18th January Current Affairs
January 18, 2022
20th January Current Affairs
January 20, 2022
Show all

19th January Current Affairs

Guru Ravidas

(GS-I: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times)

In News:

The postponement of the Assembly elections in Punjab to February 20 underlines the importance of the Ravidassia community in the state.

What’s the issue?

Several political parties had urged the Election Commission for a postponement as the earlier date of February 14 would have clashed with Guru Ravidas Jayanti, an annual occasion during which Ravidassias travel to Varanasi in large numbers. Many of them take a special train organised by the Dera Sachkhand Ballan in Jalandhar, the largest dera of the Ravidassias.

Who are the Ravidassias?

The Ravidassias are a Dalit community of whom the bulk — nearly 12 lakh — live in the Doaba region. The Dera Sachkhand Ballan, their largest dera with 20 lakh followers worldwide, was founded in the early 20th century by Baba Sant Pipal Das.

Once closely connected with Sikhism, the dera severed these decades-old ties in 2010, and announced they would follow the Ravidassia religion. The dera made the announcement on Guru Ravidas Jayanti in Varanasi.

From 2010, the Dera Sachkhand Ballan started replacing the Guru Granth Sahib with its own Granth, Amritbani, carrying 200 hymns of Guru Ravidas, in Ravidassia temples and gurdwaras.

About Guru Ravidas:

Guru Ravidas was a North Indian mystic poet of the bhakti movement.

While the exact year of his birth is not known, it is believed that the saint was born in 1377 C.E.

Guru Ravidas Jayanti is celebrated on Magh Purnima, which is the full moon day in the Hindu calendar month of Magha.

The Adi Granth of Sikhs, in addition to the Panchvani are the two of the oldest documented sources of the literary works of Guru Ravidas.

Notably, he belonged to an untouchable caste and suffered a lot of atrocities as a result. However, the saint chose to focus on spiritual pursuits and also penned several devotional songs which made a huge impact in the Bhakti movement during the 14th to 16th century CE.

He is believed to be a disciple of the bhakti saint-poet Ramanandaand a contemporary of the bhakti saint-poet Kabir.

One of his famous disciples was the saint, Mirabai.

Among Ravidas’s moral and intellectual achievements were the conception of “Begampura”, a city that knows no sorrow; and a society where caste and class have ceased to matter.

Guru Ravidas Teachings:

Guru Ravidas spoke against the caste divisions and spoke of removing them to promote unity. His teachings resonated with the people, leading to a religion being born called the Ravidassia religion, or Ravidassia Dharam based on his teachings.

He taught about the omnipresence of God and said that a human soul is a particle of God and hence Ravidas rejected the idea that people considered lower caste cannot meet God. He said in his teachings that the only way to meet God was to free the mind from the duality.

United Nations Security Council

(GS-II: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate)

In News:

The United States is pushing the United Nations Security Council to impose more sanctions on North Korea following a series of North Korean missile launches.

Details:

The United States has already imposed unilateral sanctions over the missile launches. It blacklisted six North Koreans, one Russian and a Russian firm, accusing them of procuring goods for the programs from Russia and China.

Recent incidents:

After a six-month hiatus, North Korea resumed missile tests in September, launching newly developed missiles, including nuclear-capable weapons that place South Korea and Japan within their striking distances.

North Korea also warned the UNSC about the consequences it will bring in the future in case it tries to encroach upon the sovereignty of North Korea.

It has accused the UN body of a “double-dealing standard” because it doesn’t equally take issue with similar weapons tests by the U.S. and its allies.

Present scenario:

Under multiple UN Security Council resolutions, North Korea is banned from engaging in any ballistic missile activities as the country aims to mount nuclear weapons on its ballistic missiles.

About UNSC:

The United Nations Charter established six main organs of the United Nations, including the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The Security Council has the power to make decisions that member states are then obligated to implement under the Charter.

Permanent and Non-Permanent Members: The UNSC is composed of 15 members, 5 permanent and 10 non-permanent.

Each year, the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members for a two-year term.

About Security Council Presidency:

The presidency of the Council is held by each of the members in turn for one month, following the English alphabetical order of the Member States names.

It rotates among the 15 member-states of the council monthly.

The head of the country’s delegation is known as the President of the United Nations Security Council.

The president serves to coordinate actions of the council, decide policy disputes, and sometimes functions as a diplomat or intermediary between conflicting groups.

Proposed UNSC reforms:

Reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) encompasses five key issues: categories of membership, the question of the veto held by the five permanent members, regional representation, the size of an enlarged Council and its working methods, and the Security Council-General Assembly relationship.

Case for Permanent Membership of India in UNSC:

India is the founding member of the UN.

Most significantly, India has almost twice the number of peacekeepers deployed on the ground than by P5 countries.

India is also the largest democracy and second-most populous country.

India’s acquired status of a Nuclear Weapons State (NWS) in May 1998 also makes India a natural claimant as a permanent member similar to the existing permanent members who are all Nuclear Weapon States.

India is the undisputed leader of the Third world countries, as reflected by its leadership role in Non-Aligned Movement and G-77 grouping.

La Niña effect on Indian subcontinent

(GS-I: Important Geographical phenomenon)

In News:

Various parts of India, especially North India, have been experiencing a severe cold wave. Warnings for the severe cold waves have been issued in several northern states.

What is a Cold Wave?

A cold wave is different for the plains and the mountains.

According to the Indian Meterological Department (IMD) if the temperature goes below 10 degree and minimum temperature is at 4.5 degree, it is a cold wave for the plains. The criteria for hills is 0 degree.

If the temperature is 6.4 degree below normal or down to 2 degree, it is a severe called wave in the plains.

The IMD calls it “a condition of air temperature which becomes fatal to the human body when exposed.”

But Why is it So Cold?

Short Answer: Strong streams of western disturbances running through the northern belt are causing this.

Complex Answer: La Nina.

What brings cold to the region, is the unabated north-westerly winds which bring chilly winds from higher latitude to Indo-Gangetic plains. However, passage of back-to-back western disturbances tend to change the wind direction from cold north-westerlies to warm and humid easterlies. However, with La Niña in place, what is expected is less amount of winter rains and thus, icy cold winds would continue to blow over Northwest India uninterruptedly, bringing down the temperatures.”

Background:

El Nino and La Nina are part of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle.

In 2020, La Nina developed during the month of August and then dissipated in April 2021 as ENSO-neutral conditions returned.

For the upcoming winter season, which extends from December 2021 through February 2022, there is an 87% chance of La Nina.

What are the Niño and La Niña?

They are two natural climate phenomena occurring across the tropical Pacific Ocean and influence the weather conditions all over the world.

While the El Niño period is characterised by warming or increased sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, a La Niña event causes the water in the eastern Pacific Ocean to be colder than usual.

Together, they are called ENSO or El Niño-Southern Oscillation.

What causes El Nino?

El Nino sets in when there is an anomaly in the pattern.

The westward-blowing trade winds weaken along the Equator and due to changes in air pressure, the surface water moves eastwards to the coast of northern South America.

The central and eastern Pacific regions warm up for over six months and result in an El Nino condition.

Weather changes because of La Nina:

The Horn of Africa and central Asia will see below average rainfall due to La Niña.

East Africa is forecast to see drier-than-usual conditions, which together with the existing impacts of the desert locust invasion, may add to regional food insecurity.

It could also lead to increased rainfall in southern Africa.

It could also affect the South West Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone season, reducing the intensity.

Southeast Asia, some Pacific Islands and the northern region of South America are expected to receive above-average rainfall.

In India, La Niña means the country will receive more rainfall than normal, leading to floods.