According to Wikipedia, metonym is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is replaced by another that has a similar meaning. That is to say, you don’t want to call a thing by it’s name and you use another name in it’s stead. That is to say, you use it’s synonym instead. Essentially, metonym means instead. Now, where would you find such a convoluted word for such a simple meaning? Why, in The Hindu’s Editorial, of course! Specifically, this is how it is used in an OpEd piece I was reading today –
The fact is that Mr. Geelani uses “environment” as a metonym for “you are not welcome here.”
Source: My neighbour, the environmentalist – The Hindu
The article is rather interesting. It calls to attention how pro-Pakistan separatist leader, Syed Ali Geelani is using the guise of environmental protection to keep Kashmiri pandits out of Hindu religious places in Kashmir while woefully ignoring the actual cement, brick and timber industry that’s destroying Kashmir’s environment. It also shines light on how Geelani’s supporters often stop Hindus from completing pilgrimages in a concerted effort to thwart recognition of the region’s long Hindu and Buddhist history.
The article gives us another gem. Political theoretician Hannah Arendt apparently called out against “the infinitely complex red-tape existence of stateless persons,” explaining how it leads to curtailing of free movement, which is the birth of totalitarianism. This is exactly the situation of Kashmiri Pandits. They’ve been forced out of their homeland and now from their religious traditions.
Here’s hoping one day the barriers will be opened to one and all and Kashmir will become a normal state of India again. One step towards that would be to call out actual environmental abuse instead of pushing the label on unwary commoners. Until then, Geelani is a metonym for politician.