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French Honour to Carnatic Vocalist Aruna Sairam

Carnatic vocalist, composer, collaborator, humanitarian and speaker Aruna Sairam has been honoured with the French government's highest honour- Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des award.

  • Aruna Sairam has been selected for this award not just for her singing prowess, but also for her contribution towards development of the Indo-France relationship.

EK Janaki Ammal

The 125th birth anniversary of Edavalath Kakkat Janaki Ammal, a pioneering botanist and the first Indian woman to be awarded a PhD in the botanical sciences was observed on 4 November 2022.

  • Janaki Ammal is known widely for her contributions to science – in the field of genetics, cytology, evolution, and more.
  • She was recently the inspiration for Savithri Preetha Nair, who wrote the scientist’s biography ‘Chromosome Woman, Nomad Scientist: E K Janaki Ammal, A Life 1897-1984’.
  • She worked on making several intergeneric and interspecific hybrids involving sugarcane and related grass species.
  • These works were highly significant, as she is believed to have been responsible for creating sugarcane hybrids that yielded sweeter sugar.
  • Along with C.D. Darlington, she authored ‘The Chromosome Atlas of Cultivated Plants’ in 1945 which contained her work on many species.
  • To honour her work, the Royal Horticultural Society named a variety of Magnolia blossoms after her – the Magnolia Kobus Janaki Ammal.

Thailand Court suspends Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha

On 24th August 2022, Thailand's Constitutional Court suspended Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha from office until it rules on a petition filed by opposition parties. In the meanwhile, a caretaker will be appointed to lead the government.

  • This followed after the court agreed unanimously to hear a case brought by opposition parties.

Opposition Parties’ Claim

  • They argue that Prayut has reached the end of his eight-year term limit as prime minister. Thailand’s military-drafted constitution was promulgated in 2017 after a referendum that limits prime ministers to eight years in office cumulatively.
  • Prayuth first awarded himself the prime minister post in 2014, after staging a military coup. The opposition argues that Prayuth’s years as premier started in August 2014, when he received the royal endorsement signed by King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Ruling Party’s Stand

  • The ruling party contends that Prayuth’s term started in 2019 when he was elected to the premiership after the first general election held under the latest constitution.

Role of Constitutional Court

  • It is not the first time the Constitutional Court has played a role in Thai politics -- it cancelled the results of general election in 2006 and 2014.

Martyrdom Day of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur

National Monuments Authority is observing martyrdom day of great warrior Baba Banda Singh Bahadur on 25th June at Red Fort Lawns in New Delhi.

  • Baba Banda Singh Bahadur was a great Sikh warrior and a commander of Khalsa army who defeated the Mughals and freed a large part of North India.
  • He established the Khalsa rule in Punjab.
  • Banda Singh Bahadur abolished the Zamindari system, and granted property rights to the tillers of the land.
  • He was a Noble ruler who introduced the Nanak Shahi coins.
  • He was captured by Mughal ruler Farrukhsiyar and brought to Delhi and put to death in a most inhuman manner. This martyrdom took place in Mehrauli where a monument still stands in memory of his martyrdom which is an icon of exemplary courage, bravery and deep-rooted faith in dharma.
  • Red fort, New Delhi is the place from where the mughals gave firman for his killing.

Lovlina Borgohain elected Chair of IBA Athletes Committee

India's Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain has been elected as chairman and voting member on the Board of Directors for the International Boxing Association’s (IBA) Athletes Committee

  • Further, Indian boxer Shiva Thapa has also been elected as a member of the IBA Athletes Committee following the election held during the 2021 IBA Men’s World Championships.

Captain Abhilasha Barak: First Woman Combat Aviator in Indian Army

On May 25, 2022, Captain Abhilasha Barak became the first woman combat aviator in the Indian Army.

  • The Officer from Haryana has joined the Army Aviation Corps as a helicopter pilot after concluding a year-long course at the Combat Army Aviation Training School in Nashik, Maharashtra.

Vatican declares ‘Blessed Devasahayam’ - a ‘Saint’

On 15th May 2022, ‘Blessed Devasahayam’, became the first Indian layman to be declared a saint by Pope Francis during a canonisation ceremony held at the Vatican.

  • Devasahayam was born on April 23, 1712 as Neelakanta Pillai into a Hindu Nair family, at Nattalam in Kanyakumari district, which was part of the erstwhile Travancore kingdom.
  • He was an official in the court of Travancore’s Maharaja Marthanda Varma when he was instructed into the Catholic faith by a Dutch naval commander in 1745.
  • He took the name “Lazarus”, or “Devasahayam” in Malayalam, which translates to “God is my help”.
  • While clearing Devasahayam for sainthood in 2020, the Vatican dropped ‘Pillai’ from his name and referred to him as “Blessed Devasahayam”.

100th Birth Anniversary of Bhimsen Joshi

  • The 100th birth anniversary of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was observed on 4 February 2022.
  • He belongs to the Kirana gharana tradition of Hindustani Classical Music.
  • He is known for the khayal form of singing, as well as for his popular renditions of devotional music.
  • He was awarded Padma Shri (1972), Padma Bhushan (1985), Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship (1998), Padma Vibhushan (1999), and Bharat Ratna (2008).

Fatima Sheikh: India's first Muslim Woman Teacher

  • On 9th January 2022, Google celebrated educator and feminist icon Fatima Sheikh, who is widely considered to be India's first Muslim woman teacher, with a doodle.
  • Sheikh, with social reformers Jyotirao and Savitribai Phule, co-founded the Indigenous Library in 1848, one of India's first schools for girls.
  • She met great resistance from the dominant classes who attempted to humiliate those involved in the Satyashodhak movement.

Satyashodhak Samaj

Satyashodhak Samaj was a social reform society founded by Jyotiba Phule in Pune, Maharashtra, on 24 September 1873. It espoused a mission of education and increased social rights and political access for underprivileged groups, focused especially on women, Shudras, and Dalits, in Maharashtra. The Samaj disbanded during the 1930s as leaders left to join the Indian National Congress party.

  • The Indian government shone new light on Fatima Sheikh's achievements in 2014 by featuring her profile in Urdu textbooks alongside other trailblazing educators.

Kailash Satyarthi appointed as SDG Advocate

  • Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi has been appointed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Advocate.
  • Along with Satyarthi, STEM activist Valentina Munoz Rabanal, Microsoft President Brad Smith and K-pop superstars BLACKPINK were also appointed as new SDG Advocates.
  • Satyarthi, the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner from India, will focus on protecting and promoting the rights of children around the world. Satyarthi has fought tirelessly for decades against child labour, slavery and trafficking.
  • Climate action, bridging the digital divide, gender equality and the promotion of the rights of children are key issues to be championed by the new SDG Advocates.
  • The SDG Advocates use their considerable spheres of influence to reach new constituencies to act now and keep the promise of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals for people and for the planet.
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