ART, CULTURE AND HISTORY
SUBRAMANIA BHARATI: ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF REVOLUTION
THE CONTEXT: C. Subramania Bharati died exactly 100 years ago, on September 11, 1921.
ABOUT SUBRAMANIA BHARATI
- A passionate freedom fighter, social revolutionary, mystic, and visionary who was active during the late period of British rule, he spent much of his all too brief life exiled from British India, in neighbouring Pondicherry.
- When he died suddenly, in 1921, he was just 38 years old. He had had little opportunity to provide for his legacy, literary or otherwise.
- 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.
- 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.
- Aspects of this dream form part of his fantasy story, Gnanaratham (The Chariot of Wisdom), written when he was still in his late 20s.
- He was also against caste system. He declared that there were only two castes-men and women and nothing more than that. Above all, he himself had removed his sacred thread.
- He condemned certain Shastras that denigrated women.
- He believed in the equality of humankind and criticised many preachers for mixing their personal prejudices while teaching the Gita and the Vedas.
BATTLE OF SARAGARHI
THE CONTEXT: 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.
- In book ‘The 36th Sikhs in the Tirah Campaign 1897-98 – Saragarhi and the defence of the Samana forts’, Punjab Chief Minister and military historian Capt Amarinder Singh writes that at the very outset of the battle, these soldiers knew they were looking at certain death but they did not flinch.
ABOUT 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.
- 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.
INDIAN POLITY, GOVERNANCE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
YOUTH SHOULD BE AWARE OF SOCIAL REALITIES AND CHALLENGES: CJI
THE CONTEXT: CJI was speaking at a virtual event on the 128th anniversary of the historic Chicago address of Swami Vivekananda.
- Unity and sacrifice of young people across faiths, beliefs and communities, who took to streets to challenge authoritarian figures, gave the country democratic rights which were being taken for granted today.
- The youth did not tolerate injustice, either to themselves or against others.
- They did not compromise with their ideals. They were not only selfless but also adventurous. They were willing to sacrifice for the cause they believed in.
- It is these unadulterated minds and pure hearts which formed the backbone of our nation. He said it was necessary for youth to be aware of social realities and challenges.
- Any change in the nation’s trajectory always stems from its youth and its participation.
- Swami Vivekananda firmly believed that the true essence of religion was the common good, and tolerance.
- Religion should be above superstitions and rigidities.
- To fulfil the dream of making a resurgent India through the principles of common good and tolerance, we should instil the ideals of Swamiji in today’s youth.
LCA-MK2 TO ROLL OUT NEXT YEAR
THE CONTEXT: The configuration for the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) – Mk2 has been frozen and steel cutting is expected to begin soon while configuration for the fifth-generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) has been frozen and preliminary design completed.
- Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) – Mk2 features enhanced range and endurance including an onboard oxygen generation system, which is being integrated for the first time.
- Heavy weapons of the class of Scalp, Crystal Maze and Spice-2000 will also be integrated on the Mk2.
- LCA-Mk2 will be a heavier and much more capable aircraft than the current LCA variants. The Mk2 is 1,350 mm longer featuring canards and can carry a payload of 6,500 kg compared to the 3,500 kg the LCA can carry.
- Simultaneously, the project for the development of a twin-engine deck-based fighter jet meant to fly from the Navy’s aircraft carriers is also making progress.
NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE GRID TO FINALLY SEE LIGHT OF DAY
THE CONTEXT: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is soon expected to launch the National Intelligence Grid or NATGRID that aims to provide a cutting-edge technology to enhance India’s counter-terror capabilities.
The final “synchronization and testing” of the ambitious electronic database, which was mooted after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, is being carried out so that it can go live.
- NATGRID is an intelligence sharing network that collates data from the standalone databases of the various agencies and ministries of the Indian government. This combined data will be made available to 11 central agencies.
- The NATGRID has been envisaged as a robust mechanism to track suspects and prevent terrorist attacks with real-time data and access to classified information like immigration, banking, individual taxpayers, air and train travel.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
SALINE GARGLE RT-PCR TECHNIQUE
THE CONTEXT: In a notable step forward in India’s fight against COVID-19, Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has transferred the know-how of indigenously developed Saline Gargle RT-PCR technique, used for testing COVID-19 samples.
- The Saline Gargle RT-PCR technology is simple, fast, cost-effective, patient-friendly and comfortable; it also provides instant test results and is well-suited for rural and tribal areas, given minimal infrastructure requirements.
- CSIR-NEERI stated that the innovation developed by the institute has been ‘dedicated to the nation’ to serve society.
- The know-how has been transferred to the Union Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME), on a non-exclusive basis.
- This would enable the innovation to be commercialized and licensed to all capable parties, including private, government and various rural development schemes and departments.
2+2’ MINISTERIAL DIALOGUE BETWEEN INDIA & AUSTRALIA
THE CONTEXT: Press Statement was released by Raksha Mantri after ‘2+2’ Ministerial Dialogue between India & Australia.
KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF DIALOGUE
- In-depth discussion on bilateral & regional issues
- Afghanistan, maritime security in Indo-Pacific, cooperation in multilateral formats & other related topics discussed
- Emphasis on ensuring free flow of trade, adherence to international rules & sustainable economic growth in the entire region.
- Invitation to Australia to engage in India’s growing defence industry
SAUDI, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS TO VISIT INDIA
THE CONTEXT: A week after hosting intelligence and security chiefs of the U.S. and Russia, New Delhi is preparing for visits by the Saudi and Iranian Foreign Ministers, officials confirmed, as part of a series of engagements aimed at “broad-basing” discussions on Afghanistan with partner countries.
- Saudi Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud is expected in New Delhi this weekend, for his first visit to India as Foreign Minister.
- While both engagements are expected to focus on bi-lateral issues, the developments in Afghanistan will be a key component.
- Jaishankar also thanked Iran’s facilitation of India’s evacuation flights from Afghanistan that had needed to overfly Iran and bypass Pakistan.
SOURCE : TH
Prelim Practice Question
1. The famous story, Gnanaratham (The Chariot of Wisdom) is written by:
a) Sarojini Naidu
b) Subramania Bharati
c) V O Chidambaram Pillai
d) Subramania Iyer
ANSWER FOR SEPTEMBER 10, 2021 PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS (REFER TO RELEVANT ARTICLE)
- POSHAN Abhiyaan is the Government of India’s flagship programme to improve nutritional outcomes for children, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
- POSHAN Abhiyaan is a Jan Andolan or “People’s Movement” by incorporating inclusive participation of public representatives of local bodies, government departments of the States/UTs, social organizations and the public and private sector at large.
- In order to ensure community mobilization and bolster people’s participation, every year, the month of September is celebrated as POSHAN Maah across the country.
- The wide gamut of activities during the POSHAN Maah this year broadly focus on Plantation Drive for POSHAN VATIKA by all the stakeholders in the space available at Anganwadis, School Premises, Gram Panchayats and other places.