31st August 2021 Daily Current Affairs

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Questions

A manifesto titled “The Revolutionary”, that was produced as evidence in the Kakori conspiracy case of 1925, was written by

 a) Sachindra Nath Sanyal

 b) W.C. Banerjee

 c) Feroze Shah Mehta

 d) Badruddin Tyabji

2)The Anushilan Samiti formed in 1906 propounded

 a) The doctrine of ‘Council entry’ to weaken the British raj from within

 b) Constitutional methods to achieve administrative reforms

 c) Revolutionary violence as means for ending British rule in India

 d) British support for bringing social reforms in India

3)Sandhya, Yugantar and Kal were:

 a) Revolutionary groups emerged after Non-cooperation movement.

 b) Newspapers and journals advocating revolutionary activities

 c) Books written by Bal Gangadhar Tilak.

 d) Parallel governments formed during ‘Quit India’ movement

Prelims Specific News Items

  1. PIB Shillong Organizes Webinar on ‘Unsung Heroes of Meghalaya’ to Commemorate Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav

Source: This post is based on the article “PIB Shillong Organizes Webinar on ‘Unsung Heroes of Meghalaya’ to Commemorate Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” published in PIB on 28th August 2021.

What is the News?

Press Information Bureau, Shillong has held a virtual discussion on ‘Unsung Heroes of Meghalaya’ as part of the nationwide celebration of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

Important Unsung Heroes of Meghalaya:

U Tirot Sing Sylem:

U Tirot Sing was born in the year 1802 and died in the year 1835. He was one of the chiefs of the Khasi people in the early 19th century.

He declared war and fought against the British for attempts to take over control of the Khasi Hills.

U Sib Charan Roy:

U Sib Charan Roy was a Nationalist and socio-religious reformer, born in 1862 in Sohra, Meghalaya. He was the eldest son of Babu Jeebon Roy, the ‘Father of modern Khasis’.

He joined government service in 1891 as an A.S.I of police. But, he grew disgusted with the oppressive measures resorted by the British Government. Subsequently, he resigned from Government service in 1892.

He joined the Indian National Congress in 1920 and was the only Khasi who attended the famous ‘Lahore Session’ of 1929 and had seen the flag hosting and demand for ‘Purna Swaraj’ (complete independence) by the Congress.

He started a monthly paper ‘U Nongphira’ (watchman).

Furthermore, he knew Sanskrit and translated the Hindu religious book ‘Bhagavad Gita’ into the Khasi language.

U Kiang Nangbah:

U Kiang Nangbah was a Khasi freedom fighter from Meghalaya who led an uprising against the British. 

He was hanged by the British publicly at Iawmusiang in Jowai town in West Jaintia Hills district in 1862. 

A postage stamp was issued by the Government of India to commemorate him in 2001. A government college was also opened at Jowai in 1967 in his honour.

2)About Sambhar Lake:

Sambhar Lake is India’s largest inland saline water body, located near Jaipur in Rajasthan.

The lake is surrounded on all sides by the Aravali hills. The lake is spread across Jaipur and Nagaur districts and also a part of Ajmer district in Rajasthan.

The lake receives water from six rivers: Mantha, Rupangarh, Khari, Khandela, Medtha and Samod.

Ramsar Site: The lake was also designated as a Ramsar site in 1990.

Salt Production: The lake produces 196,000 tonnes of clean salt every year, which is around 9% of India’s salt production.

Migratory Birds: The lake attracts thousands of migratory birds every year.

In 2019, the death of more than 20,000 birds belonging to about 10 species that migrate annually to the lake had made international headlines. Later, it was found that the birds had died due to avian botulism.

About Avian botulism

It is a neuro-muscular illness caused by ingestion of toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.

The bacteria is anaerobic in nature and is commonly found in the soil, rivers, lakes and sea water.

It multiplies in decaying plant or animal materials. The bacteria produces the toxin when it starts reproducing. It is often found in lakes in periods of anoxic conditions and poor water quality.

There are eight types (A, B, C1, C2, D, E, F, and G) of botulinum toxin and they are distinguishable when diagnosed.

Botulinum affects both humans and animals but the type of the toxin varies. Botulinum C affects birds and A, B and E affects humans. 

3) Renovated Jallianwala Bagh sparks concern about erasure of history :-

History: A crowd of thousands had gathered at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar on April 13, 1919, to peacefully protest against the arrest of two nationalist leaders. Hundreds of Indians were killed that day when British soldiers blocked all exits and started firing on them. General Reginald Dyer had ordered the soldiers not to stop firing until all their ammunition was exhausted.

What are the latest changes:- As part of the Bagh’s makeover, the walls of the narrow lane – through which the soldiers led by Dyer accessed the area – have been embossed with sculptures. The points of entry and exit to the Bagh have also been changed, and a lotus pond has been built around the main structure.

The “Shahidi Khu [Martyrs Well]”, where people cornered by the British soldiers jumped in to to save themselves from the firing, has now been enclosed with a glass shield.

Author says that this is an attempt to glamourise and mystify the history and thus the last traces of the pain and anguish of Jallianwala bagh are erased by this.

It is a place where people should feel that pain, rather now they will enjoy the scenic beauty of the bagh.

Hunter Commission Report on Jallianwala Bagh Massacre :- After the terrible massacre at Jallianwala Bagh on 13th April, 1919, the Legislative Council of the government of India constituted the Hunter Commission to examine the mishap that occurred there. On that fateful day, at least a thousand people including women, children and the elderly died, and another 1500 were injured, on the orders of General Dyer. Lord William Hunter led the investigating committee. The commission was formed on 29th October 1919.

The commission submitted its report on 26th May 1920. In it, the majority of the members reprimanded Dyer for a ‘mistaken concept of duty’. It concluded that the gathering was not the result of a conspiracy by Indians. Martial law declared in Punjab was justified. It also concluded that Dyer firing at the mob was justified except that he should have given a warning first, and that the duration of the firing should have been shortened. (He had ordered firing for ten minutes).

A minority report was submitted by the Indian members of the commission who questioned the need for martial law at that time and also contested on the severity of the disturbances.

About Rowlatt Act – The Rowlatt Act was passed by the British government to increase their grip on power over the common folk. This law was passed in March 1919 by the Imperial Legislative Council which gave them the power to arrest any person without any trial. To abolish this act, Gandhi and the other leaders called for a Hartal (suspension of work) to show Indians’ objection to this rule, called the Rowlatt Satyagraha.

Arrest could have been done for a period of 2 years.

4) All about IAEA :- Set up as the world’s “Atoms for Peace” organization in 1957 within the United Nations family.

Reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.

Headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

ROLE:-

Works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.

Seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.

Board of Governors:

22 member states (must represent a stipulated geographic diversity) — elected by the General Conference (11 members every year) – 2 year term.

At least 10 member states — nominated by the outgoing Board.

Board members each receive one vote.

Other Functions:

  • Recommendations to the General Conference on IAEA activities and budget.
  • Responsible for publishing IAEA standards.
  • Responsible for making most of the policy of the IAEA.
  • Appoints the Director General subject to General Conference approval.

Programs:

  • Program of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT).
  • Human Health Program.
  • Water Availability Enhancement Project.
  • International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles, 2000.

EDITORIAL OF THE DAY

Still hanging fire on transparency

In the Article author points out the evidences where Transparency by the government has taken a back seat.

i) Political Parties in RTI : Author says that In 2013, the full bench of the Central Information Commission (CIC) declared six national political parties ‘public authorities’ under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005. Parties were required to appoint Public Information Officers and submit themselves to provisions of the transparency law. But even without obtaining a stay on the Commission’s order from any Court, parties have steadfastly refused to comply with the directive.

ii)Criminalization of Politics : In 2004, 24% of the Members of Parliament had criminal cases pending against them. This figure rose to an alarming 43% after the 2019 general elections. In a bid to address this “malignancy” of criminalisation which could be “fatal to democracy”, the apex court, in a series of judgments, had directed political parties to declare and widely publicise not just the criminal antecedents of candidates, but also inform the electorate why these candidates were found to be more suitable by the party than those without criminal backgrounds.

iii) Electoral Bond Scheme :- Author says that the ruling party introduced the electoral bond scheme in 2018, opening the floodgates of unlimited anonymous funding to political parties by Indian and foreign sources. The Indian political system has traditionally been hostile to the idea of transparency in electoral financing. Political parties have zealously opposed any examination of the linkages between their governments’ policies and decisions and the interests of their major donors. Electoral bonds have dealt a further blow to people’s right to know and consolidated the role of big money in electoral politics.

Why is there a need for more transparency :- Political parties are at the heart of our democracy. They form governments that make policies which have a profound impact on peoples’ lives. In the legislature, elected representatives make laws that govern us. People, therefore, have a right to know how political parties are functioning — who is funding them and what principles they are keeping in mind while taking policy decisions, supporting or opposing bills in the legislature, or while selecting candidates for various elections.

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