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8th January Current Affairs

1761 Battle of Panipat

In News:

Manoj Dani, an independent U.S.-based researcher of art history, has assimilated rare paintings pertaining to the battle and its key players in a work titled Battle of Panipat: In Light of Rediscovered Paintings.

Details:

The book contains rare paintings from the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), the British Library, the National Museum in Delhi, Bonhams of U.K. and the Pune-based Bharat Itihas Sanshodak Mandal (BISM).

What does the book tell about the battle?

There are a myriad of myths surrounding Panipat. Far from a well-established narrative of this pivotal event, we have only scratched the surface of this crucial episode, and that whatever we know is only from a handful or selected sources of dubious veracity.

The paintings depict key players such as Ahmad Shah Abdali, Sadashivrao Bhau, Najib Khan Rohilla, Dattaji Shinde, Vishwas Rao, Suraj Mal Jat and other Maratha, Afghan, Rohilla and Jat chiefs.

The book deftly weaves analysis from original archival sources, casting a revealing light on the shifting alliances of 18th century Indian politics.

Background:

Two other major battles had been fought on the Panipat plains:

The First Battle of Panipat, in 1526, laid the foundation of the Mughal Empire in India after its first ruler, Babur, ended the Delhi Sultanate, which at the time was led by the Lodi dynasty.

The Second Battle of Panipat, in 1556, cemented Mughal rule when Akbar fought off a threat from the king Hemu ‘Vikramaditya’.

About the Third Battle of Panipat, fought in 1761:

Fought between Maratha forces and invading armies of Afghan general Ahmed Shah Abdali of Durrani Empire in 1761.

Abdali was supported by two Indian allies— the Rohillas Najib-ud-daulah, Afghans of the Doab region and Shuja-ud-Daula- the Nawab of Awadh.

How it started?

After the death of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, there was a sudden rise of the Marathas. The Marathas reversed all his territorial gains in the Deccan and conquered a considerable part of India.

The decline was hastened by the invasion of India by Nader Shah, who also took away Takht-i-Taus (the Peacock Throne) and the Kohinoor Diamond in 1739.

Abdali planned to attack the Marathas when his son was driven out of Lahore.

By the end of 1759, Abdali with his Afghan tribes reached Lahore as well as Delhi and defeated the smaller enemy garrisons.

The two armies fought at Karnal and Kunjpura where the entire Afghan garrison was killed or enslaved.

The massacre of the Kunjpura garrison infuriated Durrani to such an extent that he ordered for crossing the river at all costs to attack the Marathas.

Smaller battles continued through months and forces from both the sides amassed for the final assault. But food was running out for the Marathas.

Outcomes:

The Marathas were defeated in the battle, with 40,000 of their troops killed, while Abdali’s army is estimated to have suffered around 20,000 casualties.

It marked a loss of prestige for the Marathas, who lost their preeminent position in north India after this war, paving the way for British colonial power to expand here.

The Marathas lost some of their most important generals and administrators, including Sadashivrao and heir-apparent Vishwasrao of the Peshwa household, Ibrahim Khan Gardi, Jankojirao Scindia, and Yashwantrao Puar.

Why is weather dept asking people in north India not to drink alcohol during the cold wave?

In News:

To avoid an adverse reaction to the cold wave, the IMD shared a list of recommendations, one of which was avoiding alcohol.

Background:

According to the IMD, severe cold wave conditions are likely in parts of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan from December 29 onwards. Maximum temperature is also forecast to fall by 3 to 5 degrees Celsius after December 28.

Why is alcohol bad in cold weather?

Alcohol can decrease the core temperature of the body and increase the risk of hypothermia during cold exposure. A retrospective study in 2004 showed that alcohol consumption is associated with 68 per cent of accidental hypothermia cases.

How it works?

Alcohol is a vasodilator, which means that it causes blood vessels to relax and dilate or open.

So after consuming alcohol, the volume of blood brought to the skin’s surface increases, making you feel warmer as a result.

This is also what causes an intoxicated person to look flushed.

As the body begins to believe that it is warm, you also start to sweat — a reaction that automatically reduces overall body temperature.

Drinking copious amounts of alcohol may affect your bodies ability to detect the cold properly, which is in place to protect you from frostbite and hypothermia.

However, experts say drinking moderately in temperate environments does not significantly affect the core temperature of the body.

What is hypothermia?

Hypothermia is a severe medical condition where the body loses heat before it can generate it, resulting in a dangerously low body temperature.

While normal body temperature lies at around 37 degrees Celsius, the body temperature of a person suffering from hypothermia drops to below 35 degrees Celsius.

Common signs include shivering, slow rate of breathing, slurred speech, cold skin and fatigue.

Alcohol also has psychological and behavioural effects, which can impact a person’s ability to correctly perceive how cold it is.

What is a coldwave?

A cold wave occurs when the minimum temperature dips to 10 degrees Celsius or less and the departure from normal temperature is 4.5 degrees Celsius or lower.

In severe cold wave conditions, departure from normal temperature is 6.5 degrees or lower.

Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Conjugate vaccine

In News:

The first indigenous vaccine against pneumonia, developed by the Serum Institute of India (SII), will be launched.

Details:

In July, India’s drug regulator had granted market approval for the Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Conjugate vaccine.

How the disease is spread?

Infectious agents may include bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in children, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is the second most common cause of bacterial pneumonia. Respiratory syncytial virus is the most common viral cause of pneumonia.

Air sacs in an infected individual’s lungs (alveoli) become inflamed due to deposits of fluid and pus, making it painful and difficult for them to breathe.

About pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23):

It protects against pneumococcal infections.

PPSV23 protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria.

Helpful Terms:

Conjugate: A type of vaccine that joins a protein to an antigen in order to improve the protection the vaccine provides.

Polysaccharide: A type of vaccine that is composed of long chains of sugar molecules that resemble the surface of certain types of bacteria in order to help the immune system mount a response.