Prelims Booster

8th May – Prelims Booster

Vesak Global Celebrations

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi participated in the Buddha Purnima celebrations on 7th May 2020.

About Vesak – Buddha Poornima –

  • Vesak“, the Day of the Full Moon in the month of May, is the most sacred day to millions of Buddhists around the world. 
  • It was on the Day of Vesak two and a half millennia ago, in the year 623 B.C., that the Gautam Buddha was born. It was also on the Day of Vesak that the Buddha attained enlightenment, and it was on the Day of Vesak that the Buddha in his eightieth year passed away.
  • Hence, it is considered the Triple Blessed Day as Tathagata Gautam Buddha’s Birth, Enlightenment and Maha Parnirvana.
  • The UN General Assembly, by its resolution adopted in 1999, recognised internationally the Day of Vesak to acknowledge the contribution that Buddhism, one of the oldest religions in the world, has made for over two and a half millennia and continues to make to the spirituality of humanity. 
  • This day is commemorated annually at the UN Headquarters and other UN offices, in consultation with the relevant UN offices and with permanent missions, which also wish to be consulted.

Hog Cholera

Suspected hog cholera has killed at least a dozen pigs across two districts of Meghalaya.

About Hog Cholera –

  • Classical Swine Fever is also known as hog cholera and is a contagious viral disease of domestic and wild swine.
  • Unlike Swine Flu (H1N1) that attacks humans, classical swine fever is a viral disease that affects pigs only. It can be controlled by proper vaccination of pigs in time.
  • Treatment is not attempted. Affected pigs must be slaughtered and the carcass buried or burnt.
  • The first barrier to prevent an outbreak of the CSF is to apply strict and rigorous sanitary treatment.
  • Vaccination can prevent the spread of the disease.

Rabindranath Tagore

National Gallery of Modern Art has organised the Virtual Tour titled “Gurudev – Journey of the Maestro through his visual vocabulary” from 7th May 2020 to commemorate the 159th birth anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.

About Rabindranath Tagore –

  • Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), popularly known as ‘Gurudev’, was born in an affluent Family.
  • The maestro was fascinated by the worlds of literature, art, music and dance at an early age.
  • In 1913, he became the first Indian to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature for his novel ‘Geetanjali’.
  • He also wrote the National Anthems of India and Bangladesh.
  • He left his imprint on art and played a role in transforming its practices and ushering into modernism.
  • Rabindranath Tagore was primarily known as a writer, poet, playwright, philosopher and aesthetician, music composer and choreographer, founder of a unique educational institution – Visva- Bharati and a painter. Tagore’s emergence as a painter began in 1928 when he was 67 years old.
  • Between 1928 and 1940, Rabindranath painted more than 2000 images. He never gave any title to his paintings. Fed by memories and the subconscious, Rabindranath’s art was spontaneous and dramatic. His images did not represent the phenomenal world but an interior reality.
  • His drawings and ink paintings are freely executed with brushes, rags, cotton-wool and even his fingers. For Tagore, art was the bridge that connected the individual with the world.
  • Tagore had composed Amar Shonar Bangla in 1905 in the wake of the Bengal partition to foster a spirit of unity and patriotism among Bengalis. He also used the Raksha Bandhan festival to bring about a feeling of brotherhood among Bengal’s Hindus and Muslims during the partition of 1905. He was fiercely opposed to the partition.
  • He was knighted by the British government in 1915. But he later renounced it protesting against the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre.
  • Tagore is responsible for modernising Bengali prose and poetry. His notable works include Gitanjali, Ghare-Baire, Gora, Manasi, Balaka, Sonar Tori, He is also remembered for his song ‘Ekla Chalo Re’.
  • He was also called the ‘Bard of Bengal’.
  • In 1918, he founded the Vishwabharati University at Santiniketan. He was staunchly against the classroom kind of education. He believed it stifled creativity. He conceived of an educational system where the students’ curiosity was kindled and learning became more natural.

Ambedkar’s embrace of Buddhism

On October 14, 1956, B R Ambedkar along with 3,65,000 of his Dalit followers made history when they decided to leave the folds of Hinduism and embrace Buddhism.

Reasons for conversion –

  • Scholars have ever since done a great deal of research to analyse Ambedkar’s conversion to Buddhism. Some believe that it was a political move. He had for years been demanding separate electorates for Dalits, and was unsuccessful in his efforts. Sociologists like Gail Omvedt believe he converted to Buddhism was more of a political protest in this regard.
  • Secondly, there is also the opinion that the conversion was a product of his lifelong personal experience of Hinduism. Further, cultural and historical figures are believed to have had important influence on Ambedkar, such as the Mauryan emperor Ashoka and the 12th century Dalit martyr of South India, Nandanar, who challenged the tenets of Hinduism.
  • Most importantly though, Ambedkar truly believed that Buddhism carried within it a rational and modern spirit. Conversion to Buddhism is believed to have met with Ambedkar’s complex requirements of reason, morality, and justice.

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