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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 05 OCTOBER 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 05 OCTOBER 2019


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1) Festivals of India often are demonstrations of living personification of environment. Do you agree? Discuss with suitable examples.(250 words)

Art and culture by Nitin Singhania

Why this question:

The question revolves around the significant connection of festivals in India with mother nature.

Key demand of the question:

The answer should discuss the significant appraisal of environment by the culture engrained in the festivals that are celebrated in the country.

Directive:

DiscussThis is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

In brief highlight the significance of festival in Indian culture.

Body:

Bring out the fact that religious practices prevalent in Indian culture have always incorporated worshiping of sun, wind, land, trees, plants and water all of which are very base of human survival. 

Quote examples – Rivers are considered sacred since Vedic period as it is around them civilizations grew.  Ex:Pushkaram festival dedicated to worshiping of rivers. Dip in rivers is believed to erase all sins.

Harvest festivals are celebrated as thanksgiving to nature for the blessing of food grains to survive. Ex: Lohri festival in Punjab, Makar Sankramana in Karnataka, Bihu in Assam.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of culture and its inherent link with environment.

Introduction:

The veneration of nature is an age- old practice in India. Such age-old practices of veneration of nature in India are based on the understanding that nature is the source of our lives and our well-being. Indians have always believed in the concept of ‘Nature as a nurturer’ and have acknowledged the sacredness of Earth and other life forms around them. They were all considered sacred and worshipped through number of festivals.

Body:

Following are few festivals which are living embodiment of reverence towards environment.

  • Worship of Nature:
    • The Banyan tree is considered a sacred tree and is given a special mention in the ancient Hindu scriptures.
    • Chhat puja is celebrated in Bihar worshipping sun.
    • Rivers are considered sacred since vedic period as it is around them civilizations grew. Ex:Pushkaram festival dedicated to worshiping of rivers. Dip in rivers is believed to erase all sins.
    • Practices like Vat vriksha puja around Banyan tree, Tulsi puja have become very part of everyday life.
    • Sacred groves are venerated even today by many tribals and forest dwellers.
  • Seasonal in nature
    • Most of the festivals specific to the Hindus are seasonal in nature. They announce the go in season and mark the harvesting seasons.
    • All the seasonal festivals are celebrated during two harvesting seasons kharif ‘ August-October) and rabi (March- April). Besides, spring season is another period of seasonal festivities.
  • Seasonal Festivals are Agro-based
    • The base of all seasonal festivals is ‘Agriculture.’ Festivals are observed because either the new crop is sown or crop is harvested.
    • In Punjab, from Lohri onwards peasants start cutting their winter crop. Pongal, Bihu and Onam celebrations mark the harvesting of paddy crop.
    • On the day of Pongal with the new crop Shankarai Pongal’ (rice cooked in milk and jaggery) is prepared and distributed as Prasadam.’ Sugarcane, which is another crop harvested at this time is also distributed as part of Trasadam.’
  • Worship of Animals:
    • Since agriculture of is the base of all these seasonal festivals, its closely related component is cattle-worship.
    • Pongal in South or Bihu in North-East, cattle are worshipped. The first day of Bohag Bihu (mid-April) called Goru Bihus is in fact the day of cattle festival.
    • Third day of Pongal called Mattu Pongal is dedicated to cattle (matu) worship. Their horns are polished and flowers hung around their necks.
    • Celebration of Naga Panchami, Hornbill festival, cows as kamadhenu have element of protecting wildlife.
  • Worship of Fire:
    • Fire worship is another important feature of seasonal festivals. We get references of fire worship as early as the Harappan period (at Kalibangan).
    • Magh Bihu (mid- January) celebrations are centred around bhelaghars (specially constructed structures of thatched grass and green bamboos): Men and women spend whole night in these structures. Bonfire is arranged. In the morning these bhelaghars are burnt as symbol of fire worship.

But sadly, people nowadays celebrate such festivals in ways that defeat the whole purpose of the worship of nature. Festivals mentioned above are fundamentally linked to nature and carry the eternal message of protecting and respecting nature. Irrespective of such strong links between nature and various traditions in India, the awareness and enthusiasm amongst most Indians regarding the importance of nature conservation is peculiarly low.

The need of the hour is to raise awareness amongst people regarding the real significance of India’s age-old traditions with regard to nature conservation. Interestingly the general outlook of Indian people and their understanding of various issues are deeply embedded in the cultural and religious context. And such a disposition can be channelled to develop a strong connection with nature.

Conclusion:

Living in harmony with Nature has been an integral part of Indian culture. Many Indian festivals epitomize a deep connection between man, nature and society.  If one delves into the significance of the various indigenous festivals of India, it quickly becomes apparent that most of these festivals are celebrations of Mother Nature and her power as well as bountifulness.


Topic:Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

2) Discuss the contributions of Bhakti poets to the literature of the times that not only led to development of Indian literature but also contributed to social upliftment and transformation of the society.(250 words)

Art and culture by Nitin Singhania/ Tamil Nadu NCERT

Why this question:

Contributions of Bhakti poets to the literature have been significant in the past along with the contributions that they made to the social upliftment of the society.

Key demand of the question:

Explain in detail the the contributions of Bhakti poets to literature and the social transformation.

Directive:

DiscussThis is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Brief on the genesis of Bhakti culture in India.

Body:

Explain – Bhakti movement began in the 6th century AD in southern India. It emphasized on complete devotion to the God. There was a strong bond that existed between the God and the worshipper. The movement was popularized by poets like Kabir, Tulsidas, Meerabai, Nanak dev, Basavana etc.

Discuss in what way Bhakti movement brought in the change in literary trends – Change of language, Development of new forms of literature, New class of authors(beyond caste boundaries) etc.

Explain in what way they led to social upliftment and transformation.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Bhakti tradition not only introduced literary changes, but also started trends of social transformation. It represented a break from the rites and ritual based devotion and focused on taking the spirituality to the common man.

Introduction:

Bhakti was accepted as a means to attain moksha along with jnana and karma. The Bhakti Movement originated in the seventh-century in Tamil, South India (now parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala), and spread northwards. It swept over east and north India from the 15th century onwards, reached its peak between the 15th and 17th century CE. The Bhakti Saints moved against the austerities propagated by the Buddhist and Jain schools and professed that ultimate devotion to god was the means to salvation.

Body:

Empowerment of lower treads of Indian Society:

  • The Bhakti movement in many ways broke barriers of gender, class and caste.
  • At the same time, it shattered stereotypes associated with the perception of spiritualism; denounced orthodoxy and the rigid ritualistic practices of worship, and established a more personal and informal connection between the devotee and the divine.
  • During the Bhakti movement, the lower classes rose to a position of great importance.
  • The Bhakti movement gave equal importance to men and women which gave way to the importance of women in society.
  • The Alvars and Nayanars initiated a movement of protest against the caste system and the dominance of Brahmanas or at least attempted to reform the system. This is supported by the fact that bhaktas or disciples hailed from diverse social backgrounds ranging from Brahmanas to artisans and cultivators and even from castes considered “untouchable”
  • Ramananda opposed the caste system and chose his disciples from all sections of society irrespective of caste. His disciples included Kabir, a weaver; Raidasa, he was a cobbler; Sena, he was a barber; thus, emphasizing the equality among people of all occupations and caste.
  • Saint Kabir aided the common people to shed age-old superstitions and attain salvation through Bhakti or pure devotion. He criticized all forms of worship of idols.
  • Guru Nanak condemned caste difference and rituals like bathing in holy rivers. His idea of religion was highly practical and strictly moral.
  • Nathpanthis, Siddhars and Yogis condemned the ritual and other aspects of orthodox religion and the social order, using simple, logical arguments. These groups became particularly popular among “low” castes.

Impetus for growth of vernacular literature:

  • The Bhakti reformers adopted the common language of the people and preached in it instead of preaching either in Sanskrit or in Persian. In this way a great impetus was given to the development of the vernaculars.
  • Tamil: the poetry of the Bhakti movement some of the first being the Nalayira Divya Prabandham (4,000 songs) of the Alwars (Vaishnavite) and the Twelve Thirumurais (comprising 18,426 songs) of the Saivite saints have as their main theme religion and god.
  • Kannada: Veerashaivism greatly contributed. Ex: Basavanna and Akka Mahadevi wrote several Vachanas in Kannada language. The Vira-Saivas contributed the most for the development of Kannada literature. Showing a predominant preference for the prose medium, this sect had over two hundred writers.
  • Telugu: Vaishnavism and Shaivism were the major movements in Telugu literature from the 12th to 15th century. Mallikajurna Pandit’s Siva-Tattva-Saram is an important exposition of this faith. Similarly, Pallukari Somantha wrote important Saiva texts such as the Panditaradhyacharita and Dvipada Basava Purana.
  • Marathi: Gnaneshwar who wrote “Gnaneshwari”, a book on Marathi grammar. Jnanadeva’s literary skills and philosophical depth are aptly reflected in his Bhavartha-Dipika, popularly known as Jnaneshvari, and the Amritanubhava. The poetic compositions of other saints Eknath and Tukarama reached to common people in their own language and left deep imprint onto their thoughts and minds.
  • Assamese and Bengali: Amongst the eastern group of languages. Bengali was used by Chaitanya and by the poet Chandidas, who wrote extensively on the theme of the love of Radha and Krishna. Ballads on events of contemporary interest composed by wandering ministers were equally popular. The whole of Assam passed under the sway of the strong Vaishnava movement during the fifteenth and sixteenth century A.D. Sankaradeva and Madhavadeva were the key architects of the Assamese Vaishnava movement. They made rich contributions to the development of the Assamese literature. The Kirtana-Ghosha of Sankaradeva is known as the Bible of the Assamese Vaishnava literature.
  • Hindi:
  • The phase (1318-1643), namely the Bhaktikala, witnessed wholesome composition of Hindi verses on religious, moral and mystical themes on the lines of two dominant schools of Bhakti saints, viz., the Nirguna and Saguna schools.
  • The Hindi literature during the Bhakti Kala had saint poets of both Nirguna and Saguna schools and Sufi mystics. They composed their verses on religious, mystical and social themes. Kabir composed a number of songs and Verses (Sakhis), which are noted for their literary excellence.
  • Tulsidasa’s Ramacharita Manasa is an epitome of the medieval Hindu culture. Of the Krishna worshipping Saguna group, Surdasa was the most prominent saint poet, whose Sura-Sagra is one of the masterpieces of medieval Hindi literature.
  • Vidyapati, Nandadasa, Hita Harivansa, Mirabai and Rasakhana etc., were some of the other prominent saint poets of this school, whose poetic compositions also made rich contributions to the contemporary Hindi literature.

Conclusion:

Bhakti cult was out-of-the-box thoughts on religion. It was mainly against the common religious views, and most importantly, it was strongly against the caste system.


Topic:  Indian Constitution– historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

3) Indian federalism is a case sui generis”. Examine with necessary justifications. (250 words)

Indian polity by Lakhsmikant

Why this question:

The question is based on the statement given by Alexandrowicz in his work “Constitutional Development in India, 1957”. It was quoted because of the nature of Indian polity which could be easily called as “quasi federal or federal with unitary bias”. 

Key demand of the question:

The question is straight forward and there isn’t much to deliberate, explain the concept of Indian federalism in detail.

Directive:

ExamineWhen asked to ‘Examine’, we must look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

In brief explain what Federalism is in general. 

Body:

Explain the following factors:

Discuss  the federal features in the Indian constitution like

  • Dual Polity
  • Written constitution
  • Division of Powers
  • Supremacy of the constitution
  • Independent judiciary
  • Bicameralism etc

Then move onto discuss the tilt of the constitution towards Unitary features. For Example mention situations where centre is strong like in the cases of residuary powers, money bill, schedule 7 etc.

  • India is indestructible union of destructible states. ( Art 2,3)
  • Single constitution 
  • Constitutional amendment could be done unilaterally by parliament
  • Emergency provisions
  • All India services etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude that The Supreme Court in ‘ S R Bommai Case 1994’ said that federalism is the basic structure of the constitution and greater power to centre in some instances is just an exception and are not rule. Thus, in the words of Granville Austin Indian polity is a just case of “ cooperative federalism”

Introduction:

Federalism is a system of government in which power is divided between a central authority and constituent political units. The Constitution of India establishes a federal structure to the Indian government, declaring it to be a “Union of States”. Indian model of federalism is called quasi-federal system as it contains major features of both a federation and union. It can be better phrased as ‘federation sui generis‘ or federation of its own kind.

Body:

Uniqueness of principle of federalism in India:

Federal Features of the India Union:

  • Two governments i.e. Union Government and State governments
  • Division of powers between the union and its constituents (Seventh Schedule of the Constitution contains three lists such as the Union List, State List, and Concurrent List)
  • Supremacy of the Constitution (Basic structure of the Constitution is made indestructible by the Judiciary)
  • Partial rigidity of the Constitution
  • Independent Judiciary
  • Bicameralism

Unitary Features of the Constitution:

  • A strong centre – The Union Government becomes all powerful in certain times like emergencies. Article 200 of the Constitution of India demands that the States must comply with the central laws.
  • Single Constitution
  • Single citizenship
  • Flexibility of Constitution
  • Integrated judiciary
  • Appointment of the Centre. E.g.: Governor
  • All India Services
  • Emergency provisions

The following four characteristics highlighting the fact that the Indian Constitution is not a “traditional federal Constitution”:

  • Firstly, being that there is no provision of separate Constitutions for each State as required in a federal state. The Constitution of India is the supreme document, which governs all the states.
  • Secondly, the Constitution can be altered only by the Union Parliament; whereas the States have no power to alter it.
  • Thirdly, in contradiction to a federal Constitution, the Indian Constitution renders supreme power upon the Courts to invalidate any action which violates the Constitution.
  • Fourthly, the distribution of powers facilitates local governance by the states and national policies by the Centre.

Challenges to Federalism in India:

  • For a country like India which is divided on the linguistic and communal basis, a pure federal structure could lead to disruption and division of states.
  • India’s federal character has undergone, over the past sixty years, many trials and tribulations.
  • Formation of Telangana under Article 3 of the constitution raised a lot of questions against the federal nature of the polity.
  • 100th amendment of the constitution where land was transferred to Bangladesh posed as a threat to federalism in India.
  • On the introduction of GST, critics argue on the autonomy of states.
  • With too much power given to a state, it may want to shift away from the union. Jammu & Kashmir’s special powers are in question in the public time and again.
  • The continued existence of provisions such as Article 356 (President’s rule) goes against the grain of federalism.
  • States such as Karnataka, Tamil Nadu have asserted their linguistic and cultural rights in the wake of the Centre’s interventions such as a promotion of Hindi.
  • States perceive that their progress is being penalised: While the southern States contribute to the nation economically, they don’t occupy a central space politically and are further marginalised culturally.
  • Disputes between states over sharing of river water, for example between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over Cauvery water.

Conclusion:

The Indian Constitution is a constitution sui generis. On one hand, the constitution contains features which are of high importance for a federal arrangement, at the same time it contains provisions which fight for a strong Centre, thus making it quasi-federal in nature. The fact to be appreciated here is that these dual federalism provisions were deliberately incorporated to best fit a polyglot country like India.


Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

4) India is witnessing a gender revolution in education, but not in jobs. Critically analyse the statement listing out the causative factors responsible for such a trend. (250 words)

Hindustantimes

 

Why this question:

The article highlights the recent study by the Azim Premji University which found that 96% of parents said education was as important for girls as it is for boys, but only 52% saw it as a means to employment for daughters, whereas for sons, it was 71%.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must assess the trends of gender revolution in education and contrast it with that in terms of Jobs and analyse what are the shortfalls being witnessed.

Directive:

Critically analyzeWhen asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

In first, highlight the gender factor in education and jobs in India in brief.

Body:

Explain that educated women are a force for change. They are likely to marry later and have fewer kids. Yet, without social support structures for careers, education is in danger of becoming a goal in itself. Female labour force participation has plunged to 23.3% according to the 2018 Economic Survey. More girls are studying, but they are not necessarily landing more jobs.

Use data from the article, compare and contrast the underling factors leading to such a picture.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what needs to be done, what should be the way forward.

Introduction:

The recently released periodic labour force survey (PLFS) data published by the NSSO shows that India’s female Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR)—the share of working-age women who report either being employed, or being available for work—has fallen to a historic low of 23.3% in 2017-18, meaning that over three out of four women over the age of 15 in India are neither working nor seeking work.

Body:

Status of women in education:

  • Female enrolment in colleges is up from 47.6% in 2017-18 to 48.6% in 2018-19, the All India Survey on Higher Education found.
  • In Uttar Pradesh, there are 90,000 more women than men in higher education.
  • The surge of women and girls in education is an ongoing trend that every year makes tiny, but significant, gains.
  • In 2015, Mint did a series of articles that documented how girls breached the gender gap in primary and secondary school, with a gap of just 0.8% remaining at the class 10-12 level.
  • That generation of girls is now headed to college. This is reflected in the growth of universities from 903 in 2017-18 to 993 for 2018-19.
  • Perhaps the biggest transformation has taken place in rural India where in 2016, 70% of 18-year-olds were already in college.

The success of this often unsung revolution is partly to do with targeted government interventions including scholarships, subsidies, and quotas for women. And partly, it is due to aspiration and easier access to technology and information in the post-liberalisation era.

Status of women in jobs:

  • A January 2019 study by the Azim Premji University found that 96% of parents said education was as important for girls as it is for boys, but only 52% saw it as a means to employment for daughters, whereas for sons, it was 71%.
  • Without social support structures for careers, education is in danger of becoming a goal in itself.
  • Female labour force participation has plunged to 23.3% according to the 2018 Economic Survey.
  • More girls are studying, but they are not necessarily landing more jobs.
  • Muslim women have the lowest LFPR while among Hindu women, forward caste women have the lowest LFPR, implying that social norms and religious conservatism might play a role in women being “allowed” to work.
  • Rural women work overwhelmingly in agriculture, which could offer a clue to understanding the falling rates of rural workforce participation. It is likely that non-farm jobs are rare, especially for women.
  • 99% of (women workers described as directors and chief executives) were self-employed, of which around one-third worked as unpaid family workers

Factors responsible for such a fall in working rates of women:

  • Maternity: Many women who join the workforce are unable to re-join after having a child.
  • The landmark legislation Maternity Benefit Act, 2017, which entitles a woman to 26 weeks of paid maternity leave, is becoming a big hurdle as start-ups and SMEs have become reluctant to hire them.
  • The increased cost for companies and this may discourage them from hiring women.
  • The share of women workers in the agriculture sector dropped from 42% in 2004 -05 to 35.5% in 2011-12. This decrease in FLPR in agriculture can be attributed to increased adoption of technology in agriculture.
  • The gender pay gap was 34 per cent in India, that is, women get 34 per cent less compared to men for performing the same job with same qualifications.
  • In the organised sector, women professionals even in the highest ranks of labour (legislators, senior officials, and managers) are also paid less compared to their male counterparts. However, these women constitute only one per cent of the total female work force and the gap is lowest as they are aware of their rights.
  • Concerns about safety and Harassment at work site, both explicit and implicit.
  • According to NSSO, urban males accounted for 16% of India’s population, but held 77% of all jobs in computer-related activities in 2011-12. This shows how gender has become a discriminatory factor for certain white-collared jobs.
  • Higher Education levels of women also allow them to pursue leisure and other non-work activities, all of which reduce female labour force participation.
  • Insufficient availability of the type of jobs that women say they would like to do, such as regular part-time jobs that provide steady income and allow women to reconcile household duties with work.
  • According to the reports, about 74 per cent in rural areas and about 70 per cent in urban areas preferred ‘part time’ work on a regular basis while 21 per cent in rural areas and 25 per cent in urban areas wanted regular ‘full-time’ work.
  • Marriage is a career stopper for the majority of Indian women and this cultural abhorrence towards women working is a not-so-subtle way of ensuring that the escape routes out of a marriage are minimised, if not entirely closed
  • Social norms about household work are against women’s mobility and participation in paid work. Childbirth and taking care of elderly parents or in-laws account for the subsequent points where women drop off the employment pipeline.
  • The cultural baggage about women working outside the home is so strong that in most traditional Indian families, quitting work is a necessary precondition to the wedding itself.
  • When increases in family incomes are there, due to the cultural factors, women leave the work to take care of the family and avoid the stigma of working outside.

Way forward:

  • Non-farm job creation for women: there is a need to generate education-based jobs in rural areas in the industrial and services sectors
  • The state governments should make policies for the participation of rural women in permanent salaried jobs.
  • The governments should also generate awareness to espouse a positive attitude towards women among the public since it is one of the most important impediments in women’s participation in economic activities.
  • Local bodies, with aid from state governments, should open more crèches in towns and cities so that women with children can step out and work. The crèches will open employment opportunities for women.
  • Supply side reforms to improve infrastructure and address other constraints to job creation could enable more women to enter the labour force.
  • Higher social spending, including in education, can lead to higher female labour force participation by boosting female stocks of human capital.
  • Skilling the women:
    • Initiatives such as Skill India, Make in India, and new gender-based quotas from corporate boards to the police force can spur a positive change. But we need to invest in skill training and job support.
    • The private sector could also take active part in training women entrepreneurs. For example: Unilever’s Shakti program, which has trained more than 70,000 rural women in India as micro-entrepreneurs to sell personal-care products as a way of making its brands available in rural India
  • Equal pay: The principle of equal remuneration for work of equal value that is protected by Indian law must be put to actual practice. Improved wage-transparency and gender neutral job evaluation is required to achieve this end.
  • Assuring safe access to work: It is important to improve existing transport and communication networks and provide safe accommodation for women who travel to or has migrated for work.
  • A useful and easily implementable idea would be to give income tax benefits to women. It would be a bold and effective step to increasing India’s female workforce participation.
  • For political empowerment of women, their representation in Parliament and in decision making roles in public sphere is one of the key indicators of empowerment.
  • Gig Economy provides women flexible work options to pursue their career while not missing important milestones in their family lives.
  • Drawing more women into the labour force, supplemented by structural reforms that could help create more jobs would be a source of future growth for India. Only then would India be able to reap the benefits of “demographic dividend” from its large and youthful labour force.

Conclusion:

With more than 75% women not contributing to the economy, the nation is not only losing on the economic part but also the development of 50% of our population. The numeric consequences of reducing obstacles to women’s full economic participation far exceed the demographic advantages of having a larger pool of young workers. It is thus high time to talk of the gender dividend along with the demographic dividend.


Topic:  India and its neighborhood- relations.

Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

5) In the rising threats of water scarcity, critically analyse India’s relations on river water sharing with neighboring countries.(250 words)

Economictimes

Why this question:

The question seeks to examine the alarming water crisis situation in the country and significance of India’s relations on river water sharing with neighboring countries amidst it.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the importance of India’s relations on river water sharing with neighboring countries amidst water crisis.

Directive:

Critically analyzeWhen asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by highlighting the water crisis in the world particularly in India. Mention some facts for example India is water stress country.

Body:

Discuss the relations with all the neighboring countries individually. In this you have to focus on two things, first mention disputes and second challenges. For example with China , India being a low riparian state faces floods in NE often , Dams of china in the seismically active zones threatening stability in India etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward, suggest that Need of mutual trust and cooperation is the need of an hour, mapping of flood zone areas, sharing of data with each other etc.

Introduction:

According to a report by NITI Aayog, titled ‘Water Quality Index’, India is currently ranked 120 among 122 countries. Water remains a politically contested issue in much of South Asia. The region is facing water shortage and agrarian difficulties, and it will continue to face increasing demands on energy and water with rapid industrialisation. Over-extraction of groundwater is of particular concern, with an estimated 23 million pumps in use across Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Moreover, salinity and arsenic contamination affects over 60% of groundwater in the Indo-Gangetic plain.

Body:

Water relations with neighbours:

  • India-China:
    • Both Brahmaputra and the glaciers that feed Ganga originate in China. As an upstream riparian region, China maintains an advantageous position and can build infrastructure to intentionally prevent water from flowing downstream.
    • Owing to previous tendencies where the Chinese have been reluctant to provide details of its hydro-power projects, there is a trust deficit between the two neighbours.
    • China’s dam-building and water division plans along the Brahmaputra is a source of tension between the two neighbours, despite the two having signed several MoUs on strengthening communication and strategic trust.
    • China has now plans to build four more dams on the Brahmaputra in Tibet. Both India and Bangladesh worry that these dams will give Beijing the ability to divert or store water in times of political crisis.
  • India-Bangladesh:
    • Sharing the waters of the Teesta river, which originates in the Himalayas and flows through Sikkim and West Bengal to merge with the Brahmaputra in Assam, is perhaps the most contentious issue between two friendly neighbours, India and Bangladesh.
    • The river covers nearly the entire floodplains of Sikkim, while draining 2,800 sq km of Bangladesh, governing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
    • For West Bengal, Teesta is equally important, considered the lifeline of half-a-dozen districts in North Bengal.
    • Bangladesh has sought an “equitable” distribution of Teesta waters from India, on the lines of the Ganga Water Treaty of 1996 (an agreement to share surface waters at the Farakka Barrage near their mutual border), but to no avail.
    • In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Dhaka has generated some expectations to take forward the previous issues on fair and equitable water sharing agreement.
    • But Teesta remains an unfinished project, as in India individual states have significant influence over transboundary agreements. This arrangement sometimes impedes the policymaking process. For example, one of the key stakeholders of the Teesta agreement, West Bengal is yet to endorse the deal.
  • India–Nepal:
    • Water cooperation between Nepal and India have been agreements signed on major rivers like Kosi, Gandaki, Karnali or Mahakali, essentially for large hydroelectric and irrigation projects by building dams or barrages.
    • No project except the Kosi barrage has been completed yet. Smaller rivers have also been ignored.
    • There have been various disputes over this agreement fuelled by floods in the Kosi region.
    • India and Nepal have also had disputes over the issue of compensation of the Kosi dam.
    • Moreover, Nepal had considered India’s construction as an encroachment on Nepal’s territorial sovereignty.
  • India–Pakistan:
    • Both India and Pakistan since partition have experienced friction over various water conflicts.
    • The countries early leaders anticipated this fierce rivalry over the waters that connect their volatile border.
    • As a result, after numerous dialogues and through careful negotiations, both countries signed an accord called the Indus Waters Treaty in 1960, which clearly determined how the region’s rivers are to be divided.
    • In this treaty, control over three eastern rivers of the Beas, Ravi and Sutlej was given to India, while Pakistan got the control over western rivers of the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.
    • In 2005, Pakistan challenged India’s 450 MW Baglihar dam project on the Chenab river before the World Bank, but lost the case in the end.
    • In 2011, both countries went head to head again at the International Court of Arbitration (ICA) over India’s 330 MW project in Kishanganga project in Jammu and Kashmir.
    • The latest dispute is over hydroelectric projects that India is building along the Chenab River. According to Pakistan, these projects violate the treaty and will impact its water supply.
  • India–Bhutan:
    • India and Bhutan hydro-electric power cooperation started more than five decades ago.
    • Initially, the cooperation was based on the development of small-scale hydro projects such as Tala, Chukha and Kurichu.
    • Bhutan has the potential to generate 30,000 MW of hydro-power.
    • In 2006, both countries inked a Power Purchase Agreement for thirty five years that would allow India to generate and import 5000 MW of hydro-power from Bhutan, the quantum of which increased to 10,000 MW in 2008.
    • On the other hand, the people of Bhutan raised objections to such projects on their long run effects in the country.

Way forward:

Near-term hydro diplomacy in south Asia could start with less sensitive areas like

  • managing flooding by sharing forecasting data
  • collaborating on navigation, electricity generation, and water quality
  • Through some critical debates on these agreements and by the active participation of regional organization and mutual understanding among shareholders.

Conclusion:

Water politics has far-reaching consequences for the prosperity and security of countries. While this transboundary issue is integral to the national development policies of these countries, it needs better analysis and understanding on the part of the countries involved. The water disputes in South Asian subcontinent deal with the complex orientation of the rivers of the region that cut across some countries in the region complemented by a tense and uncompromising geo-political situation amongst the fellow riparian countries brings out the strategic role played by water in the region.


Topic: Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

6) Mahatma Gandhi fostered an attitude of encouraging multiple religious attachments in his discourse; in this context discuss what according to him constitutes practicing plurality? How can it be fostered?(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The article named ‘Recovering Gandhi’s religious vision’ discusses in detail Mahatma Gandhi’s religious views and the idea of religious plurality.

Key demand of the question:

One has to discuss in depth the idea of religious plurality as propounded by Mahatma Gandhi.

Directive:

DiscussThis is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

In brief explain what religious plurality is.

Body:

The answer body should have the following key points: 

  • Add a note on the importance of an identity. Religion in the diversified society like India and introduce Gandhi’s view on religion.
  • Discuss on the various dimensions of Gandhi’s religious philosophy.
  • In brief, elaborate on the present social conditions.
  • Examine the relevance of the Gandhian religious philosophy in the present conditions. 

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting significance of Gandhian philosophy of religious plurality.

Introduction:

Gandhi’s conception of religion is primarily concerned with spiritual development.  It is essential not only for the countries practicing religious pluralism but also for the re-education of the human race. His  idea  on  religion  and  world  endorses  the  view  of  the  political  philosopher  Thomas  Paine  who  considered  the  world  as  his  country,  all  mankind  are  his  brethren  and  to  do  good  is  his  religion.

Body:

Gandhiji’s ideas of religious plurality:

  • For Mahatma Gandhi, in the same way as for Ghaffar Khan and Maulana Azad, the real challenge was to ensure that the secular public sphere could uphold the constitutional rights for all religious minorities.
  • Through his “soft reading” of the Hindu scriptures, as also the texts of Christianity and Islam, Gandhi found a clarion call for active non-violence in all these religions.
  • As such, he thought faith can only push a person, be that a Christian, a Jew or a Muslim, to promote peace and non-violent social change.
  • For him, the basic principles of religions were not just pious ideals, but actual laws of action in the world.
  • He pointed out that selfish priests, Brahmins, and mullahs had distorted the teaching of Christianity and other religions, and misled the people.
  • All religions held soul force to be superior to brute force… There is no room in religion for anything other than compassion.
  • A man of religion will not wish ill even to his enemy. Therefore, if people want to follow the path of religion, they must do nothing but good.
  • Like Rabindranath Tagore, Gandhi’s religion was not confined to temples, churches, books, and other such outer forms. Gandhi was convinced that a mere doctrinaire approach in the field of religion does not help to create inter-religious fellowship.
  • Dogmatic religions do not help promote creative dialogue. Dogmas tend to directly or indirectly breed an attitude of dislike towards other religions.
  • Mahatma Gandhi’s mission was to find a common ground based on non-violence among religions.
  • Disheartened by the “us-and-them” divisions and mutual disregard between the Muslims and the Hindus, Gandhi engaged in an open dialogue with Islam and the Muslims.
  • He never accepted the argument that Hindus and Muslims constituted two separate elements in Indian society.
  • In Gandhian conception, oneness is attained by accepting all radical others as equally significant because they variously manifest one Supreme Being.
  • Thus, to tolerate is to refrain from interfering in the life of others not despite our hatred for them, but because we love them as alternative manifestations of our own selves or because we deeply care for some basic norm common to all of us.

Conclusion:

Gandhi’s religious vision encouraged multiple attachments, multiple belongings, and multiple religious identities. It’s time to challenge the idea of religion as a monolith and follow Gandhi who encouraged multiple religious attachments