RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das is giving Shashi Tharoor a run for his dictionary

For decades, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has the throne as the educator of unknown English words. Now, he has a competitor and it’s none other than the governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Shaktikanta Das.

Recently, the central bank’s monetary policy used a word called ‘floccinaucinihilipilification’. This unpronounceable word means the habit of estimating something as worthless.

“The estimates of economic growth in India have unfortunately been subject to a fair degree of floccinaucinihilipilification. Notwithstanding this, growth is likely to pick up,” the committee assured. Simply put, estimating India’s growth rate is worthless at this point given the many uncertainties but the RBI still has to do it and it expects the economy to grow faster.

Indians will find it tougher to digest the information and not just because of the promise of growth as sectors like auto, textiles and many others are slowing down to a grinding halt.

No questions

But the thing with words that tie your tongue into knots is you can get it past without question, at least for the moment.

And surprise surprise, Tharoor too had used his word himself, when he tweeted about it announcing a book on Modi.

“My new book, THE PARADOXICAL PRIME MINISTER, is more than just a 400-page exercise in floccinaucinihilipilification,” he tweeted.

Tharoor spouting heavy English words for common causes went quickly from inspiring to ridiculous, as only 10% of the population speaks the language.

RBI Governor Das seems to caught the drift. He had stumped the country earlier this week too when he used another word, Panglossian. Das said that they (RBI) is not maintaining a Panglossian attitude towards economy. The word refers to a character in Voltaire’s play Candidae, the royal educator Dr Pangloss, who was naively optimistic.

Recession dictionary

It is not uncommon for economic experts to fortify their vocabulary during tough times. A new generation also learns about words and phrases which were never used. Before 2008 subprime crisis in the US, few knew what credit default swaps meant. After the swap changed their lives, it is now a term feared and avoided.

Indian economists too have a tough job awaiting them—to convince investors and others that all is well with the country. Apart from introspection, they would need a bulky thesaurus.

Because all is not supercalifragilisticexpialidocious about the world. All is not well, basically.

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