of simplicity and elegant usages. Commercialese and management coinages are the language of power and influence. 'Data-based architecture', 'strategic thinking', 'coordination mechanism', 'paradigm shift', 'macro and micro levels, 'multi-dimensional approach' are some words which are the new elite of the vocabulary. They dominate all debate and intrude into all discourses on serious issues.


For these word-conductors, history holds no lessons, thesaurus is of no use. They trek the linguistic path unmindful of the danger of falling next into pits like "honorificabilitudinitatibus" — the longest word used by Shakespeare in "Loves Labour Lost" and 'hippopotomonstro-sesquippedaliophobia' (fear of long words). Pronounce as you wish!



 4 Replies

sreenath cochin (advocate)     26 February 2010

good article....but i think now also there are ppl who use words as sword....and the strength of words has not yet lost.And of course you are right that no one is using such strong words now-a-days

Anil Agrawal (Retired)     26 February 2010

The only useful word now.

Pink for 1000 rupee note.

Adinath@Avinash Patil (advocate)     26 February 2010


Daksh (Student)     27 February 2010

I concur with Mr.Anil Agarwal.

Best Regards


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