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17 May Current Affairs

Mongolian Kanjur Manuscripts

In News:

The Culture Ministry has informed that reprinting of about 100 sets of sacred Mongolian Kanjur will be completed by next year for distribution in the main centres of Buddhism in Mongolia.

What is Mongolian Kanjur?

In the Mongolian language ‘Kanjur’ means ‘Concise Orders’- the words of Lord Buddha in particular.

It is held in high esteem by Mongolian Buddhists and they worship the Kanjur at temples and recite the lines of Kanjur in daily life as a sacred ritual.

The Mongolian Kanjur has been translated from Tibetan. The language of the Kanjur is Classical Mongolian.

Historical connection between India and Mongolia:

Historical interaction between India and Mongolia goes back centuries.

Buddhism was carried to Mongolia by Indian cultural and religious ambassadors during the early Christian era.

As a result, today, Buddhists form the single largest religious denomination in Mongolia.

India established formal diplomatic relations with Mongolia in 1955.

Background:

India possesses an estimate of ten million manuscripts, probably the largest collection in the world. These cover a variety of themes, textures and aesthetics, scripts, languages, calligraphies, illuminations and illustrations.

Basava Jayanti

In News:

Basava Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of Lord Basavanna, the 12th-century poet-philosopher, and the founding saint of the Lingayat faith.

This year it falls on 14th May 2021.

About Basavanna, his thoughts and contributions:

Basavanna was a philosopher, statesman, Kannada poet and a social reformer during the reign of the Kalachuri-dynasty king Bijjala I in Karnataka.

Basavanna spread social awareness through his poetry, popularly known as

Basavanna rejected gender or social discrimination, superstitions and rituals.

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 to discuss spiritual and mundane questions of life, in open.

As a leader, he developed and inspired a new devotional movement named Virashaivas, or “ardent, heroic worshippers of Shiva”. This movement shared its roots in the ongoing Tamil Bhakti movement, particularly the Shaiva Nayanars traditions, over the 7th- to 11th-century.

Basava championed devotional worship that rejected temple worship and rituals led by Brahmins, and replaced it with personalized direct worship of Shiva through practices such as individually worn icons and symbols like a small linga.

The Sharana movement he presided over attracted people from all castes, and like most strands of the Bhakti movement, produced a corpus of literature, the vachanas, that unveiled the spiritual universe of the Veerashaiva saints.

The egalitarianism of Basavanna’s Sharana movement was too radical for its times.

Cyclone ‘Tauktae’

In News:

Cyclone Tauktae, currently centered over Lakshadweep, has intensified into a cyclonic storm.

Details:

It is likely to intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm in the next 24 hours.

It is very likely to move north-northwestwards and reach near Gujarat coast by May 18.

Background:

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) maintains rotating lists of names.

The word Tauktae has been suggested by Myanmar, which means ‘gecko’, a distinctively vocal lizard, in the Burmese language.

The name is the fourth from a new list of 169 names released by the IMD last year.

How are cyclones named?

A WMO/ESCAP (World Meteorological Organisation/United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) Panel on Tropical Cyclones agreed in principle to assign names to the tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea during its 27th session held in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, in 2000.

The naming of the tropical cyclones over the north Indian Ocean commenced from September 2004, with names provided by eight members, starting with Bangladesh, followed by India. Since then, another five countries have joined the Panel.

The Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre (RSMC), New Delhi is responsible for naming the cyclonic storms formed over the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea when they reach the relevant intensity.

There are six RSMCs in the world, including the IMD and five Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres.

BRICS Employment Working Group (EWG) Meeting

In News:

1st BRICS Employment Working Group (EWG) Meeting was held recently at New Delhi in virtual format.

India has assumed BRICS Presidency this year.

The prime agenda for the discussions were:

Promoting Social Security Agreements amongst BRICS Nations, Formalization of labour markets, Participation of women in labour force and Gig and platform workers – Role in labour market.

Outcomes of the meeting:

On the issue of Social Security Agreement (SSA), the Member Nations resolved to enter into dialogue and discussion with each other and take it forward towards signing of the agreements.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and International Social Security Agency (ISSA) on their part, expressed willingness to provide technical support in facilitating conclusion of such agreements.

What are SSAs?

SSA is a bilateral agreement between India and a foreign country designed to protect the interests of cross border workers.

The agreement provides for avoidance of ‘double coverage’ and ensures equality of treatment to workers of both countries from a social security perspective.

Background:

As on date, India has signed SSAs with 18 countries.

SSAs broadly provide the following three benefits:

Avoiding making of double social security contributions by the workers (detachment).

Easy remittance of benefits (Exportability).

Aggregating the contribution periods (in two countries) to prevent loss of benefits (Totalization).

Provide for disability insurance benefits to the Indian nationals working abroad.