Nobel and other Prizes

In news: Guinness World Record


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Guinness World Record

Mains level: Not Much

Guinness yoga day

Central Idea

  • Prime Minister Modi’s leadership of a yoga session at the UN headquarters on the 9th International Yoga Day resulted in the creation of a Guinness World Record for the largest participation of people from different nationalities in a yoga event.
  • This article explores the history, significance, and criticisms associated with Guinness World Records.

Origin and Evolution of Guinness World Records

  • The idea for Guinness World Records originated from a pub argument in the 1950s, where Sir Hugh Beaver, the Managing Director of Guinness Brewery, sought a definitive answer to settle a debate.
  • In response to the need for settling contentious facts, Sir Hugh conceived the idea of a book providing comprehensive and authoritative records.
  • Two researchers, Norris and Ross McWhirter, were hired to compile the first edition of the Guinness Book of Records, which became an unexpected success.
  • Over time, the book expanded into an annual publication that updated existing records and set new ones.

Scope and Coverage of Guinness World Records

  • Guinness World Records documents and lists a wide range of human achievements and extreme natural phenomena.
  • The organization currently maintains 62,252 active records, including the world’s tallest building (Burj Khalifa, Dubai) and the longest fingernails ever (Lee Redmond).
  • It has expanded its presence through television shows and a robust online platform, garnering a significant social media following.

Making and Validating the Records

  • Guinness World Records has a global network of over 75 adjudicators responsible for determining record-breaking attempts.
  • An application process allows individuals to invite an adjudicator to witness and verify the record.
  • Specific criteria must be met, such as objective measurability, breakability, standardizability, verifiability, and being the best in the world.
  • In 2022, Guinness World Records received over 56,000 record enquiries from 171 countries, with more than 7,300 records approved.

Criticisms and Policy Changes

  • Guinness World Records faced criticism for its business model, which involved creating records as publicity stunts for companies and individuals, attracting accusations of supporting risky activities.
  • Comedian John Oliver criticized the organization in 2019 for accepting money from authoritarian governments for vanity projects.
  • In response to the criticisms, Guinness World Records revised its policies and disqualified records causing harm to animals, endangering participants or spectators, or resulting in food waste.

Back2Basics: Yoga

  • Origin: Yoga originated in ancient India and has its roots in Indian philosophy, spirituality, and culture.
  • Etymology: The word “yoga” is derived from the Sanskrit word “yuj,” which means “to join” or “to unite.” It signifies the union of mind, body, and spirit.
  • Historical References: Yoga-like practices were mentioned in the Rig-Veda, an ancient Hindu text dating back to approximately 1500 BCE. References to yoga can also be found in the Upanishads, which are philosophical texts from around 800 to 400 BCE.
  • Sage Patanjali: The sage Patanjali is considered the father of classical yoga. He compiled the Yoga Sutras, a foundational text that provides a systematic and philosophical framework for the practice of yoga. The Yoga Sutras were written around the 2nd century BCE.
  • Eight Limbs of Yoga: Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras outline the eight limbs or stages of yoga, known as Ashtanga Yoga. These limbs include ethical principles (yamas and niyamas), physical postures (asanas), breath control (pranayama), sense withdrawal (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and self-realization (samadhi).
  • Schools and Styles: There are various schools and styles of yoga, each with its own approach and emphasis. Some popular styles include Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Bikram, Kundalini, and Yin yoga.

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