Indian English on dazzling display

Indian English on dazzling display

I am grateful to the fearsomely talented Tunku Varadarajan for alerting me to the 570 page judgement of the Supreme Court yesterday, on a corruption case involving a late Chief minister of Tamil Nadu, her aide who just tried to ‘inherit” the position of CM, and some other folk who…

“Yes, yes,” I hear you cry.  “Never mind about these venal people.  What about the dazzling display of Indian English you promised us?”

OK, friends.  Try this out for size 🙂

Is that not THE best thing you’ve read today?

“octopoid stranglehold” – too, too wonderful.

“the nation’s essentia” – oh, gosh.

“the asphyxiating snare of this escalating venality” – whew!

I started ploughing through the entire document, which is available online as a pdf file, but kept getting sidetracked by delicious morsels such as the postal costs of sending out 56,000 wedding invitations back in the 90s (I kid you not).

Unabated greed & corruption for 570 pages.

So I took a short cut and used not only Tunku’s twitter feed, but also a report in the Hindustan Times, which I am now going to quote:

“…Innovative nuances of evidential inadequacies, processual infirmities and interpretational subtleties, artfully advanced in defence, otherwise intangible and inconsequential, ought to be conscientiously cast aside with moral maturity and singular sensitivity to uphold the statutory sanctity, lest the coveted cause of justice is a causality..”

I must admit to feeling slightly dizzy, from overdosing on this powerful verbal brew of mixed metaphors & fab vocab.

I shall leave you with a gem.  An absolute gem:

“…a few disquieting thoughts that have lingered and languished in distressed silence in mentation demand expression at the parting with a pulpit touch…”

A cracker, right?

But before I go, I must confess, dear reader, that I am conflicted.

WHICH of these gems should I start using on an everyday basis?

“a pulpit touch”?

“the nation’s essentia”?

Gosh – too much choice.

But I think that if I absolutely have to chose but one of the wonderful verbal flourishes from the Supreme Court, it shall be the following:

“octopoid stranglehold”.

There you have it, friends.

My new phrase of the day 🙂


  1. Octopoid stranglehold is lush but I’ve actually heard it before.
    Pulpit touch is one I haven’t heard but which aptly, deftly, and adroitly depicts the rabid propensity of Indian English to veer fecklessly into flaming hyperbole, exaggerated embellishment, tedious tautologies, and rifling overstatement. I am greatly startled and somewhat direly distressed by the lack of usual and customary Jacobean clichés and colloquialisms as well as onerous pleonasms, repetitious redundancies, superfluous reiterations, and reinforced duplications.

    Ah well, as my fellow American WC Fields said, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with BS.’

    Please be doing the needful,

  2. This reminds me of a Jeeves and Wooster classic the name of which escapes me but involves an American magnate, a ship, Jeeves having left Bertie, a madcap Butler and Bertie painting his face black.
    To cut to the chase, there is a scene where Jeeves delivers a letter to the American tycoon with a fancy dialogue containing words like emissary, partake, hither and stuff.
    The American gapes, blinks and blurts, ” You mean got a wire? Why all this song and dance about a missionary? Gimme!”

    That’s exactly what I feel like telling that Octopoid Concoction of dubious heritage ET al

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.