Current Affairs - Indian Art, Culture & Heritage

River Ganga

Why is it in News?

As per a study of CSIR-NEERI, it has been found that River Ganga contains significantly higher proportion of organisms with antibacterial properties.

River Ganga:

  • Source of origin: The Ganga rises from the Gangotri glacier near Gomukh in Uttarkashi district of the state of Uttarakhand.
  • The river basin of Ganga is bounded by the Himalayas in the north, Aravalli on the west, by the Vindhyas and Chota Nagpur Plateau on the south and by the Brahmaputra Ridge on the eastern front.
  • At Devprayag, River Alaknanda meets Bhagirathi and from here it is called Ganga; before Devprayag it is called Bhagirathi.
  • The largest tributary to the Ganga is the Ghaghara, which meets it before Patna, in Bihar, bearing much of the Himalayan glacier melt from Northern Nepal. The Gandak, which comes from near Katmandu, is another big Himalayan tributary.

Related Facts for Prelims:

  • River Yamuna is the right-bank tributary of the Ganga. It rises from the Yamunotri glacier on the Banderpunch peaks of the Lower Himalaya in Uttarakhand.
  • Rudraprayag is the place of confluence of Mandakini River and Alaknanda River.
  • Nandaprayag is the place of confluence of Nandakini River and Alaknanda River.
  • Ganga meets Bay of Bengal at Sagar Island.
  • Yamuna and Ganga meets at Prayagraj (Allahabad).
  • River Kali meets Ganga at Chhapra in Bihar.

Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA)

Why is it in News?

This year marks the 100th century of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre and SNA had organised a drama on the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre to showcase the atrocities done to the unarmed masses.

About Sangeet Natak Akademi:

  • The Sangeet Natak Akademi is India's national academy for music, dance and drama and is the first national academy of the arts set-up by the Republic of India.
  • It was created by a resolution of the (then) Ministry of Education, Government of India in 1952.
  • The Sangeet Natak Akademi is presently an autonomous body of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India and is fully funded by the government for implementation of its schemes and programmes.
  • It is SNA that coordinates the matters related to Intangible Cultural Heritage and various UNESCO Conventions.

Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

Why is it in News?

This year (2019) marks the 100th year of the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy.

How is it Relevant for Prelims 2019?

In UPSC 2018, a question on ‘Champaran Satyagraha’ was asked as Champaran Satyagraha completed 100 years in 2017. Likewise, this segment becomes important for Prelims 2019.

Historical Background of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre:

  • Since the beginning of the World War I, there had been an increasing resentment and civil unrest throughout the country especially in the states of West Bengal and Punjab.
  • It was due to the terrible repercussions of the war, like- inflation, and heavy taxation, a huge number of dead and wounded soldiers that contributed immensely in uniting the nation against the British Rule.

The Rowlatt Act:

  • The worsening civil unrest led to the formation of Rowlatt Committee in 1919. The Rowlatt Act (Anarchial & Revolutionary Crimes Act 1919) was a legislative act that allowed certain political cases to be tried without the presence of a jury and permitted internment of suspects without any trial (it was referred in Hindi by our nationalists to as ‘No Vakil, No Appeal & No Dalil’).
  • This is the time when Mahatma Gandhi came to light as a revolutionary and organised ‘Rowlatt Satyagraha’.

Trigger Points of the Event and Massacre:

  • The crowd was peacefully protesting the arrest of two national leaders Saifuddin Kitchlew and Satya Pal; seeing this Dyer banned all the public meetings and imposed curfew, but this message was not widely circulated and people gathered in huge numbers at the Jallianwala Bagh.
  • Dyer went there with the troops and ordered firing on the unarmed masses leading to death of thousands of people (around 1000 people died and 1500 people were injured).

Repercussion of the Massacre:

  • Rabindranath Tagore renounced his ‘Knighthood’ in protest to this barbaric incident.
  • Mahatma Gandhi renounced his ‘Kaiser-i-Hind’.
  • On April 18, 1919, Gandhi withdrew the movement and termed it as the ‘Himalayan Blunder’.

Killing of Michael O’Dwyer:

  • Udham Singh was acting as a volunteer (supplying water to the crowd) in the Jallianwala Bagh protests, he witnessed the killing of thousands of people and this led to a deep sense of revenge and he killed Michael O’Dwyer (Lieutinent Governor ofPunjab, who approved of Reginald Dyer’s action) on 13th March 1940, at Caxton Hall London.

Hunter Commission:

  • On 14th October 1919, Hunter Commission was made to look into the killing of innocent people. This commission found Dyer guilty and reported that Dyer overstepped the bounds of his authority.
  • But the tragic situation was that it did not impose any penal or disciplinary action against Dyer, which finally culminated in Non-cooperation Movement (one of the cause was Punjab injustice)

Source: TH, Livemint

Sirsi Supari

Why is it in News?

‘Sirsi Supari’, grown in Uttara Kannada has become the 1st product from the arecanut sector to get a Geographic Indication (GI) tag.

About Sirsi Supari:

  • ‘Sirsi Supari’ arecanut is grown in Sirsi, Siddpaur and Yellapur taluks of Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka.
  • Sirsi Supari is medium-sized, round in shape, close to the color of ash with hard seed.
  • The annual production of Sirsi Supari is estimated to be around 40,000 tonnes grown on an area of nearly 40,000 acres.

What makes Sirsi Supari different?

  • Sirsi Supari is said to be unique in taste from arecanuts grown in other parts of the country due to the differences in the chemical composition of different arecanuts.
  • The arecanut grown in these taluks have unique features like a round and flattened coin shape, particular texture, size, cross-sectional views, taste, etc. These features are not seen in arecanut grown in any other regions.
  • The total average flavonoid content in Sirsi Supari is around 90 whereas in others it is around 80.

What is a Geographical Indication Tag?

The World Intellectual Property Organisation defines GI as a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.

GI Tag finds mention under the TRIPS (Trade related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) of WTO.

Registrar of Geographical Indicators under Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trademarks (Ministry of Commerce) look into the issues of GI.

Darjeeling Tea became the first product to get a GI Tag in India in 2004-05; 343 had been added to the list of GI tags in India since then.

Other Examples of GI Tag:

  • Bhagalpuri Silk of Bhagalpur
  • Sujini Embroidery of Bihar
  • Tangaliya Shawl of Gujarat
  • Kadaknath Black Chicken of Madhya Pradesh

Source: TH

Kulhadar Miniature Painting

What are the Different Styles of Indian Painting?

Indian Paintings can be broadly classified into two groups:

1. Mural Paintings- Found predominantly before 11th Century A.D.

2. Miniature Painting- Found predominantly after 11th Century A.D.

Mural Paintings:

  • Usually done on walls and has its genesis in the Gupta Period.
  • The best examples of this style of painting are paintings on the Ajanta & Ellora Caves.

Miniature Paintings:

  • Miniature is derived from the word ‘MINIA’ in Renaissance period which means ‘RED’. Miniature painting does not mean small.
  • Size of the Miniature Paintings cannot be greater than 25inches.
  • Scaling of size shall not be greater than 1/6.
  • It can be executed on books, clothes, paper and even glass.
  • One of the finest examples of Miniature Painting is ‘Bani Thani’ by Nihal Chand of Marwar School of Painting.

About Kulhadar Painting:

This miniature painting originated in 16th Century A.D. and is completely indigenous i.e. it has no tinge of either Persian or Mughal style of painting.

What is Unique about this Painting?

  • The style of these miniatures is marked by the use of brilliant contrasting colours, vigorous and angular drawing, transparent drapery and the appearance of conical caps 'Kulha' on which turbans are worn by the male figures.
  • This group of painting includes illustrations of the 'Chaurapanchasika' – ‘Fifty Verses of the Thief by Bilhan, the Gita Govinda, the Bhagavata Purana and Ragamala.

Source: TH


Tholpavakoothu is a form of shadow puppetry that is practiced in Kerala.

Genesis of this Puppetry:

It is believed to have originated in the late 9th Century A.D. and this puppetry uses Kamban Ramayana as its basic text. This art form is dedicated to Bhadrakali.

When is this Art Form Performed?

This art form is performed generally in the months of January to May. It is performed using leather puppets in Devi temples in specially built theatres called koothumadams.

Source: TH

Ambubachi Mela

The Ambubachi Mela is an annual Hindu fair held at the Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati, Assam. It is four day fair to mark the menstruation of Kamakhya Goddess.

Significance of the Festival:

  • The ritualistic fair celebrating the goddess’ annual menstruation period is one of the reasons why the taboo associated with menstruation is minimal in Assam compared to other parts of India.
  • Celebration of this festival leads to dissemination of knowledge related to menstruation hygiene.

Source: TH


About the Dance form:

  • Theyyam is derived from a Sanskrit word ‘Daivam’ which means God’s Dance.
  • Theyyam is a popular ritual form of worship in Kolathunadu area of Kerala, which is performed by men only.
  • Theyyam is usually performed in front of sacred groves which are locally called as ‘Kaavu’.
  • Theyyam is a ritualistic performance where pantheistic deities are summoned to the body of the performing man, one who is almost always from a subaltern community.
  • In this dance form, dancers spin and twirl to the frantic drums and they enter a state of trance before collapsing. It takes a while for them to revive after which devotees seek their blessings.

Striking Features of Theyyam:

  • People wear colorful costumes and elaborate makeup.
  • Performers of Theyyam wear headgears of around 5 to 6 ft.

Instruments used in this Dance Form: Chenda, Tudi, Kuzhal, Veekni etc.

Source: TH

Gita Govind

Why is it in news?

The Victoria Memorial Hall (VMH) in Kolkata displayed the handwritten script of Gita Govind from the 17th century to mark International Mother Language Day (21 February).

About Gita Govind:

The Gita Govinda (songs of Govind/ Krishna) is a work composed by the 12th-century Indian poet, Jayadeva. It describes the relationship between Krishna and Radha. This book puts Radha on higher pedestal than Krishna and the poems/ texts of this book have been an inspiration for many compositions and choreographic works in Indian classical dances. Jaydeva was the courtier of Laxman sena of Sena Dynasty, Bengal.

Source: TH

Battle Of Sinhagad

Why is it in News?

The original commemorative memorial of Tanaji Malusare was recently found while restoring the Sinhagad Fort, 35 km from Pune. Tanaji Malusare was a Maratha warrior after whom Shivaji is said to have named Sinhagad Fort (Lion’s fort).

The Battle of Sinhagad:

The Battle of Sinhagad took place in 1670 on the fort of Sinhagad near the city of Pune. The battle was fought between Tanaji Malusare, a Koli commander of Maratha ruler Shivaji Maharaj and Udaybhan Rathod. In this battle Tanaji Malusare died and Shivaji Maharaj renamed the fort of Kondhana as Sinhagad Fort (Lion’s Fort) in his remembrance.

Source: TH
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