- Climate effect on Himalayan belt
- Brahmaputra river flooding
- Nadaprabhu Kempegowda
- Bomb cyclone
- Losar festival
- India is proen to earthquake
- Qutb shahi architecture
- Manual scavenging in India
- Rising sea level
- Matua community
- Kattunayakan tribes
- Groundwater statistics of India
- National mission for cultural mapping
- Tungnath temple
- Ambubachi mela
- Climate effect on Himalayan belt Relevance of this topic: Recently UNESCO’S world heritage glacier report said that 1/3rd of glaciers among the world heritage sites will disappear by 2050.
Previous year questions: How will the melting of Himalayan glacier have a far reaching impact on the water resources of India? (GS 1-2020).
• Glacier retreat: Climate change is causing the Himalayan glaciers to melt at an accelerated rate. This has significant implications for the region’s water supply, as glaciers act as natural reservoirs, providing a steady flow of water to rivers and communities downstream.
• Water scarcity: As glaciers shrink and snowfall patterns change, the availability of water resources in the Himalayan belt becomes increasingly unpredictable. This can lead to water scarcity, affecting agriculture, hydropower generation, and overall livelihoods of the communities in the region.
• Increased risk of natural disasters: The melting of glaciers can lead to the formation of glacial lakes, which pose a risk of catastrophic glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs). Additionally, changing precipitation patterns contribute to an increased risk of landslides and flash floods, which can devastate communities in the Himalayan belt.
• Biodiversity loss: The Himalayan belt is known for its rich biodiversity, with numerous plant and animal species endemic to the region. Climate change threatens this biodiversity, as changing temperatures and precipitation patterns can disrupt ecosystems, alter habitats, and impact species’ survival.
• Agricultural challenges: Climate change affects agricultural practices in the Himalayan belt. Erratic rainfall, increased temperatures, and changing pest patterns can lead to reduced crop yields, affecting food security and the livelihoods of farmers in the region.
• Socioeconomic impacts: The Himalayan belt is home to numerous indigenous communities whose cultures and livelihoods are deeply intertwined with the natural environment. Climate change can disrupt traditional practices, lead to displacement, and exacerbate existing social and economic inequalities in the region.
- Brahmaputra river flooding
Relevance of this topic: For several decades now flooding in Assam during monsoon is a recurrent feature, there is no proper mechanism to deal with the water management of Brahmaputra.
Previous year questions: Differentiate the causes of landslides in the Himalayan region and Western Ghats. (GS 1-2021).
The Brahmaputra River, known for its heavy monsoon rainfall and extensive drainage basin, often leads to flooding in the regions it traverses. The river’s floodplain areas, particularly in India and Bangladesh, are prone to periodic flooding, resulting in significant damage to infrastructure, loss of lives, and displacement of communities.
The causes of flooding in the Brahmaputra River can be attributed to several factors:
• Heavy Monsoon Rainfall: The Brahmaputra River basin receives abundant rainfall during the monsoon season. The intense precipitation leads to an increase in water levels, exceeding the river’s capacity and causing flooding.
• Snowmelt from the Himalayas: The Brahmaputra River originates in the Himalayas, where significant snow accumulation occurs during the winter. As temperatures rise, the snow melts and adds to the river’s flow, contributing to flooding.
• Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs): The Brahmaputra River basin contains numerous glacial lakes. If these lakes experience a sudden release of water due to glacial melting or other factors, it can result in a rapid surge of water downstream, leading to flooding.
• Deforestation and Soil Erosion: Uncontrolled deforestation and soil erosion in the river basin increase the amount of sediment carried by the river. This sedimentation reduces the river’s carrying capacity, causing it to overflow its banks during periods of heavy rainfall.
• Dam Releases: The construction of dams on the Brahmaputra and its tributaries can influence water flow downstream. In some cases, the release of water from dams during heavy rainfall or dam mismanagement can exacerbate flooding.
- Nadaprabhu Kempegowda
Relevance of this topic: Recently PM unveiled the statue of Nadaprabhu Kempegowda in Kempegowda international airport In Bengaluru.
Previous year questions: Examine the linkages between the nineteenth century’s ‘Indian renaissance’ and the emergence of national identity. (GS 1-2019).
Safeguarding the Indian art heritage is the need of the moment. Discuss.( GS 1 2018).
• Nadaprabhu Kempegowda is credited with founding the city of Bangalore in the early 16th century. He established the city as a stronghold and built a mud fort to protect it.
• Kempegowda played a crucial role in the expansion and development of Bangalore. He constructed several forts, including the Bangalore Fort, which served as the center of the city’s administration and defense.
• Kempegowda was a patron of art and architecture. He built several temples in and around Bangalore, including the Bull Temple (Dodda Basavana Gudi) and the Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple, which are still popular religious landmarks today.
• Kempegowda is known for his efforts in building water reservoirs to address the water needs of the growing population. He constructed numerous tanks, including the Kempambudhi Tank and the Dharmambudhi Tank, which are important water sources in Bangalore.
• Kempegowda introduced several administrative reforms in Bangalore. He established a systematic governance structure and appointed officials to manage various aspects of the city’s administration, including revenue collection and maintenance of law and order.
- Bomb cyclone
Relevance of this topic: An intense bomb cyclone has caused havoc across the United States and Canada, which has costed loss of life. This topic has been prevalent for past 2 to 3 years.
Previous year questions: 1.Account for the huge flooding of million cities in India including the smart ones like Hyderabad and Pune. Suggest lasting remedial measures.(GS-1 2020).
- Discuss the meaning of colour- coded weather warning for cyclone prone areas given by India Meteorological department.(GS-1 2022).
• A bomb cyclone, also known as explosive cyclogenesis, refers to a rapidly intensifying low-pressure system that experiences a significant drop in atmospheric pressure within a 24-hour period. This sudden drop in pressure leads to powerful and potentially dangerous weather conditions.
• Bomb cyclones typically form when there is a large temperature difference between warm and cold air masses, combined with strong wind shear. These conditions promote the rapid strengthening of the low-pressure system, resulting in the formation of a bomb cyclone.
• Bomb cyclones are associated with severe weather conditions, including intense winds, heavy snowfall, blizzards, and coastal flooding. The strong winds can cause damage to structures, knock down trees, and lead to power outages, while heavy snowfall can create hazardous road conditions and disrupt transportation.
• Bomb cyclones that occur near coastal areas can cause storm surges, which are elevated water levels that can result in coastal flooding. This flooding can damage infrastructure, erode beaches, and pose a threat to coastal communities.
• A bomb cyclone differs from a regular winter storm in terms of its rapid intensification and the associated drop in atmospheric pressure. While both types of storms can bring strong winds, heavy snowfall, and cold temperatures, a bomb cyclone undergoes explosive cyclogenesis, resulting in a much faster and more significant strengthening of the storm system.
• Regular winter storms typically develop more gradually and do not experience the same rapid drop in pressure as a bomb cyclone. The term “bomb cyclone” is used to describe a storm that intensifies quickly, with the atmospheric pressure dropping at least 24 millibars within 24 hours.
• The intense strengthening of a bomb cyclone leads to more extreme weather conditions, including stronger winds, heavier precipitation, and a higher potential for blizzard-like conditions. The impacts of a bomb cyclone can be more severe and have a greater potential for causing damage and disruption compared to a regular winter storm.
- Losar festival
Relevance of this topic: Recent tension along the International boundary states. Losar is a festival related to New Year celebrated along Arunachal Pradesh.
Previous year questions: Customs and traditions suppress reason leading to obscurantism. Do you agree?(GS-1 2020).
• Losar festival is a significant Buddhist celebration primarily observed by Tibetan Buddhists.
• It marks the Tibetan New Year and is a time for spiritual renewal and purification.
• Buddhists engage in various religious practices, such as offering prayers and performing rituals, to seek blessings and ward off negative influences.
• Losar is also an occasion to honor and pay respects to the teachings of Buddha and to reflect on the path towards enlightenment.
• The festival involves visiting monasteries, receiving teachings from monks, and participating in community gatherings.
• It is an opportunity to cultivate positive virtues such as compassion, generosity, and mindfulness, while also celebrating the Buddhist community and its rich traditions.
- India is prone to earthquake
Relevance of this topic: Around 59 % of India’s land mass is prone to earthquakes of different intensities. This topic has been discussed relating to resent earthquake destruction in turkey.
Previous year questions: 1.Discuss the geophysical characteristics of Circum – Pacific Zone( GS-1 2020).
- Mention the global occurrence of volcanic eruptions in 2021 and their impact on regional environment.(GS-1 2021)
• India is located in a seismically active region known as the Indian Plate, which is surrounded by major tectonic boundaries.
• The country is prone to earthquakes due to the collision of the Indian Plate with the Eurasian Plate, resulting in significant seismic activity along the Himalayan belt.
• The Himalayan region, including states like Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir, is particularly susceptible to earthquakes.
• Other regions in India that have experienced earthquakes include the northeastern states, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
• The frequency and intensity of earthquakes vary across different parts of India, with some areas experiencing more frequent seismic activity than others.
- Qutb shahi architecture
Relevance of this topic: UNESCO’s Asia-Pacific award (2022) for cultural heritage conservation was awarded to step wells at Qutb Shahi tombs.
Previous year questions: 1.The rock cut architecture represents one of the most important source of our knowledge of early India art and history. Discuss. (GS-1 2020).
- Indian philosophy and tradition played a significant role in conceiving and shaping the monuments and their art in India.(GS-1 2020)
• Qutb Shahi architecture refers to the architectural style and structures built during the reign of the Qutb Shahi dynasty in the Deccan region of India, particularly in the city of Hyderabad, from the late 16th to the early 17th century. The Qutb Shahi dynasty was known for its patronage of art and architecture, blending elements of Persian, Indian, and Islamic styles.
• The most famous example of Qutb Shahi architecture is the Golconda Fort, a massive fortress known for its impressive defensive structures and intricate palaces. The fort features unique acoustics, with sound waves traveling long distances and allowing communication between different parts of the fort.
• Other notable structures include the Charminar, a grand monument with four minarets that has become an iconic symbol of Hyderabad, and the Qutb Shahi Tombs, a complex of mausoleums showcasing elaborate architecture and intricate stonework.
• Persian Influence: Qutb Shahi architecture showcases a strong influence of Persian architectural styles, particularly in the use of ornate tile work, intricate calligraphy, and the overall layout of structures.
• Indo-Islamic Fusion: The architecture seamlessly blends elements of Hindu and Islamic architectural styles. This fusion is evident in the use of arches, domes, minarets, and the incorporation of Hindu motifs in the ornamentation.
• Deccani Style: Qutb Shahi architecture developed its own distinctive style, known as the Deccani style. It is characterized by the use of local materials like granite and the incorporation of regional design elements.
• Stucco Ornamentation: The structures are adorned with intricate stucco ornamentation, featuring geometric patterns, floral motifs, and calligraphic inscriptions. The stucco work is meticulously carved and often painted in vibrant colors.
• Innovative Acoustics: Some Qutb Shahi structures, like the Golconda Fort, exhibit unique acoustics. The architecture is designed in a way that sound waves can travel long distances, allowing for communication between different parts of the fort.
- Manual scavenging in India
Relevance of this topic: Only 66% of districts in the county is free from manual scavenging says Ministry of Social Justice.
Previous year questions: Has caste lost its relevance in understanding the multi-cultural Indian society? Elaborate your answer with illustrations. (GS1- 2020).
• Number of Manual Scavengers: According to the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK), as of March 2021, there were 56,913 identified manual scavengers in India.
• States with Highest Number of Manual Scavengers: The states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh have the highest number of identified manual scavengers in the country.
• Deaths in Sewers and Septic Tanks: Despite being illegal, deaths due to manual scavenging continue to occur. From 2016 to 2021, there have been over 300 reported deaths of manual scavengers while cleaning sewers and septic tanks. In 2022 itself there were 48 reported deaths.
• Rehabilitation Efforts: The government has implemented various rehabilitation programs, including financial assistance, skill training, and alternative livelihood opportunities, to uplift manual scavengers and provide them with better prospects. One noatable schme beign NAMASTE scheme for 100% mechnaisation of sewer work.
• Underreporting: It is important to note that the actual number of manual scavengers may be higher than the official figures due to underreporting, social stigma, and the clandestine nature of the practice.
- Rising sea level
Relevance of this topic: Ministry of earth science reported that the sea level along the Indian coast has been rising at an average rate of about 1.7 mm/year over the last century.
Previous year questions: 1. How do ocean currents and water masses differ in their impacts on marine life and coastal environment? Give suitable examples.(GS-2019).
- How will the melting of Himalayan glacier have a far reaching impact on the water resources of India? (GS 1-2020).
• Global Average Sea Level Rise: The average global sea level has been rising at an accelerated rate over the past century. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), sea levels have risen by about 15 centimeters (6 inches) from 1901 to 2010.
• Acceleration in Sea Level Rise: The rate of sea level rise has been increasing in recent decades. From 1993 to 2010, the rate was estimated to be around 3.2 millimeters per year (mm/yr), which is higher than the average rate for the entire 20th century.
• Regional Variations: Sea level rise is not uniform globally and varies regionally due to factors like ocean currents, wind patterns, and land subsidence. Some areas may experience higher rates of sea level rise than others, with low-lying coastal regions being particularly vulnerable.
• Projections for the Future: Future sea level rise is projected to continue due to ongoing global warming and the melting of glaciers and ice sheets. The IPCC projects a likely range of 0.26 to 0.77 meters (10 to 30 inches) of global average sea level rise by the end of the century, depending on future greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.
Relevance of this topic: Recently Indian government has been promoting Matua mela in west Bengal .it is organized on birth anniversary of shri Harichand Thakur ,who was founder of the sect of vaishnavaite hiduism known as Matua.
Previous year questions: Given the diversities among the tribal communities in India, in which specific contexts should they be considered as a single category? (GS-1 2022).
• The Matua community is a religious and socio-political group primarily found in West Bengal and Bangladesh. They are followers of the Matua sect, which originated in the 19th century and combines elements of Hinduism and Vaishnavism.
• The Matua community has a significant presence in the social and political landscape of West Bengal. They have a strong political influence and are considered to be a crucial vote bank in the region. The community has historically faced socio-economic challenges, including issues related to land ownership and education.
• Efforts have been made to uplift the Matua community through various government schemes and initiatives. In recent years, there have been demands for the inclusion of the Matua community in the list of Scheduled Castes or Other Backward Classes, which would provide them with certain benefits and reservations.
• The Matua community also plays a significant role during elections in West Bengal, with political parties actively seeking their support. Their support has the potential to sway election outcomes in certain constituencies.(Pressure group)
- Katttunayakan tribes
Relevance of this topic: Recently Oscar was awarded to documentary Elephant whisperers, which is a tribute to this tribe.
Previous year questions: Examine the uniqueness of tribal knowledge system when compared with mainstream knowledge and cultural systems.(GS-1 2021).
• The Kattunayakan tribe is a Scheduled Tribe primarily found in the southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. It is one of the 75 PVTGs. They are an indigenous community known for their traditional hunting and gathering practices.
• The Kattunayakan tribe has a distinct cultural identity and a unique way of life. Traditionally, they lived in forested areas and relied on hunting, gathering forest produce, and fishing for their livelihood. However, with the modernization of society and the establishment of wildlife conservation laws, their traditional way of life has been significantly affected.
• The Kattunayakan tribe faces various socio-economic challenges, including poverty, lack of access to education and healthcare, and marginalization. Efforts have been made by the government and non-governmental organizations to uplift the community through welfare schemes, education initiatives, and skill development programs.
• In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the rights and cultural preservation of indigenous tribes like the Kattunayakan. Efforts are being made to empower and include them in decision-making processes that affect their lives and protect their traditional knowledge and practices.
• The Kattunayakan tribe holds a unique place in the cultural diversity of South India and efforts are ongoing to ensure their well-being and preservation of their rich heritage.
- Groundwater statistics of India
Relevance of this topic: the groundwater level various places in India has been alarmingly decreasing. Recently the ground water level in Karnal, which is known as rice bowl has been declining for more than 11 feet.(over the last 10 years).
Previous year questions: What are the environmental implication of the reclamation of water bodies into urban land use? (GS-1 2021).
In India, groundwater plays a crucial role in meeting the water needs of the population, especially for irrigation and drinking water supply. Here are some key groundwater statistics specific to India:
• Dependence: Around 85% of rural drinking water needs and 60% of irrigation water requirements in India are met by groundwater sources.
• Depletion: Many parts of India face significant groundwater depletion. According to a report by the Central Ground Water Board, over 60% of India’s districts have experienced a decline in groundwater levels. Ex: Rajasthan, Gujarat,Karnataka, parts of Andra Pradesh and Telengana and Tamil nadu.
• Overexploitation: Groundwater is often overexploited in agricultural areas, leading to the extraction of water at rates higher than natural recharge. This excessive pumping can lead to long-term depletion and land subsidence.
• Quality concerns: Groundwater quality is another challenge in India. It is estimated that around 60% of the country’s districts have issues with groundwater contamination, primarily due to industrial pollution, agricultural runoff, and inadequate sanitation practices.
• Management efforts: The Indian government has implemented various initiatives to address groundwater management, including the National Water Policy and the Atal Bhujal Yojana. These aim to promote sustainable groundwater use, recharge practices, and community participation in management.
- National mission for cultural mapping (NMCM)
Relevance of this topic: Recently Government has documented features of more than 1 lakh villages under Mera gaon meri dharohar under NMCM. This initiative documents what is unique about the place listed.
Previous year questions: 1.What makes the Indian society unique in sustain its culture? Discuss.(GS-1 2019).
- Do we have cultural pockets of small India all over the nation? Elaborate with examples.( GS-1 2019)
• The National Mission for Cultural Mapping is an initiative by the Government of India aimed at documenting and mapping the cultural resources and heritage of the country. The mission focuses on creating a comprehensive database of artists, artisans, cultural institutions, festivals, and various forms of cultural expression across India.
• Recently Government has documented features of more than 1 lakh villages under Mera gaon meri dharohar under NMCM. This initiative documents what is unique about the place listed.
• The objective of this mission is to preserve and promote India’s rich cultural diversity, traditions, and heritage. It aims to provide a platform for artists and cultural practitioners to showcase their work, facilitate cultural exchange, and encourage the development of cultural industries.
• Through the cultural mapping process, the government aims to identify and support the cultural infrastructure and resources in different regions of the country. This includes promoting traditional art forms, crafts, music, dance, theater, literature, and other forms of cultural expression.
• The National Mission for Cultural Mapping also seeks to foster collaboration and partnerships between various stakeholders, including government agencies, cultural organizations, artists, and communities. The collected data and mapping exercise are expected to assist in policy formulation, resource allocation, and the overall development of the cultural sector in India.
- Tungnath Temple
Relevance of this topic: Recently is was declared as monument of national importance. Climatic chaos in Uttrakhand would attract questions from this state.
Previous year questions: How will you explain the medieval Indian temple sculptures represent the social life of those days? (GS-1 2022).
The rock cut architecture represents one of the most important source of our knowledge of early Indian art and history.(GS-1 2020).
• Tungnath Temple is a revered Hindu temple located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, India. Situated at an altitude of 3,680 meters (12,073 feet), it is considered the highest Shiva temple in the world. The temple holds immense religious significance and is one of the Panch Kedar temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Recently is was declared as monument of national importance.
• Legend has it that after the battle of Kurukshetra in the Mahabharata, the Pandavas were seeking redemption for their sins committed during the war. Lord Shiva, disguised as a bull, eluded them and dived into the ground at five different places. The arms reappeared at Tungnath, making it one of the sacred sites of the Panch Kedar.
• The temple’s architecture showcases exquisite craftsmanship and is believed to date back more than a thousand years. It is constructed using stone and features a unique blend of North Indian and South Indian architectural styles. The sanctum sanctorum houses a black stone idol of Lord Shiva, attracting devotees from far and wide.
• Reaching Tungnath Temple requires a trek of approximately 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) from Chopta, which is the nearest accessible point by road. The trek route offers stunning views of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks, lush green meadows, and rhododendron forests.
• The journey to Tungnath is not only a spiritual experience but also an active trekking spot . Many visitors combine their visit to Tungnath with a further ascent to Chandrashila, a nearby peak known for its sunrise and panoramic views of the Himalayas. The Chandrashila summit stands at an elevation of 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) and offers a mesmerizing 360-degree view of the surrounding peaks.
- Ambubachi Mela
Relevance of this topic: This mela has been recently gaining prominence due to its association with goddess of Kamakhya and on the backdrop of Shabarimala temple entry issue.
Previous year questions: 1.How will you explain the medieval Indian temple sculptures represent the social life of those days? (GS-1 2022).
- What are challenges to our cultural pratices in the name of secularism?(GS-1 2019).
• The Ambubachi Mela is a unique Hindu religious festival held annually in Guwahati, Assam, India. It is celebrated at the Kamakhya Temple, which is one of the most revered Shakti Peethas (holy sites dedicated to the goddess Shakti) in the country. The festival marks the menstruation period of the goddess Kamakhya, and it is believed that during this time, the goddess undergoes a purification process.
• The festival usually takes place in the month of June and lasts for four days. The first three days are known as the “Snan” or the bathing period, during which the temple remains closed for devotees. It is believed that during this time, the goddess rejuvenates herself. On the fourth day, the temple is reopened, and thousands of devotees gather to seek blessings.
• During the Ambubachi Mela, devotees from different parts of India, and even from abroad, come to the Kamakhya Temple to participate in various rituals and seek the divine blessings of the goddess. It is considered an auspicious time for spiritual growth and fulfillment of desires. Many devotees observe strict fasting and engage in meditation and prayer during this period.
• The festival attracts a diverse range of people, including sadhus, priests, and devotees of all ages. The temple premises are decorated with flowers, lights, and colorful banners, enhancing the festive atmosphere.
• Apart from the religious rituals, the Ambubachi Mela also features cultural programs, traditional music, dance performances, and exhibitions that showcase the rich cultural heritage of Assam. The festival provides a platform for artists, artisans, and craftsmen to display and sell their products.
• The Ambubachi Mela is not only a significant religious event but also a major tourist attraction. It offers visitors a chance to witness and experience the vibrant traditions and customs of Assam. The festival provides a glimpse into the religious and cultural fabric of the region.
Relevance of this topic: Recently heritage enthusiasts form Telangana has requested for UNESCO tag for Menhirs at Mudumal village in Telangana. Tamil nadu government had declared 5 menhirs as protected monuments.
Previous year questions: The rock cut architecture represents one of the most important source of our knowledge of early India art and history. Discuss. (GS-1 2020).
• Menhirs, known as “standing stones” or “megaliths,” can be found in various regions of India. These ancient monuments are scattered across the country, particularly in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu.
• This village holds south east asia’s largest cluster of Menhirs.
• The megalithic culture in India dates back to the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods, and menhirs are believed to have been erected by the people of these ancient societies. These standing stones are typically made of granite or other local stones and can range in height from a few meters to several meters tall.
• The purpose of menhirs in India is still a subject of debate among archaeologists. Some theories suggest that they were used as memorial stones, markers for burial sites, or even as religious or ritualistic structures. They often exhibit intricate carvings or engravings, depicting symbols, animals, or human figures.
• Famous sites with menhirs in India include Hire Benakal in Karnataka, which has a large concentration of megalithic structures, and the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu, where menhirs are found along with dolmens and other megalithic structures.
• These menhirs provide valuable insights into the ancient cultures and traditions of India, shedding light on the lives and beliefs of the people who lived thousands of years ago. They are an important part of India’s rich archaeological heritage and continue to fascinate researchers and visitors alike.
SOME KEY WORDS WHICH SHOULD BE USED WHILE WRITING GS -1 PAPER
Quote various reports associated with climatology , historical findings.
Geophysical characteristics, circum-pacific zone, multi cultural diversity, Himalayan glacial belts, traditional social values, global south, cyclonic pressure belts, decertifying effect , torrential downpour, historical monuments,Ethinic diversity. etc