History and Art & Culture articles in News

  • Padma award is an honour for the Etikoppaka toy craft, says C.V. Raju

    Source: The post is based on the article Padma award is an honour for the Etikoppaka toy craft, says C.V. Rajupublished in PIB on 27th January 2023

    What is the News?

    Shri C V Raju from Etikoppaka village, Visakhapatnam,Andhra Pradesh has been conferred with Padma Shri for preserving the traditional method of making Etikoppaka toys.

    What are Etikoppaka toys?

    Etikoppaka toys are traditional toys made by artisans of Etikoppaka village located on the banks of Varaha River in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh.

    Features: Toys are made of soft wood and lacquer color. Coloured with natural dyes derived from seeds, lacquer,roots and leaves. The way of toy making is also known as turned wood lacquer craft.

    – The artisans mainly use the wood from trees known as ‘ankudu’ (Wrightia Tinctoria) that is soft in nature.

    – These toys have no sharp edges. They are rounded on all sides and hence present little chance of injury to children.

    GI Tag: In 2017, the Etikoppaka toys acquired a Geographical Indications(GI) tag.

  • Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas, and criticism of the holy book

    Source: The post is based on the article “Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas, and criticism of the holy book” published in Indian Express on 28th January 2023

    What is the News?

    Bihar Education Minister has said that the Ramcharitmanas spreads hatred in society.

    What is Ramcharitmanas?

    Ramcharitmanas is an epic poem in the Awadhi language composed by the 16th-century Indian bhakti poet Tulsidas.

    It is divided into seven chapters (Kand) that tell the story of Lord Ram from birth to his becoming King of Ayodhya.

    The Ramcharitmanas is based on the Ramayana, sage Valmiki’s great epic. It is the holiest book of the Indo-Gangetic region and among the world’s most-read holy books.

    Who is Goswami Tulsidas?

    Tulsidas was a Brahmin whose original name was Ram Bola Dubey. He composed the Ramcharitmanas on the bank of the Ganga in Varanasi.

    Tulsidas lived in the time of Emperor Akbar, and some believe that he was in touch with Abdurrahim Khan-e-Khanan, the son of Akbar’s commander Bairam Khan, and they possibly exchanged some poetic communication as well.

    Which portions of Ramcharitmanas are criticized?

    The main criticism is of a chaupai in Sundar Kand. Lord Ram is on the coast, but the Sea is refusing to make way. When the Lord threatens to dry the Sea out, he says, imbeciles, illiterates, shudras and women sakal tadana ke adhikari. While the Geeta Press Ramcharitmanas translates “taadan” as shiksha (education), some critics say it means beating or reprimanding.

    In Uttar Kand, Kagbhushundi (the crow) tells Garuda, the king of birds: Lower castes like Teli, Kumhar, Chandal, Bheel, Kol and Kalwar, etc. become sanyasis by tonsuring their heads after their wife dies or they lose their wealth.

    Later, Kagbhushundi says, Educating a lower-caste person is like feeding milk to a snake. This was the line that the Bihar Minister mentioned.

  • Puri’s Jagannath Temple: Why non-Hindus and foreigners can’t enter here

    Source: The post is based on the article “Puri’s Jagannath Temple: Why non-Hindus and foreigners can’t enter here” published in Indian Express on 22nd January 2023.

    What is the News?

    The Odisha Governor has backed the entry of foreign nationals inside the world-famous Jagannath Temple in Puri.

    What is Lord Jagannath Temple?

    Lord Jagannath Temple is located in Puri,Odisha. It is also called the White Pagoda.

    It is one of the four dhams (char dham) where Lord Jagannath, a form of Lord Vishnu, is worshipped along with his elder brother Lord Balabhadra and sister Devi Subhadra. 

    The temple was constructed by a famous king of the Ganga Dynasty Ananta Varman Chodaganga Deva dating back to the 12th century.

    Only Hindus are allowed inside the shrine to offer prayers to the sibling deities in the sanctum sanctorum. 

    Why are non-Hindus not allowed inside the temple?

    It has been the practice for centuries — even though there is no clearly articulated reason for it. 

    Some historians believe that multiple attacks on the Temple by Muslim rulers might have led the servitors to impose restrictions on the entry of non-Hindus. Others have said that this was the practice from the time the Temple was built.

    How can Non-Hindus then worship Lord Jagannath? 

    Lord Jagannath is also known as Patitabapan which literally means “saviour of the downtrodden”. 

    So all those who are barred from entering the Temple because of religious reasons get the privilege of a darshan of the Lord in the form of Patitapaban at the Lion’s Gate.

  • Assam’s Charaideo Maidam nominated for UNESCO world heritage tag: Assam CM

    Source: The post is based on the article “Assam’s Charaideo Maidam nominated for UNESCO world heritage tag: Assam CM” published in The Hindu on 23rd January 2023

    What is the News?

    Assam chief minister has said that Charaideo Moidams (pyramids) is India’s nomination for UNESCO’s world heritage site status in the cultural category for 2023-24.

    Note: There is currently no World Heritage site in the category of cultural heritage in the northeast out of the 32 listed in the country.

    What is Charaideo Moidams?

    Charaideo commonly known as ‘Pyramids of Assam’ was the original capital of the Ahom Kings.

    Charaideo remained the symbolic center of Ahom Kingdom even though the capital of the kingdom moved many times.

    Built by: It was built by Chaolung Sukhapa the founder of the dynasty in about 1229 CE.

    Located at: This place is located at the foothills of Nagaland. It is situated at a distance of around 30 KM from the historical Sivasagar town in Assam.

    Features: It contains sacred burial grounds of Ahom kings and queens and is also the place of the ancestral Gods of the Ahoms.

    – Some 42 tombs (Maidams) of Ahom kings and queens are present at Charaideo hillocks.

    Architecture: It comprises a massive underground vault with one or more chambers having domical superstructure and covered by a heap of earthen mounds and externally it appears a hemispherical mound. 

  • Archaeological Survey of India all set to begin Excavation at Purana Qila again

    Source: The post is based on the article Archaeological Survey of India all set to begin Excavation at Purana Qila againpublished in PIB on 18th January 2023.

    What is the News?

    The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is all set to begin  excavation at Delhi’s Purana Qila again. 

    What is Purana Qila?

    Purana Qila is the 16th-century fort. It was built by Sher Shah Suri and the second Mughal emperor Humayun.

    The walls of the Purana Quila are made of enormous red stones having minimal ornamentation and decoration.

    The major attractions inside the fort are the Qila-i-Kuhna mosque of Sher Shah Suri, Sher Mandal (a tower, which is traditionally associated with the death of Humayun), a stepwell and the remains of the extensive rampart which has three gates.

    What did the earlier excavations at the site reveal about Purana Quila?

    Excavations have revealed that the Purana Quila stands at the site of Indraprastha, the capital of the Pandavas.

    Purana Quila is also the only place in Delhi, which has cultural deposits of the last 2,500 years in its various layers, from the pre-Mauryan to the modern era. 

    The findings and artefacts unearthed in earlier excavations comprise painted grey ware, belonging to 900BC, an earthen pottery sequence from Maurya to Shunga, Kushana, Gupta, Rajput, Sultanates and Mughal periods. 

     

  • Roman secret to durable architecture? Self-healing concrete

    Source: The post is based on the article “Roman secret to durable architecture? Self-healing concrete” published in Down To Earth on 13th January 2023.

    What is the News?

    New research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and laboratories in Italy and Switzerland have discovered the secret behind Roman construction abilities.

    What was the secret behind ancient Roman construction abilities?
    Roman construction
    Source: The Hindu

    The ancient Romans were masters of engineering, constructing vast networks of roads, aqueducts, ports and massive buildings, whose remains have survived for two millennia.

    Many of these structures were built with concrete: Rome’s famed Pantheon, which has the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome and was dedicated in 128 CE is still intact. 

    For many years, researchers assumed the key to the ancient concrete’s durability was based on one ingredient: Pozzolanic material, such as volcanic ash from the area of Pozzuoli on the Bay of Naples. 

    Under closer examination, the researchers found the ancient samples also contain small, distinctive, millimeter-scale bright white mineral features, which have been long recognised as a ubiquitous component of Roman concretes. These white chunks often called “lime clasts” originate from lime, another critical part of the ancient concrete mix.

    The lime casts were earlier thought of as evidence of sloppy mixing practices or poor-quality raw materials. 

    On close examination, they found the Romans employed a Hot mixing method and used quicklime in conjunction with or instead of slaked lime for producing concrete.

    What is the hot mixing process?

    During the hot mixing process, the lime clasts created a brittle structure with a reactive calcium source. The calcium would travel through the lime clasts, react with water and quickly fill any cracks. 

    Based on these findings, the team has now concluded that Hot Mixing was actually the key to the super-durable nature.

     

  • Juna Khatiya Site: Gujarat’s Harappan necropolis reveals death rituals of 5,000 years ago

    Source: The post is based on the article Gujarat’s Harappan necropolis reveals death rituals of 5,000 years agopublished in The Hindu on 13th January 2023.

    What is the News?

    Excavations at one of the biggest necropolises at Juna Khatiya village (Kutch, Gujarat) show rows of graves with valuable items such as Ceramic pots, beaded jewellery, animal bones etc.

    About Juna Khatiya Site

    It is located about 30 km from Lakhpat in Kutch district, Gujarat.

    It has emerged as one of the biggest Harappan burial sites with the possibility of 500 graves of which about 125 have been found so far.

    The archaeologists found rows of graves with skeletal remains, ceramic pots, plates and vases, beaded jewellery and animal bones.

    The burials discovered at this site date from 3,200 BCE to 2,600 BCE, predating Dholavira—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—and several other Harappan sites in the state. 

    The site is important because others like Dholavira have a cemetery in and around the town, but no major habitation has been discovered near Juna Khatiya.

    The site demonstrates the transition from earth-mound burials to stone graves. The pottery from the site has features and styles similar to those excavated from early Harappan sites in Sindh and Balochistan.

     

  • Corbusier’s vision for Chandigarh: The genius & the flaws

    Source: The post is based on the article “Corbusier’s vision for Chandigarh: The genius & the flaws” published in Indian Express on 12th January 2023

    What is the News?

    The Supreme Court has directed the Centre and the Chandigarh administration to take a number of steps to preserve Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh.

    Who was Le Corbusier?

    Le Corbusier was a Swiss-French architect, designer, painter, urban planner and one of the pioneers of what is now regarded as modern architecture. 

    In 2016, seventeen projects by Le Corbusier in seven countries were inscribed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement. Chandigarh is one of the sites.

    What are the key features of Le Corbusier Chandigarh Plan?

    Corbusier’s plan would have a heart and a head, where the “head” would contain the Capital Complex and the “heart” the commercial area. 

    The “hands” would host recreational spaces and academic institutions. His rectangular grid encouraged self-sufficient units, dividing the city into different sectors.

    He planned for the city to be built in two phases, where Phase I would contain Sectors 1 to 30 for 150,000 people, while Sectors 31-47 would host a denser population of nearly half a million. 

    To do this, locals were evicted and refugees shown the door. Records claim nearly 28,000 people had to leave the land. The government bought it all under the Land Acquisition Act of 1894, allowing the inhabitants to remain as tenants.

    Why has Le Corbusier’s plan for Chandigarh been criticized?

    Chandigarh became home to the wealthy and the government officials, the poor were excluded from Corbusier’s master plan. 

    Critics also mention that besides segregating housing based on income, another flaw was that the wage earners’ location outside city limits made it tedious for them to access jobs. 

    Hence, there is a saying that Chandigarh is a well-designed city, not a well-planned city.

     

  • U.S. Ambassadors fund to help restore Paigah Tombs complex in Hyderabad

    Source: The post is based on the article “U.S. Ambassadors fund to help restore Paigah Tombs complex in Hyderabad” published in The Hindu on 11th January 2023

    What is the News?

    The US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation will extend financial support of $250,000 towards the conservation and restoration of six of the Paigah tombs.

    What are Paigah Tombs?

    Paigah Tombs or Maqhbara Shams al-Umara are a necropolis (a large, designed cemetery with elaborate tomb monuments) located in Hyderabad, Telangana.

    They were built in the 18th and 19th centuries and belonged to the nobility of the Paigah family who served the Nizam of Hyderabad in various capacities.

    Architecture: These tombs are made out of lime and mortar with beautiful inlaid marble carvings. It consists of marvelous carvings and motifs in floral designs and inlaid marble tile works.

    – The tombs are the finest examples of the enthralling Indo-Islamic architecture, which is a blend of both features of Asaf Jahi and Rajputana style.

    – Stucco work found in Paigah Tombs doesn’t exist anywhere else in India. It has incredible lattice screens, minarets and detailing.

     

  • Sagol Kangjei: The ancient polo of Manipur, played on the celebrated Manipur Pony

    Source: The post is based on the article “Sagol Kangjei: The ancient polo of Manipur, played on the celebrated Manipur Pony” published in Indian Express on 6th January 2023

    What is the News?

    Union Home Minister inaugurated a 122-foot-tall statue of a polo player astride a Manipur Pony in Imphal, a project that has been in the works for several years now.

    Where did Modern polo originated from?

    Modern polo is said to have originated from Sagol Kangjei.

    Sagol Kangjei is the name of the game of polo played in Manipur. Sagol means pony/horse, kang means a ball or round object and jei is a stick used for hitting.

    In this game, players ride horses, specifically the Manipur Ponies which are referenced in records dating back to the 14th century.

    What is Manipur Pony?

    The Manipuri Pony is a breed of horse mainly found in the plains of Manipur. 

    It is one of five recognised equine breeds of India and has a powerful cultural significance for Manipuri society. In the past, it was used for warfare as well as for polo games.

    However, the small and dwindling numbers of the Manipur Pony has been a cause for concern.

     

  • Jain community protests: What are the issues linked to Jharkhand, Gujarat shrines

    Source: The post is based on the article “Jain community protests: What are the issues linked to Jharkhand, Gujarat shrines’ Scheme” published in Indian Express on 5th January 2023

    What is the News?

    Members of the Jain community have been staging protests over demands related to two holy sites — Sammed Shikhar on Parasnath hill in Jharkhand and Shetrunjay hill in Palitana of Gujarat.

    In Jharkhand, the issue is about Parasnath hill being declared a tourist spot and an eco-sensitive zone while in Gujarat, the row is over the vandalizing of a shrine and related security concerns.

    What is Parasnath Hills?

    Parasnath Hills are a range of hills located in Giridih district of Jharkhand. The highest peak is 1350 meters.

    It is one of the most important pilgrimage centres for Jains. They call it Sammed Sikhar.

    The hill is named after Parasnath, the 23rd Tirthankara. Twenty of Jain Tirthankaras attained salvation on this hill. For each of them, there is a shrine (gumti or tuk) on the hill.

    Some of the temples on the hill are believed to be more than 2,000 years old.

    The Santhals call it Marang Buru, the hill of the deity. They celebrate a hunting festival on the full moon day in Baisakh (mid-April).

    Every year, thousands of Jains from across the world undertake the 27 km long trek of climbing the hills to reach the summit.

    What are Palitana And Shatrunjaya Hill?

    Shatrunjaya Hill is a sacred Jain site located in Palitana town, Bhavnagar District, Gujarat.

    The sacred site contains hundreds of shrines that were sanctified when Rishabha, the first Tirthankara of Jainism, gave his first sermon in the temple on the hilltop.

    The Palitana temples on Shatrunjaya Hill were built over a period of 900 years starting from the 11th century. It was Kumarpal Solanki, a great Jain patron, who built the first temples on this site.

    It is said that Adinath (also known as Rishabha), the founder of Jainism, meditated beneath the rayan tree at the summit. 

  • 700-ft-long mural Wall of Peace thrown open at last

    Source: The post is based on the article “700-ft-long mural Wall of Peace thrown open at last” published in The Hindu on 4th January 2023

    What is the News?

    The Wall of Peace was inaugurated in Kerala.

    What is the Wall of Peace?

    Wall of Peace is a great work of modern mural art on the 700-feet long compound wall of the Government Vocational Higher Secondary School at Cherpulassery in Kerala.

    The project was named Wall of Peace not only because by reminding people of history and tradition it promotes the beauty of diversity, tolerance and harmonious co-existence but also because the word “peace” is written on the wall in 250 languages.

    The wall has a portrait of Mozhikunnath Brahmadattan Namboodiripad, an eminent figure of the 1921 Malabar rebellion. Mahatma Gandhi’s visit to the region is also portrayed on the Wall.

    What is Mural?

    A Mural is any piece of graphic artwork that is painted or applied directly to a wall, ceiling or other permanent substrates. Mural techniques include fresco, mosaic, graffiti and marouflage.

    The existence of mural paintings in India dates back to the 2nd century BC to 8-10th century AD. 

    Some of the places where this painting is found include- Ajanta, Bagh, Sittanavasal, Armamalai cave, Ravan Chhaya rock shelter and Kailashnath temple in Ellora caves. The majority of the themes in these paintings relate to religion- Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism.

  • 50 ASI-protected monuments disappear: How did they go ‘missing’, what happens next

    Source: The post is based on the article “50 ASI-protected monuments disappear: How did they go ‘missing’, what happens next” published in Indian Express on 4th January 2023

    What is the News?

    According to a submission made in Parliament by the Ministry of Culture, as many as 50 of India’s 3,693 centrally protected monuments are missing.

    What are centrally protected monuments?

    The centrally protected monuments are sites which have been declared so under the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 (AMASR Act).

    The AMASR Act regulates the preservation of monuments and archaeological sites of national and historical importance that are more than 100 years old.

    Under the act, the conservation, preservation and environmental development of the protected monuments are undertaken by the Archaeological Survey of India(ASI).

    How can a monument go missing?

    Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) was founded in 1861 by Alexander Cunningham when he realized the need for a permanent body to oversee archaeological excavations and conservation. But the body remained largely dysfunctional in the 19th century owing to the fund crunch.

    Even after independence, the focus of successive governments was to uncover more monuments and sites instead of conservation. 

    So in due course, many monuments and sites were lost to activities like urbanization, construction of dams and reservoirs, and even encroachment

    For instance, as per the ASI submission in Parliament, 14 monuments have been lost to rapid urbanization, 12 are submerged by reservoirs/dams, and 24 are untraceable which brings the number of missing monuments to 50.

    Is this the first time monuments have been reported missing?

    As per ASI officials, a comprehensive physical survey of all monuments has never been conducted after Independence.

    However, in 2013, a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report said that at least 92 centrally protected monuments across the country had gone missing. Out of these 92 monuments, 42 have been identified due to efforts made by the ASI.

    The CAG report also said that the ASI did not have reliable information on the exact number of monuments under its protection. It recommended that periodic inspections of each protected monument be carried out by a suitably ranked officer.

    What is the process of deleting the lost/untraceable monuments from the protected list?

    The deletion requires denotification of the said monument under Section 35 of the AMASR Act, which happens to be a long-drawn process.

    Hence, the Parliamentary Committee recommended that the untraceable monuments may not be removed from the list, because once that is done, there would be no imperative to find them.

    Instead, the committee recommended that the list of Untraceable Monuments may be maintained as such and if necessary, the AMASR Act be amended to include this terminology.

  • A short history of the looted Benin Bronzes, 20 of which Germany has returned to Nigeria

    Source: The post is based on the article “A short history of the looted Benin Bronzes, 20 of which Germany has returned to Nigeria” published in Indian Express on 24th December 2022

    What is the News?

    Germany has returned the 20 Benin Bronzes that were looted in the 19th century to Nigeria at a ceremony.

    What are Benin Bronzes?

    Benin Bronzes are a group of over 3,000 sculptures and artworks from the ancient Kingdom of Benin in present-day Nigeria. This kingdom dates back to at least the 16th century. 

    These historical pieces were looted by British colonial forces during their infamous raid on Benin City in 1897.

    Significance: The Benin Bronzes prized for their beauty and technical artistry are of spiritual and historical significance for the people from that part of Nigeria.

    Which other looted artefacts have countries demanded to be returned?

    Koh-i-Noor diamond: There have been repeated demands for the return of the Koh-i-Noor diamond, one of the largest and perhaps the most storied diamonds in the world, which was taken away by the British East India Company in 1849 and is now part of the British crown jewels.

    Rosetta Stone: It is an ancient Egyptian stone that features the inscriptions that formed the basis of Egyptology itself. The stone was discovered by the army of Napoleon Bonaparte near the town of Rashid (Rosetta) in 1799 during the emperor’s campaign to conquer Egypt.It was passed on to the British after they defeated the French in 1801.

  • Palm-leaf manuscript museum with audio-visual technology opens window to little-known history

    Source: The post is based on the article “Palm-leaf manuscript museum with audio-visual technology opens window to little-known history” published in The Hindu on 22nd December 2022

    What is the News?

    Kerala Chief Minister will inaugurate a palm-leaf manuscript museum with modern audio-visual technology at the Central Archives Fort in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

    What is the Palm-leaf Manuscript Museum?

    Setup by: Archives Department of Kerala

    Purpose: The museum will feature a rare collection of over one crore palm-leaf manuscripts available with the Archives Department with the aim of communicating their importance to the public.

    – The manuscripts delve into aspects as diverse as tax, administration and trade to education, prisons, and festivals in the erstwhile Travancore, Kochi and Malabar provide a fascinating glimpse of history that is rarely accessible to the common man.

    Significance: This museum will help to learn more and popularize the ancient manuscripts that are part of India’s heritage.

  • Vadnagar, Sun Temple of Modhera and Unakoti: Three more sites added to tentative list of UNESCO

    Source: The post is based on the article “Three more sites added to tentative list of UNESCO” published in The Hindu on 20th December 2022

    What is the News?

    Gujarat’s Vadnagar town, the iconic Sun Temple at Modhera and the rock cut sculptures of Unakoti in Tripura have been added to the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

    Which are the three sites added to the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites?
    Sun Temple of Modhera

    The Sun Temple of Modhera is located in Gujarat. It is a Hindu temple dedicated to the solar deity Surya.

    River: It is situated on the bank of the river Pushpavati.

    Built by: It was built after 1026-27 CE during the reign of Bhima I of the Chaulukya dynasty(Solanki dynasty).

    Features: The temple complex is built in Māru-Gurjara style (Solanki style).The temple consists of the main temple shrine (garbhagriha), a hall (gadhamandapa), an outer hall or assembly hall (rangamandapa) and a sacred pool (Kunda) which is now called Ramakunda. This east-facing temple is built with bright yellow sandstone.

    Significance: The temple is the Monument of National Importance and is maintained by the Archeological Survey of India.

    Vadnagar 

    It is a municipality under Mehsana district of Gujarat. The history of Vadnagar stretches back to nearly 8th century BCE.

    The town has evolved with time and has an early historic fortified settlement, hinterland port, centre for industries of shells and beads, late medieval town, religious centre/temple town, a significant junction on trade routes and mercantile town.

    Vadnagar was visited by a Chinese traveler named Hiuen Tsang, who wrote about the township in his travelogue 1400 years ago.

    Unakoti

    It is located in the northeastern region of Tripura. It is known as an ancient holy place associated with Shaiva worship. 

    The site is a massive gallery set in a forested area displaying a number of towering low relief images in a unique style, making it a masterpiece of human creative genius.

  • 2,500-year-old puzzle solved by Indian student

    Source: The post is based on the article “2,500-year-old puzzle solved by Indian student” published in The Hindu on 17th December 2022

    What is the News?

    In his PhD thesis, Cambridge scholar Dr Rishi Rajpopat claims to have solved Sanskrit’s biggest puzzle—a grammar problem found in the ‘Ashtadhyayi’, an ancient text written by the scholar Panini towards the end of the 4th century BC.

    What exactly was the problem?

    Ashtadhyayi was written more than 2,000 years ago. It is a linguistics text that set the standard for how Sanskrit was meant to be written and spoken. 

    It delves deep into the language’s phonetics, syntax and grammar, and also offers a ‘language machine’, where one can feed in the root and suffix of any Sanskrit word and get grammatically correct words and sentences in return.

    To ensure this ‘machine’ was accurate, Panini wrote a set of 4,000 rules dictating its logic. But as scholars studied it, they found that two or more of the rules could apply at the same time, causing confusion. 

    To resolve this, Panini had provided a ‘meta-rule’ (a rule governing rules), which had historically been interpreted as: ‘In the event of a conflict between two rules of equal strength, the rule that comes later in the serial order of the ‘Ashtadhyayi’ wins’.

    However, following this interpretation also did not solve the machine’s problem.

    How did Dr Rishi Rajpopat solve this problem?

    In his thesis titled ‘In Panini We Trust’, Dr Rajpopat took a simpler approach arguing that the meta-rule has been wrongly interpreted throughout history. What Panini actually meant was that for rules applying to the left and right sides of a word, readers should use the right-hand side rule.

    Using this logic, he found that the ‘Ashtadhyayi’ could finally become an accurate ‘language machine’, producing grammatically sound words and sentences almost every time.

    The discovery now makes it possible to construct millions of Sanskrit words using Panini’s system—and since his grammar rules were exact and formulaic, they can act as a Sanskrit language algorithm that can be taught to computers.

  • Kanheri caves: In a forest in Mumbai, a secret history of Buddhism

    Source: The post is based on the article “In a forest in Mumbai, a secret history of Buddhism” published in the Livemint on 17th November 2022.

    What is the News?

    Kanheri cave complex is one of the most important historical monuments of western India.

    About Kanheri cave complex

    Reason for the name: According to the autobiography of Buddhagyanapada, written in ninth century CE, Kanheri means a place that seems to exist like rootless vines entwined up trees (anheri) into the sky (kha).

    Made up of: Much like the Sahyadri Range to the east, the hills of Kanheri are  also made up of black basalt.

    Significance of Kanheri to Buddhism: Kanheri was the home of a large Buddhist community for over a thousand years. The earliest recorded structures in the complex date to the second century CE, while textual records attest to the continued use of the caves as late as the 12th century.

    These caves are like large resorts, with a multitude of caves in the form of small rock villas built for the use of monks and lay practitioners. One can witness religious styles ranging from early Theravada through early and mature Mahayana, and also the beginnings of Vajrayana Buddhism.

    Epigraphs: These refers to many royal houses, including the Satavahana kings of the second century CE, all the way to the great ninth-century Rashtrakuta king Amoghavarsha and his local feudatory, Kapardin II of the Silhara dynasty.

    What are some prominent Buddhist architectures in Kanheri caves?

    Nearly all caves in Kanheri consist of a large rectangular hall with a recessed room at its head. This is where a large Buddha image is usually found, seated either in the dhyana mudra (meditative posture) in the seated pralamba-padasana pose, and flanked by two Bodhisattvas.

    Cave 3: It is a large sculptural gallery with two colossal Buddhas at either end. The standing Buddhas are over 20ft high and are from the sixth century CE. They are in the classic Sarnath style of Gupta-era art.

    Cave 41: It has a stunning sculpture of the ekadasamuka Lokeshwara (11-headed Avalokiteshwara, the only one of its kind found in India).

    Cave 90: It has a gorgeous sculpture of Avalokiteshwara—flanked by the goddesses Tara and Bhrikuti—in his role as saviour of his supplicants from the eight great fears (ashta-maha-bhaya) of the medieval world.

    It bears inscriptions in Pahlavi that record the names of Persian migrants who had visited the caves in the 11th century.

    About rock-cut cave sites in Maharashtra

    The first rock-cut caves were excavated in Bihar (the Barabar caves and the Nagarjuni caves) during the reign of emperor Ashoka in the Mauryan era.

    Maharashtra is the capital of ancient rock-cut architecture in the country. Of the 1,200-odd architectural cave sites excavated in India, a thousand or more are found in the state.

    The most well-known caves in Maharashtra are the caves at Ajanta, Ellora and Aurangabad. While these caves were mostly Buddhist, one can find Hindu rock-cut caves at Ellora from the fifth century CE onwards.

    The cave architecture reached its apotheosis in the monumental “Kailasa Temple”, or Cave 16, at Ellora.

    The trend of rock-cut caves pale out towards the end of the first millennium CE, to be replaced by free-standing stone temples in the Hindu traditions and gigantic stone and wood viharas and temples in the Buddhist traditions.

  • Geographical Indication tag sought for Beypore Uru

    Source: The post is based on the article “Geographical Indication tag sought for Beypore Uru” published in The Hindu on 15th December 2022

    What is the News?

    The District Tourism Promotion Council, Kozhikode (Kerala) has applied for a Geographical Indication(GI) tag for the famous Beypore Uru(boat).

    What is Beypore Uru?

    Beypore Uru is a wooden dhow (ship / sailing boat / sailing vessel) handcrafted by skilled artisans and carpenters in Beypore, Kerala.

    Made of: The Beypore Urus are purely made of premium wood without using any modern techniques. The wood used to build the Uru is still sawed the traditional way which requires immense expertise. It takes anywhere between 1-4 years to build each Uru and the entire process is done manually.

    Historical significance: Beypore has been a legendary maritime hub for traders from across the world since the 1st Century C.E and the iconic Uru ships have been in high demand for around 2000 years. 

    Communities associated with Beypore Uru: There are several communities traditionally associated with Uru-making. 

    – The prominent people among them are Odayis. They manage the technical matters of ship building. 

    – The Khalasis are another prominent class associated with Uru-making after the Odayis. They are world-famous for their skill and expertise in launching the completed Urus into the water by using only traditional methods. 

  • All about Tripura’s Unakoti, the ‘Angkor Wat of the North-East’ seeking UNESCO world heritage tag

    Source: The post is based on the article “All about Tripura’s Unakoti, the ‘Angkor Wat of the North-East’ seeking UNESCO world heritage tag” published in Indian Express on 15th December 2022

    What is the News?

    Unakoti, famously known as the ‘Angkor Wat of the North-East’ is vying for a UNESCO World Heritage Tag.

    What is Unakoti?

    Unakoti is located in Tripura. It is a ‘Shaiba’ (Saivite) pilgrimage site with gigantic rock cut sculptures.

    The site displays almost the same mystical charm as the Angkor Wat temple of Cambodia. Hence, it is called the Angkor Wat of North-East.

    Meaning: Literally, Unakoti means ‘one less one crore’ in Hindi and Bengali and it is believed that these many rock carvings (ninety-nine lakh ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine) are present here.

    – In the local Kokborok language, Unakoti is called Subrai Khung 

    Mythological significance: According to Hindu mythology, when Lord Shiva was going to Kashi along with one crore gods and goddesses, he made a night halt at this location. He asked all his fellow gods and goddesses to wake up before sunrise and proceed for Kashi. 

    – It is believed that in the morning, except Shiva, none of them could wake up so he set out for Kashi alone, cursing others to become stone images. 

    – As a result of this curse, ninety-nine lakh ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine stone images and carvings continue to be present at Unakoti.

    What is Angkor Wat Temple?

    Angkor Wat literally means ‘city of temples’. It is a temple complex in Cambodia and is the largest religious monument in the world.

    The temple was built by king Suryavarman II who is regarded as the Khmer empire’s greatest kings. 

    The temple was originally constructed as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu. But it was gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century. As such, it is also described as a “Hindu-Buddhist” temple.

  • Kochi-Muziris Biennale to begin on December 12: What are Art Biennales and why are they significant?

    Source: The post is based on the article “Kochi-Muziris Biennale to begin on December 12: What are Art Biennales and why are they significant?” published in Indian Express on 13th December 2022

    What is the News?

    The fifth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale opens on December 12 (founded in 2011). It will have on display the works of over 90 artists from across the globe in varied media. 

    What is Kochi-Muziris Biennale?

    The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is an international exhibition of contemporary art held in the city of Kochi in Kerala. It is the largest art exhibition in the country and the biggest contemporary art festival in Asia. It is an initiative of the Kochi Biennale Foundation with support from the Government of Kerala.

    What are Art Biennales?

    It is an international large-scale showcase of art that takes place every two years at a particular site.

    It is usually non-commercial enterprises – unlike art fairs – that centre around a curatorial theme.

    History of art biennales around the world: One of the most prestigious and oldest biennales in the world, the Venice Biennale was established through a resolution by the city council in 1893 to celebrate national artistic talent. 

    – With its rising popularity, the 1900s saw the emergence of Biennales across the world, with Bienal de São Paulo (Brazil)  being instituted as the first non-European biennial in 1951.

    – In 2009, a global Biennale Foundation was established with an “aim to create a platform for dialogue, networking, and knowledge sharing among contemporary art biennials around the world”.

    Significance: Though most biennales do not allow for the direct purchase of art, an invitation and participation in the global showcase are often viewed as a validation of an artist’s work.

    Additionally, Biennales, often named after the host city, become a reason for local pride, promoting cultural tourism and generating revenue through visitors.

    Moreover, it creates a new language of cosmopolitanism and modernity rooted in Old traditions. For instance, Kochi is among the few cities in India where pre-colonial traditions of cultural pluralism continue to flourish.

  • Meitei Script: Newspapers, the last holdouts of Bengali script in Manipur, given ultimatum to switch to Meetei Mayek next month

    Source: The post is based on the article Newspapers, the last holdouts of Bengali script in Manipur, given ultimatum to switch to Meetei Mayek next monthpublished in The Hindu on 12th December 2022

    What is the News?

    Newspapers in Manipur are working towards replacing the Bengali script that’s currently in use with Meitei or the Manipuri script.

    What is Meitei Script?

    Meitei script or Meetei Mayek is an abugida (pseudo-alphabet system) used for the Meitei language, one of the official languages of Manipur.

    Origin of Meitei script: According to the Sahitya Akademi, the history of the Meetei Mayek script dates back to at least the 6th century and was in use till the 18th century. 

    Decline of Meitei script: In 1709, a Hindu missionary named Shantidas Gosai came to Kangleipak — the ancient name for the independent kingdom of Manipur — to spread Vaishnavism. 

    He mesmerized the kings and the high officials of the palace, and on royal orders, all religious and other precious books in Meitei Mayek were incinerated, and new ones were written in the Bengali script.

    Revival of Meitei script: The Manipuri language was included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution in 1992 but in Bengali script.

    – However, Meetei Mayek has seen a revival in the 21st century, with an initial shift to the Manipuri script in educational institutions and an amendment of the Manipur Official Language Act in 2021 to mandate the phasing out of Bengali script over the next ten years.

  • Andaman & Nicobar’s first application for the Geographical Indication tag is for the Nicobari hodi craft

    Source: The post is based on the article “Andaman & Nicobar’s first application for the Geographical Indication tag is for the Nicobari hodi craft” published in The Hindu on 21st November 2022.

    What is the News?

    Andaman & Nicobar Islands has filed an application, seeking the Geographical Indication(GI) tag for the Nicobari Hodi craft.

    This is the first application from the Union Territory seeking a tag for one of its products.

    What is Nicobar Hodi?
    Nicobar Hodi
    Source: Dinamani

    The Hodi is the Nicobari tribe’s traditional craft. It is an outrigger canoe, very commonly operated in the Nicobar group of islands.

    Process of Making Hodi: The technical skills for building a hodi are based on indigenous knowledge inherited by the Nicobarese from their forefathers.

    – The hodi is built using either locally available trees or from nearby islands and its design varies slightly from island to island.

    – Considerations to be taken into account while building hodi include the length of the finished canoe, which has to be 12 times that of its width while the length of the undressed tree trunk has to be 15 times this width.

    Uses: Hodis are used for transporting people and goods from one island to another, for sending coconuts, and for fishing and racing purposes.

    Significance: The tuhet, a group of families under a headman, consider the hodi an asset. Hodi races are held between islands and villages.

  • Tirupati’s megalithic burial sites in a state of neglect

    Source: The post is based on the article “Tirupati’s megalithic burial sites in a state of neglect” published in The Hindu on 15th November 2022

    What is the News?

    Tirupati district in Andhra Pradesh is said to have the largest collection of anthropomorphic burial sites.

    What are Anthropomorphic sites?

    Anthropomorphic sites are those marked by a representation of human form above the megalithic burials.

    Most of these sites are in a state of neglect, with neither the government nor the local residents caring to protect what could become a cherished heritage.

    What are the most prominent Anthropomorphic sites?

    Pillared Dolmen: It is a megalithic site found at Mallayyagaripalle, nestling on a hillock between Chandragiri and Dornakambala, in Tirupati. The structure is locally referred to as ‘Pandava Gullu’ or ‘Pandavula Banda’ in memory of the Pandavas and is estimated to be 2,500 years old.

    Devara Yeddhu: It is an endangered megalithic monument in Palem village near Kallur, which resembles a bull’s horn. The site has suffered repeated damage due to clandestine excavation by treasure hunters.

    What are Megaliths?

    Click Here to read

    What are the different types of Megaliths?

    Dolmen: This is a type of megalith which is made in a single chamber tomb, usually consisting of three or more upright stones supporting a large flat horizontal capstone. 

    ​​Cairn: A Cairn is a human-made pile of stones, often in conical form. They are usually found in uplands, on moorland, on mountaintops or near waterways.

    Cist: A cist or kist was used as encasements for dead bodies. It might have associations with other monuments. 

    Menhir: A Menhir is a stone Monolithic standing vertically. It could also exist as part of a group of similar stones. They have different sizes with uneven and square shapes, often tapering towards the top.

    Stone Circle: A Stone Circle is a monument of standing stones arranged in a circle usually dated to the megalithic period.

  • Kashi Tamil Sangamam begins Thursday: What is the ancient connect between Kashi and the Tamil land?

    Source: The post is based on the article “Kashi Tamil Sangamam begins Thursday: What is the ancient connect between Kashi and the Tamil land?” published in Indian Express on 16th November 2022

    What is the News?

    The centre will be organizing a one-of-its-kind event called ‘Kashi-Tamil Sangamam’ in Varanasi with an aim to reestablish age-old links between the cultures of Varanasi and Tamil Nadu.

    What is Kashi-Tamil Sangamam?

    Click Here to read

    Significance: This programme is in sync with the National Education Policy, 2020 which emphasizes “on nurturing a generation that is modern and in sync with the 21st-century mindset, while being rooted in the Indian culture and ethos”.

    What is the history of ties between Kashi and Tamil Nadu?

    The ancient connection between the two centres of knowledge is evident in many walks of life like: 

    – Many households in Tamilnadu adopted the names of Kailasanatha and Kashinatha for naming their children, like those who are living in Kashi and Uttar Pradesh. 

    King Adhiveera Rama Pandiyan of the Pandya Dynasty dedicated a Shiva Temple at Tenkasi of Tamilnadu after his pilgrimage to Kashi , whose ancestors established Sivakasi. He wrote “Kashi Kandam” of Skanda Purana in Tamil poetic verses.

    Saint Kumaragurupara from Sri Vaikundam, Tuthukudi District of Tamil Nadu has excelled in bargaining with the Sultanate of Kashi with audacity and drove a lion to his courtyard to get back the Kedarghat and a place for the consecration of Vishweshwara Lingam. He has written “Kashi Kalambakam” a grammatical composition of poems on Kashi. 

  • Mangarh Massacre: Rajasthan’s Jallianwala Bagh: A lost story

    Source: The post is based on the article “Rajasthan’s Jallianwala Bagh: A lost storypublished in Indian Express on 15th November 2022

    What is the News?

    On November 17, 1913, a horrifying tragedy occurred in Mangarh (Banswada, Rajasthan). British cannons and machine guns are known to have killed more than 1,500 tribals in Mangarh. This tragedy is called as Mangarh Massacre and is also known as Adivasi Jallianwala.

    What is Mangarh Massacre?

    Bhils, a tribal community faced great troubles at the hands of the rulers of the princely states and the British. 

    By the end of the 20th century, the Bhils living in Rajasthan and Gujarat became bonded labour.

    The great famine of 1899-1900 across the Deccan and Bombay Presidency, which killed over six lakh people, only made the situation worst for the Bhils.

    From this tragedy emerged a social activist named Govind Guru. Mobilized and trained by him, the Bhils placed a charter of 33 demands before the British by 1910 primarily relating to forced labour, high tax imposed on Bhils and harassment of the guru’s followers by the British and rulers of princely states.

    The Bhils rejected the British’s attempt to placate them. The British then asked the Bhils to leave Mangarh Hill before 15 November 1913. But that didn’t happen.

    On 17 November 1913, the British Indian Army fired indiscriminately on Bhil protesters and it is said that over 1,500 people, including women and children, died in the tragedy.

    Who was Govind Guru?

    Govind Guru was a revolutionary leader of the tribals of Mangarh. He was a living legend among the Bhil and Garasiya tribal communities.

    Before Govind Guru became a leader in India’s freedom struggle, he played an important role in India’s renaissance movement.

    At the age of 25, he impressed Swami Dayanand Saraswati, a central figure of that movement in north India. He along with Swami Dayanand Saraswati initiated a wave of social reforms in the tribal areas.

    For instance, in 1903, Govind Guru pledged not to drink alcohol, shifting his focus to eradicating social evils, boycotting foreign goods, and ending forced labour among others.

    This led to the creation of a Sump (Unity) Sabha, whose first meeting was held on the hilltop in Mangarh. This historical event solidified Mangarh’s significance in Indian history as it became central to the tribal movement in this area.

    Bhagat movement initiated in 1908 by Govind Guru where tribals gathered around the fire to reaffirm their oath was also seen by the British as a threat.

    After the Mangarh massacre, Govind Guru was given a death sentence, and his wife was arrested. But fearing that the movement of tribal Bhils would turn violent, the British postponed his execution and sentenced him to 20 years of imprisonment on an isolated island.

    He lived his last years in Kamboi, Gujarat, where he died on October 30, 1931.

  • Miniature dhows from Beypore make their way to Qatar World Cup

    Source: The post is based on the article “Miniature dhows from Beypore make their way to Qatar World Cup” published in The Hindu on 12th November 2022

    What is the News?

    Kerala’s own Beypore Uru (yacht made of wood and coir) is all set to be a part of FIFA World Cup 2022.

    Note: Beypore is an ancient port town located on the banks of the Chaliyar River in Kerala.

    What is Beypore Uru?
    Beypore Uru
    Source: Kerala Tourism

    An uru is a wooden dhow (ship) mainly made of Malabar teak in Beypore town of Kerala. It is probably the biggest handicraft in the world.

    Origin: Uru making in Beypore is a centuries-old tradition that was established since India began its maritime trade with Mesopotamia.

    Making process: Beypore urus are purely made of wood, without using any modern techniques, and traditional methods are used to launch this ship into the water. The carpenters manually join each piece of wood to build the large boat.

    Artisans responsible for making Uru: The Khalasis are the traditional artisans responsible for the manufacture of the Uru. They are the ones who launch these urus into the water, setting them ready for travel. It takes at least four years and the effort of over forty Khalasis to build an Uru.

  • Army Organizes Walong Mela in continuation of Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Battle of Walong

    Source: The post is based on the article Army Organizes Walong Mela in continuation of Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Battle of Walong published in AIR on 10th November 2022.

    What is the News?

    Indian Army organized Walong Mela in continuation of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Battle of Walong.

    What is the Battle of Walong?

    Walong is one of India’s easternmost villages in Arunachal Pradesh.

    In the 1962 India-China War, the Indian Army defended against China in all sectors except one — Arunachal Pradesh’s Walong.

    The Battle of Walong was the only counterattack India could manage in the war.

    The Indian Army held back the Chinese troops for 27 days, which forced the Chinese to deploy its reserve division from Tawang to Walong.

  • A brush for change

    Source: The post is based on the article “A brush for change” published in The Hindu on 4th November 2022. 

    What is the News? 

    24 artists have attempted to draw attention to the severity of climate change, at a time when experts are preparing for COP27 in Egypt. 

    What are the art forms drawn by artists to draw attention to climate change? 

    Bada Dev: A revered deity for Gond-Pradhan tribes. He is believed to reside in the Saja tree. The Gond are a Dravidian ethnolinguistic group and are one of the largest tribal groups in India. 

    Warli paintings: It is a type of tribal art that is predominantly done by tribal people from Maharashtra’s North Sahyadri Range. This tribal art originated in Maharashtra and is still practiced. 

    Madhubani painting: It is a well-known form of art famous in the state of Bihar in India. This exceptional art form has five different styles (Bharni, Kachni, Tantrik, Godna, Kohbar) with distinct features. 

    Mata ni Pachedi: Literally meaning ‘behind the mother goddess’, the painting is mainly done by the nomadic Vaghari community of Gujarat. 

  • 12th century inscription in Sanskrit found on Mahalaxmi temple wall in kolhapur

    Source: The post is based on the article “12th century inscription in Sanskrit found on Mahalaxmi temple wall in kolhapur” published in TOI on 2nd November 2022.

    What is the News?

    A 12th-century inscription in Sanskrit carved on the stone wall of the Mahalaxmi temple here has shed more light on the rich heritage of the temple.

    About Mahalaxmi/Shri Ambabai Temple

    Mahalaxmi temple is located on the banks of the Panchganga river in Kolhapur in the state of Maharashtra. 

    It is one of the Shakthi Peeths mentioned in Hindu Puranas (Hindu ancient religious texts).

    The temple takes its name from Ambabai/Mahalaxmi, and it is believed that the divine couple resides in the area.

    The temple belongs architecturally to the Chalukya empire and may have been first built in 700 AD.

  • Coinage with images of gods and goddesses dates back to Kushans

    Source: The post is based on the article “Coinage with images of gods and goddesses dates back to Kushans” published in The Hindu on 29th October 2022

    What is the News?

    Delhi Chief Minister has appealed to the Union government and the Prime Minister to print images of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh on new currency notes for the country’s “economic prosperity”.

    In this context, let us look at the Evolution of the Coinage System in India:

    Indus Valley Civilization: The Indus valley civilization of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa dates back between 2500 BC and 1750 BC. However, there is no consensus on whether the seals excavated from the sites were in fact coins.

    Punched marked Coins: The first documented coinage is deemed to start with ‘Punch Marked’ coins issued between the 7th-6th century BC and 1st century AD.

    – These coins are called ‘punch-marked’ coins because of their manufacturing technique. Mostly made of silver, these bear symbols, each of which was punched on the coin with a separate punch.

    – They are broadly classified into two periods: 1) The first period is attributed to the Janapadas or small local states, 2) The second period is attributed to the Imperial Mauryan period and 3) The motifs found on these coins were mostly drawn from nature like the sun, various animal motifs, trees, hills etc.

    Dynastic Coins: The earliest of these coins relate to those of the Indo-Greeks, the Saka-Pahlavas and the Kushans. These coins are generally placed between the 2nd century BC and the 2nd century AD.

    Indo Greeks: Hellenistic traditions characterize the silver coins of the Indo-Greeks, with Greek gods and goddesses figuring prominently, apart from the portraits of the issuers.

    Sakas: The Saka coinage of the Western Kshatrapas are perhaps the earliest dated coins, the dates being given in the Saka era which commences in AD 78.The Saka era represents the official calendar of the Indian Republic.

    – Kushans: Kushans, who hailed from the Central Asian region were the first to use the image of Goddess Lakshmi on their coins, along with Ardochsho, the Iranic Goddess of wealth. They also depicted Oesho (Shiva), moon deity Miro and Buddha in their coinage.

    Satavahana: Their coins were predominantly of copper and lead, however, silver issues are also known. These coins carried the motifs of fauna like elephants, lions, bulls, horses, etc. often juxtaposed against motifs from nature like hills, trees, etc. The silver coins of the Satavahanas carried portraits and bilingual legends, which were inspired by the Kshatrapa types.

    Gupta: Gupta coinage (4th-6th centuries AD) followed the tradition of the Kushans, depicting the king on the obverse and a deity on the reverse; the deities were Indian, and the legends were in Brahmi. 

    – The earliest Gupta coins are attributed to Samudragupta, Chandragupta II and Kumaragupta and their coins often commemorate dynastic succession as well as significant socio-political events, like marriage alliances, the horse sacrifice or for that matter artistic and personal accomplishments of royal members.

    South India Coinage: The symbols and motifs on South Indian coin issues were confined to dynastic crests such as the boar (Chalukya), bull (Pallava), tiger (Chola), fish (Pandya and Alupas), bow and arrow (Cheras) and lion (Hoysala) etc.

    Vijayanagara: Vijayanagara kings used coinage with Hindu idols. Harihara –II (1377-1404) introduced coins that had Brahma-Saraswati, Vishnu-Lakshmi and Shiva-Parvati. 

    British India: The British East India Co. at Madras Presidency minted coins labelled as the Three Swamy Pagoda, which depicts Lord Balaji flanked by Sridevi and Bhudevi on either side.

  • 100 years of Saka Panja Sahib: Why a railway station in Pakistan holds significance in Sikh history

    Source: The post is based on the article “100 years of Saka Panja Sahib: Why a railway station in Pakistan holds significance in Sikh history” published in Indian Express on 29th October 2022

    What is the News?

    The gurdwara management bodies from both sides of the border — Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee(SGPC) and Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) — will jointly observe the 100 years of Shaheedi Saka Panja Sahib (martyrdom massacre) at Hasan Abdal city, Punjab province of Pakistan.

    What is Saka Panja Sahib?

    Saka Panja Sahib is a heroic event that took place on October 30, 1922, at Hasan Abdal railway station close to the sacred shrine of Panja Sahib in Punjab province of Pakistan.

    On this day, Sikhs from nearby Panja Sahib wanted to serve langar (community kitchen food) to the Sikh prisoners but were told by the station master at Hasan Abdal station that the train would not stop at the station. 

    In protest, the Sikhs squatted on the railway tracks and as the train approached, the Sikhs who were determined to halt the train continued to stay, demanding their right to serve langar to the Sikh prisoners.

    The train finally came to a screeching halt, but only after crushing many Sikh protesters — of whom Bhai Karam Singh and Bhai Partap Singh died after sustaining serious injuries. 

    Since then, both Sikhs are hailed as martyrs of Saka Panja Sahib who sacrificed their lives fighting for the rights of Sikhs against the British.

    About Gurdwara Panja Sahib

    Gurdwara Panja Sahib is a famous gurdwara located in Hasan Abdal, Pakistan.

    The Gurdwara was built on the site believed to be visited by Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak Dev, along with his companion Bhai Mardana.

  • Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya receives above 1 lakh visitors upto 30th September

    Source: The post is based on the article Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya receives above 1 lakh visitors upto 30th Septemberpublished in PIB on 26th October 2022

    What is the News?

    The Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya has received over 1 lakh visitors till 30th September. 

    What is Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya?

    The Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya is a tribute to every Prime Minister of India since Independence and a narrative record of how each one has contributed to the development of our nation over the last 75 years.

    Located at: Delhi’s Teen Murti Complex.

    Logo: The logo of the museum shows hands holding the dharma chakra, symbolizing the nation and democracy.

    Key Features

    People can witness the memorable speeches given by the Prime Ministers at the Red Fort.

    The Sangrahalaya has a state-of-the-art 360-degree immersive room – without shadows, which ushers into the world of Indian Prime Ministers, showcasing their key contributions that shaped the nation.

    The entrance of the Sangrahalaya is adorned with a 3D-printed levitating National Emblem, rotating in the air. 

    Significance: Pradhan Mantri Sangrahalaya is a living reflection of the shared heritage of each government. It gives confidence to the youth of the country that even a person born in an ordinary family can reach the highest position in the democratic system of India.

  • Kantara: What is the controversy over the practice of ‘bhoota kola’ in the Kannada movie?

    Source: The post is based on the article “Kantara: What is the controversy over the practice of ‘bhoota kola’ in the Kannada movie?” published in Indian Express on 26th October 2022

    What is the News?

    Kannada film Kantara is being appreciated from all corners for its visual storytelling as well as compelling music and performances. However, the movie has also garnered controversies regarding the cultural practice of Bhoota Kola depicted in the movie.

    What is Bhoota Kola?

    Bhoota Kola is an annual folk ritual of Tulu-speaking people in Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada and Udupi in Karnataka where local spirits or deities are worshiped

    Performance: Bhootada Kola is performed by a trained person who is believed to have temporarily become a god himself. 

    The performer displays an aggressive outlook, dances fiercely and performs multiple rituals. 

    This performer is feared and respected in the community and is believed to give answers to people’s problems on behalf of god. Drums and music give company to the dancing and pooja rituals.

    Popular Bhootas: Panjurli, Bobbarya, Pilipoota, Kalkuda, Kalburti, Pilichamundi, Koti Chennaya are some of the popular gods (Bhootas) worshipped as part of Bhootada Kola.

    Influence: Bhootada Kola is said to have some influence from Yakshagana, a more popular and widely performed folk dance in coastal Karnataka. Some of the Bhootada Kola rituals also involve walking on a bed of hot coal.

  • Lothal, ‘oldest dock in the world’, to get heritage complex: Features, significance of the project

    Source: The post is based on the article “Lothal, ‘oldest dock in the world’, to get heritage complex: Features, significance of the project” published in Indian Express on 20th October 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Prime Minister has reviewed the construction of the National Maritime Heritage Complex (NMHC) site at Lothal, Gujarat.

    About Lothal

    Lothal was one of the southernmost sites of the Indus Valley civilization located in the Bhāl region of what is now the state of Gujarat. 

    The port city is believed to have been built in 2,200 BC.

    Lothal was a thriving trade center in ancient times with its trade of beads, gems and ornaments reaching West Asia and Africa. 

    The meaning of Lothal (a combination of Loth and (s) thal) in Gujarati is “the mound of the dead”.

    Archaeologist SR Rao led the team which discovered a number of Harappan sites at the time, including the port city of Lothal.

    Features of Lothal: Lothal had the world’s earliest known dock, connecting the city to an ancient course of the Sabarmati river.

    – National Institute of Oceanography in Goa discovered marine microfossils and salt, gypsum crystals at the site indicating that seawater once filled the structure, and it was definitely a dockyard.

    – In later excavations, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) unearthed a mound, a township, a marketplace and a dock. 

    About National Maritime Heritage Complex(NMHC) 

    Click Here to read

  • PM reviews work in progress of National Maritime Heritage Complex site at Lothal, Gujarat

    Source: The post is based on the articlePM reviews work in progress of National Maritime Heritage Complex site at Lothal, Gujaratpublished in PIB on 19th October 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Prime Minister has reviewed the work in progress at the site of the National Maritime Heritage Complex at Lothal, Gujarat.

    About National Maritime Heritage Complex(NHMC)

    National Maritime Heritage Complex(NHMC) will be developed in Lothal region of Gujarat.

    It would be developed as an international tourist destination, where the maritime heritage of India from ancient to modern times would be showcased.

    The idea is to create an edutainment (education with entertainment) approach for this destination that would be of great interest to the visitors.

    It is going to cover an area of 400 acres, with structures such as Heritage Theme Park, National Maritime Heritage Museum, Lighthouse Museum, Maritime Institute, eco-resorts, and more.

    There will also be many pavilions where all coastal states in India and union territories can showcase their artifacts and maritime heritage.

    About Lothal

    Lothal was one of the prominent cities of the Harappan civilization.

    The site is known for the discovery of the oldest man-made dockyard which was connected to an old course of the Sabarmati River. 

    Other features include the acropolis, the lower town, the bead factory, the warehouses, and the drainage system. 

    The site has been nominated to be enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Ukrainian Borsch: In war-torn Ukraine, Unesco fights to protect a beetroot soup

    Source: The post is based on the article “In war-torn Ukraine, Unesco fights to protect a beetroot soup” published in TOI on 17th October 2022.

    What is the News?

    UNESCO inscribed the Culture of Ukrainian borscht cooking on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding in July 2022.

    What is Ukrainian Borsch?

    Borscht is a sour soup common in Eastern Europe and the word is associated with the soup’s variant of Ukrainian origin.

    Ukrainian borscht is cooked with broth combined with beetroot, sugar beet or fermented beet juice. 

    Ukrainian borscht unites people of all ages, genders and backgrounds at the table. It is also used in ritual practices such as in the region of Podillia, where the third day of the wedding has maintained its ritual name do nevistky – na borshch meaning ‘visit daughter-in-law to eat borscht’. 

    Threats faced by this traditional soup of Ukraine: This soup has been threatened by various factors since the beginning of the armed conflict including the displacement of bearers from their communities of origin and from the cultural contexts necessary for the cooking and consumption of borscht in Ukraine. 

    Moreover, the destruction of the surrounding environment and traditional agriculture has prevented communities from accessing local products, such as vegetables, needed to prepare the dish.

  • The grandeur of the Chola Empire, one of the longest ruling dynasties in South India

    Source: The post is based on the article “The grandeur of the Chola Empire, one of the longest ruling dynasties in South India” published in The Hindu on 13th October 2022.

    What is the News?

    After the Ponniyin Selvan I movie, based on Kalki’s creation of a world of the Cholas, there is a renewed interest in knowing more about one of the oldest and longest-ruling dynasties in the history of Southern India spreading over four centuries.

    What are the sources of the Chola kingdom?

    Literary sources: The best option to know more about the ancient civilisation is to read from the available literature that talks of the valour and conquests of Chola kings of yore, their trade links and wealth, styles of administration, art and architecture, and cuisine and skills of the period.

    For instance, 1) details of the Chola kings in Tamil Sangam literature such as Pattinappalai and Puranaanooru was brought to print by U.V. Swaminatha Ayyar.

    2) The Mahavamsa (which tells the history of Sri Lanka), Periplus of the Erythraean Sea and other notes by Chinese and Arabian travellers to India also have many details about them.

    3) Japanese historian Noboru Karashimahas has written insightful volumes on the Cholas’ economic, social and administrative prowess.

    4) Besides that, books and novels by scholars and modern writers on the Dravidian kingdom also reveal more important information.

    Other sources: The monumental relics, majestic bronzes and 1,00,000 inscriptions, and temples also reveal details about the Cholas.

    About the era of the Chola kingdom
    Must read: Ponniyin Selvan:1 puts focus on the Cholas: what happened during their rule?

    Literary works: Kalingathu Parani by Jayam kondar, Kamba Ramayanam by Kambar, Periya Puranam by Sekkizhar were written during the reign of Kulothunga I and II.

    Architectural achievements: The construction of the Brihadeeshwara Temple in Thanjavur was done by Raja Raja I. Similarly, Gangai konda Chozhapuram was built by Rajendra I, and the Airavateswara Temple at Dharasuram was done by Rajaraja III.

  • PM declares Modhera in Gujarat as India’s first 24×7 solar-powered village

    Source: The post is based on the article “PM declares Modhera in Gujarat as India’s first 24×7 solar-powered village” published in All India Radio on 9th October 2022.

    What is the News?

    Recently, Prime Minister declared Modhera in Gujarat’s Mehsana district as India’s first 24×7 solar-powered village.

    About India’s India’s first 24×7 solar-powered village

    Modhera will be India’s first village to become a net renewable energy generator. It will be the first modern village to have a solar-based ultra-modern electric vehicle charging station.

    It is India’s first grid-connected megawatt-hours (MWh) scale battery energy storage system. People in Modhera would be saving 60% to 100 % on electricity bills.

    Modhera was well known for the Sun temple, now it will also be known as a solar-powered village. The heritage lighting and 3-D projection at the Sun Temple would operate on solar energy. The 3-D projection will inform visitors about the history of Modhera.

    About Modhera Sun Temple

    It was made by King Bhima I of the Chalukya dynasty in the early 11th century. It is made to honour the Sun God in Modhera village of Mehsana district on the bank of River Pushpavati.

    The temple is designed in such a way that during every equinox, the first ray of the rising sun would fall on a diamond placed on the head of the Sun God. This would also light up the shrine with a golden glow.

    The Sabha Mandap stands on 52 pillars, signifying the 52 weeks in a year. There are carvings of the sun on the walls to show its unity with air, water, earth and space.

    In 2014, Modhera Sun Temple entered the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It enjoys the same significance as the other two well-known sun temples in Kashmir (Martand Sun Temple) and Odisha (Konark Sun Temple).

  • ‘Caves of Bandhavgarh not Buddhist’

    Source: The post is based on the article “‘Caves of Bandhavgarh not Buddhist’” published in The Hindu on 6th October 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) has discovered remarkable archaeological remains in Madhya Pradesh’s Bandhavgarh Forest Reserve. The ASI said it documented second-century Buddhist caves and eighth and ninth-century Hindu temples in the region.

    However, a professor explained that the caves are not Buddhist. In Buddhist caves, there should be memorial stupas and carvings that have an overtly Buddhist character. These are absent in these caves.

    What has been discovered by ASI at Bandhavgarh Forest Reserve?
    Must read: Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) unravels remarkable Archaeological remains in Bandhavgarh Forest Reserve

    Caves created by command man: There are caves near the Chakradhara meadow, on the hill ridges and near the plateau. These were caves created mainly by men of commerce and craftspeople, and very occasionally by kings.

    One epigraph describes the cave as a sarthika lata or cave for caravan people. The creators also made tanks near the caves and one cave was described as a vayamasala or gymnasium.

    Hindu religious Temples: Temples in large numbers, dedicated to Shiva, were built atop the plateau, on the hill slopes below and in the flatlands. Sculptures depicting the 10 avatars of Vishnu were also described.

    A couple of centuries later, a minister in the court of King Yuvarajadeva got a Vishnu image (the Seshshayi) and several avatars of Vishnu — Varaha, Matsya and Kasyapa — with inscriptions in their vicinity.

    What is the significance of the findings at the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve?

    They are the first dwellings systematically created in the forest in the 2nd century BCE. The findings will explain the significance of ancient and medieval relics.

  • UNESCO launches list documenting 50 iconic Indian heritage textiles

    Source: The post is based on the articleUNESCO launches list documenting 50 iconic Indian heritage textilespublished in The Hindu on 30th September 2022.

    What is the News?

    UNESCO has released a list of 50 exclusive and iconic heritage textile crafts of India under the title “Handmade for the 21st Century: Safeguarding Traditional Indian Textile”.

    What are the textiles listed in the UNESCO document?

    The UNESCO document lists the histories and legends behind the textiles, describes the complicated and secret processes behind their making, mentions the causes for their dwindling popularity, and provides strategies for their preservation.

    Some of the textiles mentioned are: 

    – From North: Khes from Panipat, Chamba rumals from Himachal Pradesh, Thigma or wool tie and dye from Ladakh and Awadh Jamdani from Varanasi.

    – From the south: Ilkal and Lambadi or Banjara embroidery from Karnataka, Sikalnayakanpet Kalamkari from Thanjavur, Toda embroidery and Sungadi from Tamil Nadu and Himroo weaves from Hyderabad.

    – Other states: Kunbi weaves from Goa, Mashru weaves and Patola from Gujarat, Himroo from Maharashtra and Garad-Koirial from West Bengal and Bandha tie and dye weaving from Sambalpur in Odisha.

    Significance of this document: This list by UNESCO is significant as one of the major challenges to the safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in South Asia is the lack of proper inventory and documentation. 

  • What is the Rs 600-crore redevelopment plan for Ujjain’s Mahakaleshwar temple

    Source: The post is based on the article “What is the Rs 600-crore redevelopment plan for Ujjain’s Mahakaleshwar temple” published in Indian Express on 30th September 2022.

    What is the News?

    The Prime Minister will be inaugurating the Mahakaleshwar Corridor, constructed in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain.

    What is the Mahakal corridor?

    Mahakal Maharaj Mandir Parisar Vistar Yojna is a plan for the expansion, beautification, and decongestion of the Mahakaleshwar temple and its adjoining area in Ujjain district.

    What is Mahakaleshwar temple?

    Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva.It is located in the ancient city of Ujjain in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

    River: The temple is situated on the side of the holy river Shipra

    Built by: The temple in its present form was built by the Maratha general Ranoji Shinde in 1734 CE.

    Significance: Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is one of the 12 jyotirlingas considered the most sacred abodes of Shiva. 

    – As per records, the temple’s Mahakal Lingam is believed to be Swayambhu (self-manifested) and unlike any other jyotirlingas in the country, the idol of Mahakaleshwar faces south.

    – The shrine is also revered as one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peeth in India.

  • Ministry of Culture organizes Bathukamma festival- an annual celebration in Telangana at Kartavyapath, India Gate

    Source: The post is based on the article Ministry of Culture organizes Bathukamma festival- an annual celebration in Telangana at Kartavyapath, India Gate published in PIB on 26th September 2022

    What is the News?

    The Ministry of Culture has organized the celebration of Bathukamma festival being held at Kartavyapath, India Gate, New Delhi.

    What is Bathukamma Festival?

    Bathukamma is an annual festival in Telangana.

    The festival is celebrated by the women folk of Telangana, heralding the beauty of nature in vibrant colors of multitudinous flowers.

    The festival begins a week before the grand ‘Saddula Batukamma’ (the grand finale of the Bathukamma festival) which falls two days before Dussehra.

    During the nine-day annual festival, women and girls sing and dance around specially arranged flowers. At the end of the festival, they immerse the specially arranged flowers called Bathukamma in local ponds.

    Since the formation of Telangana state in 2014, Bathukamma has been celebrated as the state festival.

  • 1,464 books, 74 years and counting: How the world’s largest Encyclopaedic Sanskrit Dictionary is taking shape

    Source: The post is based on the article “1,464 books, 74 years and counting: How the world’s largest Encyclopaedic Sanskrit Dictionary is taking shape” published in Indian Express on 26th September 2022

    What is the News?

    Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute in Pune, Maharashtra is hosting an Open Day for the general public to witness its ongoing Encyclopedia of Sanskrit dictionary Project.

    About Encyclopedia of Sanskrit dictionary Project

    Started by: Linguist and Sanskrit Professor SM Katre, founder of India’s oldest Department of Modern Linguistics in Deccan College conceived this project in 1948.

    – The current members of the project are a team of about 22 faculty and researchers of Sanskrit.

    Features of the project: The dictionary contains words in alphabetical order. It follows historic principles in stating the meaning. 

    – For example, the word beginning with the letter ‘ अ ‘, like Agni will have all the citations from Sanskrit texts starting with Ṛig Veda and the references from the texts following Ṛig veda, chronologically arranged. This helps a reader to understand the historical development of the meaning of the word.

    Published volumes: Thirty-five volumes have been published as part of this project. These volumes consist of references from 62 knowledge disciplines restored in the Sanskrit language and trace the language’s linguistic developments right from Rigveda to Hasyarnava (1850 AD).

    Software used: The first volume took three years to be published in 1976. But technological intervention and an exclusive software with a font named KoshaSHRI have quickened the process.

    Significance: The encyclopedia dictionary of Sanskrit will be the world’s biggest dictionary.

    – For comparison, the Oxford English Dictionary with 20 volumes and 2.91 lakh word entries so far remain among the most popularly used dictionaries. 

    – On the other hand, the Encyclopedia Sanskrit Dictionary, once ready, will be three times larger. The 35 volumes published so far contain about 1.25 lakh vocables (word).

  • Shumang Leela, the traditional form of theatre celebrated in All Manipur Shumang Leela Festival 2021-2022 in Imphal

    Source: The post is based on the articleShumang Leela, the traditional form of theatre celebrated in All Manipur Shumang Leela Festival 2021-2022 in Imphalpublished in AIR on 1st September 2022.

    What is the News?

    The 50th All Manipur Shumang Leela Festival 2021-2022 has started at Iboyaima Shumang Leela Shanglen at Palace Compound in Imphal.Manipur.

    What is Shumang Leela?

    Shumang Leela is a traditional form of theatre in Manipur. The theatre is arranged in the form of open-air from four sides.

    In this, the roles of female artists are all played by male actors and male characters are played by female artists.

    The present-day Shumang Leelas address the issues of moral values, unity and integrity. The fostering of bonds of brotherhood and friendship among various communities in the State is also promoted by the theatre.

    In 2017, Shougrakpam Hemanta was conferred with the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in recognition of his contribution to Shumang Leela. With this, he became the first person to receive the award for this art form.

  • India nominates Garba to be inscribed on UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list

    Source: The post is based on the article India nominates Garba to be inscribed on UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage listpublished in AIR on 24th August 2022.

    What is the News?

    India has nominated the dance form Garba to be inscribed on UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list. If approved, it will become the first intangible cultural heritage of Gujarat to be listed by UNESCO.

    What is Garba?
    Garba Dance
    Source: TOI

    Garba is a form of dance which originates from the state of Gujarat in India. Traditionally, it is performed during the nine-day Hindu festival Navarātrī. 

    The word garba comes from the Sanskrit word for womb and so implies gestation or pregnancy — life.

    Traditionally, the dance is performed around a clay lantern with a light inside, called a Garbha Deep (“womb lamp”). This lantern represents life and the fetus in the womb in particular. The dancers thus honour Durga, the feminine form of divinity.

    Garba is performed in a circle reflecting the cycle of life. As the cycle of time revolves from birth, to life, to death and again to rebirth, the only thing that is constant is the Goddess, the idol of whom is placed stationary.

  • What is Acculturation?

    Source: The post is based on the article “What is Acculturation?” published in The Hindu on 24th August 2022.

    What is the News?

    India, with its distinctive fusion of various cultures, has ideals that provide a deeper understanding of the concept of acculturation and its outcomes.

    What is Acculturation?

    The concept of acculturation was coined in 1880 by American geologist John Wesley Powel in a report for the U.S. Bureau of Ethnology.

    It is defined as the process in which a person or group from one culture comes in contact with another culture, adopting the values and practices of the other while still retaining their own distinct identity.

    Sociologists understand acculturation as a two-way process, wherein the minority culture adopts aspects of the majority to fit in and the culture of the majority is also influenced by that of the minority.

    What is the relevance of Acculturation in the Indian context?

    India’s distinctive fusion of various cultures helps significantly in understanding the concept of acculturation and its outcomes. For instance: 

    – Persian culture has influenced almost all aspects of Indian society; the origins of popular food items like biryanis and faloodas and spices like saffron, and cumin seeds trace back to Persian origins.

    – The Urdu language, a blend of Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Hindi, is an example of the amalgamation and transmutation of cultures.

    – The architectures of Christian Churches in Kerala like the Cheriapally (small church) in Kottayam or the Pazhaya Suriyani Pally (old Syrian church) in Chengannur have marks of Hindu Temple architectural styles.

  • Explained: What is Mandala in art?

    Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: What is Mandala in art?” published in Indian Express on 21st August 2022.

    What is the News?

    Residents of Liverpool are amazed over a Mandala the size of one and a half football pitches in length created by artist James Brunt with materials such as leaves and rocks.

    What is Mandala?

    Mandala literally means “circle” or “centre” in Sanskrit. It is defined by a geometric configuration that usually incorporates the circular shape in some form.

    Mandala patterns are a centuries-old motif that is used to depict the cosmos and have been adapted by artists the world over.

    It can also be created in the shape of a square. But a mandala pattern is essentially interconnected. 

    What is the origin of Mandala Art? 

    It is believed to be rooted in Buddhism, appearing in the first century BC in India. Over the next couple of centuries, Buddhist missionaries travelling along the silk road took it to other regions.

    In Hinduism, the mandala imagery first appeared in Rig Veda(1500 – 500 BCE).

    What is the meaning of Mandala motifs?

    It is believed that by entering the mandala and moving towards its center, one is guided through the cosmic process of transforming the universe from one of suffering to that of joy. 

    In Hinduism, a mandala or yantra is in the shape of a square with a circle at its centre.

    Elements in Mandala Art: There are various elements incorporated within the mandala, each of which has its own meaning. For instance, the eight spokes of the wheel (the dharmachakra) represent the eightfold path of Buddhism, the lotus flower depicts balance, and the sun represents the universe.

    – Facing up, triangles represent action and energy, and facing down, they represent creativity and knowledge.

    Mandala in Modern Art

    Mandala continues to appear in Thangka paintings. But it also has a central place in the practice of mainstream artists associated with the tantric and neo-tantric spiritual movements. 

    In the 1960s Sohan Qadri and Prafulla Mohanty gained widespread recognition for their works that were imbibed with tantric symbolism, such as mandalas that are also used in the rituals of tantric initiation. 

    Geometric compositions also dominated the works of artists such as Biren De, GR Santosh, Shobha Broota, and famously SH Raza, who visualized the Bindu as the centre of his universe and the source of energy and life.

  • Explained: Why 1947 Boundary Commission awards for Punjab, Bengal irked India

    Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: Why 1947 Boundary Commission awards for Punjab, Bengal irked India” published in Indian Express on 13th August 2022.

    What is the News?

    On August 17, 1947, the award of the Boundary Commissions for the partition of Punjab and Bengal was announced. The award caused much anguish to the people of the two provinces and also to the governments of India and Pakistan.

    What were the two Boundary Commissions?

    In 1947, Sir Cyril John Radcliffe, a British lawyer was made the Chairman of two boundary commissions of Punjab and Bengal. He was given the task to draw up the new borders of India and Pakistan. 

    The boundary commissions of Punjab and Bengal also included two nominees each from the Indian National Congress and Muslim League respectively. 

    The Boundary Commissions award was made public on August 17, 1947. The award caused much anguish to the people of the two provinces and also to the governments of India and Pakistan.

    What were the views of Nehru on these awards?

    On Bengal: Jawaharlal Nehru protested against the award of Chittagong hill Tracts to Pakistan (East Pakistan, now Bangladesh). He said that he had never considered the allocation of Chittagong Hill Tracts to East Bengal as the area has 97% population of Buddhists and Hindus.

    On Punjab: Nehru said that he considered that the award of boundary commission in Punjab was likely to have a bad effect on the Sikhs.

    Note: Sardar Patel’s view was that the only solution to the Punjab award was a transfer of population on a large scale.

    On the Bengal award, what were BR Ambedkar and SP Mukherjee’s note?

    The joint note of BR Ambedkar and SP Mukherjee pointed out that the decision of the award in some vital respects is “unjust and unfair” and against the fundamental policy of the partition and also the terms of reference.

  • Google Launches “India Ki Udaan” Project To Mark 75 Years Of Independence

    Source: The post is based on the articleGoogle Launches “India Ki Udaan” Project To Mark 75 Years Of Independencepublished in NDTV on 6th August 2022.

    What is the News?

    Google has launched the “India ki Udaan” Project to mark 75 years of Independence.

    What is the India ki Udaan Project?

    Executed by: Google Arts and Culture.

    It celebrates the achievements of India and is based on the theme ‘Unwavering and undying spirit of India over these past 75 years’.

    The centrepiece of its celebrations is a new online collection titled “India Ki Udaan”. It features India’s rich cultural diversities, including iconic moments from the last 75 years.

    Significance of the project: This project offers a unique view of India’s remarkable moments and lets people discover some of the most memorable moments in India’s modern history. These include iconic personalities, and the proudest scientific and sporting achievements and show how women in India continue to inspire the world.

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