History- Important places, persons in news

History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] Who was Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Social reformers in Colonial India

Mains level : Not Much

The PM has laid the foundation stone of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh State University in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh.

UPSC is exploring deeper for social reformers involved in the freedom struggle. This is very much visible from the questions based on Rakhmabai, Gopal Baba Walangkar, Sakharam Deuskar etc. in CS Prelims 2020.

Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh (1886-1979)

  • Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh was an Indian freedom fighter, journalist, writer and a revolutionary.
  • He was President in the Provisional Government of India, which served as the Indian Government in exile during World War I from Kaabul in 1915.
  • He also formed the Executive Board of India in Japan in 1940 during the Second World War.
  • He also took part in the Balkan War in the year 1911 along with his fellow students of Muhammedan Anglo College.
  • In recognition of his services, the government of India issued postage stamps in his honor. He is popularly known as “Aryan Peshwa”.
  • He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1932.

Involvement in Swadeshi Movement

  • He met several leaders involved in the Swadeshi movement, deciding to promote small industries with indigenous goods and local artisans.
  • He was influenced by the speeches of Dadabhai Naoroji, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Maharaja of Baroda, and Bipin Chandra Pal, helping to make him a patriot who turned Swadeshi.

Formation of provisional govt in exile

  • On 1 December 1915 during World War I Pratap established the first Provisional Government of India at Kabul in Afghanistan as a government-in-exile of Free Hindustan, with himself as President, Maulavi Barkatullah as Prime Minister, and Maulana Ubaidullah Sindhi as Home Minister, declaring jihad on the British.
  • Due to his revolutionary ideas Pratap had a good relationship with Lenin, who invited him to Russia after its liberation and welcomed him.
  • By this time, the British had noticed his activities, and the British Government of India put a bounty on his head, attached/confiscated his entire estate, and declared him a fugitive, causing him to flee to Japan in 1925.

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History- Important places, persons in news

124 years of the Battle of Saragarhi

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Battle of Saragarhi

Mains level : Anglo-Afghan Wars

This September 12 marks the 124th anniversary of the Battle of Saragarhi that has inspired a host of armies, books and films, both at home and abroad.

What is the Battle of Saragarhi?

  • The Battle of Saragarhi is considered one of the finest last stands in the military history of the world.
  • Twenty-one soldiers were pitted against over 8,000 Afridi and Orakzai tribals but they managed to hold the fort for seven hours.
  • Though heavily outnumbered, the soldiers of 36th Sikhs (now 4 Sikhs), led by Havildar Ishar Singh, fought till their last breath, killing 200 tribals and injuring 600.

What was Saragarhi, and why was it important?

  • Saragarhi was the communication tower between Fort Lockhart and Fort Gulistan.
  • The two forts in the rugged North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), now in Pakistan. were built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh but renamed by the British.
  • Though Saragarhi was usually manned by a platoon of 40 soldiers, on that fateful day, it was being held by only 21 soldiers from 36th Sikh (now 4 Sikh) and a non-combatant called Daad, a Pashtun who did odd jobs for the troops.
  • Saragarhi helped to link up the two important forts which housed a large number of British troops in the rugged terrain of NWFP.
  • Fort Lockhart was also home to families of British officers.

What transpired on that day?

  • Around 9 am that day, the sentry at Saragarhi saw a thick haze of dust and soon realized that it was caused by a large army of tribals marching towards the fort.
  • The 8,000 and 15,000 tribals wanted to isolate the two forts by cutting off the lines of communication between them.
  • Unfortunately, the Pathans had cut the supply route between Fort Lockhart and Saragarhi.

Who was Havildar Ishar Singh who led the troops?

  • Havildar Ishar Singh was born in a village near Jagraon.
  • He joined the Punjab Frontier Force in his late teens after which he spent most of his time on various battlefields.
  • Soon after it was raised in 1887, Ishar was drafted into the 36th Sikhs.
  • He was in his early 40s when he was given independent command of the Saragarhi post.
  • Ishar Singh was quite a maverick who dared to disobey his superiors but he was loved by his men for whom he was always ready to go out on a limb.

How was the news of the battle received in Britain?

  • Making a departure from the tradition of not giving gallantry medals posthumously, Queen Victoria awarded the 21 dead soldiers — leaving out the non-combatant/
  • They were awarded the Indian Order of Merit (comparable with the Victoria Cross) along with two ‘marabas’ (50 acres) and Rs 500 each.

How are the slain soldiers remembered?

  • In 2017, the Punjab government decided to observe Saragarhi Day on September 12 as a holiday.
  • Even today the Khyber Scouts regiment of the Pakistani army mounts a guard and salutes the Saragarhi memorial close to Fort Lockhart.

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History- Important places, persons in news

PM inaugurates Jallianwala Bagh Memorial

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

Mains level : Not Much

Prime Minister has virtually inaugurated the renovated Jallianwala Bagh complex in Amritsar.

What led to Jallianwala Bagh Massacre?

Protesting the contentious Rowlatt Act

  • The act officially known as the Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act, 1919 was passed in 1919 by the Imperial Legislative Council.
  • It had authorized the British government to arrest anybody suspected of terrorist activities.
  • It also authorized the government to detain such people arrested for up to 2 years without trial.
  • It empowered the police to search a place without a warrant. It also placed severe restrictions on the freedom of the press.
  • The primary intention of colonial govt. was to repress the growing nationalist movement in the country.
  • The British were also afraid of a Ghadarite revolution in Punjab and the rest of the country.

The day

  • The massacre took place on 13 April 1919 when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Col. Reginald Dyer fired rifles into a crowd of Indians.
  • The civilians had assembled for a peaceful protest to condemn the arrest and deportation of two national leaders, Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew.
  • Dyer without warning ordered his troops to fire at the unarmed crowd which included children as well.
  • The indiscriminate firing went on for about 10 minutes which resulted in the deaths of at least 1000 people and injured more than 1500 people.

Aftermath

  • In protest against the massacre, Rabindranath Tagore gave up his knighthood.
  • Gandhiji relinquished his title ‘Kaiser-e-hind’ bestowed on him by the British for his services during the Boer War in South Africa.
  • Michael O’Dwyer, the then Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab, who had approved the actions of Dyer, was assassinated by Udham Singh in London in 1940 as revenge against the massacre.
  • The heroic treatment of Dyer’s heinous act again set a benchmark of colonial arrogance.

Hunter Commission for inquiry

  • In October 1919 the Secretary of State for India, Edwin Montagu, ordered the formation of a committee of inquiry into the events in Punjab.
  • Referred to as the Disorders Inquiry Committee, it was later more widely known as the Hunter Commission (Not to be confused with Hunter Education Commission).
  • Still, there are long-standing demands in India that Britain should apologize for the massacre.

History- Important places, persons in news

Making of the Modern City of Kolkata

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kolkata City

Mains level : Urban development of colonial period

A 2003 judgment by the Calcutta High Court generates discussion of the city’s age, its date of founding, and Job Charnock, whom many credits for having “found” the city of Calcutta.

Calcutta: Who founded the city?

Nobody.

  • A place then called Kalikatah was an important religious centre due to the existence of the Kali temple in the adjacent village of Kalighat.
  • The first literary reference to the site is found in Bipradas Pipilai’s magnum opus Manasa Mangala which dates back to 1495.
  • Abul Fazl’s Ain-I-Akbari dating 1596 also mentions the place.
  • The Sabarna Roy Choudhury family was granted the Jagirdari of Kalikatah by Emperor Jehangir in 1608.

Who was Job Charnock?

  • Job Charnock (1630–1693) was an English administrator with the East India Company.
  • He was once regarded as the founder of the city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta).
  • However, this view is challenged, and in 2003 the Calcutta High Court declared that he ought not to be regarded as the founder.
  • Charnock was entrusted with procuring the Company’s saltpetre and appointed to the centre of the trade, Patna in Bihar in1659.

Beginning of Urbanization

  • The establishment of the Government House in 1767 and the Lottery Commission in 1817 were the other important developments in the city’s history that gave its urban landscape more defined contours.
  • This commission was entirely responsible for the setting up of the city’s roads, streets and lanes.
  • Some markers of urban settlements include planned roads, water supply and transport.
  • The establishment of these in the early 19th century was responsible for making Calcutta the great city that it eventually became.

Significance of Kolkata

One of the most significant developments that gave the city a semblance of urban formation occurred in 1756 when the Nawab of Bengal Siraj ud-Daulah lay siege to Calcutta.

  • This was in retaliation for the British East India Company engaging in unauthorized development of the structure that is now known as Fort William.
  • The East India Company was defeated in a decisive battle, making them realise the vulnerability of the fort.
  • Post 1757 the fort was remade and fortified with enhanced protection, the construction was exceptionally well done.
  • It was really this attack on Fort William, a bastion of the British and other Europeans living there, that changed the map of Calcutta.
  • The Europeans who used to primarily lived inside the fort—the European merchants, the administrators etc—started moving out.
  • They knew that if there was an attack, there was infrastructure to save them. That was European Calcutta, what we call ‘White Town’.

Hey! We won’t let you move away without answering this PYQ:

Wellesley established the Fort William College at Calcutta because (CSP 2020):

(a) He was asked by the board of directors at London to do so

(b) He wanted to revive interest in oriental learning in India

(c) He wanted to provide William Carey and his associates with employment

(d) He wanted to train British civilians for administrative purposes in India.

 

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History- Important places, persons in news

Person in news: Sree Narayana Guru

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sree Narayana Guru

Mains level : SNDP Movement

The Prime Minister has paid tributes to Sree Narayana Guru on his Jayanti.

Sree Narayana Guru (1856-1928)

  • Narayana Guru was a philosopher, spiritual leader and social reformer in India.
  • He led a reform movement against the injustice in the caste-ridden society of Kerala in order to promote spiritual enlightenment and social equality.

His legacy:

Temple Entry

  • He was in the forefront of the movement for universal temple entry and against the societal ills like the social discrimination of untouchables.
  • He gave the famous slogan “One Caste, One Religion, One God for All”.
  • In 1888, he built a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva at Aruvippuram which was against the caste-based restrictions of the time.
  • In one temple he consecrated at Kalavancode, he kept mirrors instead of idols. This symbolised his message that the divine was within each individual.

Untouchability

  • The social protest of Vaikom Satyagraha (1924-25) was an agitation by the lower caste against untouchability in Hindu society of Travancore.
  • He taught equality but felt the inequalities should not be exploited to carry out conversions and therefore generate strife in society.

Philosophy

  • Sree Narayana Guru became one of the greatest proponents and re-evaluators of Advaita Vedanta, the principle of non-duality put forward by Adi Shankara.

Answer this PYQ:

Q.Which one of the following pairs does not form part of the six systems of Indian Philosophy?

(a) Mimamsa and Vedanta

(b) Nyaya and Vaisheshika

(c) Lokayata and Kapalika

(d) Sankhya and Yoga

 

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History- Important places, persons in news

Places in news: Indira Point

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Indira Point

Mains level : NA

The Swarnim Vijay Varsh Victory Flame was taken to Indira Point, the southernmost tip of the country on August 22, 2021, as part of its voyage to the Nicobar Group of Islands.

Indira Point

  • Indira Point is the southernmost point of Indian Territory.
  • It is a village in the Nicobar district at Great Nicobar Island of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India.
  • Rondo Island, Indonesia’s northernmost island in Sabang district of Aceh province of Sumatra, lies 163 km south of Little Andaman Island and 145 km or 80 nautical miles from Indira point.
  • The point was formerly known as Pygmalion Point and Parsons Point. It was renamed in honour of Indira Gandhi during mid-1980s.
  • Galathea National Park and Lighthouse are the major attractions here.

India and Indonesia are upgrading the deep sea port Sabang under the strategic military and economic collaboration to protect the channel between Great Nicobar Island and Rondo Island which is 612 km or 330 nautical miles from Indira Point.

What is Swarnim Vijay Varsh?

  • It marks the 50th anniversary of the 1971 India-Pakistan war.
  • Vijay Diwas is celebrated every year on December 16 to mark India`s triumph in liberating Bangladesh.
  • The journey of the Victory Flame is taken from north to south corners of India.

History- Important places, persons in news

Malabar Rebellion of 1921

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Moplah Revolt

Mains level : Various tribal uprisings in India

This August 20, marked the centenary of the Malabar rebellion, which is also known as the Moplah riots.

Try this question from CSP 2020:

Q. With reference to the history of India, “Ulgulan” or the Great Tumult is the description of which of the following event?

(a) The Revolt of 1857

(b) The Mappila Rebellion of 1921

(c) The Indigo Revolt of 1859-60

(d) Birsa Munda’s Revolt of 1899-1900

 

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Malabar Rebellion

  • The Malabar Rebellion in 1921 started as resistance against the British colonial rule and the feudal system in southern Malabar but ended in communal violence between Hindus and Muslims.
  • There were a series of clashes between Mappila peasantry and their landlords, supported by the British, throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • It began as a reaction against a heavy-handed crackdown on the Khilafat Movement, a campaign in defence of the Ottoman Caliphate by the British authorities in the Eranad and Valluvanad taluks of Malabar.
  • The Mappilas attacked and took control of police stations, British government offices, courts and government treasuries.

Who was Variyankunna Kunjahammed Haji?

  • He was one of the leaders of the Malabar Rebellion of 1921.
  • He raised 75000 natives, seized control of large territory from the British rule and set up a parallel government.
  • In January 1922, under the guise of a treaty, the British betrayed Haji through his close friend Unyan Musaliyar, arresting him from his hideout and producing him before a British judge.
  • He was sentenced to death along with his compatriots.

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Important Rebellion

History- Important places, persons in news

Places in news: Panjshir Valley

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Panjshir Valley

Mains level : Not Much

The Taliban has sent hundreds of its fighters to the Panjshir Valley, one of the few parts of Afghanistan not yet controlled by the group.

Panjshir Valley

  • Located 150 km north of Kabul, the Valley is near the Hindu Kush Mountain range.
  • It’s divided by the Panjshir river and ringed by the Panjshir mountains in the north and the Kuhestan mountains in the south.
  • The mountain tops are covered by snow throughout the year.
  • This difficult terrain makes the Valley a nightmare for invaders.

Why is it significant?

  • The Valley has repeatedly played a decisive role in Afghanistan’s military history, as its geographical position almost completely closes it off from the rest of the country.
  • The only access point to the region is through a narrow passage created by the Panjshir River, which can be easily defended militarily.
  • Famed for its natural defenses, the region tucked into the Hindu Kush mountains never fell to the Taliban during the civil war of the 1990s, nor was it conquered by the Soviets a decade earlier.
  • Panjshir Valley was among the safest regions in the country during the time of the NATO-backed government from 2001 to 2021.
  • The valley is also known for its emeralds, which were used in the past to finance the resistance movements against those in power.

Answer this PYQ:

Consider the following pairs

Towns: Country in news        

  1. Aleppo: Syria
  2. Kirkuk: Yemen
  3. Mosul: Palestine
  4. Mazar-i-sharif: Afghanistan

Which of the pairs given above are correctly matched? (CSP 2018)

(a) 1 and 2

(b) 1 and 4

(c) 2 and 3

(d) 3 and 4

 

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History- Important places, persons in news

Person in news: Maharaja Ranjit Singh

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Maharaja Ranjit Singh

Mains level : Not Much

A bronze statue of the first ruler of the Sikh Empire, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, was vandalized in Pakistan.

Who was Maharaja Ranjit Singh?

  • Maharaja Ranjit Singh (13 November 1780 – 27 June 1839), popularly known as Sher-e-Punjab or “Lion of Punjab”, was the first Maharaja of the Sikh Empire.
  • He survived smallpox in infancy but lost sight in his left eye.
  • Prior to his rise, the Punjab region had numerous warring misls (confederacies), twelve of which were under Sikh rulers and one Muslim.
  • Ranjit Singh successfully absorbed and united the Sikh misls and took over other local kingdoms to create the Sikh Empire.
  • He repeatedly defeated invasions by outside armies, particularly those arriving from Afghanistan, and established friendly relations with the British.

Empirical expansion

  • Ranjit Singh’s trans-regional empire spread over several states. His empire included the former Mughal provinces of Lahore and Multan besides part of Kabul and the entire Peshawar.
  • The boundaries of his state went up to Ladakh — Zorawar Singh, a general from Jammu, had conquered Ladakh in Ranjit Singh’s name — in the northeast.
  • His empire extended till Khyber pass in the northwest, and up to Panjnad in the south where the five rivers of Punjab fell into the Indus.
  • During his regime, Punjab was a land of six rivers, the sixth being the Indus.

His legacy

  • Ranjit Singh’s reign introduced reforms, modernization, investment into infrastructure, and general prosperity.
  • His Khalsa army and government included Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, and Europeans.
  • His legacy includes a period of Sikh cultural and artistic renaissance, including the rebuilding of the Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, Takht Sri Patna Sahib, Bihar, and Hazur Sahib Nanded, Maharashtra under his sponsorship.

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History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] Quit India Movement

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Quit India Movement

Mains level : Quit India Movement

The Prime Minister has greeted the nation on the eve of the anniversary of Quit India Movement Day.

Before proceeding, answer this PYQ:

Q. Quit India Movement was launched in response to:

(a) Cabinet Mission Plan

(b) Cripps Proposals

(c) Simon Commission Report

(d) Wavell Plan

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About the day

  • The Quit India Movement is also known as the Bharat Chhodo Andolan was launched by Mahatma Gandhi on August 8, 1942, at the Bombay session of the All India Congress Committee (AICC).
  • The movement demanded an end to British rule in India.
  • Since the protest was held in August, it also went on to be known as August Kranti or August Movement.
  • The ‘Do or Die’ speech was etched in the hearts of Indians, and many faced the consequences of the movement.
  • Every year, the day is celebrated by paying tribute to freedom fighters who laid their lives for the country.

Quit India Movement

  • The movement began on August 8, 1942, with its foundations being laid back in 1939 when the Governor-general of India was Lord Lilingthow.
  • In 1942, Staford Cripps was sent to India by the British Establishment to negotiate with the leaders of the All India Congress Committee for gaining their support in exchange for their freedom.
  • July 1942- The Quit India Movement Resolution was passed at the Wardha Conference of All India Congress Committee.

Series of events

  • Mahatma Gandhi delivered his speech at Mumbai’s Gowalia Tank Maidan, also called August Kranti Maidan, on 08th August 1942.
  • Gandhi Ji was arrested and jailed at Pune’s Aga Khan Palace and his wife Kasturba Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu and secretary Mahadev Desai.
  • Many other senior members of the Indian National Congress were also arrested, including Jawaharlal Nehru and Abul Kalam Azad, and were kept in the Yerwada Jail.
  • The British Government banned the Congress Committee declaring it an unlawful association.
  • Aruna Asaf Ali, popularly known as the ‘Grand Old Lady’ of the Independence Movement, hoisted the National Flag at Mumbai’s Gowalia Tank Maidan.
  • This event was followed by an uproar among the people and the emergence of several young leaders such as Ram Manohar Lohia, JP Narayan, SM Joshi, and others who continued to fuel the fire of the movement throughout India during the period of World War II.

Causes of the Movement

  • Involvement of India in World War II without prior consultation with the leaders: The Indian Nationalists were disgruntled with the Governor-General of India, Lord Linlithgow, as he brought India to the verge of World War II without consulting them.
  • Failure of Cripps Mission: The British sent Stafford Cripps to India to gain the cooperation of India, which failed because the Cripps Mission offered India not complete freedom but the Dominion Status to India, along with the partition. After the failure of Cripps Mission, the Indian Nationalist Leaders knew that the Britishers were in no mood to amend the Constitution before the end of World War II.
  • Shortage of essential commodities: There was widespread discontent due to the shortage of essential commodities and rising prices of salt, rice, etc., and commandeering of boats in Bengal and Orissa. There were fears that the Britishers would follow a scorched earth policy in Assam, Bengal, and Orissa in reaction to the advancement of the Japanese. The Economy also shattered as a result of World War II.
  • Prevalence of anti-British sentiment: The sentiments were widely anti-British, and the masses were demanding complete independence from the British Government.
  • Centralization of many small movements: The Ground for the movement was already prepared by various associated and affiliated bodies of the Congress, like Forward Bloc, All India Kisan Sabha, and others. They were leading the mass movements on a much more radical level for more than two decades. The also channelized many militant outbursts, which were happening at several places in the country.

Phases of Quit India Movement

The Quit India Movement can be viewed in three phases from its inception to end. The phases are as follows:

  1. First phase: The first phase or the inception of the movement had no violence. It began with civil disobedience, boycotts, strikes that the British Government quickly suppressed. Almost all members of the Congress Committee, including Gandhiji, were arrested and kept in Jail till 1945 without any trial.
  2. Second phase: In its second phase, the movement shifted to the countryside. The second phase of the movement took a violent and aggressive turn. Any building or offices which were the symbol of the colonial authority was attacked and distracted. Communication systems, railway stations & tracks, telegraph poles and wires were also targeted.
  3. Third and last phase: In the last phase of the movement, there was the formation of many independent national or parallel governments in the isolated pockets of the country, such as Ballia, Satara, Tamluk, etc.

Successes

  • Women empowerment: Aruna Asif Ali hoisted the national flag on the Gowalia tank maidan; Usha Mehta, on the other hand, helped set up the underground radio station to spread awareness about the movement.
  • Rise of future leaders : This movement also gave some future prominent leaders such as Biku Patnaik, Aruna Asif Ali, Ram Manohar Lohia, Sucheta Kriplani, J.P. Narayan, etc. These leaders were helping the movement through underground activities.
  • Rise of nationalism: A greater sense of unity and brotherhood emerged due to the Quit India Movement. Many students dropped out of schools and colleges, people gave up their jobs and withdrew money from the banks.

Failure of the movement

The movement did not have the support of many organizations of the country itself.

  • The Britishers were supported by the Princely States, British Indian Army, Indian Civil Services, Viceroy’s Council (which had Indians in the majority), All India Muslim League, Indian Imperial Police.
  • The Hindu Mahasabha, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) & Muslim League also opposed the Quit India Movement.
  • Many Congress members like C Rajagopalachari resigned from the provincial legislature as they did not favor Mahatma Gandhi’s idea.

History- Important places, persons in news

Who was Dara Shikoh (1615-1659)?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Dara Shikhoh and his legacy

Mains level : Secular polity in Medieval India

The final resting place of Mughal prince Dara Shikoh remains a mystery, with the Archaeological Survey of India saying it has not located the grave within the Humayun’s Tomb complex.

Dara Shikoh

  • Dara Shikoh, who was Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s son and expected heir, was killed on the orders of his brother Aurangzeb in 1659 after losing the war of succession.
  • He was the eldest son and heir-apparent of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.
  • Dara was designated with the title Padshahzada-i-Buzurg Martaba (Prince of High Rank) and was favored as a successor by his father and his older sister, Princess Jahanara Begum.
  • In the war of succession which ensued after Shah Jahan’s illness in 1657, Dara was defeated by his younger brother Prince Muhiuddin (Aurangzeb).
  • He was executed in 1659 on Aurangzeb’s orders in a bitter struggle for the imperial throne.

His legacy

  • Dara was a liberal-minded unorthodox Muslim as opposed to the orthodox Aurangzeb.
  • He authored the work The Confluence of the Two Seas, which argues for the harmony of Sufi philosophy in Islam and Vedanta philosophy in Hinduism.
  • It was Dara Shikoh who was responsible for making the Upanishads available to the West as he had them translated.
  • He had commissioned a translation of Yoga Vasistha.
  • A great patron of the arts, he was also more inclined towards philosophy and mysticism rather than military pursuits.
  • The course of the history of the Indian subcontinent, had Dara Shikoh prevailed over Aurangzeb, has been a matter of some conjecture among historians.

Q.Who among the following Mughal Emperors shifted emphasis from illustrated manuscripts to album and individual portrait?

(a) Humayun

(b) Akbar

(c) Jahangir

(d) Shah Jahan

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History- Important places, persons in news

Person in news: Abanindranath Tagore

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Abanindranath Tagore

Mains level : Not Much

Year-long celebrations marking 150 years of Abanindranath Tagore have been kicked off in Kolkata.

Abanindranath Tagore (1871-1951)

  • Tagore CIE was the principal artist and creator of the “Indian Society of Oriental Art”.
  • A nephew of Rabindranath Tagore and a decade younger to the poet, he helped shape modern Indian art and was the creator of the iconic ‘Bharat Mata’ painting.
  • He was also the first major exponent of Swadeshi values in Indian art, thereby finding the influential Bengal school of art, which led to the development of modern Indian painting.
  • He was also a noted writer, particularly for children.
  • Tagore sought to modernize Mughal, Rajput styles to counter the influence of Western models of art, as taught in art schools under the British Raj.
  • Along with other artists from the Bengal school of art, Tagore advocated in favor of a nationalistic Indian art derived from Indian art history, drawing inspiration from the Ajanta Caves.

Q. Which among the following event happened earliest? (CSP 2018)

(a) Swami Dayanand established Arya Samaj.

(b) Dinabandhu Mitra wrote Neeldarpan.

(c) Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote Anandmath.

(d) Satyendranath Tagore became the first India to succeed in the Indian Civil Services Examination.

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History- Important places, persons in news

Dholavira gets into UNESCO World Heritage list

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Dholavira

Mains level : Indus Valley Civilization

The Harappan city of Dholavira, in present-day Gujarat, has been named the 40th Indian site on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

Dholavira site

  • The IVC acropolis is located on a hillock near present-day Dholavira village in Kutch district, from which it gets its name.
  • It was discovered in 1968 by archaeologist Jagat Pati Joshi.
  • The site’s excavation between 1990 and 2005 under the supervision of archaeologist Ravindra Singh Bisht uncovered the ancient commercial city.

Key features

  • It is one of the very few well preserved urban settlements in South Asia dating from the 3rd to mid-2nd millennium BCE.
  • It was located in the island of Khadir which was strategic to harness different mineral and raw material sources (copper, shell, agate-carnelian, steatite, lead, banded limestone, among others).
  • It facilitated internal as well as external trade to the Magan (modern Oman peninsula) and Mesopotamian regions.
  • One finds the origin of the Buddhist Stupas in memorials in Dholavira.

A gem in the IVC acropolis

  • After Mohen-jo-Daro, Ganweriwala and Harappa in Pakistan and Rakhigarhi in Haryana of India, Dholavira is the fifth largest metropolis of IVC.
  • The site has a fortified citadel, a middle town and a lower town with walls made of sandstone or limestone instead of mud bricks in many other Harappan sites.
  • While unlike graves at other IVC sites, no mortal remains of humans have been discovered at Dholavira.

Its architecture

  • The city demonstrates its multifaceted achievements in terms of urban planning, construction techniques, water management, social governance and development, art, manufacturing, trading, and belief system.
  • The property comprises two parts:
  1. A walled city: Consists of a fortified Castle with attached fortified Bailey and Ceremonial Ground, and a fortified Middle Town and a Lower Town
  2. A cemetery to the west of the city

Trade and commercial activities

  • Remains of a copper smelter indicate of Harappans, who lived in Dholavira, knew metallurgy.
  • It is believed that traders of Dholavira used to source copper ore from present-day Rajasthan and Oman and UAE and export finished products.
  • It was also a hub of manufacturing jewellery made of shells and semi-precious stones, like agate and used to export timber.
  • Such beads peculiar to the Harappan workmanship have been found in the royal graves of Mesopotamia, indicating Dholavira used to trade with the Mesopotamians.

Famous for water conservation

  • The expansive water management system designed to store every drop of water available shows the ingenuity of the people to survive against the rapid geo-climatic transformations.
  • Water diverted from seasonal streams, scanty precipitation and available ground was sourced, stored, in large stone-cut reservoirs which are extant along the eastern and southern fortification.
  • To further access water, few rock-cut wells, which date as one of the oldest examples, are evident in different parts of the city, the most impressive one being located in the citadel.
  • Such elaborate water conservation methods of Dholavira is unique and measures as one of the most efficient systems of the ancient world.

Causes for its decline

  • Harappans, who were maritime people, lost a huge market, affecting the local mining, manufacturing, marketing and export businesses once Mesopotamia fell.
  • From 2000 BC, Dholavira entered a phase of severe aridity due to climate change and rivers like Saraswati drying up.
  • Because of a drought-like situation, people started migrating toward the Ganges valley or towards south Gujarat and further beyond in Maharashtra.
  • In those times the Great Rann of Kutch, which surrounds the Khadir island on which Dholavira is located, used to be navigable, but the sea receded gradually and the Rann became a mudflat.

Other Harappan sites in Gujarat

  • Before Dholavira was excavated, Lothal, in Saragwala village on the bank of Sabarmati in Dholka taluka of Ahmedabad district, was the most prominent site of IVC in Gujarat.
  • It was excavated between 1955 and 1960 and was discovered to be an important port city of the ancient civilisation, with structures made of mud bricks.
  • From a graveyard in Lothal, 21 human skeletons were found. Foundries for making copperware were also discovered. Ornaments made of semi-precious stones, gold etc. were also found from the site.
  • Besides Lothal, Rangpur on the bank of Bhadar river in Surendranagar district was the first Harappan site in the state to be excavated.
  • Rojdi in Rajkot district, Prabhas near Veraval in Gir Somnath district, Lakhabaval in Jamnagar, and Deshalpar in Bhuj taluka of Kutch are among other Harappan sites in the state.

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Q.Which one of the following is not a Harappan site? (CSP 2019)

(a) Chanhudaro

(b) Kot Diji

(c) Sohgaura

(d) Desalpur

Also read:

Telangana’s Rudreswara Temple inscribed as a World Heritage Site

History- Important places, persons in news

Telangana’s Rudreswara Temple inscribed as a World Heritage Site

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Rudreswara Temple

Mains level : Temple architecture of India

India’s nomination of Rudreswara Temple, (also known as the Ramappa Temple) at Palampet, Mulugu district, near Warangal in the state of Telangana has been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. This would be the 39th site in India.

Also read:

[pib] Declaration of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO                 

Rudreswara Temple

  • The Rudreswara temple was constructed in 1213 AD during the reign of the Kakatiya Empire by Recharla Rudra, a general of Kakatiya king Ganapati Deva.
  • It is also known as the Ramappa temple, after the sculptor who executed the work in the temple for 40 years.
  • The main temple is flanked by the collapsed structures of the Kateshwarayya and Kameshwarayya temples in Palampet, about 220 km from Hyderabad.
  • An inscription dates the temple to 1135 Samvat-Saka on the eighth day of Magha (January 12, 1214).

Its architecture

  • The temple, known for its exquisite craftsmanship and delicate relief work, is a savvy blend of technical know-how and materials of its time.
  • The foundation is built with the “sandbox technique”, the flooring is granite, and the pillars are basalt.
  • The lower part of the temple is red sandstone while the white gopuram is built with light bricks that reportedly float on water.
  • The temple complexes of Kakatiyas have a distinct style, technology, and decoration exhibiting the influence of the Kakatiyan sculptor.
  • The temple stands on a 6 feet high star-shaped platform with walls, pillars, and ceilings adorned with intricate carvings that attest to the unique skill of the Kakatiyan sculptors.
  • European merchants and travelers were mesmerized by the beauty of the temple and one such traveler had remarked that the temple was the “brightest star in the galaxy of medieval temples of the Deccan”.

Surviving through ages

  • According to the temple priest, some of the iconography on the temple was damaged during the invasion of Malik Kafur in 1310.
  • Treasure hunters vandalized the rest
  • But the biggest test for the temple was an earthquake in the 17th century (one of the biggest was that of 7.7-8.2-magnitude on June 16, 1819).

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Q.Which one of the following was a very important seaport in the Kakatiya kingdom? (CSP 2017)

(a) Kakinada

(b) Motupalli

(c) Machilipatnam (Masulipatnam)

(d) Nelluru


Back2Basics: UNESCO World Heritage Sites

  • A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area, selected by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for having cultural, historical, scientific, or other forms of significance, which is legally protected by international treaties.
  • The sites are judged to be important for the collective and preservative interests of humanity.
  • To be selected, a WHS must be an already-classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance (such as an ancient ruin or historical structure, building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, mountain, or wilderness area).
  • It may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, and serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet.
  • The sites are intended for practical conservation for posterity, which otherwise would be subject to risk from human or animal trespassing, unmonitored/uncontrolled/unrestricted access, or threat from local administrative negligence.
  • The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 “states parties” that are elected by their General Assembly.

UNESCO World Heritage Committee

  • The World Heritage Committee selects the sites to be listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger.
  • It monitors the state of conservation of the World Heritage properties, defines the use of the World Heritage Fund, and allocates financial assistance upon requests from States Parties.
  • It is composed of 21 states parties that are elected by the General Assembly of States Parties for a four-year term.
  • India is NOT a member of this Committee.

History- Important places, persons in news

When were Tilak and Gandhi tried under the Sedition Law?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sedition in colonial times

Mains level : Not Much

Recently, Chief Justice of India N V Ramana observed that the “colonial law” was used by the British to silence Mahatma Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak.

Must read:

Sedition Law and its discontents

Use of sedition law through history

  • According to the LOC blog, the first known instance of the application of the law was the trial of newspaper editor Jogendra Chandra Bose in 1891.
  • Other prominent examples of the application of the law include the trials of Tilak and Gandhi.
  • Apart from this, Jawaharlal Nehru, Abul Kalam Azad and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar were also charged with sedition.

When was sedition law used against Gandhi and Tilak?

  • In 1922, Gandhi was arrested on charges of sedition in Bombay for taking part in protests against the colonial government.
  • He was sentenced to six years in prison but was released after two years because of medical reasons.
  • Before Gandhi, Tilak faced three trials in cases related to sedition and was imprisoned twice.
  • He was charged with sedition in 1897 for writing an article in his weekly publication called Kesari and was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.
  • He has tried again in 1908 and was represented by MA Jinnah. But his application for bail was rejected and he was sentenced to six years.
  • The second time he was tried was also because of his writings, one of which referred to the murder of European women in Muzzafarpur when bombs were thrown by Bengali revolutionaries.
  • Interestingly, the judge who announced Tilak’s sentence in the second trial, Justice DD Davar, had represented him in his first trial in 1897.

History- Important places, persons in news

Person in news: Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair

Mains level : Not Much

A noted filmmaker has recently announced his decision to produce the biopic of Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair, an acclaimed lawyer and judge in the Madras High Court and one of the early builders of the Indian National Congress.

Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair

  • Nair was born in the year 1857 in Mankara village of Malabar’s Palakkad district.
  • He belonged to an aristocratic family and his great grandfather was employed by the East India Company to enforce peace in the Malabar region.
  • His grandfather was employed as the chief officer under the Civilian Divisional Officer.

His legal career

  • Nair was drawn towards Law while he was completing his graduation from Presidency College in Madras.
  • After completing his degree in Law, he was hired by Sir Horatio Shepherd who later became the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court.
  • Since his early days as a lawyer, Nair was known for his defiant attitude.
  • He went against a resolution passed by Indian vakils (advocates) of Madras stating that no Indian vakil would work as a junior to an English barrister.
  • His stance on the issue made him so unpopular that he was boycotted by the other vakils, but he refused to let that bother him.

Legacy

  • Nair was known for being a passionate advocate for social reforms and a firm believer in the self-determination of India.
  • But what really stood out in his long glorious career is a courtroom battle he fought against the Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab, Michael O’Dwyer.
  • Nair had accused O’Dwyer in his book, ‘Gandhi and anarchy’ for being responsible for the atrocities at the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
  • Consequently, he was fighting against an Englishman, in an English court that was presided over by an English jury.
  • In all senses, the case was bound to make history.
  • When the 1908 Montague-Chelmsford reforms were being discussed, he wrote an article in the Contemporary Review criticizing the English jury for being partial towards Englishmen.
  • This infuriated the Anglo-Indian community who petitioned the Viceroy and the Secretary of State for India objecting to his appointment as high court judge the first time.
  • He was once described by Edwin Montague, the secretary of state for India as an ‘impossible person’.

Key positions held

  • In 1897 he became the youngest president of the INC in the history of the party till then, and the only Malayali to hold the post ever.
  • By 1908 he was appointed as a permanent judge in the Madras High Court. In 1902 Lord Curzon appointed him a member of the Raleigh University Commission.
  • In 1904 he was appointed as Companion of the Indian Empire by the King-Emperor and in 1912 he was knighted.
  • In 1915 he became part of the Viceroy’s Council, put in charge of the education portfolio.

Career as judge

  • As a Madras High Court judge, his best-known judgments clearly indicate his commitment to social reforms.
  • In Budasna v Fatima (1914), he passed a radical judgement when he ruled that those who converted to Hinduism cannot be treated as outcasts.
  • In a few other cases, he upheld inter-caste and inter-religious marriages.

History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay

Mains level : Literary movements during freedom struggle

The Prime Minister has paid homage to Rishi Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay on his birth anniversary.

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay (1838-1894)

  • Chattopadhyay was a revolutionary novelist, poet and journalist.
  • He was the composer of Vande Mataram, originally in Sanskrit, personifying India as a mother goddess and inspiring activists during the Indian Independence Movement.
  • Chattopadhyay wrote fourteen novels and many serious, serio-comic, satirical, scientific and critical treatises in Bengali.
  • He is known as Sahitya Samrat (Emperor of Literature) in Bengali.

His literary work

  • Anandamath is a political novel that depicts a Sannyasi (Hindu ascetic) army fighting a British force. The book calls for the rise of Indian nationalism.
  • The novel was also the source of the song Vande Mataram which, set to music by Rabindranath Tagore, was taken up by many Indian nationalists and is now the National Song of India.
  • The plot of the novel is loosely set on the Sannyasi Rebellion.
  • He imagined untrained Sannyasi soldiers fighting and defeated the highly experienced British Army; ultimately, however, he accepted that the British could not be defeated.
  • The novel first appeared in serial form in Bangadarshan, the literary magazine that Chattopadhyay founded in 1872.
  • Vande Mataram became prominent during the Swadeshi movement, which was sparked by Lord Curzon’s attempt to partition Bengal.
  • Drawing from the Shakti tradition of Bengali Hindus, Chattopadhyay personified India as a Mother Goddess known as Bharat Mata, which gave the song a Hindu undertone.

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Which among the following event happened earliest? (CSP 2018)

(a) Swami Dayanand established Arya Samaj

(b) Dinabandhu Mitra wrote Neeldarpan

(c) Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote Anandmath

(d) Satyendranath Tagore became the first India to succeed in the Indian Civil Services Examination

History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] Flag Satyagraha

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Flag Satyagraha

Mains level : Not Much

The Minister of State (IC) for Culture and Tourism has organized to observe the Flag Satyagraha in Jabalpur to commemorate the Jhanda Satyagraha of the year 1923.

Flag Satyagraha

  • Flag satyagrahas were one of the most common acts of defiance during the nationalist rebellions led by Gandhi and the Indian National Congress throughout the struggle.
  • It is a campaign of peaceful civil disobedience during the Indian independence movement.
  • It was against the defiance of laws prohibiting the hoisting of nationalist flags and restricting civil freedoms.
  • Flag Satyagrahas were conducted most notably in the city of Jabalpur and Nagpur in 1923 but also in many other parts of India.

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Q.The ‘Swadeshi’ and ‘Boycott’ adopted as methods of struggle for the first time during the:

(a) Agitation against the Partition of Bengal

(b) Home Rule Movement

(c) Non-Cooperation Movement

(d) Visit of the Simon Commission to India

Course of the movement

  • The arrest of nationalist protestors demanding the right to hoist the flag caused an outcry across India especially as Gandhi had recently been arrested.
  • Nationalist leaders such as Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Jamnalal Bajaj, Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, and Vinoba Bhave organized the revolt.
  • Thousands of people from different regions including as far south as the Princely state of Travancore traveled to Nagpur and other parts of the Central Provinces to participate in civil disobedience.
  • In the end, the British negotiated an agreement with Patel and other Congress leaders permitting the protestors to conduct their march unhindered and obtaining the release of all those arrested.

History- Important places, persons in news

National Maritime Heritage Complex

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : National Maritime Heritage Complex, Lothal

Mains level : Not Much

In order to showcase the maritime heritage and history of India, a National Maritime Heritage Complex (NMHC) will be developed in the Lothal region of Gujarat.

National Maritime Heritage Complex

  • It is to note that the National Maritime Heritage Complex will be made within the ASI site of Lothal that is located 80 km away from Ahmedabad in Gujarat.
  • The project, once completed, will be made an international tourist destination in India where people from across the countries can take a look at the maritime heritage of India from ancient to modern times.
  • The government is aiming to showcase this via an edutainment approach where the latest technology would be adopted to spread awareness.
  • The development will be done in an area expanding 400 acres.
  • The complex will have many offerings including National Maritime Heritage Museum, Heritage Theme Park, and Light House Museum.

About Lothal

  • Lothal was one of the southernmost cities of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization located in Gujarat.
  • Construction of the city began around 2200 BCE.
  • According to the ASI, Lothal had the world’s earliest known dock, which connected the city to an ancient course of the Sabarmati river on the trade route between Harappan cities in Sindh and the peninsula of Saurashtra.
  • Lothal was a vital and thriving trade Centre in ancient times, with its trade of beads, gems, and valuable ornaments reaching the far corners of West Asia and Africa.
  • The techniques and tools they pioneered for bead-making and in metallurgy have stood the test of time for over 4000 years.
  • The Lothal site has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its application is pending on the tentative list of UNESCO.

Answer this question from CSP 2019 in the comment box:

Q. Which one of the following is not a Harappan site?

(a) Chanhudaro

(b) Kot Diji

(c) Sohgaura

(d) Desalpur

History- Important places, persons in news

Statehood Day of Goa

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Goan liberation from Portuguese

Mains level : Decolonization in India

On 18 December 1961, the Indian government took military action against the Portuguese rule in Goa culminating in the liberation of Goa and its merger with the Indian Union.

About Goa

  • Goa is located on the southwestern coast of India within the region known as the Konkan, and geographically separated from the Deccan highlands by the Western Ghats.
  • Capital: Panji.
  • Official Language: Konkani which is one of the 22 languages from the Eight Schedule.
  • Borders: It is surrounded by Maharashtra to the north and Karnataka to the east and south, with the Arabian Sea forming its western coast.

History:

  • Portugal conquered Goa in 1510 and made it a colony.
  • In 1950, the Indian government, in a bid to start diplomatic measures to free Goa, asked the Portuguese government to start negotiations for the independence of Goa. However, Portugal refused.
  • The Goan movement was supported by Indian independence leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia and Dr. Rajendra Prasad.
  • Dadra and Nagar Haveli was annexed by India in 1954 with the support of the United Front of Goans, the Azad Gomantak Dal and the National Movement Liberation Organisation.
  • The commander of the Indian forces was Major-General K.P. Candeth. The operation for Goa liberation was codenamed “Operation Vijay”.
  • After the fall of Goa, Portugal terminated all diplomatic relations with India and only in 1974 Portugal recognise Goa as a part of India and resume diplomatic relations.
  • The USSR had steadfastly supported India in this matter and also vetoed a resolution condemning the Indian invasion in the UN Security Council.

Geography:

  • The highest point of Goa is Sonsogor.
  • Goa’s seven major rivers are the Zuari, Mandovi, Terekhol, Chapora, Galgibag, Kumbarjua canal, Talpona and the Sal.
  • Most of Goa’s soil cover is made up of laterites.

History- Important places, persons in news

6 UNESCO heritage sites added in India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sites mentioned in the news

Mains level : Not Much

Six sites have been added to India’s tentative list of UNESCO world heritage sites.

Which are the 6 sites?

  1. Ganga ghats in Varanasi
  2. Temples of Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu
  3. Satpura Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh
  4. Maratha military architecture in Maharashtra
  5. Hire Bengal megalithic site in Karnataka and
  6. Bhedaghat-Lametaghat of Narmada Valley in Madhya Pradesh

[1] Ghats of Varanasi

  • The Ganges riverfront of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, has been vying for the UNESCO tag for several years now.
  • The Ganga river with its riverfront ghats also fulfil the criteria of Cultural Landscapes as designated in Article 1 of the Convention and specifically that of a cultural landscape/
  • It retains an active social role in contemporary society closely associated with the traditional way of life, and in which the evolutionary process is still in progress.

[2] Temples of Kanchipuram

  • Synonymous with spirituality, serenity, and silk, the temple town of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, is dotted with ancient temples that are architectural marvels and a visual treat, states incredibleindia.org.
  • Situated on the banks of River Vegavathi, this historical city once had 1,000 temples, of which only 126 (108 Shaiva and 18 Vaishnava) now remain.
  • Its rich legacy has been the endowment of the Pallava dynasty, which made the region it’s capital between the 6th and 7th centuries and lavished upon its architectural gems that are a fine example of Dravidian styles.

[3] Satpura Tiger Reserve

  • Located in Madhya Pradesh, the Satpura National Park is home to 26 species of the Himalayan region including reptiles, and 42 species of Nilgiri areas.
  • It is the largest tiger-occupied forest and also has the largest tiger population.
  • The website also states the place has more than 50 rock shelters with paintings that are 1500 to 10,000 years old.

[4] Maratha Military Architecture in Maharashtra

  • There are 12 forts in Maharashtra dating back to the era of the 17th-century Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji.
  • They are namely Shivneri (the birthplace of Shivaji); Raigad (the capital fort rebuilt for the coronation of the Maratha king), Torna (the first fort of the Maratha empire), Rajgad, Salher-Mulher, Panhala, Pratapgad, Lohagad, Sindhudurg, Padmadurga (Kasa), Vijaydurg and Kolaba.
  • This highlight how the formation of Military Landscape in the form of hill and sea forts as a response to hilly terrain in the area is of outstanding universal value.

[5] Megalithic site of Hire Benkal

  • The 2,800-years-old megalithic site of Hire Benkal in Karnataka is one of the largest prehistoric megalithic settlements where some funerary monuments are still intact.
  • The granite structures are burial monuments that may also have served many ritual purposes.
  • Due to the extremely valuable collection of Neolithic monuments, the site was proposed for recognition.

[6] Bhedaghat-Lametaghat in Narmada Valley- Jabalpur

  • Bhedaghat, often referred to as the Grand Canyon of India, is a town in the Jabalpur district, around 25 km from Jabalpur.
  • It is known for its marble rocks and their various morphological forms on either side of the Narmada River which flows through the gorge states whcunesco.org.
  • It has also been observed that the magical marble mountains assume different colours and even shapes of animals and other living forms as one moves through them.
  • Several dinosaur fossils have been found in the Narmada valley, particularly in Bhedaghat-Lametghat area of Jabalpur. In 1828, the first Dinosaur fossil was collected from Lameta Bed by William Sleeman.
  • River Narmada narrows down on its way through marble rocks and plunges in a waterfall giving out the appearance of a smoke cascade.

History- Important places, persons in news

Person in news: Jyotirao Phule (1827 –1890)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Jyotiba Phule

Mains level : Social reformers in India

The Prime Minister has paid tribute to the great social reformer, thinker, philosopher and writer Mahatma Jyotiba Phule on his birth anniversary.

Mahatma Phule

  • Jotirao Govindrao Phule was an Indian social activist, thinker, anti-caste social reformer and writer from Maharashtra.
  • His work extended to many fields, including the eradication of untouchability and the caste system and for his efforts in educating women and exploited caste people.
  • He and his wife, Savitribai Phule, were pioneers of women’s education in India. Phule started his first school for girls in 1848 in Pune at Tatyasaheb Bhide’s residence or Bhidewada.
  • He, along with his followers, formed the Satyashodhak Samaj (Society of Truth Seekers) to attain equal rights for people from exploited castes.
  • People from all religions and castes could become a part of this association which worked for the upliftment of the oppressed classes.
  • Phule is regarded as an important figure in the social reform movement in Maharashtra. He was bestowed with an honorific Mahātmā title by Maharashtrian social activist Vithalrao Krishnaji Vandekar in 1888.

His social work

Phule’s social activism included many fields, including the eradication of untouchability and the caste system, education of women and the Dalits, and welfare of downtrodden women.

  1. Education
  • In 1848, aged 21, Phule visited a girls’ school in Ahmadnagar, run by Christian missionaries.
  • He realized that exploited castes and women were at a disadvantage in Indian society, and also that education of these sections was vital to their emancipation
  • Phule first taught reading and writing to his wife, Savitribai, and then the couple started the first indigenously run school for girls in Pune.
  • The conservative upper caste society of Pune didn’t approve of his work. But many Indians and Europeans helped him generously.
  1. Women’s welfare
  • Phule watched how untouchables were not permitted to pollute anyone with their shadows and that they had to attach a broom to their backs to wipe the path on which they had travelled.
  • He saw young widows shaving their heads, refraining from any sort of joy in their life. He saw how untouchable women had been forced to dance naked.
  • He made the decision to educate women by witnessing all these social evils that encouraged inequality.
  • He championed widow remarriage and started a home for dominant caste pregnant widows to give birth in a safe and secure place in 1863.
  • His orphanage was established in an attempt to reduce the rate of infanticide.
  • Along with his longtime friend Sadashiv Ballal Govande and Savitribai, he started an infanticide prevention centre.
  • Phule tried to eliminate the stigma of social untouchability surrounding the exploited castes by opening his house and the use of his water-well to the members of the exploited castes.
  1. Views on religion and caste
  • Phule recast Aryan invasion theory, proposing that the Aryan conquerors of India, were in fact barbaric suppressors of the indigenous people.
  • He believed that they had instituted the caste system as a framework for subjugation and social division that ensured the pre-eminence of their Brahmin successors.
  • He saw the subsequent Muslim conquests of the Indian subcontinent as more of the same sort of thing, being a repressive alien regime.
  • But he considered the British to be relatively enlightened and not supportive of the varnashrama dharma system instigated and then perpetuated by those previous invaders.
  • In his book, Gulamgiri, he thanked Christian missionaries and the British colonists for making the exploited castes realise that they are worthy of all human rights.
  • His critique of the caste system began with an attack on the Vedas, the most fundamental texts of Hindus. He considered them to be a form of false consciousness.
  • He is credited with introducing the Marathi word ‘Dalit’ (broken, crushed) as a descriptor for those people who were outside the traditional varna system.
  • He advocated making primary education compulsory in villages. He also asked for special incentives to get more lower-caste people in high schools and colleges.

Satyashodhak Samaj

  • On 24 September 1873, Phule formed Satyashodhak Samaj to focus on the rights of depressed groups such as women, the Shudra, and the Dalit.
  • Through this the samaj opposed idolatry and denounced the caste system.
  • Satyashodhak Samaj campaigned for the spread of rational thinking and rejected the need for priests.
  • Phule established Satyashodhak Samaj with the ideals of human well-being, happiness, unity, equality, and easy religious principles and rituals.
  • A Pune-based newspaper, Deenbandhu, provided the voice for the views of the Samaj.
  • The membership of the samaj included Muslims, Brahmins and government officials. Phule’s own Mali caste provided the leading members and financial supporters for the organization.

Published works

  • Tritiya Ratna, 1855
  • Manav Mahammand (Muhammad) (Abhang)
  • Gulamgiri, 1873
  • Sarvajanik Satya Dharma Poostak, April 1889
  • Sarvajanic Satya Dharmapustak, 1891

History- Important places, persons in news

Who was Lachit Borphukan?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Lachit Borphukan

Mains level : Not Much

The Prime Minister (in an election campaign) has called 17th-century Ahom General Lachit Borphukan a symbol of India’s “atmanirbhar” military might.

Try this PYQ:

Q.What was the immediate cause for Ahmad Shah Abdali to invade and fight the Third Battle of Panipat:

(a) He wanted to avenge the expulsion by Marathas of his viceroy Timur Shah from Lahore

(b) The frustrated governor of Jullundhar Adina Beg khan invited him to invade Punjab

(c) He wanted to punish Mughal administration for non-payment of the revenues of the Chahar Mahal (Gujrat Aurangabad, Sialkot and Pasrur)

(d) He wanted to annex all the fertile plains of Punjab upto borders of Delhi to his kingdom

Who was Lachit Borphukan?

  • The year was 1671 and the decisive Battle of Saraighat was fought on the raging waters of the Brahmaputra.
  • On one side was Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb’s army headed by Ram Singh of Amer (Jaipur) and on the other was the Ahom General Lachit Borphukan.
  • He was a commander in the Ahom kingdom, located in present-day Assam.
  • Ram Singh failed to make any advance against the Assamese army during the first phase of the war.
  • Lachit Borphukan emerged victorious in the war and the Mughals were forced to retreat from Guwahati.

Lachit Diwas

  • On 24 November each year, Lachit Divas is celebrated statewide in Assam to commemorate the heroism of Lachit Borphukan.
  • On this day, Borphukan has defeated the Mughal army on the banks of the Brahmaputra in the Battle of Saraighat in 1671.
  • The best passing out cadet of National Defence Academy has conferred the Lachit gold medal every year since 1999 commemorating his valour.

History- Important places, persons in news

Tomar king Anangpal II and his connection with Delhi

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : History of Delhi

Mains level : Delhi sultanate

The Union government has recently formed a committee to popularize the legacy of 11th-century Tomar king, Anangpal II.

Revision: Delhi Sultanate and their contemporaries

Who was Anangpal II?

  • Anangpal II, popularly known as Anangpal Tomar, belonged to the Tomar dynasty that ruled parts of present-day Delhi and Haryana between the 8th and 12th centuries.
  • The capital of Tomars changed many times from being initially at Anangpur (near Faridabad) during the reign of Anangpal I (who founded the Tomar dynasty in the 8th century), to Dhillikapuri (Delhi) during the reign of Anangpal II.
  • The Tomar rule over the region is attested by multiple inscriptions and coins, and their ancestry can be traced to the Pandavas (of the Mahabharata).
  • Anangpal Tomar II was succeeded by his grandson Prithviraj Chauhan, who was defeated by the Ghurid forces in the Battle of Tarain (present-day Haryana) after which the Delhi Sultanate was established in 1192.

His connection with Delhi

  • Anangpal II is credited to have established and populated Delhi during his reign in the 11th century.
  • He was instrumental in populating Indraprastha and giving it its present name, Delhi.
  • The region was in ruins when he ascended the throne in the 11th century, it was he who built Lal Kot fort and Anangtal Baoli.
  • He was the founder of Dhillikapuri, which eventually became Delhi.

History- Important places, persons in news

Places on PM Modi’s Bangladesh Visit

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Read the attached story

Mains level : NA

PM Modi will be on a two-day visit to Bangladesh where he will take part in commemorations of some epochal events there.

Bangabandhu shrine in Tungipara

  • Located about 420 kilometres from Dhaka, Tungipara was the place of birth of Rahman, the architect of the 1971 Bangladesh War of Independence.
  • This is also the place where he lies buried inside a grand tomb called the ‘Bangabandhu mausoleum’.
  • Millions of people gather here every year on August 15, to observe the day when Rahman was assassinated by a group of disgruntled army officers.

Harichand Thakur’s shrine in Orakandi

  • Thakur was the founder of the Matua Mahasangha, which was a religious reformation movement that originated in Orakandi in about 1860 CE.
  • At a very early age, Thakur experienced spiritual revelation, following which he founded a sect of Vaishnava Hinduism called Matua.
  • Members of the sect were the namasudras who were considered to be untouchables.
  • The objective of Thakur’s religious reform was to uplift the community through educational and other social initiatives.
  • Members of the community consider Thakur as God and an avatar of Vishnu or Krishna.
  • After the 1947 Partition, many of the Matuas migrated to West Bengal.

‘Sugandha Shaktipith’ (Satipith) temple in Shikarpur

  • Modi is also scheduled to visit the Sugandha Shaktipeeth which is located in Shikarpur, close to Barisal.
  • The temple, dedicated to Goddess Sunanda is of immense religious significance to Hinduism.
  • It is one of the 51 Shakti Pith temples.
  • The Shakti Pith shrines are pilgrimage destinations associated with the Shakti (Goddess worship) sect of Hinduism.

Rabindra Kuthi Bari in Kushtia

  • The Kuthi Bari is a country house built by Dwarkanath Tagore, the grandfather of Nobel laureate and Bengali poetic giant Rabindranath Tagore.
  • The latter stayed in the house for over a decade in irregular intervals between 1891 and 1901.
  • In this house Tagore composed some of his masterpieces like Sonar Tari, Katha o Kahini, Chaitali etc. He also wrote a large number of songs and poems for Gitanjali here.
  • It was also in this house that Tagore began translating the Gitanjali to English in 1912, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Ancestral home of Bagha Jatin in Kushtia

  • Jatindranath Mukherjee, better known as ‘Bagha Jatin’ (tiger Jatin) was a revolutionary freedom fighter.
  • He was born in Kayagram, a village in Kushtia district, where his ancestral home is located.
  • Jatin acquired the epithet ‘Bagha’ after he fought a Royal Bengal Tiger all by himself and killed it with a dagger.
  • Jatin was the first commander-in-chief of the ‘Jugantar Party’ which was formed in 1906 as a central association dedicated to train revolutionary freedom fighters in Bengal.
  • This was the period when Bengal was seething with nationalist furore against Lord Curzon’s declaration of Partition of the province.
  • Inspired by Jatin’s clarion call, “amra morbo, jagat jagbe” (we shall die to awaken the nation), many young revolutionaries joined the brand of the freedom struggle that the Jugantar Party represented.

His legend:

  • Jatin is most remembered for an armed encounter he engaged in with the British police at Balasore in Orissa.
  • They were expecting a consignment of arms and funds from Germany to lead an armed struggle when the British found out about the plot and raided the spot where the revolutionaries were hiding. A
  • lthough Jatin lost his life in the Battle of Balasore, his activities did have an impact on the British forces.
  • The colonial police officer Charles Augustus Tegart wrote about Jatin: “If Bagha Jatin was an Englishman, then the English people would have built his statue next to Nelson’s at Trafalgar Square.”

History- Important places, persons in news

The legacy and return of the Bamiyan Buddhas

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Bamiyan Buddhas

Mains level : Spread and decline of Buddhism

Two decades later after its destruction, the Bamiyan Buddhas have been brought back to life in the form of 3D projections in an event called “A Night with Buddha”.

Bamiyan Buddhas

  • In their Roman draperies and with two different mudras, the Bamiyan Buddhas were great examples of a confluence of Gupta, Sassanian and Hellenistic artistic styles.
  • They are said to date back to the 5th century AD and were once the tallest standing Buddhas in the world.
  • Salsal and Shamama, as they were called by the locals, rose to heights of 55 and 38 metres respectively, and were said to be male and female.
  • Salsal means “the light shines through the universe”; Shamama is “Queen Mother”.
  • The statues were set in niches on either end of a cliffside and hewn directly from the sandstone cliffs.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2014:

Q.Lord Buddha’s image is sometimes shown with a hand gesture called ‘Bhumisparsha Mudra’. It symbolizes-

a) Buddha’s calling of the Earth to watch over Mara and to prevent Mara from disturbing his meditation

b) Buddha’s calling of the Earth to witness his purity and chastity despite the temptations of Mara

c) Buddha’s reminder to his followers that they all arise from the Earth and finally dissolve into the Earth and thus this life is transitory

d) Both the statements ‘a’ and ‘b’ are correct in this context

The significance of Bamiyan

  • Bamiyan is situated in the high mountains of the Hindu Kush in the central highlands of Afghanistan.
  • The valley, which is set along the line of the Bamiyan River, was once integral to the early days of the Silk Roads, providing passage for not just merchants, but also culture, religion and language.
  • When the Buddhist Kushan Empire spread, acting as a crucible of sorts, Bamiyan became a major trade, cultural and religious centre.
  • As China, India and Rome sought passage through Bamiyan, the Kushans were able to develop a syncretic (mix) culture.
  • In the rapid spread of Buddhism between the 1st to 5th centuries AD, Bamiyan’s landscape reflected the faith, especially its monastic qualities.

Taliban’s destruction of the Buddhas

  • The hardline Taliban movement, which emerged in the early 1990s, was in control of almost 90 per cent of Afghanistan by the end of the decade.
  • The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas was part of this extremist culture.
  • In February 2001, the Taliban declared its intention to destroy the statues, despite condemnation and protest from governments and cultural ambassadors’ world over.

The aftermath of the destruction

  • The Taliban’s destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas met with global criticism, many of whom saw it as a cultural crime not just against Afghanistan but also against the idea of global syncretism.
  • Following the fall, UNESCO included the remains in its list of world heritage sites in 2003, with subsequent efforts made to restore and reconstruct.

History- Important places, persons in news

Dandi March to mark 75 years of Independence

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Dandi March

Mains level : Civil Disobedience Movement

PM will flag off a commemorative ‘Dandi March’ on March 12 to launch the celebrations of the 75th year of Independence.

Dandi March

  • The Dandi March was an act of nonviolent civil disobedience in colonial India led by Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The twenty-four day march lasted from 12 March 1930 to 5 April 1930 as a direct action campaign of tax resistance and nonviolent protest against the British salt monopoly.
  • Another reason for this march was that the Civil Disobedience Movement needed a strong inauguration that would inspire more people to follow Gandhi’s example.
  • Growing numbers joined them along the way.
  • When Gandhi broke the British Raj salt laws at 6:30 am on 6 April 1930, it sparked large scale acts of civil disobedience against the salt laws by millions of Indians.

Try this PYQ:

Q. Who of the following organized a March on the Tanjore coast to break the Salt Law in April 1930?

(a) V. O. Chidambaram Pillai

(b) C. Rajagopalachari

(c) K. Kamaraj

(d) Annie Besant

Followed by Dharasana Satyagraha

  • After making the salt at Dandi, Gandhi continued southward along the coast, making salt and addressing meetings on the way.
  • The INC planned to stage a satyagraha at the Dharasana Salt Works, 40 km south of Dandi.
  • However, Gandhi was arrested on the midnight of 4–5 May 1930, just days before the planned action at Dharasana.
  • The Dandi March and the ensuing Dharasana Satyagraha drew worldwide attention to the Indian independence movement through extensive newspaper and newsreel coverage.
  • The satyagraha against the salt tax continued for almost a year, ending with Gandhi’s release from jail and negotiations with Viceroy Lord Irwin at the Second Round Table Conference.

Its aftermath

  • The March to Dandi had a significant influence on American activists Martin Luther King Jr., James Bevel, and others during the Civil Rights Movement for African Americans in the 1960s.
  • The march was the most significant organised challenge to British authority since the Non-cooperation movement of 1920–22.
  • It directly followed the Purna Swaraj declaration of sovereignty and self-rule by the Indian National Congress on 26 January 1930.
  • It gained worldwide attention which gave impetus to the Indian independence movement and started the nationwide Civil Disobedience.

History- Important places, persons in news

United Bengal Plan of 1947

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : United Bengal Plan, Partition of Bengal

Mains level : Two nation theory

In a recent election rally, a politician spoke about the contributions of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee in the making of West Bengal immediately after independence.

This newscard contains some archaic statements and thoughts (that may seem like polarized opinions) which are directly reproduced from the newspaper. 

The 1947 independence era circumstances are discussed with context to the United Bengal Plan and its subsequent partition.

The United Bengal plan

  • A most striking aspect of the Partition of Bengal was the fact that the same people, who had vociferously opposed the 1905 partition of the region by Lord Curzon, were the ones who demanded the division of the province on communal lines.
  • One way to understand this is by noting the fact that the communal skirmishes that had started in 1905, reached its peak by 1947.
  • But there was also the fact that Bengal politics changed dramatically in 1932 with the introduction of the Communal Award.
  • It gave more seats in the Legislative Council to Muslims than Hindus. It also provided separate electorates for the Dalits.
  • Consequently, Bengali Hindus ceased to be as significant and visible in provincial politics as they were before.
  • What further aggravated the situation was the communal violence in Calcutta in August 1946 and those in Noakhali just seven weeks later.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2013:

Q.The Partition of Bengal made by Lord Curzon in 1905 lasted until

(a) The First World War when Indian troops were needed by the British and the partition was ended.

(b) King George V abrogated Curzon’s Act at the Royal Darbar in Delhi in 1911

(c) Gandhiji launched his Civil Disobedience Movement

(d) The Partition of India, in 1947 when East Bengal became East Pakistan

Mukherjee and the Plan

  • Mukherjee, who was president of the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha between 1943 and 1946, is known to have been the man behind the Partition of Bengal in 1947.
  • Calcutta riots (1947) led the Hindu Mahasabha under Mukherjee to put forward the demand for dividing Bengal on religious grounds.
  • He was one of the strongest voices to have opposed the united Bengal plan of the Bengal provincial League leader and PM Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy.
  • As per the plan, Bengal would be a separate nation, independent from both India and Pakistan.

Debate over partition

  • In the meantime Suhrawardy along with few other top Bengal politicians like Sarat Bose and K.S. Roy came up with an alternative for the Partition.
  • They argued for a united Bengal, independent from India and Pakistan.
  • Suhrawardy had realized that the Partition of Bengal would mean economic disaster for East Bengal since all jute mills, coal mines and industrial plants would go to the western part of the state.
  • Suhrawardy argued strongly for a united Bengal because Bengal was indivisible in view of its ‘economic integrity, mutual reliance and the necessity of creating a strong workable state.

Why did Mukherjee oppose the united Bengal plan?

  • The Hindu Mahasabha under Mukherjee spearheaded a fierce attack against the united Bengal scheme, which he thought would force Hindus to live under Muslim domination.
  • He further defended the Partition to the Viceroy by drawing upon Jinnah’s two-nation theory.
  • Finally, for Mukherjee, the idea of a united Bengal was not appealing because he believed that a ‘sovereign undivided Bengal would be a virtual Pakistan’.
  • Eventually, the idea of a united Bengal failed to garner sufficient support from among the Muslim League and the Congress.
  • It also did not find sufficient support from the grassroots as most Hindus favoured the Partition of Bengal.

Back2Basics: Partition of Bengal

  • The first Partition of Bengal (1905) was a territorial reorganization of the Bengal Presidency implemented by the authorities of the British Raj.
  • The reorganization separated the largely Muslim eastern areas from the largely Hindu western areas. Announced on 19 July 1905 by Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of India.
  • It was implemented on 16 October 1905, it was undone a mere six years later.
  • Hindus were outraged at what they saw as a “divide and rule” policy, even though Curzon stressed it would produce administrative efficiency.
  • The partition animated the Muslims to form their own national organization along communal lines.
  • To appease Bengali sentiment, Bengal was reunited by Lord Hardinge in 1911, in response to the Swadeshi movement’s riots in protest against the policy.
  • In 1947, Bengal was partitioned for the second time, solely on religious grounds, as part of the Partition of India following the formation of the nations India and Pakistan.
  • In 1955, East Bengal became East Pakistan, and in 1971 became the independent state of Bangladesh.

History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] Declaration of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO                 

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : World heritage sites in India

Mains level : Not Much

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has provided some useful information about the World Heritage Sites By UNESCO in India.

We regret for the distorted view of this newscard on the app. Pls refer to the webpage link.

[pib] Declaration of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO                 

World Heritage Sites in India

  • At present, India has 38 World Heritage Properties. All the sites under the Ministry are conserved as per ASI’s Conservation Policy and are in good shape.
  • ‘Dholavira: A Harappan City’ has been submitted for the nomination of World Heritage Site in 2019-2020.
  • Nomination dossiers of ‘Santiniketan, India’ and ‘Sacred Ensemble of Hoysalas’ have been submitted to UNESCO for the year 2021-22 cycle.

WORLD HERITAGE SITES IN INDIA (38)

CULTURAL SITES:

Under Protection of Archaeological Survey of India (22)

S.No. Name of Site State
1 Agra Fort (1983) Uttar Pradesh
2 Ajanta Caves (1983) Maharashtra
3 Ellora Caves (1983) Maharashtra
4 Taj Mahal (1983) Uttar Pradesh
5 Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984) Tamil Nadu
6 Sun Temple, Konark (1984) Odisha
7 Churches and Convents of Goa (1986) Goa
8 FatehpurSikri (1986) Uttar Pradesh
9 Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986) Karnataka
10 Khajuraho, Group of Temples (1986) Madhya Pradesh
11 Elephanta Caves ( 1987) Maharashtra
12 Great Living Chola Temples at Thanjavur, Gangaikondacholapuram and Darasuram (1987 & 2004) Tamil Nadu
13 Group of Monuments at Pattadakal (1987) Karnataka
14 Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989) Madhya Pradesh
15 Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi (1993) Delhi
16 Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi (1993) Delhi
17 Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003) Madhya Pradesh
18 Champaner-Pavagarh Archaeological Park (2004) Gujarat
19 Red Fort Complex, Delhi (2007) Delhi
20 Hill Forts of Rajasthan

  1. Kumbhalgarh, Jaisalmer and Ranthambhore, Amber and Gagron Forts) (2013)

(Amber and Gagron Forts are under protection of Rajasthan State Archaeology and Museums)

Rajasthan
21 Rani-ki-Vav (The Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan (2014) Gujarat
22 Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) at Nalanda (2016) Bihar

 

Under Protection of Ministry of Railways (2)

23. Mountain Railways of India Darjeeling,(1999), Nilgiri (2005), Kalka-Shimla (2008) West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh
24. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004) Maharashtra

 

Under Protection of Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee (1)

25 Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya, (2002) Bihar

 

Under Protection of Rajasthan State Archaeology and Museums (1)

26. The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (2010) Rajasthan

 

Under Protection of Chandigarh Administration (1)

27. The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement (2016) Chandigarh

 

Under Protection of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (1)

28. Historic City of Ahmedabad (2017) Gujarat

 

Under Protection of Bombay Municipal Corporation (1)

29. Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai (2018) Govt of Maharashtra

 

Under Protection of Jaipur Municipal Corporation (1)

30. Jaipur City, Rajasthan (2019) Govt of Rajasthan

 

NATURAL SITES: (7)

Under Protection of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Changes

31. Kaziranga National Park (1985) Assam
32. Keoladeo National Park (1985) Rajasthan
33. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (1985) Assam
34. Sunderbans National Park (1987) West Bengal
35. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988, 2005) Uttarakhand
36. Western Ghats (2012) Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra,Tamil Nadu
37 Great Himalayan National Park (2014) Himachal Pradesh

 

MIXED SITE: (1)

Under Protection of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Changes

38. Khangchendzonga National Park (2016) Sikkim

 


Back2Basics: UNESCO World Heritage Sites

  • A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area, selected by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for having cultural, historical, scientific or other forms of significance, which is legally protected by international treaties.
  • The sites are judged to be important for the collective and preservative interests of humanity.
  • To be selected, a WHS must be an already-classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance (such as an ancient ruin or historical structure, building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, mountain, or wilderness area).
  • It may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, and serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet.
  • The sites are intended for practical conservation for posterity, which otherwise would be subject to risk from human or animal trespassing, unmonitored/uncontrolled/unrestricted access, or threat from local administrative negligence.
  • The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 “states parties” that are elected by their General Assembly.

UNESCO World Heritage Committee

  • The World Heritage Committee selects the sites to be listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger.
  • It monitors the state of conservation of the World Heritage properties, defines the use of the World Heritage Fund and allocates financial assistance upon requests from States Parties.
  • It is composed of 21 states parties that are elected by the General Assembly of States Parties for a four-year term.
  • India is NOT a member of this Committee.

History- Important places, persons in news

Assam’s Sattras and their political significance

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sattras, Sankardeva's Philosophy

Mains level : Various schools of philosophy in India

In poll-bound Assam, the campaigns are sought to be held in the Bartadrava Than/Sattra (monastery) in Nagaon, which is the birthplace of renowned Vaishnavite saint-reformer Srimanta Sankardeva.

Q.Discuss the role of religion in India’s electoral politics. Discuss how identity politics is harmful to a harmonious society.

What are Sattras?

  • Sattras are monastic institutions created as part of the 16th-century Neo-Vaishnavite reformist movement started by Vaishnavite saint-reformer Srimanta Sankaradeva (1449-1596).
  • As the saint travelled across Assam, spreading his teachings and propagating an egalitarian society, these Sattras/Thans were established as centres of religious, social and cultural reforms in the 16th century.
  • These institutions are of paramount importance and lie at the heart of Assamese culture.
  • Today, Sattras are spread across the state, promulgating Sankardeva’s unique “worship through art” approach with music (borgeet), dance (sattriya) and theatre (bhauna).

Composition of Sattra

  • Each Sattra has a naamghar (worship hall) as its nucleus and is headed by an influential “Sattradhikar”.
  • Monks, known as bhakats, are inducted into Sattras at a young age.
  • They may or may not be celibate, depending on the kind of Sattra they are inducted into.

What is Sankardeva’s philosophy?

  • Sankardeva propagated a form of Bhakti called eka-sharana-naam-dhrama.
  • He espoused a society based on equality and fraternity, free from caste differences, orthodox Brahmanical rituals and sacrifices.
  • His teaching focused on prayer and chanting (naam) instead of idol worship. His dharma was based on the four components of deva (god), naam (prayers), bhakats (devotees), and guru (teacher).

Try this PYQ:

Q. With reference to the cultural history of medieval India, consider the following statements:

  1. Siddhas (Sittars) of Tamil region were monotheistic and condemned idolatry.
  2. Lingayats of Kannada region questioned the theory of rebirth and rejected the caste hierarchy

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

What is the relationship between the Sattra and the State?

  • During the Ahom reign, the Sattras received a lot of donations in the form of land or money from the kings.
  • Unlike temples, Sattras did not require patronage because they were self-sufficient, grew their own food and could sustain themselves.
  • However, today, it is different. Annual grants from the state and central government are doled out to Sattras, in the hope of political support.

Do Sattras matter in elections?

  • While Sattra votes may not decide the outcome of an election, it is undeniable that the Sattras and Sattradhikars have a lot of influence.
  • There are especially Sattra-based constituencies like Nagaon, Kaliabor, Majuli, Barpeta, Bartadadrva etc.
  • Assamese families usually have ties with one Sattra, or the other.
  • That is why politicians — regardless of party are often seen visiting Sattra.

History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] Who was Mannathu Padmanabhan (1878-1970)?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Mannathu Padmanabhan

Mains level : Not Much

The Prime Minister has tweeted tributes to Sri Mannathu Padmanabhan on his death anniversary.

UPSC is digging deeper in the regional freedom movements to get such questions beyond our knowledge base.Try this question from CSP 2020

Q.The Vital Vidhvansak, the first monthly journal to have the untouchable people as its target audience was published by:

(a) Gopal Babu Walangkar

(b) Jyotiba Phule

(c) Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

(d) Bhimarao Ramji Ambedkar

Here, we know something about options b, c and d. So it is less dicey to pull the odd man out.

Mannathu Padmanabhan

  • Padmanabhan was an Indian social reformer and freedom fighter from the south-western state of Kerala.
  • He is recognised as the founder of the Nair Service Society (NSS), which claims to represent the Nair community that constitutes 12.10% (From KMS 2011) of the population of the state.
  • He fought for social equality, the first phase being the Vaikom Satyagraha, demanding the public roads near the temple at Vaikom be opened to low caste Hindus.
  • He took part in the Vaikom (1924) and Guruvayoor (1931) temple-entry Satyagrahas; the anti-untouchability agitations. He opened his family temple for everyone, irrespective of caste distinction.
  • He became a member of the Indian National Congress in 1946 and took part in the agitation against Sir C. P. Ramaswamy Iyer’s administration in Travancore.
  • As the first president of the Travancore Devaswom Board, he revitalised many temples which had almost ceased to function.

History- Important places, persons in news

Pagri Sambhaal Movement of 1907

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ajit Singh , Pagri Sambhal Movement

Mains level : Farmers agitation since colonial times

As a part of the ongoing farmers’ protest, groups across the country have celebrated February 23 as ‘Pagri Sambhal Diwas’.

Try this PYQ:

Q.What was the immediate cause for the launch of the Swadeshi movement?

(a) The partition of Bengal done by Lord Curzon.

(b) A sentence of 18 months rigorous imprisonment imposed on Lokmanya Tilak.

(c) The arrest and deportation of Lala Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh; and passing of the Punjab Colonization Bill.

(d) Death sentence pronounced on the Chapekar brothers.

Pagri Sambhaal Movement

  • Pagrhi Sambhaal Jatta was a successful farm agitation that forced the British government to repeal three laws related to agriculture back in 1907.
  • Bhagat Singh’s uncle Ajit Singh was the force behind this agitation, and he wanted to channel people’s anger over the farm laws to topple the colonial government.

What were the ‘three laws’?

  • The three farm-related acts at the centre of the storm in 1907 were the Punjab Land Alienation Act 1900, the Punjab Land Colonization Act 1906 and the Doab Bari Act.
  • These acts would reduce farmers from owners to contractors of land, and gave the British government the right to take back the allotted land if the farmer even touched a tree in his field without permission.
  • Amid resentment against the laws, Bhagat Singh’s father Kishan Singh and uncle Ajit Singh, with their revolutionary friend Ghasita Ram, formed the Bharat Mata Society.
  • It worked to mobilise this unrest into a revolt against the British government.

Repeal of the laws

  • Ajit Singh persuaded Congress leader Lala Lajpat Rai to come on the stage during a rally in Lyallpur on March 3, 1907, to protest against the laws.
  • On sensing the popular resentment, the British made a minor amendment to the laws.
  • The agitation couldn’t remain non-violent. Ajit Singh was booked for sedition after his speech at a public meeting in Rawalpindi on April 21, 1921.
  • Violence erupted soon afterwards and the British government repealed the three controversial laws in May 1907.

History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] Who was Sant Ravidas?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sant Ravidas

Mains level : Bhakti Saints and their contribution

The President of India recently addressed the ‘Shri Guru Ravidas Vishva Mahapeeth Rashtriya Adhiveshan-2021’ in New Delhi.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2019:

Q.Consider the following statements:

1.Saint Nimbarka was a contemporary of Akbar.

2.Saint Kabir was greatly influenced by Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Who was Sant Ravidas?

  • Ravidas was an Indian mystic poet-saint of the Bhakti movement and founder of the Ravidassia religion during the 15th to 16th century CE.
  • Venerated as a guru (teacher) in the region of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and mainly Punjab and Haryana. He was a poet-saint, social reformer and spiritual figure.
  • The life details of Ravidas are uncertain and contested. Scholars believe he was born in 1450 CE, in the cobbler caste.
  • Ravidas’s devotional Verses were included in the Sikh scriptures known as Guru Granth Sahib.
  • The Panch Vani text of the Dadupanthi tradition within Hinduism also includes numerous poems of Ravidas.
  • He taught the removal of social divisions of caste and gender and promoted unity in the pursuit of personal spiritual freedoms.

Why his preaching is important?

  • Philosophy and values of Sant Ravidas like social justice, equality and fraternity have been imbued in our constitutional values.
  • He had envisaged a society that is based on equality and free from any kind of discrimination.
  • He gave it the name ‘Be-gampura’ (a city near Lahore) where there is no place for any kind of grief or fear.
  • Such an ideal city would be bereft of fear, vulnerability or scarcity. Rule of law based on the right ideas like equality and welfare of all would be the principle for governance.

History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] Swami Dayanand Saraswati

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Dayanand Saraswati

Mains level : Not Much

Information and Broadcasting Minister paid his tributes to Swami Dayanand Saraswati on his birth anniversary.

Dayanand Saraswati (1824-1883)

  • Swami Dayanand Saraswati was a philosopher, social leader and founder of the Arya Samaj, a reform movement of the Vedic dharma.
  • He was the first to give the call for Swaraj as “India for Indians” in 1876, a call later taken up by Lokmanya Tilak.
  • Denouncing the idolatry and ritualistic worship, he worked towards reviving Vedic ideologies.
  • Subsequently, the philosopher and then President, S. Radhakrishnan called him one of the “makers of Modern India”, as did Sri Aurobindo.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Which among the following event happened earliest?

(a) Swami Dayanand established Arya Samaj

(b) Dinabandhu Mitra wrote Neeldarpan

(c) Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote Anandmath

(d) Satyendranath Tagore became the first India to succeed in the Indian Civil Services Examination

His influence

  • Those who were influenced by and followed him included Madam Cama, Shyamji Krishna Varma, Kishan Singh, Bhagat Singh, VD Savarkar, Bhai Parmanand, Lala Hardayal, Madan Lal Dhingra, Ram Prasad Bismil, MG Ranade, Ashfaq Ullah Khan, , Lala Lajpat Rai etc.

Philosophy

  • He was ascetic from boyhood and a scholar.
  • He believed in the infallible authority of the Vedas.
  • He advocated the doctrine of Karma and Reincarnation.
  • He emphasized the Vedic ideals of Brahmacharya, including celibacy and devotion to God.

His contribution

  • Among Dayananda’s contributions were his promoting of the equal rights for women, such as the right to education and reading of Indian scriptures.
  • He wrote his commentary on the Vedas from Vedic Sanskrit in Sanskrit as well as in Hindi.

History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] Centenary of ‘Chauri Chaura’ Incident

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Chauri Chaura Incident

Mains level : Mass movements for freedom struggle

PM will inaugurate the centenary Celebrations at Chauri Chaura at Gorakhpur Dist. Uttar Pradesh.

‘Chauri Chaura’ Incident

  • The incident took place on 4 February 1922 at Chauri Chaura in the Gorakhpur district of the United Province.
  • A large group of protesters participating in the Non-Cooperation Movement clashed with police who opened fire.
  • In retaliation the demonstrators attacked and set fire to a police station, killing all of its occupants.
  • The incident led to the death of three civilians and 22 policemen.
  • Mahatma Gandhi, who was strictly against violence, halted the non-co-operation movement on the national level on 12 February 1922, as a direct result of this incident.

Try this PYQ:

Q.The ‘Swadeshi’ and ‘Boycott’ adopted as methods of struggle for the first time during the

(a) Agitation against the Partition of Bengal

(b) Home Rule Movement

(c) Non-Cooperation Movement

(d) Visit of the Simon Commission to India

Background

  • In the early 1920s, Indians, led by Mahatma Gandhi, were engaged in a nationwide non-cooperation movement.
  • Using non-violent methods of civil disobedience known as Satyagraha, protests were organised by the INC to challenge oppressive regulations such as the Rowlatt Act.

Course of the incident

  • Two days before the incident, on 2 February 1922, volunteers participating in the Non-cooperation Movement led by a retired Army soldier named Bhagwan Ahir.
  • The protest was planned against high food prices and liquor sale in the marketplace.
  • Several of the leaders were arrested and put in the lock-up at the Chauri Chaura police station.
  • In response to this, a protest against the police was called on 4 February, to be held at the local marketplace.
  • Infuriated by the gunfire into their ranks, the crowd set the chowki ablaze, killing all of the Indian policemen and other staff trapped inside.

Aftermath

  • Appalled at the outrage, Gandhi went on a five-day fast as penance for what he perceived as his culpability in the bloodshed.
  • In reflection, Gandhi felt that he had acted too hastily in encouraging people to revolt against the British Raj without sufficiently emphasizing the importance of non-violence.
  • On 12 February 1922, the Indian National Congress halted the Non-co-operation Movement on the national level as a direct result of the Chauri Chaura tragedy.

History- Important places, persons in news

Who are the Bargis?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Decline of Mughal Empire

As the Assembly elections in West Bengal draw closer, the ‘insider-outsider’ theme has grown to become one of the topics of political debate. Bengali politicians have been terming outsider campaigners as ‘bargis’.

Bargis: Etymology of the term

  • The term ‘Bargi’is of special significance in Bengal’s history.
  • It is a reference to the several Maratha invasions of West Bengal between 1741 and 1751, which resulted in looting, plundering and massacres of what was then Mughal territory.
  • The happenings of this specific period have affected Bengal’s consciousness so much that they have an established presence in Bengali folklore and literature.
  • Today this term is used as a casual reference to troublesome outsider forces.

Who were the bargis?

  • Simply speaking, the word bargi referred to cavalrymen in Maratha and Mughal armies.
  • The word comes from the Persian “bargir”, literally meaning “burden taker”, notes historian Surendra Nath Sen in his 1928 work The Military System Of The Marathas.
  • But in the Mughal and Maratha armies, the term signified a soldier who rode a horse furnished by his employer.
  • In the Maratha cavalry, any able-bodied person could enlist as a bargir, unless he had the means to buy a horse and military outfit.
  • Both the bargirs and silhedars were under the overall control of the Sarnobat (Persian for “Sar-i-Naubat”, or Commander in Chief).

Why did the Marathas raid Bengal?

  • Maratha incursions into the Mughal province of Bengal (which included the regions of Bihar, Bengal and Orissa) between 1741 and 1751 came at a time of intense political uncertainty of then Mughal India.
  • At the Maratha capital in Satara, Chhatrapati Shahu was trying in vain to resolve the differences between his two top power centres– the Peshwa dynasty of Pune and Raghoji I Bhonsale of Nagpur.
  • As the Mughal Empire was crumbling by the 18th century, the two Maratha chieftains were scrambling to secure taxation rights in its far-flung regions, and violently disagreed over their spheres of influence.
  • In Bengal – a Mughal Subah (subdivision) during this era– Nawab Subahdar Sarfaraz Khan had been overthrown by his deputy Alivardi Khan.

Try this PYQ:

What was the immediate cause for Ahmad Shah Abdali to invade and fight the Third Battle of Panipat:

(a) He wanted to avenge the expulsion by Marathas of his viceroy Timur Shah from Lahore

(b) The frustrated governor of Jullundhar Adina Beg khan invited him to invade Punjab

(c) He wanted to punish Mughal administration for non-payment of the revenues of the Chahar Mahal (Gujrat Aurangabad, Sialkot and Pasrur)

(d) He wanted to annex all the fertile plains of Punjab upto borders of Delhi to his kingdom

Stir within the Maratha empire

  • After Khan’s inauguration, the provincial governor of Orissa, Zafar Khan Rustam Jung, more commonly known as Murshid Quli II, rebelled against the usurper.
  • The revolt failed, and Jung enlisted Raghoji’s help to oust Khan.
  • Raghoji was also motivated by internal politics within the Maratha camp, fearful as he was of Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao, also known as of Nana Saheb who trying to establish his claim over Bengal first at this time of political disturbance in the province.

Maratha invasions of Bengal

  • The Marathas first entered the Mughal province in August 1741, when Raghoji’s infantry troops accompanied Mirza Baqar Ali, the son-in-law of Jung, to conquer Orissa.
  • In 1743, the Bengal province faced the wrath of two Maratha armies – both, as it happened, at loggerheads with each other.
  • The Peshwa forces proceeded further, committing all sorts of atrocities on the way in a land which they had ostensibly come to protect.
  • Raghoji’s armies were also doing the same, but at least he had openly arrived as an invader.

Ousting the ‘local’ invaders

  • Finally, in 1751, after remaining encamped in western Bengal for a significant amount of time, the Marathas reached an agreement with Alivardi Khan.
  • The Nawab promised an annual tribute of 12 lakh rupees and the cession of Orissa to the Marathas. In return, the Bhonsales gave word to not return to Bengal.

Damage caused

  • Ten years of Maratha invasions had crippled Bengal’s economy.
  • The Dutch believed that 400,000 people had been killed. Losses of weavers, silk winders and those who cultivated mulberry were particularly high.
  • Historian P J Marshall noted that people were so distressed that they would take flight even on imaginary alarms, and wander around.

History- Important places, persons in news

Symbolic significance of the Red Fort and Delhi

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Red Fort

Mains level : Red Fort and its symbolic significance for the nation

Newsfeeds on Republic Day were dominated by scenes of protests on the ramparts of the Red Fort.

Mob stormed and vandalized the national flag and the mast of Red Fort in guise of peaceful farmers protest! What did this act signify?

 

To unravel some of these strands of meaning, one must go back in history, to a time centuries before the Red Fort was even constructed.

The History of Capital

  • Before the 13th century, Delhi — or ‘Dilli’ — was, politically speaking, a moderately significant town.
  • It was for long the capital of the modestly sized kingdom of the Rajput Tomar dynasty.
  • By the mid 12th century it was conquered by the Rajput Chauhans who, however, ruled from Ajmer.
  • It was the conquest by Ghurid Turks in the late 12th century that put Delhi on the map as a centre of power.
  • As the capital of the Sultanate, Delhi gradually developed an aura of power — in the popular imagination, it came to be associated with a dominant power in the subcontinent.
  • Babur, having defeated Ibrahim Lodi at Panipat in 1526, headed for Delhi, which he described as “the capital of all Hindustan”, even though the Lodis had ruled from Agra for the previous two decades.

Sultanate period

  • There was another important feature of the Delhi of these two centuries.
  • From the 13th century, the capital had been located at a number of different sites – Mehrauli, Kilugarhi, Siri, Tughlaqabad, Jahanpanah, Firozabad, and Dinpanah.
  • Now it came to be settled permanently in Shahjahanabad, with the emperor’s seat being in the Red Fort.

Seat of the Mughal power

  • During the first century or so of Mughal rule, Agra was the capital for longer than Delhi.
  • Still, the Mughals continued to be seen as rulers of Delhi.
  • A Sanskrit inscription from 1607 refers to Akbar as “Dillishvara”, the lord of Delhi, though he had ruled from Delhi for a very short time.
  • In a Persian inscription dated 1621 on the Salimgarh Bridge adjoining the Red Fort, Jahangir, who never reigned from Delhi, was described as “Shahanshah e Dehli”, the emperor of Delhi.

Construction of Red Fort

  • It was only in the reign of Shah Jahan (1628-58) that the Mughal connection to Delhi was given concrete form, with the founding of the city of Shahjahanabad and the inauguration of its palace citadel, the Red Fort, in 1648.
  • From that date to the end of Mughal rule in 1857, Delhi would be the formal capital of the Mughal Empire.

Fading centre

  • The significance of Delhi and the Red Fort was thrown into sharp relief by political developments in the 18th century, once the Mughal Empire started on the long road to decline.
  • Erstwhile Mughal provinces such as Bengal, Awadh, and Hyderabad broke away, and new forces like the Sikhs and the Marathas arose.
  • Not only did the Mughal territories shrink, but the Mughal emperor also became increasingly ineffectual even within them.

A takeover by the East India Company

  • The control over the emperor and of Delhi was, therefore, a prize worth fighting for.
  • Safdar Jang, the Nawab of Awadh, fought a civil war in an attempt to keep his position as PM of the Mughal emperor.
  • The Sikhs had their ambitions and came up to the walls of the city in 1783 before retreating.
  • The Marathas met with greater success the following year when Mahadji Sindhia became the power behind the throne.
  • Finally, the East India Company defeated the Maratha forces in 1803 and went on to control Delhi and the emperor for the next 54 years.

Shifting of capital

  • Delhi was officially announced as the capital of British Raj by the then-Emperor George V, on December 12, 1911.
  • The capital was shifted from Calcutta as Delhi was the financial and political seat of many earlier empires and was located closer to the geographical centre of India.
  • The rising nationalist movement in Calcutta was also responsible for the shift.

Symbolic importance then

  • In the popular imagination, the legitimate rule was associated with the Mughal emperor to the extent that when the country broke out in revolt in 1857, the mutinous soldiers made their way to Delhi, seeking his leadership.
  • When the revolt in Delhi had been crushed, the British army occupied the Red Fort and the officers drank to their Queen’s health in the Diwan-e-Khas, where the Mughal emperors had held court.
  • It was in this same hall that Bahadur Shah was put on trial, convicted, and exiled.
  • Nearly ninety years later, in 1945-46, the memory of that trial foreshadowed another historic trial in the fort.
  • The personnel of the Indian National Army were tried there, which generated an immense wave of nationalist sentiment in the run-up to Independence.

Symbol of the nation, now

  • With the coming of Independence, it was necessary that the site of the Red Fort, over which the British colonial government had sought to inscribe its power and might, be symbolically reclaimed for the Indian people.
  • It was for this reason, that after the first hoisting of the national flag at India Gate on August 15, 1947, the next day, the PM hoisted it on the ramparts of the Red Fort.
  • This was to then become India’s lasting Independence Day tradition.

History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] 125 Years of Prabuddha Bharata Journal

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Prabuddha Bharat

Mains level : Not Much

PM will address the 125th-anniversary celebrations of ‘Prabuddha Bharata’, a monthly journal of the Ramakrishna Order, started by Swami Vivekananda in 1896.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Which one of the following pairs does not form part of the six systems of Indian Philosophy?

(a) Mimamsa and Vedanta

(b) Nyaya and Vaisheshika

(c) Lokayata and Kapalika

(d) Sankhya and Yoga

Prabuddha Bharata

  • The journal ‘Prabuddha Bharata’ has been an important medium for spreading the message of India’s ancient spiritual wisdom.
  • It is India’s longest-running English language journal (wiki).
  • Its publication was started from Chennai (erstwhile Madras), where it continued to be published for two years, after which it was published from Almora.
  • Later, in April 1899, the place of publication of the Journal was shifted to Advaita Ashrama and it has been continuously published from there since then.
  • Some of the greatest personalities have left their imprint on the pages of ‘Prabuddha Bharata’ through their writings on Indian culture, spirituality, philosophy, history, psychology, art, and other social issues.
  • Luminaries like Netaji SC Bose, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Sister Nivedita, Sri Aurobindo, Former President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, among others, have contributed to the Journal over the years.

History- Important places, persons in news

Patharughat Uprising of Assam (1894)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Patharughat uprising

Mains level : Peasants movements in colonial India

Twenty-five years before the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, more than a hundred peasants fell to the bullets of the British on January 28, 1894, in Patharughat, a small village in Assam’s Darrang district.

Make a note of all breakthrough peasants’ revolt in the nineteenth century. Also, try this PYQ:

Q.The demand for the Tebhaga Peasant Movement in Bengal was for-

(a) The reduction of the share of the landlords from one-half of the crop to one-third

(b) The grant of ownership of land to peasants as they were the actual cultivators of the land

(c) The uprooting of Zamindari system and the end of serfdom

(d) Writing off all peasant debts

Patharughat uprising

  • After the British annexation of Assam in 1826, surveys of the vast lands of the state began.
  • On the basis of such surveys, the British began to impose land taxes, much to the resentment of the farmers.
  • In 1893, the British government decided to increase agricultural land tax reportedly by 70- 80 per cent.
  • Up until then the peasants would pay taxes in kind or provide service in lieu of cash.
  • Across Assam, peasants began protesting the move by organising Raij Mels, or peaceful peoples’ conventions.

The day of the massacre

  • The unarmed peasants were protesting against the increase in land revenue levied by the colonial administration when the military opened fire.
  • Despite these gatherings being democratic, the British perceived them as “breeding grounds for sedition”.
  • On January 28, 1894, when the British officers were refusing to listen to the farmers’ grievances, things heated up.
  • There was a lathi charge, followed by an open firing which killed many of the peasants present.
  • Official records, as mentioned in the Darrang District Gazette, 1905, edited by BC Allen, placed the casualties in the Patharughat incident as 15 killed and 37 wounded.

Why was the incident significant?

  • The incident was one of the most tragic and inspiring episodes in the saga of the Indian freedom movement.
  • However, it rarely features in the mainstream historical discourse of the freedom struggle.
  • For the larger Assamese community, Patharughat comes second only to the Battle of Saraighat, when the Ahoms defeated the Mughals in 1671.

History- Important places, persons in news

Celebration of Parakram Diwas

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SC Bose and his legacy

Mains level : Freedom struggle

The Union Culture Ministry has announced that January 23, birth anniversary of Subhash Chandra Bose, would be celebrated as “Parakram Diwas” — the day of courage — every year.

Try this PYQ

Q.Highlight the difference in the approach of Subhash Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi in the struggle for freedom. (150 W)

Subhash Chandra Bose (1897-1945)

  • Bose was an Indian revolutionary prominent in the independence movement against British rule of India.
  • He also led an Indian national force from abroad against the Western powers during World War II.
  • He was a contemporary of Mohandas K. Gandhi, at times an ally and at other times an adversary.
  • He was highly influenced by a socialist ideology that acquired popularity as consequences of the Russian Revolution.

Forget not that the grossest crime is to compromise with injustice and wrong. Remember the eternal law: You must give if you want to get.

Netaji

Association with INC

  • In 1927, after being released from prison, Bose became general secretary of the Congress and worked with Jawaharlal Nehru for independence.
  • In late December 1928, Bose organised the Annual Meeting of the Indian National Congress (INC) in Calcutta.
  • Subsequently, Bose wanted to get elected as Congress President in a subsequent session of 1939 convened at Tripuri.
  • However, his candidature was challenged by Mahatma Gandhi who wanted to prevent socialist orientation to the Indian National Movement.
  • Gandhi proposed Pattabhi Sitaramaya for this candidature.
  • In this election, Bose emerged victorious by a huge margin which was not acceptable to Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Congress leader supported Mahatma Gandhi and forced Subhash Chandra Bose to step down from Presidentship.
  • Under such collective pressure, Bose not only resigned from the Congress members. Thereafter he established a separate political party known as “Forward Bloc”.

Escape to Germany

  • On the outbreak of WW-II, Bose advocated a campaign of mass civil disobedience to protest against Linlithgow’s decision to declare war on India’s behalf without consulting the Congress leadership.
  • Having failed to persuade Gandhi of the necessity of this, he was house arrested from where he escaped to Germany.
  • He then went to several countries of Europe and finally landed in a region of Singapore in “South East Asia”.

Azad Hind Fauj

  • The SE Asia region was under the control of Japan where a large number of “Indian Prisoners of War” was confined.
  • When Subhash Chandra Bose reached Singapore in1943 this army was led by a prominent revolutionary Ras Behari Bose whose cadre was known as “Indian National Army”.
  • Subhash Chandra Bose reorganized and expanded this force in order to liberate India. This force was renamed as “Azad Hind Fauj” by him.

The Azad Hind Government

  • The Provisional Government of Free India, or, more simply, Free India (Azad Hind), was an Indian provisional government established in occupied Singapore in 1943.
  • C. Bose was the leader of Azad Hind Government (AHG) and also the Head of State of this Provisional Indian Government-in-exile.
  • It was a part of the freedom movement, originating in the 1940s outside India with a purpose of allying with Axis powers to free India from British rule.

Its collapse and INA Trials

  • INA under the leadership of Bose got defeated severely at Rangoon due to lack of support of Japanese.
  • Bose was suggested to leave Burma to continue his struggle for Indian independence and returned to Singapore before the fall of Rangoon.
  • The AHG govt in the islands collapsed when the island garrisons of Japanese and Indian troops were defeated by British troops and the islands themselves retaken.
  • The Provisional Government of Free India ceased to exist with the deaths of the Axis, the INA, and Bose in 1945.
  • It was followed by the Famous Trials at Red Fort.

Also read:

In news: 1946 Royal Indian Navy Mutiny

History- Important places, persons in news

1776 Commission report of the White House

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : World History: American decolonization

The White House has released the 1776 Commission report, just days before president-elect Joe Biden would take his oath in office.

Read about anti-apartheid movement from your World History sources.

What is the news?

  • Earlier, Trump has signed an executive order to set up a “national commission to promote patriotic education” in the country.
  • The initiative dubbed the ‘1776 Commission’, is an apparent counter to The 1619 Project, a Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of essays on African American history of the past four centuries.
  • It explores the Black community’s contribution to nation-building since the era of slavery to modern times.
  • The name marks the independence of 13 US colonies from the British Empire in 1776.

What is Trump’s 1776 Commission?

  • With this move, Trump sought to activate his right-wing supporters by doubling down on what he described as “cancel culture”, “critical race theory” and “revisionist history”.
  • Looking at the racial attacks, trump had said that Americans are inundated with critical race theory.
  • This was a Marxist doctrine holding that America is a wicked and racist nation, that even young children are complicit in oppression.
  • Trump wanted to reform this idea and wanted to portray himself as a defender of traditional American heritage against “radical” liberals.”

What was the 1619 Project?

  • The Project is a special initiative of The New York Times Magazine, launched in 2019 to mark the completion of 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived in colonial Virginia’s Jamestown in August 1619.
  • The project aimed to reframe US history by considering what it would mean to regard 1619 as America’s birth year.

History- Important places, persons in news

Places in the news: New Anubhava Mantapa

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kalyana Chalukya Style of Architecture

Mains level : Temple Architecture of India

Karnataka CM has laid the foundation stone for the ‘New Anubhava Mantapa’ in Basavakalyan, the place where 12th-century poet-philosopher Basaveshwara lived for most of his life.

Vaishnavism and Shaivism are the two most profound strands of Bhakti Movement in Indian history. Enlist all the Bhakti Saints and their theistic philosophy and teachings. Try to spot the minute differences between them.

Who was Basaveshwara?

  • Basaveshwara or Basavanna was an Indian 12th-century statesman, philosopher, a poet and Lingayat saint in the Shiva-focussed Bhakti movement and a social reformer in Karnataka.
  • He lived during the reign of the Kalyani Chalukya/Kalachuri dynasty.
  • He was active during the rule of both dynasties but reached his peak of influence during the rule of King Bijjala II in Karnataka, India.

Founder of Lingayat cult

  • The traditional legends and hagiographic texts state Basava to be the founder of the Lingayats.
  • However, modern scholarship relying on historical evidence such as the Kalachuri inscriptions state that Basava was the poet-philosopher who revived, refined and energized an already existing tradition.

His Philosophy

  • Basava’s Lingayat theology was a form of qualified nondualism, wherein the individual Atman (soul) is the body of God, and that there is no difference between Shiva and Atman (self, soul).
  • Basava’s views find places in Vedanta school, in a form closer to the 11th-century Vishishtadvaita philosopher Ramanuja.

Famous works

  • Basavanna spread social awareness through his poetry, popularly known as Vachanaas.
  • Basavanna rejected gender or social discrimination, superstitions and rituals but introduced Ishtalinga necklace, with an image of the Shiva Liṅga to every person regardless of his or her birth.
  • As the chief minister of his kingdom, he introduced new public institutions such as the Anubhava Mantapa (or, the “hall of spiritual experience”) which welcomed men and women from all socio-economic backgrounds.

The New Anubhava Mantapa

  • The New Anubhava Mantapa, as envisaged now, will be a six-floor structure in the midst of the 7.5-acre plot and represent various principles of Basaveshwara
  • It will showcase the 12th Century Anubhava Mantapa (often referred to as the “first Parliament of the world”) established by him in Basavakalyan where philosophers and social reformers held debates.
  • The building will adopt the Kalyana Chalukya style of architecture.
  • The grand structure supported by 770 pillars will have an auditorium with a seating capacity of 770 people.
  • It is believed that 770 Sharanas (followers of Basaveshwara) led the Vachana reformist movement in the 12th Century.
  • The basement is designed for a Dasoha Bhavana (dining hall) where around 1,500 people eat together. On its top, the structure would have a Linga placed on a large pedestal.
  • The project also envisages a state-of-the-art robotic system, open-air theatre, modern water conservation system, terrace garden, library, research centre, prayer hall, yoga centre and so on.

Back2Basics: Kalyana Chalukya Style of Architecture

  • It is the distinctive style of ornamented architecture that evolved during the rule of the Western Chalukya Empire in the Tungabhadra region of modern central Karnataka.
  • These monuments, regional variants of pre-existing Dravida (South Indian) temples, form a climax to the wider regional temple architecture tradition called Vesara or Karnata Dravida.
  • They are either Ekakuta (one mandapa of one shrine) or Dvikuta (a common hall attached to two shrines).
  • The style has characters of both the Northern as well as Dravidian temple architecture.
  • This combination of both of these styles is known as Vesara Style, also Central Indian Style, which is represented by the Hoysala Temples.
  • Most of the temples of the Western Chalukyas are dedicated to Shiva, some of them dedicated to Vishnu and Jain Tirthankars also.

Examples: Truketshwara Temple, Gadag; Kasivisvesvara Temple, Lakkundi

History- Important places, persons in news

The Battle of Bhima-Koregaon (1818)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Battle of Bhima-Koregaon

Mains level : British annexation of India

The history of the Bhima-Koregaon battle should be taught in schools, said the Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment.

Try this PYQ:

What was the immediate cause for Ahmad Shah Abdali to invade and fight the Third Battle of Panipat:

(a) He wanted to avenge the expulsion by Marathas of his viceroy Timur Shah from Lahore

(b) The frustrated governor of Jullundhar Adina Beg khan invited him to invade Punjab

(c) He wanted to punish Mughal administration for non-payment of the revenues of the Chahar Mahal

(Gujrat Aurangabad, Sialkot and Pasrur)

(d) He wanted to annex all the fertile plains of Punjab upto borders of Delhi to his kingdom

Battle of Bhima-Koregaon

  • The 1818 battle of Bhima-Koregaon, one of the last battles of the Third Anglo-Maratha War culminated in the Peshwa’s defeat.
  • It was fought on 1 January 1818 between the British East India Company (BEIC) and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy, at Koregaon at the banks of River Bhima.
  • A 28,000-strong force led by Peshwa Baji Rao II while on their way to attack the company-held Pune were unexpectedly met by an 800-strong Company force of which 500 belonged to the Dalit community.
  • The battle was part of the Third Anglo Maratha war, a series of battles that culminated in the defeat of the Peshwa rule and subsequent rule of the BEIC in nearly all of Western, Central, and Southern India.

Mahars under Shivaji

  • Back in the seventeenth century, the community was particularly valued by the ruler Shivaji, under whom Maratha caste identities were far more fluid.
  • The value of the Mahars for military recruitment under Shivaji was noted by the social reformer Jyotirao Phule.
  • The Mahars were not only beneficiaries of the attempt at caste unity under Shivaji but were in fact valued for their martial skills, bravery, and loyalty.

Mahars after Shivaji

  • The position occupied by the Mahars under Shivaji, however, was short-lived and under later Peshwa rulers, their status deteriorated.
  • The Peshwas were infamous for their Brahmin orthodoxy and their persecution of the untouchables.
  • The Mahars were forbidden to move about in public spaces and punished atrociously for disrespecting caste regulations.
  • Stories of Peshwa atrocities against the Mahars suggest that they were made to tie brooms behind their backs to wipe out their footprints and pots on their necks to collect their spit.

Why is the battle significant?

  • The battle resulted in losses to the Maratha Empire, then under Peshwa rule, and control over most of western, central, and southern India by the British East India Company.
  • The battle has been seen as a symbol of Dalit pride because a large number of soldiers in the Company forces were the Mahar Dalits, the same oppressed community to which Babasaheb Ambedkar belonged.
  • After centuries of inhumane treatment, this battle was the first time that Mahars had been included in a battle in which they won.

Dr. Ambedkar’s association

  • It was Babasaheb Ambedkar’s visit to the site on January 1, 1927, that revitalized the memory of the battle for the Dalit community.
  • He led to its commemoration in the form of a victory pillar, besides creating the discourse of Dalit valor against Peshwa ‘oppression’ of Dalits.

History- Important places, persons in news

Foreign architects of Indian cities

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Indian architecture

Mains level : Indian architecture and foreign influence

A controversy has been playing out over the last several days over a decision by the IIM Ahmedabad to bring down 18 dormitories built by legendary American architect Louis Kahn on the old campus.

This newscard is full of facts. But one must note the features of present-day Indian Architecture and the western influence on it.

Kahn, in fact, is one among several foreign architects whose work defines several Indian cities. Take a glimpse of all important architects and their works:

Antonin Raymond & George Nakashima

  • Golconde, one of India’s first modernist buildings, was conceptualized in Puducherry by the founders of the experimental township of Auroville.
  • Tokyo-based Czech architect Antonin Raymond was invited to design this space as a universal commune, and Japanese-American woodworker George Nakashima would complete it after Raymond left India.
  • It is possibly India’s first reinforced concrete buildings, built between 1937 and 1945.
  • Its façade creates the impression that one could open or shut these concrete blinds, without compromising on privacy, while the ascetic interiors helped provide a meditative atmosphere.

Otto Koenigsberger

  • Berlin-bred Koenigsberger was already working for the Maharaja of Mysore in the late 1930s when he was commissioned by Tata & Sons to develop the industrial township of Jamshedpur in the early 1940s.
  • He would later design the masterplan for Bhubhaneswar (1948) and Faridabad (1949).
  • Having seen children and women walk large distances to reach schools and workplaces, he planned for schools and bazaars in the city center and for a network of neighborhoods.
  • His friends Albert Mayer and Mathew Nowicki would go on to design Chandigarh.
  • However, much before Koenigsberger, there was the Scottish biologist and geographer Patrick Geddes, who wrote town planning reports, from 1915 to 1919, for 18 Indian cities, including Bombay and Indore.

Frank Lloyd Wright

  • Though the legendary American architect never built a structure in India, his influence was unmistakable.
  • Two of his students, Gautam and Gira Sarabhai, founders of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, requested him to design the administration building for Sarabhai Calico Mills in 1946.
  • It would possibly have been the city’s first high-rise with terraces and a podium.
  • Padma Vibhushan Charles Correa, one of India’s finest architects and urban planners, was hugely influenced by Wright.

Le Corbusier

  • Before Swiss-French painter-writer-architect Corbusier came on the scene in Chandigarh, there was Polish architect Mathew Nowicki, an admirer of Frank Lloyd Wright and American developer Albert Mayer.
  • Nowicki’s death in a plane crash ended the commission, and Corbusier came on board.
  • With English architect Maxwell Fry and his wife Jane Drew, Corbusier with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret would design many of Chandigarh’s civic buildings, from courts to housing.
  • Corbusier’s modernist approach, without decoration, gave India its brutalist, bare concrete buildings.
  • He won favour with the Sarabhai’s of Ahmedabad and built the Sarabhai House, Shodhan House, Mill Owner’s Association Building and Sankar Kendra. He is often called the “father of modern Indian architecture”.

Joseph Allen Stein

  • He was invited by Vijayalakshmi Pandit in 1952 to come to India and establish the Department of Architecture and Planning at the West Bengal Engineering College.
  • Though he also practiced briefly in Orissa and West Bengal, it’s in New Delhi where Stein left the deepest imprint.
  • From the Triveni Kala Sangam, the High Commissioner’s Residence and Chancery for Australia, where his polygon-shaped masonry with local stone made its first appearance to ‘Steinabad’.

Louis Kahn

  • The importance of being Kahn is never more real than now, as the American architect’s only project in India faces bulldozers.
  • The design for IIM Ahmedabad (1962-1974) carried the essence of learning in the humility of its material, and the way spaces were managed.

History- Important places, persons in news

Who was freedom fighter Udham Singh?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Udham Singh

Mains level : Jallianwala Bagh massacre and its aftermath

December 26 was the birth anniversary of freedom fighter Udham Singh, who is known for avenging the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919.

Try this PYQ:

Q.The Ghadr (Ghadar) was a –

(a) Revolutionary association of Indians with headquarters at San Francisco.

(b) Nationalist organization operating from Singapore

(c) Militant organization with headquarters at Berlin

(d) Communist movement for India’s freedom with head-quarters at Tashkent

Who was Udham Singh?

  • Singh, born in Sunam in Punjab’s Sangrur district in 1899, was a political activist who got associated with the Ghadar Party while in the US.
  • The multi-ethnic party was believed to have communist tendencies and was founded by Sohan Singh Bhakna in 1913.
  • Headquartered in California, the party was committed to the ouster of the British from India.
  • In 1934, Singh made his way to London with the purpose of assassinating O’Dwyer, who in 1919 had been the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab.

Why did he consider O’Dwyer responsible for the massacre?

  • O’Dwyer ordered Brigadier Reginald Dyer to Amritsar before the massacre; he was worried that there might be a second Indian mutiny, given the Hindu-Muslim unity and the demonstrations and strikes.
  • Instead of Dyer, O’Dwyer is considered to be the actual perpetrator, since Dyer could not have executed it without his permission.
  • On March 13, 1940, Udham Singh shot O’Dwyer at a meeting of the East India Association and the Royal Central Asian Society at Caxton Hill.
  • He was immediately arrested and held in Brixton prison and was sentenced to death and was hanged on July 31, 1940, at Pentonville Prison.

A legend in India

  • For avenging the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, Singh is seen by many as a hero. Gandhi, though, had famously called Singh’s revenge as an “act of insanity”.
  • While being on trial, he referred to himself as Mohamed Singh Azad, to symbolize Hindu-Sikh-Muslim unity in the fight for India’s freedom.
  • In 1974, his remains were sent back to India and he was cremated in his village in Sunam.
  • There have been several demands in the past few years for Udham Singh’s statue to be installed in Jallianwala Bagh and the Parliament complex.
  • In 2018, his statue was installed at Jallianwala Bagh during Baisakhi.
  • Udham Singh Nagar district in Uttarakhand is named after the freedom fighter.

History- Important places, persons in news

Places in news: Rahim’s Tomb

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Navratnas of Akbar

Mains level : Medieval arts and culture

This newscard is an excerpt from the original article published in The Hindu.

Try this PYQ:

Q.With reference to Mian Tansen, which one of the following statements is not correct?

(a) Tansen was the title given to him by Emperor Akbar.

(b) Tansen composed Dhrupads on Hindu gods and goddesses.

(c) Tansen composed songs on his patrons.

(d) Tansen invented many Ragas.

Who was Rahim?

  • Dating back to 1598, during the rule of Akbar, Abdur Rahim Khan I Khanan was one of the Navratna in the court.
  • Winning wars with his military training and hearts with his dohas and translated texts — he was a man who survived despite his father Bairam Khan’s assassination when he was just four.
  • Meant to be a dedication of a husband to his wife, the tomb ended up housing his own remains too when he died in 1627.

His works

  • Apart from writing various dohas, Rahim translated Babar’s memoirs, Baburnama from Chagatai language to the Persian language, which was completed in 998 (1589–90) AD.
  • He had an excellent command over the Sanskrit language.
  • In Sanskrit, he wrote two books on astrology, Khetakautukam and Dwatrimshadyogavali.

Why in news?

  • The tomb is in a run-down situation but undergoing renovation.
  • The historical and cultural significance is more than the archaeological and architectural significance, so restoring the dignity of the burial place has been very important.

History- Important places, persons in news

History: Visva-Bharati University

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Visva-Bharati University

Mains level : Nationalist education during freedom struggle

The Visva-Bharati University established by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore has completed its centenary.

Do you remember the scheme of education by Gandhi Ji, called Nai Talim?

Visva-Bharati University

  • The university was set up by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in 1921 at Santiniketan, Bolpur in West Bengal’s Birbhum district.
  • It was founded by Rabindranath Tagore who called it Visva-Bharati, which means the communion of the world with India.
  • Until independence, it was a college. Soon after independence, the institution was given the status of a central university in 1951 by an act of the Parliament.

Its establishment

  • The origins of the institution date back to 1863 when Debendranath Tagore was given a tract of land by the zamindar of Raipur, the zamindar of Kirnahar.
  • He set up an ashram at the spot that has now come to be called chatim tala at the heart of the town.
  • The ashram was initially called Brahmacharya Ashram, which was later renamed Brahmacharya Vidyalaya.
  • It was established with a view to encouraging people from all walks of life to come to the spot and meditate.
  • In 1901 his youngest son Rabindranath Tagore established a co-educational school inside the premises of the ashram.

What makes it special?

  • Rabindranath Tagore believed in open-air education and had reservations about any teaching done within four walls.
  • This was due to his belief that walls represent the conditioning of the mind.
  • Tagore did not have a good opinion about the Western method of education introduced by the British in India; on this subject, Tagore and Gandhiji’s opinion matched.
  • So he devised a new system of learning in Visva-Bharati. He allowed students to continue their course till the student and his teacher both are satisfied.
  • At Visva-Bharati, if a course demanded by a student is not available, then the university will design a course and bring teachers for that course.
  • The university would not be bothered by the consideration of whether there is a demand for the course.

History- Important places, persons in news

Significance and History of National Farmers’ Day

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : National Farmers’ Day

Mains level : Not Much

National Farmers’ Day, or Kisan Diwas, is celebrated across the country on December 23 to honour India’s farmers.

Do you think that the extraordinary haste with which the farm bills were pushed through both the Houses has created the present crisis?

National Farmers’ Day

  • It marks the birth anniversary of the nation’s fifth PM Choudhary Charan Singh.
  • In 2001, the government decided to recognise Choudhary Charan Singh’s contribution to the agriculture sector and welfare of farmers by celebrating his birth anniversary as Kisan Diwas.
  • Since then, December 23 has been observed as National Farmers’ Day.
  • Generally, awareness campaigns and drives are organised across the country to educate people on the role of farmers and their contribution to the economy.

Who was CCS and what was his connection with farmers?

  • Chaudhary Charan Singh, who briefly served as PM between 1979 and 1980, is widely regarded as one of the country’s most famous peasant leaders.
  • He was known for his pioneering work to promote the welfare of farmers and the agricultural sector.
  • Charan Singh was no stranger to the struggles faced by the Indian farmer. He was born into a middle-class peasant family in Uttar Pradesh on December 23, 1902.
  • Greatly influenced by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, he took an active part in the fight for independence.
  • After that, his political career largely focused on socialism in rural India.

Major legislations

  • He was behind several major farmer-forward Bills, including the Land Utilization Bill of 1939 and the Debt Redemption Bill in 1939.
  • While serving as agriculture minister in 1952, he led UP in its efforts to abolish the Zamindari system.
  • In fact, he went on to draft the UP Zamindari and Land Reforms Bill himself.
  • On 23 December 1978, he founded the Kisan Trust — a non-political, non-profit making body — with the aim of educating India’s rural masses against injustice, and fostering solidarity among them.

History- Important places, persons in news

Who was Khudiram Bose?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Khudiram Bose

Mains level : Various revolutionary activities

Union Home Minister has visited the native village of Bengali revolutionary Khudiram Bose in Midnapore, West Bengal.

One of the youngest leaders of the Independence movement, Khudiram Bose is highly regarded in Bengal for his fearless spirit. He was just 19 when he was hanged!

Who was Khudiram Bose?

  • Bose was born in 1889 at a small village in Midnapore district.
  • From his adolescent years, he was drawn towards revolutionary activities, being inspired by a series of public lectures given by Sri Aurobindo and Sister Nivedita, when the duo visited Midnapore in the early 1900s.
  • In 1905, when Bengal was partitioned, he actively participated in protests against the British.
  • At the age of 15, Bose joined the Anushilan Samiti, an early 20th-century organisation that propounded revolutionary activities in Bengal.
  • Within a year, he had learnt how to make bombs and would plant them in front of police stations.

Revolutionary activities

  • The deciding moment of Bose’s life came in 1908 when he along with another revolutionary, Prafulla Chaki was assigned the task of assassinating the district magistrate of Muzaffarpur, Kingsford.
  • Before being transferred to Muzaffarpur, Kingsford was a magistrate in Bengal.
  • His tortuous clamping down on revolutionaries had earned him the ire of this young group of nationalists who decided to hurl a bomb on him.

Kingsford’s assassination attempt

  • There were multiple attempts to assassinate Kingsford.
  • Initially, the plan was to throw the bomb in the court. However, after much deliberation, it was decided to avoid the court since a lot of civilians might get injured.
  • Thereafter, on April 30, 1908, Bose threw a bomb on a carriage which he suspected was carrying Kingsford.
  • But it turned out that it was carrying the wife and daughter of a barrister named Pringle Kennedy, who lost their lives, as Kingsford escaped.

Arrest and execution

  • By midnight the entire town was aware of the incident and the Calcutta police were summoned to catch the duo.
  • Bose was arrested from a railway station called Waini where he had reached the next morning after having walked 25 miles.
  • Chaki on the other hand, killed himself before he could get arrested.
  • As Bose was brought handcuffed to the police station at Muzaffarpur, the entire town crowded around to take a look at the teenaged boy.
  • On July 13, 1908, he was finally sentenced to death.

History- Important places, persons in news

Person in news: Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Guru Tegh Bahadur

Mains level : Not Much

The Prime Minister has paid tributes to Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji on his Martyrdom Day.

Try this PYQ:

Q. Consider the following Bhakti Saints:

  1. Dadu Dayal
  2. Guru Nanak
  3. Tyagaraja

Who among the above was/were preaching when the Lodi dynasty fell and Babur took over?

(a) 1 and 3

(b) 2 only

(c) 2 and 3

(d) 1 and 2

Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621–1675)

  • Guru Tegh Bahadur was the ninth of ten Gurus of the Sikh religion. He was born at Amritsar in 1621 and was the youngest son of Guru Hargobind.
  • His term as Guru ran from 1665 to 1675. One hundred and fifteen of his hymns are in Guru Granth Sahib.
  • There are several accounts explaining the motive behind the assassination of Guru Tegh Bahadur on Aurangzeb’s orders.
  • He stood up for the rights of Kashmiri Pandits who approached him against religious persecution by Aurangzeb.
  • He was publicly killed in 1675 on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in Delhi for himself refusing Mughal rulers and defying them.
  • Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib and Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib in Delhi mark the places of execution and cremation of his body.

Impact of his martyrdom

  • The execution hardened the resolve of Sikhs against religious oppression and persecution.
  • His martyrdom helped all Sikh Panths consolidate to make the protection of human rights central to its Sikh identity.
  • Inspired by him, his nine-year-old son, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, eventually organized the Sikh group into a distinct, formal, symbol-patterned community came to be known as Khalsa (Martial) identity.

History- Important places, persons in news

Koothambalam of Guruvayur Temple

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Koothambalam

Mains level : Keralan Architecture

The renovated Koothambalam of the Sreekrishna temple, Guruvayur, has been selected for the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Award for cultural heritage conservation.

Try this PYQ:

Q. Building ‘Kalyana Mandapas’ was a notable feature in the temple construction in the kingdom of-
(a) Chalukya
(b) Chandela
(c) Rashtrakuta
(d) Vijayanagara

What is Koothambalam?

  • Koothambalam meaning temple theatre is a closed hall for staging Koothu, Nangiar koothu and Koodiyattam, the ancient ritualistic art forms of Kerala.
  • Koothambalams are said to be constructed according to the guidelines given in chapter 2 of Nātyasāstra of Bharata Muni.
  • The stage within the hall is considered to be as sacred as the temple sanctum.

Its’ construction

  • It is constructed within the cloister of the Temple; more precisely within the pancaprakaras of the temple. The prescribe location is between the prakaras of bahyahara and maryada.
  • In Kerala tradition, it is considered as one among the panchaprasadas of a temple complex.
  • Its dimension varies from temple to temple.
  • A square platform with a separate pyramidal roof supported by pillars in the centre called natyamandapam is constructed as s separate structure within the large hall of Koothampalam.
  • The floor of the hall is divided into two equal halves and one part is for performance (including stage, instruments, green room etc.) and another half for seating audience.

About Guruvayur Temple

  • It is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Hindu lord, Guruvayurappan (a four-armed form of the Lord Vishnu), located in the town of Guruvayur in Kerala.
  • It is one of the most important places of worship for Hindus in Kerala and is often referred to as Bhuloka Vaikunta (Holy Abode of Vishnu on Earth).

History- Important places, persons in news

Places in news: Temple architecture of Hampi

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Vijayanagara architecture

Mains level : Vijayanagara architecture

Tourists can no longer get too close to the iconic stone chariot in front of the Vijaya Vittala Temple due to a protective ring by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Try this question from CSP 2019:

Q.Building ‘Kalyaana Mandapas’ was a notable feature in the temple construction in the kingdom of

(a) Chalukya

(b) Chandela

(c) Rashtrakuta

(d) Vijayanagara

The Vijayanagara Capital: Hampi

  • Hampi or Hampe, also referred to as the Group of Monuments at Hampi, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in east-central Karnataka.
  • Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire in the 14th century.
  • The old city of Hampi was a prosperous, wealthy and grand city near the Tungabhadra River, with numerous temples, farms and trading markets.
  • By 1500 CE, Hampi-Vijayanagara was the world’s second-largest medieval-era city after Beijing, and probably India’s richest at that time, attracting traders from Persia and Portugal.
  • The Vijayanagara Empire was defeated by a coalition of sultanates; its capital was conquered, pillaged and destroyed by sultanate armies in 1565, after which Hampi remained in ruins.

Major attractions

  • The Krishna temple complex, Narasimha, Ganesa, Hemakuta group of temples, Achyutaraya temple complex, Vitthala temple complex, Pattabhirama temple complex, Lotus Mahal complex, can be highlighted.
  • Suburban townships (puras) surrounded the large temple complexes contains subsidiary shrines, bazaars, residential areas and tanks applying the unique hydraulic technologies.
  • The Vitthla temple is the most exquisitely ornate structure on the site and represents the culmination of Vijayanagara temple architecture.
  • It is a fully developed temple with associated buildings like Kalyana Mandapa and Utsava Mandapa within a cloistered enclosure pierced with three entrance Gopurams.
  • In addition to the typical spaces present in contemporary temples, it boasts of a Garuda shrine fashioned as a granite ratha and a grand bazaar street.

History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] Who was Lachit Borphukan?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Lachit Borphukan

Mains level : Not Much

The Prime Minister has paid tribute to Lachit Borphukan on Lachit Diwas.

Try this PYQ:

Q.What was the immediate cause for Ahmad Shah Abdali to invade and fight the Third Battle of Panipat:

(a) He wanted to avenge the expulsion by Marathas of his viceroy Timur Shah from Lahore

(b) The frustrated governor of Jullundhar Adina Beg khan invited him to invade Punjab

(c) He wanted to punish Mughal administration for non-payment of the revenues of the Chahar Mahal (Gujrat Aurangabad, Sialkot and Pasrur)

(d) He wanted to annex all the fertile plains of Punjab upto borders of Delhi to his kingdom

Who was Lachit Borphukan?

  • The year was 1671 and the decisive Battle of Saraighat was fought on the raging waters of the Brahmaputra.
  • On one side was Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb’s army headed by Ram Singh of Amer (Jaipur) and on the other was the Ahom General Lachit Borphukan.
  • He was a commander in the Ahom kingdom, located in present-day Assam.
  • Ram Singh failed to make any advance against the Assamese army during the first phase of the war.
  • Lachit Borphukan emerged victorious in the war and the Mughals were forced to retreat from Guwahati.

Lachit Diwas

  • On 24 November each year, Lachit Divas is celebrated statewide in Assam to commemorate the heroism of Lachit Borphukan.
  • On this day, Borphukan has defeated the Mughal army on the banks of the Brahmaputra in the Battle of Saraighat in 1671.
  • The best passing out cadet of National Defence Academy has conferred the Lachit gold medal every year since 1999 commemorating his valour.

History- Important places, persons in news

[pib]  Person in news: Guru Teg Bahadur

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Guru Teg Bahadur

Mains level : NA

The President of India’s has delivered a special message on the eve of ‘Martyrdom Day’ of Guru Teg Bahadur.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Consider the following Bhakti Saints:

  1. Dadu Dayal
  2. Guru Nanak
  3. Tyagaraja

Who among the above was/were preaching when the Lodi dynasty fell and Babur took over?

(a) 1 and 3

(b) 2 only

(c) 2 and 3

(d) 1 and 2

Guru Teg Bahadur (1621-1675)

  • Guru Teg Bahadur was the ninth of ten Gurus of the Sikh religion.
  • One hundred and fifteen of his hymns are in Guru Granth Sahib.
  • He stood up for the rights of Kashmiri Pandits who approached him against the imposition jizya tax.
  • He was publicly killed in 1675 on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in Delhi for refusing to convert.
  • In the words of Noel King of the University of California, “Guru Teg Bahadur’s martyrdom was the first-ever martyrdom for human rights in the world.
  • He is fondly remembered as ‘Hind di Chaadar’.

History- Important places, persons in news

Punjab Connection of the Irish freedom movement

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Irish mutiny in India

Mains level : Decolonization (World History)

Ireland is commemorating 100 years of the mutiny by a British Army battalion stationed in Jalandhar and Solan in Punjab in support of the Irish freedom movement.

Try this PYQ:

Q.With reference to the Indian freedom struggle, consider the following events:

  1. Mutiny in Royal Indian Navy
  2. Quit India Movement launched
  3. Second Round Table Conference

What is the correct chronological sequence of the above events?

(a) 1-2-3

(b) 2-1-3

(c) 3-2-1

(d) 3-1-2

Irish mutiny in India

  • The Connaught Rangers were raised during the British Army reforms of 1881.
  • A British Army battalion belonging to the Connaught Rangers was the one in which Irish soldiers mutinied in Jalandhar and Solan in Punjab.
  • Solan now lies in Himachal Pradesh but in 1920 it was part of Punjab. The Ist Battalion of the Connaught Rangers was stationed in Jalandhar since January 1920 after it had taken part in the First World War.

Why did the mutiny take place?

  • The troops were protesting against the behaviour of the ‘Black and Tans’ during the Irish War of Independence (1919-22).
  • The Black and Tan were members of the Irish constabulary which had been recruited from Great Britain and mostly comprised demobilized soldiers who had fought in the First World War.
  • The Irish soldiers felt that they must rise in solidarity with their compatriots back in Ireland and hence in June and July 1920 some of the regiment’s men mutinied.
  • Some of the mutinied soldiers were later put through a court-martial.

Who were the Black and Tans?

  • They were constables recruited into the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) as reinforcements during the Irish War of Independence.
  • Recruitment began in Great Britain in January 1920 and about 10,000 men enlisted during the conflict.
  • The vast majority were unemployed former soldiers from Great Britain who fought in the First World War, although some were from Ireland.

History- Important places, persons in news

Who was Maharani Jindan Kaur?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Maharani Jindan Kaur, Anglo-Sikh Wars

Mains level : Not Much

Maharani Jindan Kaur, the last wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, is in news for the auction of some of her jewellery in London.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Consider the following Bhakti Saints:

  1. Dadu Dayal
  2. Guru Nanak
  3. Tyagaraja

Who among the above was/were preaching when the Lodi dynasty fell and Babur took over?

(a) 1 and 3

(b) 2 only

(c) 2 and 3

(d) 1 and 2

Who was Rani Jindan (1817-1863)?

  • She was the youngest wife of Ranjit Singh, founder of the Sikh empire, whose boundaries stretched from Kabul to Kashmir and the borders of Delhi.
  • She was also the mother of Duleep Singh, the last ruler of the empire, who was raised by the British.
  • Duleep Singh was five years old when he was placed on the throne in 1843 after the death of two heirs to Ranjit Singh. Since he was just a child, Maharani Jindan was made the regent.
  • Not a rubber stamp, she took an active interest in running the kingdom, introducing changes in the revenue system.

Anglo-Sikh War and Jindan

  • The British declared war on the Sikh empire in December 1845. After their victory in the first Anglo-Sikh war, they retained Duleep Singh as the ruler but imprisoned Jind Kaur.
  • She escaped and arrived at Kathmandu on April 29, 1849, where she was given asylum by Jung Bahadur, the prime minister.
  • She was given a house on the banks of river Bhagmati. She stayed in Nepal till 1860, where she continued to reach out to rebels in Punjab and Jammu-Kashmir.

History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] Architectural Heritage of Bundi

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Bundi architecture

Mains level : Not Much

A recent episode of the Ministry of Tourism’s Dekho Apna Desh Webinar series has focused on the architectural heritage of Bundi, Rajasthan.

Try this PYQ:

Q.With reference to Dhrupad, one of the major traditions of India that has been kept alive for centuries, which of the following statements are correct?

  1. Dhrupad originated and developed in the Rajput kingdoms during the Mughal period.
  2. Dhrupad is primarily a piece of devotional and spiritual music.
  3. Dhrupad Alap uses Sanskrit syllables from Mantras.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1, 2 and 3

(d) None of the above

About Bundi

  • Bundi erstwhile capital of Hada Rajput province known as Hadauti located in south-eastern Rajasthan is one such place.
  • Bundi is also known as City of step walls, blue city and also as Chotti Kashi.
  • In ancient times, the area around Bundi was apparently inhabited by various local tribes, of which the Parihar Tribes, Meena was prominent.
  • Later the region was governed by Rao Deva, who took over Bundi from Jaita Meena in 1242, renaming the surrounding area as Haravati or Haroti.
  • For the next two centuries, the Hadas of Bundi were the vassals of the Sisodias of Mewar and ruled by the title of Rao until 1569, after Emperor Akbar.

Important architecture

  • The City of Bundi grew outwards Taragarh hill. A small habitat developed at the foothills of the fort itself.
  • The location of the royal palace was on a steep slope overlooking the valley below, providing a view of the vast surrounding hinterland.
  • Garh Mahal became the focus and an imposing landmark on the skyline of Bundi was visible from the valley below. In the next 200 years, the entire cluster was built.
  • The best example of medieval Indian city exhibiting water harvesting methods adopted at settlement level as well as the finest examples of water architecture.
  • Location of Baoris and Kunds outside the walled city was also influenced by social considerations as access to baoris and kunds were located within the walled city was controlled.

Architectural heritage of Bundi can be classified as:

1) Garh (Fort): Taragarh

2) Garh Mahal (Royal Palace)

  • Bhoj Mahal
  • Chattar Mahal
  • Ummed Mahal

3) Baori (Step well)

  • Khoj Darwaja ki Baori
  • Bhawaldi Baori

4) Kund (Stepped tank)

  • Dhabhai ji ka Kund
  • Nagar Kund & Sagar Kund
  • Rani Kund

5) Sagar mahal (Lake Palace)

  • Moti Mahal
  • Sukh Mahal
  • Shikar Burj

History- Important places, persons in news

‘Pagri Sambhal Jatta’ Movement

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ajit Singh , Pagri Sambhal Movement

Mains level : Peasants movements in colonial India

Sardar Ajit Singh Sandhu,  the brain behind the ‘Pagri Sambhal Jatta’ movement is now being remembered in the ongoing agrarian resentments in Punjab.

Try this PYQ:

Q.What was the immediate cause for the launch of the Swadeshi movement?

(a) The partition of Bengal done by Lord Curzon.

(b) A sentence of 18 months rigorous imprisonment imposed on Lokmanya Tilak.

(c) The arrest and deportation of Lala Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh; and passing of the Punjab Colonization Bill.

(d) Death sentence pronounced on the Chapekar brothers.

‘Pagri Sambhal Jatta’ Movement

  • In 1879, the British constructed the Upper Bari Doab canal to draw water from the Chenab river and take it to Lyallpur (now in Pakistan and renamed Faisalabad) to set up settlements in uninhabited areas.
  • Promising to allot free land with several amenities, the government persuaded peasants and ex-servicemen from Jalandhar, Amritsar and Hoshiarpur to settle there.
  • In 1907, in Lyallpur, Ajit Singh Sandhu also Bhagat Singh’s uncle headed the movement that articulated this discontent.
  • The catchy slogan, Pagdi Sambhal Jatta, the name of the movement, was inspired by the song by Banke Lal, the editor of the Jang Sayal newspaper.
  • The agitated protestors ransacked government buildings, post offices, banks, overturning telephone poles and pulling down telephone wires.

Who was Ajit Singh?

  • He was a revolutionary and a nationalist during the time of British rule in India.
  • With compatriots, he organised agitation by Punjabi peasants against anti-farmer laws known as the Punjab Colonization Act (Amendment) 1906 and administrative orders increasing water rate charges.
  • He was an early protester in the Punjab region of India who challenged British rule and openly criticized the Indian colonial government.
  • In May 1907, with Lala Lajpat Rai, he was exiled to Mandalay in Burma.
  • Due to great public pressure and apprehension of unrest in the Indian Army, the bills of exile were withdrawn and both men were released in November 1907.

History- Important places, persons in news

Personality in news: Shyamji Krishna Varma

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Various social reformers

Mains level : NA

PM has paid rich tributes to revolutionary freedom fighter Shyamji Krishna Varma on his birth anniversary.

Try this PYQ:

Q. The Ghadr (Ghadar) was a –

(a) Revolutionary association of Indians with headquarters at San Francisco.

(b) Nationalist organization operating from Singapore

(c) Militant organization with headquarters at Berlin

(d) Communist movement for India’s freedom with head-quarters at Tashkent

About Shyamji Krishna Varma

  • SK Varma (1857–1930) was an Indian revolutionary fighter, a patriot, lawyer and journalist who founded the Indian Home Rule Society, India House and The Indian Sociologist in London.
  • He was a noted scholar in Sanskrit and other Indian languages.
  • He pursued a brief legal career in India and served as the Divan of a number of Indian princely states in India.
  • He had, however, differences with Crown authority, was dismissed following a supposed conspiracy of local British officials at Junagadh and chose to return to England.
  • An admirer of Dayanand Saraswati’s approach of cultural nationalism, and of Herbert Spencer, Krishna Varma believed in Spencer’s dictum: “Resistance to aggression is not simply justified, but imperative”.

History- Important places, persons in news

Who was Kanaklata Barua ?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kanaklata Barua

Mains level : Role of women in Indian National Movement

A Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) named ICGS Kanaklata Barua was commissioned in the Indian Coast Guard on Wednesday, in Kolkata. It is named after a teenage freedom fighter who was shot dead in Assam during the Quit India Movement.

Who was Kanaklata Barua ?

  • One of the youngest martyrs of the Quit India Movement, Kanaklata Barua has iconic status in Assam. Barua.
  • Then 17, led the Mukti Bahini, a procession of freedom fighters to unfurl the Tricolour at Gohpur police station on September 20, 1942. When police did not let them move forward, an altercation led to firing, killing Barua at the head of the procession.
  • She had joined the Mrityu Bahini [a kind of a suicide squad] just two days before the incident. The squad strictly admitted members aged 18 and above but Kanaklata was an exception. She wanted to lead the procession and after much persuasion she was allowed to.
  •  Even as Barua fell to bullets, she did not let go of the flag. She did not want it to touch the ground. Another woman volunteer behind her — Mukunda Kakoty — came and held the flag, and she, too, was shot.

    How important is her legacy ?

  •  1940’s was a time where you saw a lot of women coming to the fore, leading processions, patriotic fervour was at its peak — and Kanaklata was a product of this time.
  • There are schools named after her, there are two statues, there is a ship. While we see her as an icon now, people in her village hated her then — she was a rebel, who questioned patriarchy.

History- Important places, persons in news

Eden Gardens: India’s oldest cricketing ground

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Eden Gardens

Mains level : NA

This newscard is an excerpt from the original article published in TH.

UPSC may ask a question like this:

Q. In which Governor-General/Viceroy’s term was the famous cricketing ground ‘Eden Gardens’ was built?

Eden Gardens

  • The first cricket club outside Britain was the Calcutta Cricket Club founded in 1792, and the first match was played 12 years later between the Etonians, senior civil servants and other company officials.
  • In 1825 the club got a plot of land on the ground between Government House and Fort William to be used as a cricket ground.
  • In 1841, the club was permitted to enclose the ground with a fence. But the Army at Fort William described the club as an “encroacher”.
  • Cricket Club of Calcutta authorities then looked for an alternative ground and at ₹1,000, found a new one, fenced it and made it playable.
  • In 1864, the land was laid out for a ground for Calcutta Cricket Club in the extended part of Eden Gardens.

Deriving its name

  • Eden Gardens made its first appearance during the time of Governor-General Lord Auckland (1836-42).
  • According to the achieves, a local landlord gifted this land to Lord Auckland and his sisters Emily Eden and Fanny Eden helped him save his third daughter from a deadly disease.

History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] Who was Pritilata Waddedar?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Pritilata Waddedar

Mains level : Not Much

The government of Bangladesh is financing a film on the life of revolutionary freedom fighter Pritilata Waddedar.

Try this PYQ:

Q.The Ghadr (Ghadar) was a –

(a) Revolutionary association of Indians with headquarters at San Francisco.

(b) Nationalist organization operating from Singapore

(c) Militant organization with headquarters at Berlin

(d) Communist movement for Pritilata Waddedar

Pritilata Waddedar (1911-1932)

  • She was a Bengali revolutionary nationalist from the Indian subcontinent who was influential in the Indian independence movement.
  • After completing her education in Chittagong and Dhaka, she attended Bethune College in Kolkata.
  • She graduated in philosophy with distinction and became a school teacher.
  • Pritilata joined a revolutionary group headed by Surya Sen. She is known for leading fifteen revolutionaries in the 1932 armed attack on the Pahartali European Club, during which one person was killed and eleven injured.
  • The revolutionaries torched the club and were later caught by the British police. To avoid arrest, Pritilata consumed cyanide and died.

History- Important places, persons in news

Who was Subramania Bharatiyar?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Subramania Bharati and his works

Mains level : Not Much

This newscard is an excerpt from an article originally published in TH.

Try this question from CSP 2016:

Q.A recent movie titled The Man Who Knew Infinity is based on the biography of-

(a) S. Ramanujan
(b) S. Chandrasekhar
(c) S. N. Bose
(d) C. V. Raman

Subramania Bharati

  • Bharati was a Tamil writer, poet, journalist, Indian independence activist, social reformer and polyglot.
  • Popularly known as “Mahakavi Bharathi”, he was a pioneer of modern Tamil poetry and is considered one of the greatest Tamil literary figures of all time.
  • His numerous works included fiery songs kindling patriotism during the Indian Independence movement.

Literary works

  • As a working journalist, Bharati necessarily employed prose to communicate, and his writings in Swadesamitran and India made an important contribution to Tamil political vocabulary.
  • He wrote stories, commentaries, and was also the pioneer of column writing in Tamil.
  • Active participation in the day-to-day politics of the nationalist movement notwithstanding, Bharati never lost sight of the future, the dream of how a free India should look like.
  • Aspects of this dream form part of his fantasy story, Gnanaratham (The Chariot of Wisdom), written when he was still in his late 20s.

History- Important places, persons in news

Dictionary of Martyrs of India’s Freedom Struggle (1857-1947)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : “Dictionary of Martyrs” Project

Mains level : India's freedom struggle

Four martyrs of Communist movement of Kerala will be added to the ‘Dictionary of Martyrs India’s Freedom Struggle (1857-1947)’, if an earlier review report to the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) is accepted.

Communist revolutionaries of Kerala

  • The four who may make it to the list include Aboobacker and Chirukandan of Kayyur, “who walked to the gallows shouting Inquilab Zindabad and Communist Party Zindabad” and “died as brave communists,” as mentioned in the fifth volume of the dictionary.
  • Abu of Mambram, a Communist and active partner in the nationalist and anti-imperialist movements, and Chattukutty, an active Communist cadre involved in the agitations for price control, wage hike, and relief to peasants, who were killed in the Tellichery police firing on September 15, 1940, would also qualify.
  • The report had suggested the deletion of the martyrs of Punnapra-Vayalar, Karivelloor, and Kavumbayi agitations as they were rioters against the interim government headed by Jawaharlal Nehru.

Back2Basics: “Dictionary of Martyrs” Project

  • The project for the compilation of “Dictionary of Martyrs” of India’s Freedom Struggle was commissioned by the Ministry of Culture, to the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the uprising of 1857.
  • In this dictionary, a martyr has been defined as a person who died or who was killed in action or in detention, or was awarded capital punishment while participating in the national movement for the emancipation of India.
  • It includes ex-INA or ex-military personnel who died fighting the British.
  • Information of about 13,500 martyrs has been recorded in these volumes.

Who are included?

  • It includes the martyrs of 1857 Uprising, Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (1919), Non-Cooperation Movement (1920-22), Civil Disobedience Movement (1930-34), Quit India Movement (1942-44), Revolutionary Movements (1915-34), Kissan Movements, Tribal Movements, Agitation for Responsible Government in the Princely States (Prajamandal), Indian National Army (INA, 1943-45), Royal Indian Navy Upsurge (RIN, 1946), etc.

Five Volumes

  • Volume 1: In this volume, more than 4400 martyrs of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have been listed.
  • Volume 2: In this volume, more than 3500 martyrs of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir have been listed.
  • Volume 3: The number of martyrs covered in this volume is more than 1400. This volume covers the martyrs of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Sind.
  • Volume 4: The numbers of martyrs covered in this volume is more than 3300. This volume covers the martyrs of Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura.
  • Volume 5: The number of martyrs covered in this volume is more than 1450. This volume covers the martyrs of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

History- Important places, persons in news

US Presidents who have won Nobel Peace Prize

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Persons mentioned in the news, Nobel Prize

Mains level : Not Much

A Norwegian legislator has nominated US President Donald Trump for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts towards furthering peace in the Middle East.

Take a look at the Presidents and Vice-Presidents who have won the Nobel Peace Prize:

These trivial facts are too unlikely to be asked in the CS prelims, but may hold importance for CAPF and other exams.

 (1) Theodore Roosevelt (1906)

  • Roosevelt, the 26th occupant of the White House (1901-09), was not only the first American president but also the world’s first statesman to win the honour, five years after the Peace Prize was instituted in 1901.
  • He was given the prize for negotiating peace between imperial Russia and Japan after the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05.
  • He was also praised for his efforts in resolving a dispute between the US and Mexico through arbitration, and for extending the use of arbitration as a means for settling international disputes.
  • At home, Roosevelt launched radical social and economic reform policies and earned a reputation as a “trust buster” for breaking up monopolies.

(2) Woodrow Wilson (1919)

  • Wilson (1913-21) was given the award for his efforts in ending World War I, and for being the key architect of the League of Nations– born out of his famous ‘Fourteen Points’.
  • Although the League faltered in a few years, it served as a blueprint for the United Nations after World War II.
  • At home, Wilson saw the reduction of import duties, started America’s central bank and a national business oversight body, and strengthened anti-monopoly and labour laws.
  • In his second term, the US passed its 19th constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote.

(3) Jimmy Carter (2002)

  • The 39th President was awarded the Peace Prize “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development”.
  • During his presidency (1977-81), Carter earned praise for his role in bringing about a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt.
  • His later years were more fraught, including foreign policy failures such as the conflict with Iran and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, culminating in him losing re-election to the conservative Ronald Reagan in 1980.
  • Post his presidency, Carter pursued peace and mediation efforts independently and co-founded the Carter Center, a non-profit that chiefly works to advance human rights.

(4) Barack Obama (2009)

  • The country’s 44th President (2009-2017) was given the Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”.
  • Cited among Obama’s achievements were his promotion of nuclear non-proliferation, and bringing a “new climate” in international relations.
  • Obama donated the full prize money – 10 million Swedish kronor (around $1.4 million) – to charity.

(5) Al Gore (1993-2001)

  • Apart from the four Presidents, one Vice President– Al Gore (1993-2001) – has been given the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • He shared the honour in 2007 with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for their joint efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change.

History- Important places, persons in news

Centenary of Aligarh Muslim University

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : AMU, Sir Saiyad Ahmad Khan

Mains level : Not Much

In its centenary year, Aligarh Muslim University is planning to bury a time capsule, containing its history and achievements for posterity.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Consider the following:

  1. Calcutta Unitarian Committee
  2. Tabernacle of New Dispensation
  3. Indian Reforms Association

Keshab Chandra Sen is associated with the establishment of which of the above?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Aligarh Muslim University

  • AMU is a public central university in Aligarh, India, which was originally established by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan as the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College in 1875.
  • Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College became Aligarh Muslim University in 1920, following the Aligarh Muslim University Act.
  • It has three off-campus centres in Malappuram (Kerala), AMU Murshidabad centre (West Bengal), and Kishanganj Centre (Bihar).

Its establishment

  • The university was established as the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental (MAO) College in 1875 by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, starting functioning on 24 May 1875.
  • The movement associated with Syed Ahmad Khan and the college came to be known as the Aligarh Movement, which pushed to realize the need for establishing a modern education system for the Indian Muslim populace.
  • He considered competence in English and Western sciences necessary skills for maintaining Muslims’ political influence.
  • Khan’s vision for the college was based on his visit to Oxford University and Cambridge University, and he wanted to establish an education system similar to the British model.

About Syed Ahmad Khan

  • He was an Islamic pragmatist, reformer, and philosopher of nineteenth-century British India.
  • Born into a family with strong debts to the Mughal court, Ahmed studied the Quran and Sciences within the court.
  • He was awarded an honorary LLD from the University of Edinburgh in 1889.
  • In 1838, Syed Ahmed entered the service of East India Company and went on to become a judge at a Small Causes Court in 1867, retiring from 1876.
  • During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, he remained loyal to the British Raj and was noted for his actions in saving European lives.
  • In 1878, he was nominated to the Viceroy’s Legislative Council.
  • He supported the efforts of Indian political leaders Surendranath Banerjee and Dadabhai Naoroji to obtain representation for Indians in the government and civil services.

History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] Heritage of Punjab

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Heritage of Punjab

Mains level : Not Much

The Ministry of Tourism’s DekhoApnaDesh Webinar series titled “Punjab- A historic perspective” has recently gone live.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Rivers that passes through Himachal Pradesh are: (CSP 2012)

(a) Beas and Chenab only

(b) Beas and Ravi only

(c) Chenab, Ravi, and Satluj only

(d) Beas, Chenab, Ravi, Satluj, and Yamuna

Heritage of Punjab

  • Punjab means ‘the land of Five Waters’ referring to the rivers Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej, and Beas.
  • Much of the Frontier was occupied by Maharaja Ranjit Singh also known as Sher-e-Punjab in the early 19th century and then taken over by the East India Company when it annexed Punjab in 1849.
  • The state is divided into three parts- Majha, Doaba and Malwa.
  • It’s many festivals–Teej, Lohri, Basant Panchami, Baisakhi and Hola Mahalla to name some are celebrations that mirror the farming ethos.
  • Historically, Punjab has played host to a number of ethnicities, including the Aryans, Persians, Greeks, Afghans and Mongols, thus bestowed with a rich tangible heritage.
  • The southeastern city of Punjab, Patiala was once a princely state established under Baba Ala Singh, a Jat Sikh chieftain. He laid the foundation of the fort and now, is located in the region around Qila Mubarak or the Fortunate Castle.
  • Important tourist attractions are Kali Temple, Baradari Garden, Sheesh Mahal, Gurudwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib, Qila Mubarak complex etc.

Holy shrines

  • The most sacred of Sikh shrines, the Golden Temple, is a major pilgrimage destination for devotees from around the world, as well as, an ever-increasing popular tourist attraction.
  • Construction of the Amrit Sarovar (pool of nectar) was initiated by Guru Amar Das, the third Guru, in 1570 and was completed by Guru Ram Das, the fourth Guru.
  • His successor, Guru Arjan Dev began work on the building after inviting Mian Mir, the Sufi saint, to lay its foundation stone in 1588.
  • Three years later, the Harimandar Sahib, or Darbar Sahib got completed.
  • In step with Sikhism’s basic tenet of universal brotherhood and all-inclusive ethos, the Golden Temple can be accessed from all directions.

Legend of Banda Bahadur

  • The city of Fatehgarh Sahib is of special significance to Sikhs. The word “Fatehgarh”, means “Town of Victory”.
  • It is so-called because, in 1710, Sikhs under the leadership of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur conquered the area and destroyed the Mughal fort.
  • Banda Bahadur announced the establishment of the Sikh rule in the city and an end to the tyranny of the Mughal rule which had spread terror and injustice.

History- Important places, persons in news

In news: Malabar Rebellion

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Malabar Rebellion

Mains level : Not Much

A report submitted to the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) in 2016 has termed the Malabar Rebellion leaders as ‘rioters’.

Try this question from CSP 2015:

Q. Which amongst the following provided a common factor for a tribal insurrection in India in the 19th century?

(a) Introduction of a new system of land revenue and taxation- of tribal products

(b) Influence of foreign religious missionaries in tribal areas

(c) Rise of a large number of money lenders, traders and revenue farmers as middlemen in tribal areas

(d) The complete disruption of the old agrarian order of the tribal communities

What is the Malabar Rebellion?

  • The Malabar Rebellion in 1921 started as resistance against the British colonial rule and the feudal system in southern Malabar but ended in communal violence between Hindus and Muslims.
  • There were a series of clashes between Mappila peasantry and their landlords, supported by the British, throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • It began as a reaction against a heavy-handed crackdown on the Khilafat Movement, a campaign in defence of the Ottoman Caliphate by the British authorities in the Eranad and Valluvanad taluks of Malabar.
  • The Mappilas attacked and took control of police stations, British government offices, courts and government treasuries.

Why is it contentious?

  • It largely took the shape of guerrilla-type attacks on janmis (feudal landlords, who were mostly upper-caste Hindus) and the police and troops.
  • Mappilas had been among the victims of oppressive agrarian relations protected by the British.
  • But the political mobilization in the region in the aftermath of the Khilafat agitation and Gandhi’s non-cooperation struggle served as an opportunity for an extremist section to invoke a religious idiom to express their suffering.
  • There were excesses on both sides — rebels and government troops. Incidents of murder, looting and forced conversion led many to discredit the uprising as a manifestation of religious bigotry.
  • Moderate Khilafat leaders lamented that the rebellion had alienated the Hindu sympathy.

History- Important places, persons in news

Person in news: Noor Inayat Khan

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Noor Inayat Khan

Mains level : Not Much

World War II spy Noor Inayat Khan is now the first woman of Indian origin to be commemorated by the distinct blue London plaque.

Try this PYQ:

Q.A recent movie titled “The Man Who Knew Infinity” is based on the biography of-

(a) S. Ramanujan
(b) S. Chandrasekhar
(c) S. N. Bose
(d) C. V. Raman

Noor Inayat Khan

  • A descendant of Tipu Sultan, Noor Inayat Khan became a secret agent during the Second World War.
  • She was the first woman radio operator to be infiltrated into occupied France in 1943 and worked under the code name ‘Madeleine’.
  • Renowned for her service in the Special Operations Executive, an independent British secret service set up by Winston Churchill in 1940.
  • Noor was Britain’s first Indian Muslim war heroine in Europe and the first female radio operator sent into Nazi-occupied France.
  • She was killed at the Dachau concentration camp in 1944 and was posthumously awarded the George Cross in 1949.

What are Blue Plaques?

  • The idea of placing commemorative plaques on historically significant buildings was first mooted in 1863.
  • The idea was to honour important people and organisations that have lived or worked in London buildings.
  • Currently, the blue plaque scheme is being run by the charity organisation, English Heritage that takes care of historic sites and buildings in England.
  • While Khan is the first woman of Indian origin to be honoured with a blue plaque, it has been erected on houses and venues associated with several Indian men including Mahatma Gandhi, Raja Ram Mohun Roy, B R Ambedkar, Sardar Patel and Swami Vivekananda among others.

History- Important places, persons in news

Who was Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Dr Kotnis and his legacy

Mains level : NA

A bronze statue of Indian doctor Dwarkanath Kotnis is set to be unveiled in China.

Try this PYQ:

Q.A recent movie titled The Man Who Knew Infinity is based on the biography of

(a) S. Ramanujan
(b) S. Chandrasekhar
(c) S. N. Bose
(d) C. V. Raman

Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis

  • He is revered in China for his contributions during the Chinese revolution headed by its founder Mao Zedong and World War II.
  • He hailed from Sholapur in Maharashtra came to China in 1938 as part of a five-member team of doctors sent by the Indian National Congress to help the Chinese during World War II.
  • He joined the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1942 and died the same year at the age of 32.
  • Kotnis’ medical assistance during the difficult days of the Chinese revolution was praised by Chinese leader Mao Zedong.
  • His statues and memorials were also set in some of the Chinese cities in recognition of his services.

A revered personality in China

  • Late Chinese leader Mao Zedong was deeply affected by his death.
  • Mao wrote in his eulogy that “the army has lost a helping hand; the nation has lost a friend. Let us always bear in mind his internationalist spirit”.
  • Kotnis is remembered not only as a symbol inspiring medical students to work hard, but also an eternal bond between the people of China and India.

History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] Cultural heritage of Hyderabad

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Various cultural sites in Hyderabad

Mains level : Cultural site in Hyderabad

Ministry of Tourism’s DekhoApnaDesh Webinar Series in its 50th session held a webinar on “Cultural heritage of Hyderabad”.

Note various cultural sites mentioned in the newscard. The entire DekhoApnaDesh series is a potential hotspot for the coming Prelims.

The story of Hyderabad City

  • Hyderabad is popularly known as the “City of Pearls” and the “City of Nizams”, and has been the centre of a vibrant historical legacy, ever since its inception by the Qutub Shahi dynasty.
  • The city was later conquered by Mughal Empire and finally falling in the hands of Asaf Jahi dynasty.
  • Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah established Hyderabad in 1591 to extend the capital beyond the fortified Golconda. In 1687, the city was annexed by the Mughals.
  • In 1724, Mughal governor Nizam Asaf Jah I declared his sovereignty and founded the Asaf Jahi dynasty, also known as the Nizams.
  • Hyderabad served as the imperial capital of the Asaf Jahis from 1769 to 1948.
  • As capital of the princely state of Hyderabad, the city housed the British Residency and cantonment until Indian independence in 1947.

Cultural sites of Hyderabad:

1) Golconda Fort, Hyderabad: A massive fortress whose ruins stand proudly even today displaying the glory of its rich past and some untold sagas of the city’s history. The place oozing charm is a must visit historical place in Hyderabad. Mohammed Quli understood the need of a new City and made Bhagnagar (after the name of his beloved Bhagmati) with Charminar in its centre.

2) Chowmahalla Palace: Once the seat of the Asaf Jahi Dynasty, the Chowmahalla Palace was built in Hyderabad and is located near the famous monument, Charminar and Laad Bazar. The palace is designed very intricately and holds that Nawabi Charm in itself. Palace, the seat of power of Nizams, has bagged the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Merit Award for Culture Heritage Conservation.

3) Charminar: The monument was erected when Quli Qutab Shah shifted his capital from Golconda to Hyderabad. The monument got its name from its structure as it consists of four minarets.

4) Mecca Masjid: One of the oldest and the largest mosques of India is the grandest historical places in Hyderabad was completed by Aurangzeb in 1693.The bricks used here are believed to be from Mecca, and hence the name.

5) Paigah tombs: Located in the suburbs of Pisal Banda in Hyderabad, Paigah Tombs are a group of tombs of the Paigah royal family. Although now in a derelict and dilapidated state, the tombs still boast of striking architecture and marvellously carved marble panels.

6) Salar Jung Museum: Is an art museum established in the year 1951 and located at Dar-ul-Shifa, on the southern bank of the Musi River in the city of Hyderabad. The Salar Jung family is responsible for its collection of rare art objects from all over the world. The family is one of the most illustrious families in Deccan history, five of them having been prime-ministers in the erstwhile Nizam rule of Hyderabad-Deccan.

7) Warangal Fort: This fort appears to have existed since at least the 12th century when it was the capital of the Kakatiya dynasty. The fort has four ornamental gates, known as Kakatiya Kala Thoranam, that originally formed the entrances to a now ruined great Shiva temple.

History- Important places, persons in news

Story of our National Flag

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : National flag

Mains level : NA

The final design of the Indian National Flag, hoisted by PM Nehru on August 16, 1947, at Red Fort, had a history of several decades preceding independence.

Note various personalities involved in the development of our National flag. It may be no wonder to accept a personality-based question on such topics.

Story of our National Flag: A timeline

(1) Public display for first time

  • Arguably the first national flag of India is said to have been hoisted on August 7, 1906, in Kolkata at the Parsee Bagan Square (Green Park).
  • It comprised three horizontal stripes of red, yellow and green, with Vande Mataram written in the middle.
  • Believed to have been designed by freedom activists Sachindra Prasad Bose and Hemchandra Kanungo, the red stripe on the flag had symbols of the sun and a crescent moon, and the green strip had eight half-open lotuses.

(2) In Germany

  • In 1907, Madame Cama and her group of exiled revolutionaries hoisted an Indian flag in Germany in 1907 — this was the first Indian flag to be hoisted in a foreign land.

(3) During the Home Rule Movement

  • In 1917, Dr Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak adopted a new flag as part of the Home Rule Movement.
  • It had five alternate red and four green horizontal stripes, and seven stars in the saptarishi configuration.
  • A white crescent and star occupied one top corner, and the other had Union Jack.

(4) Final version by Pingali Venkayya

  • The design of the present-day Indian tricolour is largely attributed to Pingali Venkayya, an Indian freedom fighter.
  • He reportedly first met Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa during the second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), when he was posted there as part of the British Indian Army.
  • Years of research went into designing the national flag. In 1916, he even published a book with possible designs of Indian flags.
  • At the All India Congress Committee in Bezwada in 1921, Venkayya again met Gandhi and proposed a basic design of the flag, consisting of two red and green bands to symbolise the two major communities, Hindus and Muslims.

(5) During Constituent Assembly

  • On July 22, 1947, when members of the Constituent Assembly of India, the first item on the agenda was reportedly a motion by Pandit Nehru, about adopting a national flag for free India.
  • It was proposed that “the National Flag of India shall be horizontal tricolour of deep saffron (Kesari), white and dark green in equal proportion.”
  • The white band was to have a wheel in navy blue (the charkha being replaced by the chakra), which appears on the abacus of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka.

History- Important places, persons in news

How Quit India movement gave a new direction to India’s freedom struggle?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Quit India Movement

Mains level : India's freedom struggle

On August 8, 78 years ago, Mahatma Gandhi gave the call for British colonizers to “Quit India” and for the Indians to “do or die” to make this happen.

Try this PYQ:

Q.With reference to the Indian freedom struggle, consider the following events:

  1. Mutiny in Royal Indian Navy
  2. Quit India Movement launched
  3. Second Round Table Conference

What is the correct chronological sequence of the above events?(CSP 2017)

(a) 1-2-3

(b) 2-1-3

(c) 3-2-1

(d) 3-1-2

What led to the events of August 1942?

  • While factors leading to such a movement had been building up, matters came to a head with the failure of the Cripps Mission.
  • World War II was raging, and a beleaguered British needed the cooperation of their colonial subjects in India.
  • To this end, in March 1942, a mission led by Sir Stafford Cripps arrived in India to meet leaders of the Congress and the Muslim League.
  • The idea was to secure India’s whole-hearted support in the war, in return for self-governance.
  • However, despite the promise of “the earliest possible realization of self-government in India”, the offer Cripps made was of dominion status, and not freedom.

A final blow

  • The failures of the Cripps Mission made Mahatma Gandhi realize that freedom would be had only by fighting tooth and nail for it.
  • Though initially reluctant to launch a movement that could hamper Britain’s efforts to defeat Fascist forces in the World War, Congress eventually decided to launch a mass civil disobedience.
  • At the Working Committee meeting in Wardha in July 1942, it was decided the time had come for the movement to move into an active phase.

The Gowalia Tank address and Gandhiji’s arrest

  • On August 8, Gandhiji addressed the people from Mumbai’s Gowalia Tank maidan with the ‘Do or Die’ mantra.
  • By August 9, Gandhi and all other senior Congress leaders had been jailed.
  • He was kept at the Aga Khan Palace in Pune, and later in the Yerawada jail.
  • It was during this time that Kasturba Gandhi died at the Aga Khan Palace.

The slogan ‘Quit India’

  • While Gandhi gave the clarion call of Quit India, the slogan was coined by Yusuf Meherally, a socialist and trade unionist who also served as Mayor of Mumbai.
  • A few years ago, in 1928, it was Meherally who had coined the slogan “Simon Go Back”.

Outcome: A people’s movement

  • The arrest of the leaders, however, failed to deter the masses. With no one to give directions, people took the movement into their own hands.
  • In Bombay, Poona and Ahmedabad, lakhs of people clashed with the police on August 9. On August 10, protests erupted in Delhi, UP and Bihar.
  • There were strikes, demonstrations and people’s marches in defiance of prohibitory orders in Kanpur, Patna, Varanasi, and Allahabad.
  • The protests spread rapidly into smaller towns and villages.
  • Till mid-September, police stations, courts, post offices and other symbols of government authority were attacked.
  • Railway tracks were blocked, students went on strike in schools and colleges across India, and distributed illegal nationalist literature.
  • Mill and factory workers in Bombay, Ahmedabad, Poona, Ahmednagar, and Jamshedpur stayed away for weeks.
  • In some places, the protests were violent, with bridges blown up, telegraph wires cut, and railway lines taken apart.

Outcome

  • The Quit India movement was violently suppressed by the British – people were shot, lathi-charged, villages burnt and enormous fines imposed.
  • In the five months up to December 1942, an estimated 60,000 people had been thrown in jail.

Significance

  • Soon after, Gandhi and almost the entire top Congress leadership was arrested and thus began a truly people-led movement in our freedom struggle.
  • Eventually dispersed violently by the British, it left behind a clear message that the British would have to leave India, and no other solution would be acceptable to its masses.

History- Important places, persons in news

Nagara Architecture of Ayodhya’s Ram Temple

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Features of the Nagara Temple Architecture

Mains level : Temple Architecture of India

The grand temple at Rama Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya will follow the Nagara style of temple architecture.

Note the various features of the Nagara and Vesara style of temple architecture from your basic references.

What is Nagara style of temple architecture?

The basic form of a Hindu temple contains the following architectural elements:

  1. Garbhagriha – the small room where the principal deity/deities of the temple reside
  2. Mandapa – the portico or hall at the entrance of the temple generally designed to house a large number of people
  3. Shikhara – the mountain like spire which can have different shapes from pyramidal to curvilinear
  4. Vahana – the mount of the main deity placed generally in line of sight from Garbhagriha
  • In this style, the temple is generally constructed on an upraised platform called Jagati.
  • Mandapas are present in front of the These are adorned with the Shikhara, the tallest one being above the Garbhagriha.
  • The shikhara over the mandapas in the pictures of the Ayodhya Ram temple can be seen having a square base, and a rectilinear outline.
  • This is called the phamsana-style shikhara. Note that the mandapa shikhara right at the entrance has an octagonal base.

Similar to Khajuraho Temple

  • There are different types of Shikhara found in Indian temples.
  • A comparison with Khajuraho Vishwanath temple, also built in Nagara style, shows the similarity between the two.
  • Note that the main shikhara of the two are remarkably similar.
  • They rise upward in a curved pyramidal fashion, ending in a horizontal fluted disc called an Amalaka topped with a Kalasha. This is called the Latina-style shikhara.

Note: This newscard is an excerpt from an original article published in Swarajya Magazine.


Back2Basics: The Ramjanmabhoomi Case

History- Important places, persons in news

William Jones and his linguistic studies

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Asiatic Society William Jones

Mains level : Linguistic study of ancient India

This newscard is an excerpt from the original article published in the Indian Express.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2016:

Q.Who of the following had first deciphered the edicts of Emperor Ashoka?

(a) Georg Buhier

(b) James Prinsep

(c) Max Muller

(d) William Jones

William Jones

  • William Jones was appointed as a judge on the Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort William in Bengal,
  • In the next couple of years, Jones established himself as an authority on ancient Indian language and culture, a field of study that was hitherto untouched.
  • He is particularly known for his proposition of the existence of a relationship among European and Indo-Aryan languages, which he coined as Indo-European.
  • He is also credited for establishing the Asiatic Society of Bengal in the year 1784.

His linguistic studies

  • Jones’ was the first to suggest that Sanskrit, Greek and Latin languages had a common root and that indeed they may all be further related, in turn, to Gothic and the Celtic languages, as well as to Persian.
  • He also suggested that Sanskrit ‘was introduced to India by conquerors from other kingdoms in some very remote age’ displacing ‘the pure Hindi’ of north India
  • His claim rested on the evidence of several Sanskrit words that had similarities with Greek and Latin.

Some examples of his propositions

  • As he studied the languages further, it became clearer that apart from Greek and Latin, Sanskrit words could be found in most other European languages.
  • For instance, the Sanskrit word for ‘three’, that is ‘trayas’, is similar to the Latin ‘tres’ and the Greek ‘treis’. Similarly, the Sanskrit for ‘snake’, is ‘sarpa’, which shares a phonetic link with ‘serpens’ in Latin.
  • For instance, ‘mata’ or mother in Sanskrit, is ‘mutter’ in German. ‘Dan’ or ‘to give’ in Sanskrit is ‘donor’ in Spanish.

History- Important places, persons in news

What is Black Rain?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Black Rain

Mains level : Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombings by US

Ahead of the 75th anniversary of Hiroshima, a Japanese court has recognised 84 survivors of the post-nuclear explosion “black rain” as the atomic bomb survivors. This would enable them to avail free medical benefits.

Try this question from CSP 2011:

Q.Acid rain is caused by the pollution of the environment by:

(a) Carbon dioxide and nitrogen

(b) Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide

(c) Ozone and carbon dioxide

(d) Nitrous oxide and Sulphur dioxide

What is Black Rain?

  • An estimated 69 per cent of the buildings in Hiroshima were destroyed by the atomic bomb.
  • The debris and soot from this, mixed with the radioactive fallout from the bomb, raised high into the atmosphere in the form of a mushroom cloud.
  • This material combined with the vapour in the atmosphere and came down as dark drops of liquid that have been called black rain.
  • Survivors of the black rain described it as consisting of large, greasy drops that are much heavier than normal raindrops.
  • It is full of highly radioactive material, and studies have shown that exposure to it can result in serious illnesses.

What was its effect?

  • A study conducted in the year 1945 itself showed that black rain had come down as far as 29 km away from ground zero.
  • The rain contaminated everything it came in contact with, and dead fish were reported floating in water bodies and severely ill cattle were seen lying in the fields.
  • It has caused acute radiation symptoms (ARS) in many who were exposed to it, with reports of people suffering from nausea and diarrhoea for weeks.
  • Other ARS include fever, sore throat and loss of hair. Over time, many people who were exposed to black rain have developed cancer.

History- Important places, persons in news

What is the Gandhi-King Initiative?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi in India's freedom struggle

Mains level : World History: American Civil Rights Movement

A Bill to promote Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr’s legacies has been passed in American Senate.

Practice question for mains:

Q. Discuss how the civil rights movement in America is paralleled by India’s freedom struggle under Mahatma Gandhi.

Gandhi-King Initiative

  • The initiative is an exchange program between India and the U.S. to study the work and legacies of Gandhiji and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
  • It will establish annual scholar and student exchange programs for Indians and Americans to study the leaders’ legacies and visit historic sites in India and the U.S.
  • The visits will be relevant to India’s freedom struggle and the U.S.’s civil rights movement.

Gandhi-King Global Academy

  • The bill also seeks to establish the Gandhi-King Global Academy, a conflict resolution initiative based on the principles of nonviolence.
  • It proposes the establishment of the United States-India Gandhi-King Development Foundation set up by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the GoI, organized under Indian law.
  • The Foundation, which has a proposed budget authorized of up to $ 30 million per year for five years through 2025.
  • It is tasked with administering grants to NGOs that work in health, pollution and climate change, education and empowerment of women.

History- Important places, persons in news

Rosalind Franklin: the unsung heroine of DNA

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : DNA/RNA

Mains level : Not Much

The famous British scientist and virologist Rosalind Franklin is remembered across the world on her birth centenary who worked to construct the double-helix structure of DNA.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2019:

DNA/RNA has been an all-time favourite of UPSC!

Q.‘RNA interference (RNAi)’ technology has gained popularity in the last few years. Why?

  1. It is used in developing gene-silencing therapies.
  2. It can be used in developing therapies for the treatment of cancer.
  3. It can be used to develop hormone replacement therapies.
  4. It can be used to produce crop plants that are resistant to viral pathogens.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1, 2 and 4

(b) 2 and 3

(c) 1 and 3

(d) 1 and 4 only

Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958)

  • She was an English chemist and X-ray crystallographer whose work was central to the understanding of the molecular structures of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), RNA (ribonucleic acid), viruses, coal, and graphite.
  • Although her works on coal and viruses were appreciated in her lifetime, her contributions to the discovery of the structure of DNA were largely recognised posthumously.

DNA breakthrough

  • In 1952, Raymond Gosling, a graduate student at King’s College London, took a historic X-ray photograph under Franklin’s supervision.
  • Photo 51, as it is called, demonstrates the now-familiar, double-helix structure of DNA.

Why is she remembered now?

  • The world is currently gripped in a pandemic, and her pioneering research in virology provided a crucial early step in the search for cures, vaccinations and tests.
  • During the Second World War, Franklin carried out research into coal and graphite that proved important for gas-masks, the PPE of that time.
  • It is because of Franklin, her collaborators and successors, that today’s researchers are able to use tools such as DNA sequencing and X-ray crystallography to investigate viruses such as COVID-10.

Back2Basics: DNA/RNA 

  • Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and Ribonucleic acid (RNA) are perhaps the most important molecules in cell biology, responsible for the storage and reading of genetic information that underpins all life.
  • They are both linear polymers, consisting of sugars, phosphates and bases, but there are some key differences which separate the two.
  • These distinctions enable the two molecules to work together and fulfil their essential roles.
  • DNA encodes all genetic information and is the blueprint from which all biological life is created. And that’s only in the short-term.
  • In the long-term, DNA is a storage device, a biological flash drive that allows the blueprint of life to be passed between generations.
  • RNA functions as the reader that decodes this flash drive. This reading process is multi-step and there are specialized RNAs for each of these steps.

Three types of RNA

  • Messenger RNA (mRNA) copies portions of genetic code; a process called transcription and transports these copies to ribosomes, which are the cellular factories that facilitate the production of proteins from this code.
  • Transfer RNA (tRNA) is responsible for bringing amino acids, basic protein building blocks, to these protein factories, in response to the coded instructions introduced by the mRNA. This protein-building process is called translation.
  • Finally, Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) is a component of the ribosome factory itself without which protein production would not occur.

History- Important places, persons in news

How the US’ Trinity Test led to the dawn of the atomic age?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Manhattan Project, WW2 and related stories

On this day, exactly 75 years ago, US scientists tested ‘Gadget’— the world’s first atomic bomb — in what was dubbed as the ‘Trinity Test’.

Practice question for mains:

Q.What is the Manhattan Project? Describe its consequences on the post-world war scenario.

The Trinity Test

  • The super bomb, nicknamed ‘Gadget’, was built by a team of scientists at a top-secret site in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
  • It was developed as part of the US-led Manhattan Project, which sought to build nuclear weapons to give the allied forces an edge over Germany, Japan and Italy in World War 2.
  • Very soon after the Trinity test, an identical nuclear bomb called ‘Fat Man’ was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, killing tens of thousands of people.
  • Before it detonated, the scientists had placed bets on what could happen. Some believed that the bomb would be a dud and would fail to explode.

What was the Manhattan Project?

  • Germany initiated World War II by invading Poland.
  • A letter signed by Nobel prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein warned then-US President Franklin D Roosevelt of the potential threat posed by an atomic weapon being developed by Adolf Hitler.
  • Soon after, the US launched a secret atomic research undertaking, code-named the Manhattan Project, which sought to develop an atomic weapon to end the war.

Execution of the project

  • The Project remained a relatively small-scale initiative for the next two years.
  • It was only after the bombing of Pearl Harbour the project was officially kicked into gear.
  • By December 1942 facilities were established in remote locations across the US, as well as in Canada.
  • However, the superbomb was finally designed and conceptualized by a team of scientists at a top-secret laboratory in Los Alamos.
  • The Los Alamos team developed two types of bombs — one was uranium-based, which was later code-named ‘the Little Boy’ before it was dropped on Hiroshima; the other had a plutonium core.

Looping-in nuclear physicists

  • The project brought together some of the country’s leading atomic experts as well as exiled scientists and physicists from Germany and other Nazi-occupied nations.
  • The team at Los Alamos was headed by J Robert Oppenheimer, a physics professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Oppenheimer later came to be known as the “father of the atomic bomb”.
  • His team included famous Danish scientist Niels Bohr and Italian scientists Enrico Fermi.

What were the repercussions of the Trinity Test?

  • New Mexico residents were pointedly not warned before the test, to ensure that it was carried out secretly.
  • Data collected by the New Mexico health department, which showed the adverse impact of radiation caused by the detonation, was ignored for years after the test.
  • A sudden rise in infant mortality was reported in the months after the explosion. Several residents also complained that the number of cancer patients went up after the Trinity Test.
  • The dust outfall from the explosion was expected to have travelled nearly 100 miles from the test site, posing a serious threat to residents in the area.
  • Many families complained that their livestock suffered skin burns, bleeding and loss of hair.

Impact of bombing on Japan

  • The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings are known to have killed well over 200,000 people — many of whom succumbed to radiation poisoning in the weeks after the blasts.
  • The uranium bomb in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, destroyed around 70 per cent of all buildings and caused around 140,000 deaths by the end of 1945.
  • The plutonium bomb explosion over Nagasaki, which took place three days later, killed 74,000 people that year, according to International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICANW) data.
  • After seeing the destruction caused to the two Japanese cities, Oppenheimer publicly admitted that he regretted building a bomb that could cause an apocalypse.

Nuclearisation of the world thus began

  • Seventy-five years after the Trinity Test, as many as nine countries around the world are currently in possession of nuclear weapons.
  • These include the US, the UK, Russia, France, India, China, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea.
  • At least eight countries have detonated over 2,000 nuclear test explosions since 1945.
  • The most recent instance of nuclear bomb test explosions conducted by India, were the series of five explosions done as part of the Pokhran-II tests in May 1998.
  • The first test, code-named Smiling Buddha, took place in May 1974.

History- Important places, persons in news

Who was Herbert Kleber?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Herbert Kleber and his work

Mains level : NA

With today’s doodle, Google is remembering Dr Herbert David Kleber, who reframed the field of addiction treatment.

Try this question from CSP 2016:

A recent movie titled The Man Who Knew Infinity is based on the biography of-

(a) S. Ramanujan
(b) S. Chandrasekhar
(c) S. N. Bose
(d) C. V. Raman

Herbert Kleber

  • Born on June 19, 1934, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dr Kleber studied medicine, where he discovered that psychology was his calling.
  • He viewed addiction as a medical condition rather than a moral failure.
  • He spent years treating people with drug addiction and realized that the treatment needed a new approach backed by scientific research.
  • His new methods of treatment gained an appreciation and he was appointed as the deputy director for demand reduction at the Office of National Drug Control Policy by the then U.S. President George H. W. Bush.
  • He headed many projects on developing new methods to treat individuals with alcohol, cocaine, heroin and alcohol addictions.

History- Important places, persons in news

Remembering P C Mahalanobis

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 3- Achievements of Indians

Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, India’s ‘Plan Man’ and the architect of the country’s statistical system is more relevant now in times of Covid pandemic when we grapple with the lack of data.

Analysing 1944 Bengal famine

  • He conducted a large-scale sample survey of Bengal’s famine between July 1944 and February 1945.
  • Sample survey helped in causal analysis and to assess the extent of the disaster and an estimate of the number of people affected.

Relevance today

  • Bengal’s famine survey reminds us that we need estimates of the millions who will lose jobs or livelihoods in today’s pandemic.
  • The extent of feasibility, success and problem of online access also needs to be properly estimated in this new dawn.
  • Mahalanobis is perhaps more relevant today when the accuracy of different sorts of data is under the scanner.
  • Mahalanobis envisaged large-scale sample surveys as statistical engineering rather than pure theory of sampling.
  • He was instrumental in establishing the National Sample Survey (NSS) in 1950 and the Central Statistical Organization in 1951.

Data accuracy

  • Mahalanobis was very careful about data accuracy in his surveys.
  • In Kautilya’s Arthashastra, there is mention of the need for cross-checking by an independent set of agents for data collection.
  • This, according to Mahalanobis, was the “striking feature in the Arthashastra”.
  • This might have prompted him to have an independent supervisory staff during the conduct of field operations by the NSS.
  • His initial training in Physics might have made him conscious about errors in measurement and observation.
  • The desire to have built-in cross-checks and to get an estimate of errors in sampling led him to introduce the Inter-Penetrating Network of Subsamples.
  • The network is considered as the curtain-raiser for re-sampling procedures like Bootstrap.
  • Bootstrap is a revolutionary concept of statistics.

Difficulties in conducting surveys

  • Even Mahalanobis could have faced hardship had he wished to conduct surveys now.
  • First, even in pre-COVID-19 India, it’s widely reported that surveyors were facing tremendous resistance from people due to some sociopolitical reasons.
  • Pronab Sen, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Economic Statistics, and former Chief Statistician, expressed his concern that the survey system is already in “deep trouble”.
  • Conducting household surveys with the Census as the frame would be “very tough” going ahead.
  • The problem will intensify due to COVID-19.

Use of technology for survey

  • Mahalanobis never shied away from technology.
  • He was instrumental in bringing computers to India.
  • The Mahalanobis-led Indian Statistical Institute procured India’s first computer in 1956 and the second in 1959.

Consider the question asked in 2019 “How was India benefitted from the contributions of Sir M.Visvesvaraya and Dr M. S. Swaminathan in the fields of water engineering and agricultural science respectively?”

Conclusion

Mahalanobis wrote: “Statistics are a minor detail, but they do help.” This is an eternal truth. What Mahalanobis didn’t spell out is that one needs a top statistician for listening to the heartbeats of data and for framing data-based policy decisions for human welfare and national development.

History- Important places, persons in news

Sindhu Darshan Puja

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Art and culture

Mains level : Not much

During his day-long whirlwind visit, PM Narendra performed Sindhu Darshan Puja at Nimu, the forward brigade place in Ladakh.

Sindhu Darshan Puja.

⦁ Sindhu Darshan Festival is a festival of India held every year on full moon day (on Guru Purnima) in the month of June.
⦁ It is held at Leh, in Ladakh District of Ladakh. It stretches for three days.
⦁ It was first started in the October by veteran politician L.K. Advani, 1997 and continues to be held every year since then, attracting large number of foreign and domestic tourists.
⦁ The main reason behind the celebration of Sindhu Darshan Festival is to endorse the Indus River (Sindhu River) as an icon of the communal harmony and unity of India.

History- Important places, persons in news

What is the Hagia Sophia?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Hagia Sophia

Mains level : World History: Turkish renaissance under Ottoman Empire

Turkey’s highest court this week convened to decide whether Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia museum can be turned into a mosque.

Try this question:

Q. The iconic Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO World Heritage site was recently in news. It is situated in:

a) Greece b) Turkey c) Israel d) Iran

What is the Hagia Sophia?

  • The construction of this iconic structure in Istanbul started in 532 AD during the reign of Justinian I, the ruler of the Byzantine Empire when the city was known as Constantinople.
  • The structure was originally built to become the seat of the Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church and remained so for approximately 900 years.
  • In 1453, when Constantinople fell to Sultan Mehmet II’s Ottoman forces, the Hagia Sophia was ransacked by the invading forces and turned into a mosque shortly after.
  • For a long time, the Hagia Sophia was Istanbul’s most important mosque.
  • The 1,500-year-old structure, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, was originally a cathedral before it was turned into a mosque.

What is the controversy about?

  • In the 1930s, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, shut down the mosque and turned it into a museum in an attempt to make the country more secular.
  • There have been calls for long from extremists groups to convert the Hagia Sophia back into a mosque.

History- Important places, persons in news

In news: Santhal Rebellion

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Santhal Rebellion

Mains level : Tribal uprisings in colonial India

Covid-19 pandemic has led to the cancellation of annual public observance of Hul in Jharkhand.

Try this question from CSP 2018:

Q.After the Santhal uprising subsided, what was/ were the measure/measures taken by the colonial government?

  1. The territories called ‘Santhal Paraganas’ were created.
  2. It became illegal for a Santhal to transfer land to a non Santhal.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Hul Divas

  • Hul Divas is observed annually on June 30 in memory of tribals — Sidho and Kanhu Murmu — who led the Santhal Hul (rebellion) on June 30, 1855, at Bhognadih in Sahebganj district.

About Santhal Rebellion

  • The Santhals of Rajmahal Hills resented the oppression by revenue officials, police, money-lenders, and landlords—in general, by the “outsiders’ (whom they called diku).
  • The Santhals under Sido and Kanhu rose up against their oppressors, declared the end of the Company’s rule and asserted themselves independent in 1854.
  • It was only in 1856 after extensive military operations that the situation was brought under control. Sido died in 1855, while Kanhu was arrested in 1866.
  • A separate district of Santhal Parganas was created by the Government to pacify the Santhals.

Must read:

Tribal Issues | Part 2 | Pre Independence Tribal Revolts

History- Important places, persons in news

Statistics Day and P.C. Mahalanobis

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PC Mahalanobis

Mains level : NA

Statistics Day will be celebrated today on 29th June 2020 to popularize the use of Statistics in everyday life and sensitize the public as to how Statistics helps in shaping and framing policies.

Try this question from CSP 2016:

A recent movie titled The Man Who Knew Infinity is based on the biography of-

(a) S. Ramanujan
(b) S. Chandrasekhar
(c) S. N. Bose
(d) C. V. Raman

Who was P.C. Mahalanobis?

  • Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis (29 June 1893 – 28 June 1972) was an Indian scientist and statistician.
  • He is best remembered for the Mahalanobis distance, a statistical measure, and for being one of the members of the first Planning Commission of free India.
  • He made pioneering studies in anthropometry (the science of obtaining systematic measurements of the human body) in India.
  • He founded the Indian Statistical Institute and contributed to the design of large-scale sample surveys.
  • For his contributions, Mahalanobis has been considered the father of modern statistics in India.

History- Important places, persons in news

The spirit of ‘Lal-Bal-Pal’ in Indian History

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Lal-Bal-Pal

Mains level : Swadeshi Movement and its pioneers

To commemorate the death centenary of Tilak, a Pune based NGO is set to revive the Independence-era spirit of the ‘Lal-Bal-Pal’, named after nationalists Lala Lajpat Rai, ‘Lokmanya’ Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2010:

Q. What was the immediate cause for the launch of the Swadeshi movement?

(a) The partition of Bengal done by Lord Curzon.

(b) A sentence of 18 months of rigorous imprisonment imposed on Lokmanya Tilak.

(c) The arrest and deportation of Lala Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh; and passing of the Punjab ColonizationBill.

(d) Death sentence pronounced on the Chapekarbrothers.

About Lal-Bal-Pal

  • Lal Bal Pal was a triumvirate of assertive nationalists in British-ruled India in the early 20th century, from 1906 to 1918.
  • They advocated the Swadeshi movement involving the boycott of all imported items and the use of Indian-made goods in 1907 during the anti-Partition agitation in Bengal which began in 1905.
  • The final years of the nineteenth century saw a radical sensibility emerge among some Indian intellectuals.
  • This position burst onto the national all-India scene in 1905 with the Swadeshi movement – the term is usually rendered as “self-reliance” or “self-sufficiency”.

Their Legacy

  • Lal-Bal-Pal mobilized Indians across the country against the Bengal partition, and the demonstrations, strikes and boycotts of British goods that began in Bengal soon spread to other regions in a broader protest against the Raj.
  • The nationalist movement gradually faded with the arrest of its main leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak and retirement of Bipin Chandra Pal and Aurobindo Ghosh from active politics.
  • While Lala Lajpat Rai suffered from injuries, due to British police superintendent, James A. Scott, ordered the British Indian police to lathi charge and personally assaulted Rai; he died on 17 November 1928.

Back2Basics:

Lala Lajpat Rai

  • Born in undivided Punjab on 28 January 1865, Lala Lajpat Rai grew up in a family that allowed the freedom of faith.
  • Even before he focused his efforts towards a self-sufficient India, Rai believed in the principle.
  • In 1895, he started the Punjab National Bank—the first Indian bank to begin solely with Indian capital, and that continues to function till date.
  • Rai had travelled to America in 1907 and immediately caught up similarities between the ‘colour-caste’ practised there and the caste system prevalent in India.
  • In 1917, he even founded the Indian Home Rule League of America there.
  • His proactive, brave participation in the protest earned him the title of the Lion of Punjab or Punjab Kesari.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak

  • Bal Gangadhar Tilak (23 July 1856 – 1 August 1920) was an Indian nationalist, teacher, and an independence activist
  • In 1884, he founded the Deccan Education Society in Pune, and under the banner, opened the New English School for primary studies and Fergusson College for higher education.
  • His involvement in the educational institutions was to emphasise on the cultural revival of young Indian minds.
  • For the British, Tilak was the “Father of the Indian Unrest.”
  • When the Indian National Congress was divided among moderates and extremes—the stand that each member took against the British government—there was no doubt which side Tilak supported.
  • Literary works: Kesari and Maratha newspapers

Bipin Chandra Pal

  • The father of revolutionary thoughts, Bipin Chandra Pal, was born to a wealthy family in Sylhet, Bengal Presidency (now in Bangladesh).
  • Pal was a journalist by profession and often contributed to several newspapers.
  • He used his literary expertise to write against the use of British goods, advocating Indians to start using Swadeshi goods instead.
  • He was of a strong opinion that a mass reliance on Swadeshi goods would help people get rid of their poverty.

History- Important places, persons in news

Why Russia celebrates WWII triumph on a different date?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : WW2 and related stories

Raksha Mantri is on a three-day trip to Russia to attend the 75th Victory Day. India has sent a tri-services contingent to participate in the Victory Day Parade.

Try these questions from CS Mains:

Q.To what extent can Germany be held responsible for causing the two World Wars? Discuss critically. (CSM 2015)

 

Q.The New Economic Policy – 1921 of Lenin had influenced the policies adopted by India soon after independence. Evaluate. (CSM 2014)

What is Victory Day?

  • Victory Day marks the end of World War II and the victory of the Allied Forces in 1945.
  • Adolf Hitler had shot himself on April 30. On May 7, German troops surrendered, which was formally accepted the next day and came into effect on May 9.
  • In most European countries, it is celebrated on May 8 and is called the Victory in Europe Day.

Why does Russia not celebrate Victory Day on the same date?

  • The erstwhile Soviet Union had not wanted the surrender to take place in the west and wanted that such a significant event should reflect the contribution of the Red Army and the Soviet population.
  • According to historians, Joseph Stalin, premier of the Soviet Union, wanted Germany to also sign surrender in Berlin.
  • Since crowds were already gathering in London to celebrate, Victory in Europe Day celebration in Britain would take place on 8 May, as they did in the United States.
  • This did not convince Stalin, who argued that Soviet troops were still fighting the German forces in many areas.
  • German soldiers did not surrender in East Prussia, Courland Peninsula, Czechoslovakia till later. Hence victory celebration could therefore not begin in the Soviet Union even after May 9.

If May 9 is Victory Day, why is it being celebrated on June 24?

  • This year, the celebrations this year were pushed to June because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • After winning the war and having its own Victory Day on May 9, Stalin wanted to commemorate the victory with a military parade.
  • On June 22, 1945, he ordered the commemoration of the victory over Germany to hold the victory parade on June 24, 1945, in Moscow’s Red Square.
  • Hence the first Victory Day Parade took place on June 24 in Moscow. However, since then, the Parades have taken place on May 9.

History- Important places, persons in news

100 Years of Malabar Rebellion

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Malabar Rebellion 1921

Mains level : Peasants revolts in the colonial period

With the 1921 Malabar Rebellion turning 100 next year, several movies have been announced back-to-back.

Try this question from CSP 2015:

Q. Which amongst the following provided a common factor for tribal insurrection in India in the 19th century?

(a.) Introduction of a new system of land revenue and taxation- of tribal products

(b.) Influence of foreign religious missionaries in tribal areas

(c.) Rise of a large number of money lenders, traders and revenue farmers as middlemen in tribal areas

(d.) The complete disruption of the old agrarian order of the tribal communities

What is the Malabar Rebellion?

  • The Malabar Rebellion in 1921 started as resistance against the British colonial rule and the feudal system in southern Malabar but ended in communal violence between Hindus and Muslims.
  • There were a series of clashes between Mappila peasantry and their landlords, supported by the British, throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • It began as a reaction against a heavy-handed crackdown on the Khilafat Movement, a campaign in defence of the Ottoman Caliphate by the British authorities in the Eranad and Valluvanad taluks of Malabar.
  • The Mappilas attacked and took control of police stations, British government offices, courts and government treasuries.

Also in news:

Variyankunna Kunjahammed Haji

  • He was one of the leaders of the Malabar Rebellion of 1921.
  • He raised 75000 natives, seized control of large territory from the British rule and set up a parallel government.
  • In January 1922, under the guise of a treaty, the British betrayed Haji through his close friend Unyan Musaliyar, arresting him from his hideout and producing him before a British judge.
  • He was sentenced to death along with his compatriots.

History- Important places, persons in news

Sukapha: The founder of Ahom kingdom

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ahom Kingdom

Mains level : Not Much

Recently, Assam CM ordered the arrest of a political commentator who had described Chaolung Sukapha as a “Chinese invader”.

Practice question for mains:

Q. Who are the Ahoms? Describe the role of Ahom Kingdom in cultural assimilation of modern-day Assam.

Who was Chaolung Sukapha?

  • Sukapha was a 13th-century ruler who founded the Ahom kingdom that ruled Assam for six centuries. Contemporary scholars trace his roots to Burma.
  • He reached Brahmaputra valley in Assam from upper Burma in the 13th century with around 9,000 followers.
  • Sukapha is said to have left a place called Maulung ( in Yunnan, China ) in AD 1215 with eight nobles and 9,000 men, women and children — mostly men.
  • In 1235, Sukapha and his people settled in Charaideo in upper Assam after wandering about for years, defeating those who protested his advance and temporarily staying at different locations.
  • It was in Charaideo (in Assam) that Sukapha established his first small principality, sowing the seeds of further expansion of the Ahom kingdom.

Who are the Ahoms today?

  • The founders of the Ahom kingdom had their own language and followed their own religion.
  • Over the centuries, the Ahoms accepted the Hindu religion and the Assamese language, scholars say.
  • The Ahoms embraced the language, religion and rituals of the communities living here — they did not impose theirs on those living here.
  • Today, the Ahom community is estimated to number between 4 million and 5 million.

Why is Sukapha important in Assamese culture?

  • Sukapha’s significance — especially in today’s Assam — lies in his successful efforts towards the assimilation of different communities and tribes.
  • He developed very amicable relationships with the tribal communities living here — especially the Sutias, the Morans and the Kacharis.
  • Intermarriage also increased assimilation processes. He is widely referred to as the architect of “Bor Asom” or “greater Assam”.

History- Important places, persons in news

Purandara Dasa and his legacy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Purandara Dasa

Mains level : Bhakti Saints of South India

The Department of Archaeology, Karnataka has commenced field research work regarding the birthplace of Purandara Dasa who is held as the father figure of Carnatic music.

Recently there was a news on Lord Basaveshwara. Now comes the other popular saint.

Vaishnavism and Shaivism are the two most profound strands of Bhakti Movement in Indian history. Enlist all the Bhakti Saints and their theistic philosophy and teachings. Try to spot the minute differences between them.

Purandara Dasa

  • Purandara Dasa (1484 –1565) was a Haridasa, a renowned composer of Carnatic music, a great devotee of the Supreme Lord Krishna, a Vaishnava poet, a saint and a social reformer.
  • He was a disciple of the Dvaita philosopher-saint Vyasatirtha, and a contemporary of yet another Haridasa, Kanakadasa.
  • He was a composer, singer and one of the chief founding-proponents of South Indian classical music (Carnatic music).
  • In honour of his significant contributions to Carnatic music, he is widely referred to as the Pitamaha (lit. “father” or “grandfather”) of Carnatic music.
  • He is respected as an Avatara (incarnation) of the great sage Narada (a celestial being who is also a singer).

Confusions over his birthplace

  • As ‘Purandara Vithala’ was the pen name of his compositions, it was widely believed that the mystic poet was born in Purandar (near Pune), Maharashtra.
  • However, many in Malnad claimed that he hailed from this region.
  • According to historians, Araga in Malnad was a buzzing commercial centre during the Vijayanagar rule, the period to which the poet belonged to.
  • Prior to his initiation to Haridasa tradition, Purandara Dasa was a rich merchant and was called as Srinivasa Nayaka.

Back2Basics: Bhakti Movement

  • The Bhakti movement refers to the theistic devotional trend that emerged in medieval Hinduism.
  • It originated in eighth-century south India and spread northwards.
  • It swept over east and north India from the 15th century onwards, reaching its zenith between the 15th and 17th century CE.
  • It has traditionally been considered as an influential social reformation in Hinduism and provided an individual-focused alternative path to spirituality regardless of one’s birth or gender
  • The salvation which was previously considered attainable only by men of Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya castes, became available to everyone.

History- Important places, persons in news

Person in news: Ramkinkar Baij

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ramkinkar Baij and his artworks

Mains level : Modern artforms in India

Ministry of Culture’s has organised virtual tour titled “Ramkinkar Baij | Journey through silent transformation and expressions” to commemorate his 115th Birth Anniversary.

We can expect a description based question in prelims like-

Q. “In 1925, he made his way to Kala Bhavana, the art school at Santiniketan and was under the guidance of Nandalal Bose. Encouraged by the liberating, intellectual environment of (Tagore’s) Santiniketan, his artistic skills and intellectual horizons blossomed, thus acquiring greater depth and complexity. One of the earliest modernists in Indian art, he assimilated the idioms of the European modern visual language and yet was rooted in his own Indian ethos.”

Who is the imminent personality discussed?

Who was Ramkinkar Baij?

  • Ramkinkar Baij (1906-1980), one of the most seminal artists of modern India, was an iconic sculptor, painter and graphic artist.
  • He was born in Bankura, West Bengal, into a family of little economic and social standing and grew by his sheer determination into one of the most distinguished early modernists of Indian art.
  • In 1925, he made his way to Kala Bhavana, the art school at Santiniketan and was under the guidance of Nandalal Bose.
  • Encouraged by the liberating, intellectual environment of (Tagore’s) Santiniketan, his artistic skills and intellectual horizons blossomed, thus acquiring greater depth and complexity.

His works

  • One of the earliest modernists in Indian art, he assimilated the idioms of the European modern visual language and yet was rooted in his own Indian ethos.
  • His themes were steeped in a deep sense of humanism and an instinctive understanding of the symbiotic relationship between man and nature.
  • Both in his paintings and sculptures, he pushed the limits of experimentation and ventured into the use of new materials.
  • For instance, his use of unconventional material, for the time, such as cement concrete for his monumental public sculptures set a new precedent for art practices.
  • The use of cement, laterite and mortar to model the figures, and the use of a personal style in which modern western and Indian pre-classical sculptural values were brought together was equally radical.

Popular recognition

  • Although his work was passed over for quite a while, gradually it began to get both national and international attention.
  • He was invited to participate in the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles in 1950 and in the Salon de Mai in 1951.
  • In the national honours began to come his way one after the other.
  • In 1970, the Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan for his irrefutable contribution to Indian art.
  • In 1976 he was made a Fellow of the Lalit Kala Akademi.
  • In 1976, he was conferred the honorary Doctoral Degree of ‘Desikottama’ by Visva Bharati, and in 1979 an honorary D. Litt by Rabindra Bharati University.

History- Important places, persons in news

Person in news: Gopal Krishna Gokhale

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : GK Gokhale

Mains level : Gokhale and his contribution in freedom struggle

The Prime Minister has paid tributes to Gopal Krishna Gokhale on his birth anniversary.

These days, personality-based prelims questions are quite prevalent.

Q.) He wrote biographies of Mazzini, Garibaldi, Shivaji and Shri Krishna; stayed in America for some time; and was also elected to the Central Assembly. He was – (CSP 2018)

a) Aurobindo Ghosh

b) Bipin Chandra Pal

c) Lala Lajpat Rai

d) Motilal Nehru

Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1866-1915)

  • Gokhale was a liberal political leader and a social reformer during the Freedom Movement.
  • Gokhale was a senior leader of the Indian National Congress (INC) and the founder of the Servants of India Society.
  • Through the Society as well as the Congress and other legislative bodies he served in, Gokhale campaigned for Indian self-rule and for social reforms.

Gokhale and INC

  • Gokhale became a member of the INC in 1889, as a protégé of social reformer MG Ranade.
  • He was the leader of the moderate faction of the Congress party that advocated reforms by working with existing government institutions.

Quest for political reforms

  • Gokhale’s mentor, justice M.G. Ranade started the Sarvajanik Sabha Journal.
  • Gokhale’s deposition before the Welby Commission on the financial condition of India won him accolades.
  • He played a leading role in bringing about Morley-Minto Reforms (1909), the beginning of constitutional reforms in India.

Servants of India Society

  • In 1905, when Gokhale was elected president of the INC and was at the height of his political power, he founded the Servants of India Society.
  • It aimed to specifically further one of the causes dearests to his heart: the expansion of Indian education.
  • The Society took up the cause of promoting Indian education in earnest, and among its many projects organised mobile libraries, founded schools, and provided night classes for factory workers.

Involvement in the government

  • In 1899, Gokhale was elected to the Bombay Legislative Council.
  • He was also elected to the Imperial Council of the Governor-General of India as a non-officiating member representing Bombay Province.

Mentor to Gandhi

  • Gokhale was famously a mentor to Mahatma Gandhi in the latter’s formative years.
  • In 1912, Gokhale visited South Africa at Gandhi’s invitation.
  • As a young barrister, Gandhi returned from his struggles and received personal guidance from Gokhale, including a knowledge and understanding of India and the issues confronting common Indians.
  • By 1931, Gandhi emerged as the leader of the Indian Independence Movement. In his autobiography, Gandhi calls Gokhale his mentor and guide.

His literary works

  • In 1908, Gokhale founded the Ranade Institute of Economics.
  • He started the English weekly newspaper, The Hitavad (The people’s paper).
  • He also published a daily newspaper titled Jnanaprakash, which allowed him to voice his reformist views on politics and society.

With inputs from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gopal_Krishna_Gokhale

History- Important places, persons in news

Florence Nightingale and her legacy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Florence Nightingale

Mains level : Not Much

The 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing, falls tomorrow on May 12.

Personality based questions sometimes find their way in the Prelims. For example:

Q) A recent movie titled The Man Who Knew Infinity is based on the biography of – (CSP 2016)

(a) S. Ramanujan

(b) S. Chandrasekhar

(c) S. N. Bose

(d) C. V. Raman

Who was Florence Nightingale?

  • Nightingale (1820-1910), who had considerable mathematical skills, is credited with being the first healthcare professional to use data to show that infection control improves health outcomes.
  • Through her career, she stressed a practice that is relevant as ever today — handwashing.

Nurse and mathematician

  • Her signature effort came during the Crimean War (1854-56), when she answered a government call for nurses and took a posting in Turkey.
  • This is where she earned the name ‘Lady with the Lamp’, for walking around patients’ beds at night, holding a lamp. Here she did her pioneering work with statistics.
  • When she arrived, diseases such as cholera and typhus were rife in the hospitals.
  • Nightingale collected data, calculated the mortality rate, and showed that an improvement of sanitary methods would reduce the number of deaths.
  • The mortality rate dropped from 60% to 42.7% by February 1855, and to 2.2% by the spring.

  • She used her data to create graphics, the most famous of which is a polar area diagram (pictured) that used areas to represent variations in death rate.
  • The blue wedges from the center of the circle represent area for the deaths from Preventable or Mitigable diseases, the red wedges measured from the center is deaths from wounds, & the black wedges measured from the center is the deaths from all other causes.
  • The blue wedges, representing death by sickness, are far bigger than those representing wounds.

History- Important places, persons in news

Attack on Pearl Harbor (1941)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : World History: Pearl Harbor Attack and its aftermath

US President Mr Trump has said the COVID-19 pandemic is a worse “attack” on the U.S. than either Pearl Harbor or 9/11.

Practice Question :

Discuss how the world order changed post Pearl Harbour attack with context to the US hegemony in Asia-Pacific.

Attack on Pearl Harbor

  • The December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbour was among the most significant moments of the World War II.
  • It signalled the official entry of the US into the hostilities, which eventually led to the dropping of nuclear bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
  • Significantly, in December 2016, Shinzo Abe became the first sitting Japanese Prime Minister to visit Pearl Harbour.

What led up to the attack on Pearl Harbour?

  • Before Japan attacked Pearl Harbour in 1941, relations between the US and Japan were already worsening.
  • In 1910, Japan annexed Korea and, in 1937, it invaded China, sending alarm bells ringing in the US and other Western powers about Japan’s manifest expansionist agenda.
  • Between December 1937 and January 1938, an episode which is referred to as the “Nanking Massacre” or the “Rape of Nanking”, occurred — Japanese soldiers killed and raped Chinese civilians and combatants.
  • Japanese historians estimate that anywhere between tens of thousands and 200,000 Chinese were killed.
  • The US was against Japan’s aggression in China, and imposed economic sanctions and trade embargoes after its invasion.

Immediate causes

  • Japan was reliant on imports for oil and other natural resources — this was one of the reasons why it invaded China and later French Indo-China (present-day Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia).
  • The intention was to take control of the major Chinese ports to have access to resources such as iron, rubber, tin, and most importantly, oil.
  • In July 1941, the US ceased exporting oil to Japan.
  • Negotiations between the two countries ended with the “Hull Note”, the final proposal delivered to Japan by the US. Essentially, the US wanted Japan to withdraw from China without any conditions.
  • Ultimately, the negotiations did not lead to any concrete results, following which Japan set its task for Pearl Harbour in the last week of November 1941.
  • Japan considered the attack to be a preventive measure against the US interfering with Japan’s plans to carry out military operations in some parts of Southeast Asia.

What happened at Pearl Harbour?

  • About 7.55 am on December 7, 1941, about 180 aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the US Naval base at Pearl Harbour on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.
  • The bombing killed over 2,300 Americans and destroyed the battleships USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma.
  • Roughly 160 aircraft were destroyed, and 150 were damaged.

Impact on the US

  • In the short term, the American naval presence in the Pacific was severely weakened.
  • However, the Japanese had largely ignored the harbour’s infrastructure, and many of the damaged ships were repaired on-site and returned to duty.
  • American opinion immediately shifted to favouring war with Japan, a course that would conclude with Japan’s unconditional surrender less than four years later.

History- Important places, persons in news

What is Cinco de Mayo and why is it celebrated?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Cinco de Mayo , Battle of Puebla

Mains level : World History - Napoleonic assertion in Europe

Cinco de Mayo, or fifth of May in Spanish, also called Battle of Puebla Day, is an annual celebration observed in Mexico and the US that marks the former’s military victory on its soil over French forces in 1862.

Possible mains question:

Q. The French colonization attempts went beyond India and had a global reach. Comment.

French advent in Mexico

  • In the 1860s, Mexico had been severely weakened by lengthy wars over the previous two decades – the Mexican-American War (1846-48) and the internal Reform War (1858-61).
  • As a result, in 1861, the then President Benito Juárez announced a temporary moratorium of two years on repaying Mexico’s foreign debts.
  • In response, troops from Britain, Spain, and France invaded Mexico, demanding reimbursement.
  • By April 1862, Britain and Spain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew.
  • France, which at the time was led by Emperor Napoleon III, decided to establish an empire in Mexican territories with the support of the local landowning classes.
  • France also intended to curb US power in North America.

The Battle of Puebla

  • In late 1861, a French fleet attacked the Mexican port of Veracruz on the country’s eastern coast and landed a large army that drove the Juárez government into retreat.
  • As they moved from Veracruz to capital Mexico City, the French encountered stiff resistance from Mexican forces.
  • At Puebla, over 100 km ahead of Mexico City, a poorly equipped and outnumbered Mexican force decisively defeated the advancing French troops on May 5, 1862, killing over a thousand.
  • The event marked a significant political victory of Mexican republicans and President Juárez and helped establish a sense of national unity in the country.

Cinco de Mayo: Present-day significance

  • In Puebla, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated annually with speeches, parades, and by reenacting episodes of the 1862 battle.
  • The city today houses a museum dedicated to the battle, and the actual battlefield is maintained as a park.
  • In the US, in the mid-20th century, the celebration became a way for immigrants from Mexico to express pride in their heritage.
  • Later, Cinco de Mayo also became popular with other demographics in the country when the festivities were linked with Mexican alcoholic beverages.
  • As the celebration assumed greater importance in the country, many have criticised the negative stereotypes of Mexicans that were perpetuated as a result, as well as the promotion of excessive drinking.

History- Important places, persons in news

Significance of UK labor party’s remarks on Kashmir

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : India in Labour Party (UK) manifestos

Mains level : Not Much

The UK Labour party’s newly appointed leader Keir Starmer said Kashmir was a bilateral issue for India and Pakistan to resolve peacefully. These remarks were seen as an attempt to re-position his party’s stance on Kashmir and reach out to the Indian community in Britain.

What was the Labour party’s stance before?

  • The party’s relations with the Indian diaspora have been strained, especially after its delegates passed an emergency policy motion in September 2019 criticizing India’s decision to revoke Article 370.
  • It maintained that the people of Kashmir should have self-determination rights.

Why is the Labour Party’s relationship with the Indian diaspora important?

  • Indians are the largest ethnic community in the UK, numbering over 1.5 million people or accounting for over 2.3 per cent of the country’s population.
  • Therefore, they form a significant vote share for any party.
  • In the 2017 general elections, 50 per cent of the Indians living in the UK had voted for Labour.

India in Labour Party (UK) manifestos

Over the years, issues relating to India have found various mention in many election manifestos in the UK:

  • 1945: India’s freedom had been a campaign promise of the Labour party, its manifesto pledging “the advancement of India to responsible self-government”.
  • 1947: The Indian Independence Act, 1947, was passed when Attlee was Prime Minister.
  • 1949: all the Commonwealth Prime Ministers welcomed the free choice of India, Pakistan and Ceylon to join the Commonwealth as full and equal members.
  • 2019: Issue a formal apology for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

History- Important places, persons in news

Why May 1 is observed as Labour Day?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : The Haymarket incident, Singaravelu Chettiar, Self Respect Movement

Mains level : Labour reforms in India before and after independence

Today (May 1) is May Day, also known as International Workers’ Day and as Labour Day in different parts of the world. It is an occasion that commemorates the contributions of workers and the historic labour movement.

Personality based history question in the UPSC CSE prelims is on the way to become the new normal. Kindly note all such phenomena in the news which tend to invoke some aspects of the modern Indian history. You can find all such news here.

The Haymarket incident

  • While observed as an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival, May 1 became associated with the labour movement in the late 19th century, after trade unions and socialist groups designated it as a day in support of workers.
  • It was decided to do so in memory of the Haymarket affair of 1886, in Chicago in the United States, in which a peaceful rally in support of workers led to a violent clash with the police, leading to the deaths of 4 civilians and 7 police officers.
  • Many of the agitationists, who were protesting workers’ rights violations, straining work hours, poor working conditions, low wages and child labour, were arrested and served terms of life imprisonment, death sentences, etc., and those who died were hailed as “Haymarket Martyrs”.
  • The incident is believed to have given the workers’ movement a great impetus.

Linked to the Russian Revolution

  • In 1889, The Second Communist International, an organisation created by socialist and labour parties, declared that May 1 would be commemorated as International Workers’ Day from then on.
  • Finally, in 1916, the US began to recognise eight-hour work timings after years of protests and uprisings.
  • In 1904, the International Socialist Congress at Amsterdam called on to demonstrate energetically on the First of May for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day.
  • After the Russian Revolution in 1917, the celebration was embraced by the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc nations during the Cold War– becoming a national holiday in many of them.
  • Parades were a part of the celebration– the one at Moscow’s Red Square was attended by top Communists leaders and displayed Soviet military might.

Indian Case

  • In India, May Day was first celebrated on May 1, 1923, after the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan initiated and Comrade Singaravelar (Singaravelu Chettiar) helmed the celebrations.
  • Chettiar was known for being one of the leaders of Self Respect Movement in the Madras Presidency and for his fight for the rights of backward classes.
  • In one of his meetings, Chettiar passed a resolution stating the government should allow everybody a national holiday on Labour Day.

History- Important places, persons in news

Who was Lord Basaveshwara?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Lord Basaveshwara and his philosophy

Mains level : Six schools of Indian Philosophy

Prime Minister has offered his homage to the 12th-century social reformer Basaveshwara on his birth anniversary.

Vaishnavism and Shaivism are the two most profound strands of Bhakti Movement in Indian history. Enlist all the Bhakti Saints and their theistic philosophy and teachings. Try to spot the minute differences between them.

Lord Basaveshwara

  • Basaveshwara or Basavanna was an Indian 12th-century statesman, philosopher, a poet and Lingayat saint in the Shiva-focussed Bhakti movement and a social reformer in Karnataka.
  • He lived during the reign of the Kalyani Chalukya/Kalachuri dynasty.
  • He was active during the rule of both dynasties but reached his peak of influence during the rule of King Bijjala II in Karnataka, India .

Founder of Lingayat cult

  • The traditional legends and hagiographic texts state Basava to be the founder of the Lingayats.
  • However, modern scholarship relying on historical evidence such as the Kalachuri inscriptions state that Basava was the poet-philosopher who revived, refined and energized an already existing tradition.

His Philosophy

  • Basava’s Lingayat theology was a form of qualified nondualism, wherein the individual Atman (soul) is the body of God, and that there is no difference between Shiva and Atman (self, soul).
  • Basava’s views finds places in Vedanta school, in a form closer to the 11th century Vishishtadvaita philosopher Ramanuja.

Famous works

  • Basavanna spread social awareness through his poetry, popularly known as Vachanaas.
  • Basavanna rejected gender or social discrimination, superstitions and rituals but introduced Ishtalinga necklace, with an image of the Shiva Liṅga to every person regardless of his or her birth.
  • As the chief minister of his kingdom, he introduced new public institutions such as the Anubhava Mantapa (or, the “hall of spiritual experience”) which welcomed men and women from all socio-economic backgrounds.

Back2Basics: Bhakti Movement

  • The Bhakti movement refers to the theistic devotional trend that emerged in medieval Hinduism.
  • It originated in eighth-century south India and spread northwards.
  • It swept over east and north India from the 15th century onwards, reaching its zenith between the 15th and 17th century CE.
  • It has traditionally been considered as an influential social reformation in Hinduism, and provided an individual-focused alternative path to spirituality regardless of one’s birth or gender
  • Salvation which was previously considered attainable only by men of Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya castes, became available to everyone.

History- Important places, persons in news

Qissa Khwani Bazaar massacre and the Khudai Khidmatgars

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Red Shirts, Khudai Khidmmatgars

Mains level : Various non-violent movements in the freedom struggle

  • Qissa Khwani Bazaar is a renowned market place in the city of Peshawar.
  • Before the Partition, the marketplace was also the site of a massacre perpetrated by British soldiers against non-violent protesters of the Khudai Khidmatgar movement on April 23, 1930.

We can expect a possible mains question inspired from this newscard. The question could be like- “Discuss the role of Abdul Ghaffar Khan and his Khudai Khidmatgar in infusing the Gandhian principle of non-violence in the Frontiers of India “.

The Red Shirts:  Khudai Khidmatgars

  • The Khudai Khidmatgar was a non-violent movement against the British occupation of the Indian subcontinent led by Abdul Ghaffar Khan, a Pashtuns freedom fighter, in the North-West Frontier Province.
  • Over time, the movement acquired a more political colour, leading to the British taking notice of its growing prominence in the region.
  • Following the arrest of Khan and other leaders in 1929, the movement formally joined the Indian National Congress after they failed to receive support from the All-India Muslim League.
  • Members of the Khudai Khidmatgar were organised and the men stood out because of the bright red shirts they wore as uniforms, while the women wore black garments.

Why did the massacre happen?

  • Abdul Ghaffar Khan and other leaders of the Khudai Khidmatgar were arrested on April 23, 1930 by British police after he gave a speech at a gathering in the town of Utmanzai in the North-West Frontier Province.
  • A respected leader well-known for his non-violent ways, Khan’s arrest spurred protests in neighbouring towns, including Peshawar.
  • Protests spilled into the Qissa Khwani Bazaar in Peshawar on the day of Khan’s arrest. British soldiers entered the market area to disperse crowds that had refused to leave.
  • In response, British army vehicles drove into the crowds, killing several protesters and bystanders. British soldiers then opened fire on unarmed protestors, killing even more people.
  • Historical records suggest the British attempted to deploy the Garhwal Regiment against the civilians in the marketplace, but two platoons of this respected regiment refused to shoot at unarmed protesters.
  • In retaliation, British officials court-martialled the platoon members with upto eight years of imprisonment.

Aftermath of the massacre

  • The British ramped up the crackdown on Khudai Khidmatgar leaders and members following the Qissa Khwani Bazaar massacre.
  • In response, the movement began involving young women in its struggle against the British, a decision in line with tactics adopted by revolutionaries across undivided India.
  • Women were able to move undetected with more ease than men.
  • According to accounts by Khudai Khidmatgar activists, the British subjected members of the movement to harassment, abuse and coercive tactics adopted elsewhere in the subcontinent.
  • This included physical violence and religious persecution. Following the recruitment of women in the movement, the British also engaged in violence, brutality and abuse of women members.

Khudai Khidmatgars  gets wasted into history

  • British adopted their tactic of sowing divisions on religious grounds in the North-West Frontier Province as well, in an attempt to weaken the Khudai Khidmatgar.
  • In a move that surprised the British government, in August 1931, the Khudai Khidmatgar aligned themselves with the Congress party, forcing the British to reduce the violence they were perpetrated on the movement.
  • The Khudai Khidtmatgar opposed Partition, a stance that many interpreted as the movement not being in favour of the creation of the independent nation of Pakistan.
  • Post 1947, the Khudai Khidmatgar slowly found their political influence decreasing to such an extent that the movement and the massacre 90 years ago in the Bazaar has been wiped out from collective memory (of Pakistan).

History- Important places, persons in news

Ambedkar and the Poona Pact

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Poona Pact, Communal Award

Mains level : Read the attached story

Yesterday was the birth anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar, the chief architect of our constitution. On that occasion, author of the news (originally published in TH) highlights the significance of Poona Pact in the formation of our Constitution.

The Poona Pact of 1932 is a landmark event in India’s struggle for independence. It marked the start of social justice movement in the country under the leadership of Dr. Ambedkar.

What is Poona Pact?

  • In late September 1932, B.R. Ambedkar negotiated the Poona Pact with Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The background to the Poona Pact was the Communal Award of August 1932, which, among other things, reserved 71 seats in the central legislature for the depressed classes.
  • The Award was made by then British PM Ramsay MacDonald on 16 August 1932 to extended separate electorate.
  • It aimed to grant separate electorates in British India for the Forward Caste, Lower Caste, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians, Europeans and then Untouchables.
  • Gandhi, who was opposed to the Communal Award, saw it as a British attempt to split Hindus, and began a fast unto death to have it repealed.

How Poona Pact defeated the Communal Award?

  • Reserved seats: In a settlement negotiated with Gandhi, Ambedkar agreed for depressed class candidates to be elected by a joint electorate.
  • More representation: On his insistence, slightly over twice as many seats (147) were reserved for the depressed classes in the legislature than what had been allotted under the Communal Award.
  • Doors opened for Public Services: In addition, the Poona Pact assured a fair representation of the depressed classes in the public services while earmarking a portion of the educational grant for their uplift.
  • Social acceptance: The Poona Pact was an emphatic acceptance by upper-class Hindus that the depressed classes constituted the most discriminated sections of Hindu society.
  • Increased political say: It was also conceded that something concrete had to be done to give them a political voice as well as a leg-up to lift them from backwardness they could not otherwise overcome.

Significance of the pact

  • The concessions agreed to in the Poona Pact were precursors to the world’s largest affirmative programme launched much later in independent India.
  • It would also not have been lost on him that Muhammad Ali Jinnah, with the separatist tendencies strongly backing him, was watching and waiting to take advantage of the evolving situation.
  • A slew of measures was initiated later to uplift Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Major outcomes

  • The Poona Pact emphatically sealed Ambedkar’s leadership of the depressed classes across India.
  • He made the entire country, and not just the Congress Party, morally responsible for the uplift of the depressed classes.
  • Most of all he succeeded in making the depressed classes a formidable political force for the first time in history.

History- Important places, persons in news

Who are the Nihangs?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nihang cult

Mains level : Not Much

The Patiala incident in which a group of Nihangs attacked a Punjab police officer has put the spotlight on the Nihangs.

This newscard focuses on Nihang cult of Sikhism. Though in news for a different purpose, it is significant for prelims.

Who is a Nihang?

  • Nihang is an order of Sikh warriors, characterized by blue robes, antiquated arms such as swords and spears, and decorated turbans surmounted by steel quoits.
  • Etymologically the word Nihang stems more from the Sanskrit word nihshank which means without fear, unblemished, pure, carefree and indifferent to worldly gains and comfort.
  • The word Nihang also occurs in a hymn in the Guru Granth Sahib, where it alludes to a fearless and unrestrained person.

When was the order formed?

  • Formation of Nihang order can be traced back to the creation of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699.

How were Nihangs different from other Sikhs, and other Sikh warriors?

  • As per an account by the East India Company’s Colonel James Skinner (1778-1841), Khalsa Sikhs were divided into two groups.
  • Those who put on blue attire which Guru Gobind Singh used to wear at the time of battle and those who do not follow any restrictions on the colour of their dress.
  • Both of them follow the profession of soldiery and are brave without peer in the art of musketry and chakarbazi, and the use of quoits.
  • Nihangs observe the Khalsa code of conduct in its strictest sense.
  • They do not profess any allegiance to an earthly master. Instead of saffron they hoist a blue Nishan Sahib (flag) atop their shrines.

What is their role in history?

  • Nihangs had a major role in defending the Sikh panth after the fall of the first Sikh rule (1710-15) when Mughal governors were killing Sikhs, and during the onslaught of Afghan invader Ahmed Shah Durrani (1748-65).
  • Nihangs also took control of the religious affairs of the Sikhs at Akal Takht in Amritsar.
  • They did not consider themselves subordinate to any Sikh chief and thus maintained their independent existence.
  • At Akal Takht, they held the grand council (Sarbat Khalsa) of Sikhs and pronounced the resolution (Gurmata) passed.
  • During Operation Bluestar in June 1984, some Nihangs, namely Ajit Singh Poohla, collaborated with the Punjab police to eliminate militants.

History- Important places, persons in news

What is Windrush Scandal?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Windrush Generation

Mains level : Windrush Scandal

 

The British government has apologised for its treatment of Britons of Caribbean origin, which were wrongly detained or deported for being illegal immigrants, after the publication of a devastating official report.

What is the scandal?

  • The Windrush scandal is a 2018 British political scandal concerning people who were wrongly detained, denied legal rights, threatened with deportation, and, in at least 83 cases wrongly deported from the UK.
  • Many of those affected had been born British subjects and had arrived in the UK before 1973, particularly from Caribbean countries as members of the “Windrush generation”.
  • As well as those who were wrongly deported, an unknown number were wrongly detained, lost their jobs or homes, or were denied benefits or medical care to which they were entitled.
  • A number of long-term UK residents were wrongly refused re-entry to the UK, and a larger number were threatened with immediate deportation by the Home Office.
  • The scandal also prompted a wider debate about British immigration policy and Home Office practice.

Windrush Generation

  • The Windrush generation is named after one of the many vessels that ferried some half a million people from the Caribbean islands to the U.K. in the late 1940s.
  • The “Empire Windrush” ship had brought one of the first groups of West Indian migrants to the UK in 1948.
  • The generation refers to migrants from the Caribbean Commonwealth who had come to the U.K. at a time when they had the right to remain indefinitely in Britain but had had their rights questioned under a toughened immigration regime.

History- Important places, persons in news

Persons in news: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sheikh Mujib and his legacy

Mains level : NA

March 17 is the birth anniversary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (1920-1975), the founding leader of Bangladesh and the country’s first Prime Minister.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1950.jpg

  • Before joining politics, Rahman studied law and political science in Kolkata and Dhaka and agitated for Indian independence.
  • He is referred to as Sheikh Mujib or simply Mujib, the title ‘Bangabandhu’ meaning ‘friend of Bengal’.
  • In 1949, he joined the Awami League, a political party which advocated greater autonomy for East Pakistan.
  • A popular leader in East Pakistan, Rahman played an important role in the six-point movement and the Anti-Ayub movement.

Role in Bangladesh liberation

  • In 1970, his party secured an absolute majority in the Pakistani general elections; the country’s first, winning more seats than all parties in West Pakistan, including Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party.
  • The election results were not honoured; leading to a bloody civil war, and Sheikh Mujib declared Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan on March 26, 1971.
  • The declaration coincided with a ruthless show of strength by the Pakistani military, in which tanks rolled out on the streets of Dhaka and several students and intellectuals were killed.
  • India under then PM Indira Gandhi provided full support to Rahman and Bangladesh’s independence movement, resulting in the creation of a sovereign government at Dhaka in January 1971.

His legacy

  • Rahman, who had been arrested and taken to West Pakistan, returned to Bangladesh after being freed in January 1972.
  • For the next three years, Rahman held the new country’s prime ministerial post, and became a celebrated icon in India as well, admired for his moving speeches and charismatic personality.
  • On 15 August 1975, Rahman was killed in a military coup along with his wife and three sons, including 10-year-old Sheikh Russel.
  • His daughters, the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana, survived as they were abroad at the time.

History- Important places, persons in news

Pyramid of Djoser

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Pyramid of Djoser

Mains level : NA

 

 

Last week, Egypt reopened the Pyramid of Djoser, the first pyramid ever built, after a 14-year restoration. The structure is believed to be designed by Imhotep, described by some as the first architect of the world.

The Pyramid of Djoser

  • The 4,700-year-old pyramid is 60 metres tall, and consists of six stacked steps over a burial shaft tomb 28 metres deep and seven metres wide.
  • It is located at the Saqqara archaeological site, 24 km southwest of Cairo, outside the royal capital of Memphis. A complex of halls and courts is located around the pyramid.
  • It is the world’s oldest monumental stone building.
  • Today a UNESCO world heritage site, the pyramid was constructed during the era of Pharaoh Djoser, the second king of Ancient Egypt’s Third Dynasty (2650 BC– 2575 BC).
  • The Pharaoh’s 19-year reign saw significant technical innovations in stone architecture.
  • The pyramid’s architect, Imhotep, was also a physician and astrologer, and served as Djoser’s minister.

History- Important places, persons in news

Who were the Marakkars?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Marakkars

Mains level : Various conquests during colonial expansion

The big-budget Malayalam film Marakkar: The Lion of the Arabian Sea is set to be released. It is a war film depicting the heroics of the Marakkar clan, whose leaders were naval chieftains of the Zamorin of Calicut during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Who were the Marakkars?

  • By some accounts, they were of Arab origin and had migrated from Tunisia to Panthalayani near Koyilandy in present-day Kozhikode, and later moved to the region around present-day Kottakkal and Thikkodi near Payyoli.
  • By other accounts, the Marakkars were descendants of affluent businessman from the Cochin kingdom who migrated later to Calicut.
  • Historians say the name ‘Marakkar’ could have originated from maram or marakkalam, meaning ship, as these families lived along the coast and used ships.
  • Alternatively, it could have originated from the Arabic word markaba, meaning those who migrated via ships.
  • The Marakkars were mostly Muslims, but in some parts, they have been found to be Hindus as well.

What was the war against the Portuguese about?

  • The Zamorin, Samoothiri in Malayalam, was the title given to rulers of the Calicut kingdom on the Malabar coast.
  • Faced with invading Portuguese ships, the Zamorin reached out to the Marakkars to defend the coast. The Marakkars fought against Portuguese invaders for nearly a century.
  • They were led in succession by four Marakkars, chief admirals who were appointed by the Zamorin with the title of Kunjali.
  • Related by bloodline, they were Kuttyali Marakkar (Kunjali Marakkar I, appointed in 1507), Kutty Pokker (Kunjali Marakkar II), Pathu Marakkar (Kunjali Marakkar III) and Muhammad Ali Marakkar (Kunjali Marakkar IV, appointed in 1595).
  • Their strategy was similar to guerrilla warfare. The Portuguese had massive ships which could not make easy manoeuvres in the sea.
  • The Marakkars used small ships which could easily surround the Portuguese ships, enabling the fighters to attack at will.

Who is depicted the ‘Lion of the Arabian Sea’?

  • Kunjali Marakkar IV earned his reputation with his fierce onslaught on Portuguese ships, the favours he gave those who fought against the Portuguese, and his efforts to strengthen the fort at Kottakkal.
  • When he took charge in 1595, relations between the Zamorin and the Marakkars were deteriorating.
  • The Zamorin was feeling threatened by Kunjali Marakkar IV’s popularity, and by reports (said to be spread by the Portuguese) that he was planning to create a Muslim empire.
  • In 1597, the Zamorin signed a peace treaty with the Portuguese and attacked Kottakkal fort. For months, the Marakkars resisted the attack by the Zamorin’s Nair soldiers and the Portuguese fleet.
  • Eventually, as Portugal sent more forces and the Zamorin mounted his effort, Marakkar surrendered to the Zamorin on the assurance that their lives would be spared. But the Portuguese violated the terms, arrested him, took him to Goa and beheaded him.

History- Important places, persons in news

Persons in news: Rajkumari Amrit Kaur

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Amrit Kaur

Mains level : Not Much

 

 

Former PM Indira Gandhi and freedom fighter Rajkumari Amrit Kaur are mentioned in TIME magazine’s list of the 100 most powerful women who defined the last century in a new project that aims to feature those women who were “often overshadowed”.

Who was Amrit Kaur?

  • Amrit Kaur was the first woman in independent India who joined the Cabinet as the Health Minister and remained in that position for 10 years.
  • Born into the Kapurthala royal family, she was educated in Oxford and returned to India in 1918, and began to be drawn towards the work and teachings of MK Gandhi.

Her contributions

  • Before taking up the position of a Health Minister, Kaur was Mahatma Gandhi’s secretary.
  • During these 10 years, she founded the Indian Council for Child Welfare.
  • She also laid the foundation of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Lady Irwin College in Delhi in the following years.
  • Apart from joining the nationalist freedom struggle, Kaur also began work on a number of other social and political issues such as the purdah system, child marriage and the Devadasi system.
  • She passed away in 1964, at the age of 75.

Role in the freedom struggle

  • In 1936, hoping that more women would join the freedom struggle, Gandhiji invited her.
  • In the following years, as Kaur started interacting with other freedom fighters such as Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Mahatma Gandhi, she gave up her princely comforts and began to discipline herself by responding to the Gandhian call.
  • When the civil disobedience movement took off in the 1930s, Kaur dedicated her life to it.
  • Kaur was jailed after the Quit India movement and carried to the jail a spinning wheel, the Bhagwat Gita and the Bible.
  • Further, while Kaur advocated for equality, she was not in favour of reservations for women and believed that universal adult franchise would open the doors for women to enter into the legislative and administrative institutions of the country.
  • In light of this, she believed that there was no place left for reservation of seats.

History- Important places, persons in news

Biju Patnaik: The flying ace who helped Indian and foreign freedom movements 

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Biju Patnaik

Mains level : Not Much

 

 

Recently, 104th birth anniversary of former Odisha chief minister Biju Patnaik was celebrated. He was a decorated freedom fighter. PM tweeted an Intelligence Bureau document from 1945 to show how Patnaik bravely lent his flying skills to rescue freedom fighters like Ram Manohar Lohia.

Biju Pattnaik

  • Bijayananda Patnaik (1916-1997), popularly known as Biju Patnaik, was an Indian politician, aviator and businessman. As politician, he served twice as the Chief Minister of the State of Odisha.
  • It is well known that Biju Patnaik actively helped freedom fighters in the 1940s.
  • His daring was evident as he actively joined the Quit India movement in 1942 and collaborated with the underground leaders like Jayaprakash Narayan, Aruna Asif Ali and Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, even while in the British service.
  • Patnaik was imprisoned by the British Government for three years later.

Role in foreign freedom struggles

  • As an officer in the Royal Indian Air Force in the early 1940s, Patnaik flew innumerable sorties to rescue British families fleeing the Japanese advance on Rangoon, the capital of Burma.
  • He also dropped arms and supplies to Chinese troops fighting the Japanese and later to the Soviet army struggling against Hitler’s onslaught near Stalingrad.
  • On the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, Patnaik was honoured by the Russians for his help,” the obit noted.
  • Interestingly, Nehru entrusted Patnaik with rescuing Indonesian resistance fighters who were fighting their Dutch colonisers.
  • Accompanied by wife Gyanwati, “the lanky pilot flew an old Dakota aircraft to Singapore en route to Jakarta where the rebels were entrenched” in 1948.
  • Dodging the Dutch guns, he entered Indonesian airspace and landed on an improvised airstrip near Jakarta.
  • Using left-over fuel from abandoned Japanese military dumps, Patnaik took off with prominent rebels, including Sultan Shariyar and Achmad Sukarno, for a secret meeting with Nehru at New Delhi.

History- Important places, persons in news

[pib] India’s nominations for 2020 World Heritage List

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : World Heritage Sites

Mains level : Not Much

Government of India has submitted two nomination dossiers namely ‘Dholavira: A Harappan City’ and ‘Monuments and Forts of Deccan Sultanate’ for inclusion in the World Heritage List for the year 2020.  Govt. of Madhya Pradesh has submitted the proposal of ‘Group of Monuments at Mandu’ in the year 2019.

What are World Heritage Sites?

  • A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area, selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for having cultural, historical, scientific or other forms of significance, which is legally protected by international treaties.
  • The sites are judged to be important for the collective and preservative interests of humanity.
  • To be selected, a WHS must be an already-classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance (such as an ancient ruin or historical structure, building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, mountain, or wilderness area).
  • It may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, and serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet.
  • The sites are intended for practical conservation for posterity, which otherwise would be subject to risk from human or animal trespassing, unmonitored/uncontrolled/unrestricted access, or threat from local administrative negligence.
  • The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 “states parties” that are elected by their General Assembly.

UNESCO World Heritage Committee

  • The World Heritage Committee selects the sites to be listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger.
  • It monitors the state of conservation of the World Heritage properties, defines the use of the World Heritage Fund and allocates financial assistance upon requests from States Parties.
  • It is composed of 21 states parties that are elected by the General Assembly of States Parties for a four-year term.
  • India is NOT a member of this Committee.
  • Recently, its 42nd meeting in 2018 was held in Manama Bahrain.

Also read:

https://www.civilsdaily.com/news/pib-india-gets-its-37th-unesco-world-heritage-site/

https://www.civilsdaily.com/news/jaipur-gets-unesco-world-heritage-tag/

https://www.civilsdaily.com/news/orchha-on-unesco-world-heritage-sites-tentative-list/

 


Read more about the Tentative lists from India at:

http://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/IN

History- Important places, persons in news

Taj Mahal Complex

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Taj Mahal

Mains level : Conservation of historical monuments

The Taj Mahal complex has been spruced up for the visit of US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.

About Taj

  • The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the city of Agra.
  • It was commissioned in 1632 by Shah Jahan (reigned from 1628 to 1658) to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal; it also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself.
  • The tomb is the centrepiece of a 17-hectare (42-acre) complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall.
  • The Taj Mahal complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2015 would be approximately 52.8 billion rupees (U.S. $827 million).
  • The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.
  • The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”.

Various threats to Taj

  • The Supreme Court had earlier expressed concern over the marble of the Taj changing colour, and asked how the white marble, which had first become yellowish, was now turning brownish and greenish.
  • Firstly, the polluting industries and the vehicular emissions in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) area are a major source of pollution.
  • The second reason is that the Yamuna River, which flows behind the Taj, has become highly polluted.
  • There is no aquatic life in it, and has caused insect and algae infestation on the Taj Mahal and other monuments situated on its banks.

Use of mud packs

  • Increasing pollution in the air over the Gangetic Valley affecting the Taj has been a reason for concern for archaeologists and conservationists for long now.
  • Mud packs were applied on the surface of the monument first in 1994, and then again in 2001, 2008, and, most recently, beginning 2014.
  • Mud packs have been one of the ASI’s favoured ways to remove the yellow stains that have appeared over the years on the Taj Mahal’s white marble facade.
  • The clay is applied in the form of a thick paste that absorbs the grime, grease and bird droppings on the marble, before being washed off using distilled water.
  • The process is slow and tortuous, but is believed to leave the marble cleaner and shinier.
  • The intricate parts are applied with special “multani mitti’ (Fuller’s clay) treatment.

History- Important places, persons in news

In news: 1946 Royal Indian Navy Mutiny

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : RIN Mutiny

Mains level : Significance of the Mutiny

 

Seventy-four years ago on February 18, 1946, some 1,100 Indian sailors or “ratings” of the HMIS Talwar and the Royal Indian Navy (RIN) Signal School in Bombay declared a hunger strike, triggered by the conditions and treatment of Indians in the Navy.

RIN Mutiny

  • A “slow down” the strike was also called, which meant that the ratings would carry out their duties slowly.
  • The morning after February 18, somewhere between 10,000-20,000 sailors joined the strike, as did shore establishments in Karachi, Madras, Calcutta, Mandapam, Visakhapatnam, and the Andaman Islands.
  • One of the triggers for the RIN strike was the arrest of a rating, BC Dutt, who had scrawled “Quit India” on the HMIS Talwar.
  • The day after the strike began, the ratings went around Bombay in lorries, waving the Congress flag, and getting into scraps with Europeans and policemen who tried to confront them.

Their demands

While the immediate trigger was the demand for better food and working conditions, the agitation soon turned into a wider demand for independence from British rule. The protesting sailors demanded:

  • release of all political prisoners including those from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army (INA),
  • action against the commander for ill-treatment and using insulting language,
  • revision of pay and allowances to put RIN employees on a par with their counterparts in the Royal Navy,
  • demobilisation of RIN personnel with provisions for peacetime employment,
  • release of Indian forces stationed in Indonesia, and better treatment of subordinates by their officers

Upsurge of nationalism

  • The RIN strike came at a time when the Indian nationalist sentiment had reached fever pitch across the country.
  • The winter of 1945-46 saw three violent upsurges: in Calcutta in November 1945 over the INA trials; in February 1946, also in Calcutta, over the sentencing of INA officer Rashid Ali; and, in that same month, the ratings’ uprise in Bombay.
  • This chain of events led to the “mounting fever of excitement affecting the whole political climate”.
  • Soon, ordinary people joined the ratings, and life came to a virtual standstill in both Bombay and Calcutta. There were meetings, processions, strikes, and hartals.
  • In Bombay, labourers participated in a general strike called by the Communist Party of India and the Bombay Students’ Union. In many cities across India, students boycotted classes in solidarity.
  • The response of the state was brutal. It is estimated that over 220 people died in police firing, while roughly 1,000 were injured.

Significance of the events

  • The RIN revolt remains a legend today. It was an event that strengthened further the determination among all sections of the Indian people to see the end of British rule.
  • Deep solidarity and amity among religious groups was in evidence, which appeared to run counter to the rapidly spreading atmosphere of commuanal hatred and animosity.
  • However, communal unity was more in the nature of organisational unity than a unity among the two major communities.
  • Within months, India was to be devoured by a terrible communal conflagration.

Final nail in the coffin

  • This revolt was different from the other revolts in the sense that, after 1857 it was the first time that the British realized that the Royal Indian forces were no more obedient to the British commands and were in concurrence with the overall defiant nationalist sentiments prevailing in the entire country.
  • Mutinies are usually confined to a particular station, establishment or ship. However, this was the first instance when the entire service joined the revolt.
  • Most striking feature was that it was directed against the British government and not against superior officers – not a single officer, British or Indian, was harmed.
  • Fearless action by the masses was an expression of militancy in the popular mind. Revolt in the armed forces had a great liberating effect on the minds of people.
  • It displayed that the armed forces no longer obeyed the British authority rather it was the nationalist leaders who held sway over them. The RIN revolt was seen as an event marking the end of British rule.

Aftermath

  • The leaders realized that any mass uprising would inevitably carry the risk of not being amenable to centralized direction and control. Besides, now that independence and power were in sight, they were eager not to encourage indiscipline in the armed forces.
  • It was immediately after this revolt that PM Atlee dispatched the Cabinet Mission to India, so it is also inferred that the mutiny hastened the process of transfer of power to India.
  • It is also important to mention that the revolt came to an end after the nationalist leaders, Sardar Patel and Mohammad Ali Jinnah on receiving a request to intervene by the British, issued a statement calling upon the mutineers to surrender.

History- Important places, persons in news

Battle of Çanakkale/Gallipoli

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Battle of Çanakkale/Gallipoli

Mains level : Paper 1: World History

India issued a strong demarche to Turkey over its outspoken President Erdogan’s comments in Pakistan. Erdogan has criticised India’s policy in Jammu and Kashmir and compared it with that of Turkey during World War I.

Gallipoli campaign

  • The Battle of Çanakkale, also known as the Gallipoli campaign or the Dardanelles campaign, is considered to be one of the bloodiest of World War I, during which the Ottoman army faced off against the Allied forces, leading to the slaughter of tens of thousands of soldiers on both sides.
  • In March 1915, with the war in Europe stalemated in the trenches, Winston Churchill, then Britain’s First Lord of the Admiralty, devised a plan to take control of the Dardanelles.
  • The plan was to capture strategic strait connecting the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, and thus reach Constantinople (today’s Istanbul) at the mouth of the Bosporus.
  • By taking Constantinople, the Allies hoped to break the Turks, who had recently entered the war on the side of Germany.

The massacre

  • The Allies carried out a heavy naval bombardment of Turkish forts along the shores of the Dardanelles, and when that failed, followed up with what was the biggest amphibious landing in military history at the time.
  • However, what the British and their allies had hoped would be the turning point in the war ended up as a catastrophe.
  • In the nine months upto January 1916, when the Allies called off the campaign and evacuated, more than 40,000 British soldiers had been killed, along with 8,000 Australians. On the Turkish side, some 60,000 had perished.

Legacy of the battle

  • The battle resulted in a demotion for Churchill and the emergence on the Turkish side of the young military hero, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
  • But the legacy of Gallipoli goes far beyond its military aspects — the event is today one of the central pillars of the modern Turkish identity.
  • The campaign is also seen to have seeded Australian and New Zealand national consciousness — April 25, the anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, is observed as ANZAC Day, the day of national remembrance for the war dead.

History- Important places, persons in news

Erstwhile State of Rampur

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : State of Rampur

Mains level : Post independence consolidation and reorganization

Erstwhile royals of the state of Rampur in Uttar Pradesh are fighting over the assets and legacy of Nawab Raza Ali Khan, who acceded to the Indian Union at the time of Independence.  The Supreme Court ended India’s longest-running civil dispute last year, and the process of evaluating the inheritance is currently ongoing.

The state of Rampur

  • The state of Rampur was founded by Nawab Ali Muhammad Khan, the adopted son of Sardar Daud Khan, the chief of the Rohillas in Northern India.
  • The Rohillas were Afghans who entered India in the 18th century as the Mughal Empire was in decline, and took control of Rohilkhand, at the time known as Katehr.
  • In 1737, Nawab Muhammad Khan received the territory of Katehr from Emperor Muhammad Shah, only to lose everything to Nawab Wazir of Oudh in 1746.
  • Two years later, he assisted Ahmad Shah Durrani in his conquest of India, recovering all his former possessions.
  • Over the next two centuries the Rampur royals, earlier a warring clan, struck deep roots, and with the blessings of the British, began to build one of the richest principalities in the country.

Patrons of the arts, culture

  • The Rampur royals have played an important role in the socio-cultural history of the Ganga-Yamuna belt.
  • They run the Amir Raza library in Rampur, once known as the official darbar of the Nawab, which is home to some 15,000 manuscripts in Arabic, Urdu, Persian and Turkish, as well as a seventh-century Quran.
  • The library also houses 2,500 specimens of Islamic calligraphy, 5,000 miniature paintings, and 60,000 printed books, besides the extremely rare Persian translation of Valmiki’s Ramayana, which is believed to have been Emperor Aurangzeb’s personal copy.
  • In the 19th century, the royals established courts of law and a standing army, and built irrigation works. In the 20th century, they set up sugar and textile mills.
  • Many Hindus were employed in senior administrative positions in the state. Nawab Raza Ali Khan was known to have written poetry in Bhojpuri for Holi.
  • The Rampur court was also a great patron of the arts, and is known to have patronised Ghalib and Begum Akhtar, as well as the tabla player Ahmad Jan Thirakwa, sarangi player Bundu Khan, sarod player Fida Hussein Khan, been player Wazir Khan, and the kathak dancers Acchan Maharaj and Kalka Prasad.

After Independence

  • Rampur, under Nawab Raza Ali, was the first kingdom to accede to India in 1949, becoming the only Muslim-majority district in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Soon after accession, the Nawab handed over the official royal residence, the Rampur Qila or Fort, built in 1775, to the Indian government, along with several other properties.
  • In return, the Indian government bestowed two key rights to the Nawab — he was granted full ownership of the properties, and guaranteed succession to the gaddi or rulership of the state based on customary law, which gave exclusive property rights to the eldest son.
  • When Raza Ali Khan died in 1966, he had three wives, three sons, and six daughters.
  • His eldest son Murtaza Ali Khan succeeded him as head of the state, as per custom.
  • The government recognised him as the sole inheritor of all his father’s private properties and issued a certificate to this effect. But his brother challenged this in the civil court.

History- Important places, persons in news

Person in news: Dara Shikoh

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Dara Shikoh and his legacy

Mains level : Secular trends in Mughal Administration

 

The Ministry of Culture recently set up a panel of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to locate the grave of the Mughal prince Dara Shikoh (1615-59) nearby Humayun’s Tomb complex in Delhi.

Dara Shikoh’s legacy

  • The eldest son of Shah Jahan, Dara Shikoh was killed after losing the war of succession against his brother Aurangzeb.
  • Dara Shikoh is described as a “liberal Muslim” who tried to find commonalities between Hindu and Islamic traditions.
  • He translated into Persian the Bhagavad Gita as well as 52 Upanishads.

Antithesis to Aurangzeb

  • Some historians argue that if Dara Shikoh had ascended the Mughal throne instead of Aurangzeb, it could have saved thousands of lives lost in religious clashes.
  • Dara Shukoh was the total antithesis of Aurangzeb, in that he was deeply syncretic, warm-hearted and generous — but at the same time, he was also an indifferent administrator and ineffectual in the field of battle.

The remains of Dara Shikoh

  • According to the Shahjahannama, after Aurangzeb defeated Dara Shikoh, he brought the latter to Delhi in chains.
  • His head was cut off and sent to Agra Fort, while his torso was buried in the Humayun’s Tomb complex.
  • Italian traveller Niccolao Manucci gave a graphic description of the day in Travels of Manucci, as he was there as a witness to the whole thing. That is the basis of the thesis.

History- Important places, persons in news

Conservation plan for Konark Sun Temple

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Konark Sun Temple

Mains level : Temple architecture of India

A plan to restore and preserve the nearly 800-year-old Konark Sun Temple in Odisha would be drawn up soon. Among the potential choices before the government would be to fill in more sand or to remove all the sand andput in place alternate support.

Konark Sun Temple

  • Konark Sun Temple is a 13th-century CE Sun temple at Konark about 36 kilometres northeast from Puri on the coastline of Odisha, India.
  • The temple is attributed to king Narasinga Deva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty about 1250 CE.
  • Dedicated to the Hindu Sun God Surya, what remains of the temple complex has the appearance of a 100-foot (30 m) high chariot with immense wheels and horses, all carved from stone.
  • Once over 200 feet (61 m) high, much of the temple is now in ruins, in particular the large shikara tower over the sanctuary; at one time this rose much higher than the mandapa that remains.
  • The structures and elements that have survived are famed for their intricate artwork, iconography, and themes, including erotic kama and mithuna scenes.
  • Also called the Surya Devalaya, it is a classic illustration of the Odisha style of Architecture or Kalinga Architecture.
  • Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1984 it remains a major pilgrimage site for Hindus, who gather here every year for the Chandrabhaga Mela around the month of February.

Earlier restoration efforts

  • It had been filled with sand and sealed by the British authorities in 1903 in order to stabilize the structure, a/c to ASI.
  • A scientific study was carried out by the Roorkee-based Central Building Research Institute from 2013 till 2018 to ascertain the temple’s structural stability as well as the status of the filled-in sand.
  • The sand filled in over 100 years ago had settled, leading to a gap of about 17 feet.  However the structure was found to be stable.

History- Important places, persons in news

Kumbhabishegam at Brahadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Brahadeeswarar Temple

Mains level : Temple Architecture

 

  • Tens of thousands of pilgrims thronged Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu’s Cauvery delta to witness the Kumbhabishegam (consecration) ceremony at the Sri Brahadeeswarar Temple.
  • This enormously significant event was held after 23 years — and after the Madras High Court had settled an old argument over the ritual purification process only five days previously.
  • The judgment delivered by the Madurai Bench of the court addressed the struggle for supremacy between the Sanskrit and Tamil traditions.

Sri Brahadeeswarar Temple and Kumbhabishegam ceremony

  • The Sri Brahadeeswarar Temple (also spelt Brihadisvara, and called Peruvudaiyar Koyil, which translates simply to ‘Big Temple’) is the most famous of the many temples in Thanjavur.
  • The temple, one of the world’s largest and grandest, was built between 1003 AD and 1010 AD by the great Chola emperor Raja Raja I (c. 985-1014 AD).

Before the High Court

  • The court, in a dispute over which language should be used in the slokas at the kumbhabishegam, agreed with the state government’s affidavit that the ceremony should be in both Sanskrit and Tamil.
  • The Temple committee had demanded that the Kumbhabishegam should be held only in Tamil.
  • The court ruled the choice to be vested with the devotees to seek for their archanas to be performed at their wishes by chanting the manthras either in Tamil or in Sanskrit.

History- Important places, persons in news

Poets quoted in Budget Speech

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Read the attached story

Mains level : Not Much

Finance Minister has quoted four poets in her Budget speech: Pt. Dinanath Nadim, Avvaiyar, Thiruvalluvar and Kalidas, a sweep from Tamil Nadu to Kashmir, from ancient to contenporary India.

Dinanath Nadim

  • The Kashmiri nationalist poet Dinanath Nadim was at the centre of Kashmir’s progressive movement, especially in the 1930s, 40s and 50s.
  • Nadim was born in 1916, and passed away in 1988. Nadim wrote in Kashmiri, Hindi and Urdu, and inspired a powerful tradition of Kashmiri poetry.
  • Nadim received the Sahitya Akademi award in 1986 for his opera Shuhul Kull (The Shady Tree).
  • Among his other well known works are Vitasta (Jhelum River), Safar Taa Shehjaar (The Journey And The Shade), Heemaal Taa Naaegrai (Heemaal and Naagraaj), and Bombur Taa Yamberzal (The Bumble Bee And The Narcissus Flower).

Avvaiyar

  • Avvaiyar translates to “Respected Woman”, and the title was used by several woman poets who contributed to Tamil literature during different periods of time.
  • In the Budget’s section on “Aspirational India”, Sitharaman said, “Our government shall encourage balanced use of all kinds of fertilizers including the traditional organic and other innovative fertilizers.
  • This is a necessary step to change the prevailing incentive regime, which encourages excessive use of chemical fertilisers.”
  • She quoted from Aaathichoodi’s verse 81 which translate to “first tend to till one’s land and then eat. One must eat only after work.”

Thiruvalluvar

  • Thiruvalluvar is fondly referred to as Valluvar by Tamils. His ‘Tirukkural’, a collection of 1,330 couplets (‘kurals’ in Tamil), are an essential part of every Tamil household.
  • It holds importance in the same way the Bhagavad Gita or the Ramayana are in traditional North Indian Hindu households.
  • He is an essential anchor for Tamils in tracing their cultural roots; Tamils are taught to learn his couplets word-for-word, and to follow his teachings in their day-to-day living.
  • FM quoted Thiruvalluvar: “Pini Inmai Selvam Vilaivu Inbam Emam Ani Enba”, which loosely translates to having the “five jewels” required for a country that is without illness, with wealth, with good crops, with happiness, as well as safety and security.

Kalidas

  • Kalidas, the legendary Sanskrit scholar, is believed to have lived during the middle of the fourth and early fifth centuries AD, during the reigns of Chandragupta II Vikramaditya and Kumaragupta.
  • Raghuvamsa, from which FM quoted, is one of two long epic poems written by Kalidas.
  • She mentioned the 18th verse: “Surya, the Sun, collects vapour from little drops of water. So does the King. They give back copiously. They collect only for people’s wellbeing.”

History- Important places, persons in news

Liberation of Auschwitz

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Liberation of Auschwitz

 

  • Yesterday on January 27th survivors of the Holocaust and international heads of state marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
  • During the Second World War, the government of Nazi Germany killed approximately 17 million people across Europe in half a dozen camps specifically designated for killings.
  • Of these seven killing centers, the camp at Auschwitz, perhaps the most well known, was the largest in size.

Why is January 27 an important date in Holocaust history?

  • During the final stages of the Second World War, months before the fall of Nazi Germany, Nazi officials began forcibly moving prisoners between the camps spread across Europe.
  • Called ‘Death Marches’, this forcible displacement on foot over long distances in the bitter cold, with little to no food resulted in many deaths.
  • Some researchers believe that prisoners were moved from camps to prevent the liberation of prisoners held inside these camps and to also remove evidence of crimes against humanity perpetrated by Nazi officials.
  • Prisoners who were very ill and disabled were left to die in the abandoned camps.

Rescue of Auschwitz

  • Allied forces advanced from the West while soldiers belonging to the Red Army of the Soviet Union began entering concentration camps and killing centers across Europe, liberating survivors.
  • The first camp that the Red Army soldiers liberated was the Majdanek camp in Poland in July 1944.
  • The Army entered Auschwitz on January 27, 1945, finding hundreds of sick, starving and exhausted prisoners, who had somehow survived.
  • In 2005, the UN-designated January 27 as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

What occurred during the liberation of Auschwitz?

  • Along with surviving prisoners, the Red Army also found hordes of items belonging to the prisoners that had been stripped from them by Nazi officials when they first arrived at Auschwitz.
  • The prisoners were so weak after having been starved for prolonged periods of time, that despite medical intervention, many died days after their rescue.
  • Several soldiers in the Red Army and in the Allied troops later gave testimonies concerning the sights that awaited them when they first entered the camps in Auschwitz and elsewhere.
  • Although Nazi officials had destroyed many warehouses and crematoria where property looted from prisoners had been stored and where bodies had been disposed, liberating troops still found evidence of the crimes and brutality perpetrated against the prisoners.

What made Auschwitz unique?

  • Historical records show that despite attempts by Nazi officials to obliterate prisoners, particularly those at Auschwitz, there were survivors who lived to provide testimony against Nazi officials.
  • Several factors set Auschwitz apart from other camps across Europe.
  • The camp at Auschwitz had originally been built to hold Polish political prisoners but by March 1942, it became one of the main centres for the Nazi’s Final Solution to the Jewish Question.

Aftermath of the Holocaust

  • Trials were held against Nazi officers and people who worked inside the camps in various capacities and perpetrated crimes against humanity in the camps of Auschwitz and elsewhere in Europe.
  • These individuals included both men and women, many who escaped accountability for their crimes after the fall of Nazi Germany.
  • To evade justice, many SS officers changed their identities and escaped to other parts of Europe, the US and to other parts of the world.
  • The camps at Auschwitz have become an important reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust and in 1947 the government of Poland made the site a state memorial.
  • In 1979, UNESCO added the Auschwitz memorial to its list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.