Vaikom Satyagraha: A Centenary (1924-2024)


  • Vaikom, Kerala: Temple town in Travancore (princely state)
  • Untouchables denied entry to temples


  • 1917: T.K. Madhavan (Ezhava leader) raised temple entry issue in “Deshabhimani”
  • 1923: INC (Kerala) resolved anti-untouchability as a key issue
  • Vaikom chosen for the first-ever satyagraha (1924)

Satyagraha Details

  • Lasted 604 days (March 1924 – Nov 1925)
  • Leaders: T.K. Madhavan, E.V.R. Periyar, M.K. Gandhi, Narayana Guru


  • Testing ground for Gandhian Satyagraha principles
  • Led to the Temple Entry Proclamation (1936) by Travancore Maharaja
  • Growth platform for INC in Kerala
  • First human rights struggle in India
  • Formation of SNDP (social reform for lower castes)


  • Pivoted moment in freedom struggle – highlighted caste injustice and social reform needs
  • Vaikom Satyagraha Memorial Museum and Gandhi statue planned by Kerala government (2014)


Art and Culture

Bohag Bihu: Assam’s Vibrant New Year Celebration

Bihu: Essence of Assam

  • Celebrated across Assam with immense enthusiasm.
  • Marks the changing agricultural seasons.

Three Bihu Festivals

  1. Bohag Bihu (April):
    • Also called Rongali Bihu.
    • Assamese New Year and spring festival.
    • Time for merriment, feasting, and Bihu dance.
  2. Magh Bihu (January):
    • Also called Bhogali Bihu (“festival of food”).
    • Marks the harvest season’s end.
    • Features bonfire (meji) lighting and feasting.
  3. Kati Bihu (October):
    • Also called Kongali Bihu.
    • Less flamboyant, focuses on agricultural well-being.
    • Involves lighting an earthen lamp near the Tulsi plant.

Significance of Each Bihu

  • Bohag Bihu:Celebrates New Year and the beginning of seeding time.
  • Kati Bihu:Marks the completion of sowing and transplanting of paddy crops.
  • Magh Bihu:Celebrates the end of the harvesting period and thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest.

Current News: Bohag Bihu

  • Increased demand for traditional Assamese Gamosa (cloth) ahead of Bohag Bihu festivities.


International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic (INTERACT)

Focus on Arctic Environmental Changes

  • INTERACT is an infrastructure project for studying environmental changes in the Arctic and surrounding areas.
  • Established under SCANNET, an existing Arctic network.
  • Spans across northern Europe, North America, Greenland, Iceland, and northern alpine areas.

Importance of INTERACT

  • Capacity Building:Provides access to research stations, resources, and expertise for global scientists.
  • Multidisciplinary Approach:Research goes beyond climate change, encompassing:
    • Glaciology (ice studies)
    • Permafrost (frozen ground)
    • Climate
    • Ecology
    • Biodiversity
    • Biogeochemical cycling (element movement)
  • International Collaboration:Scientists worldwide collaborate using INTERACT’s resources to tackle complex environmental issues.

Recent Discovery: Stations revealed a loss of more than 1,000 billion tonnes of Arctic ice in the past four decades.

Science and Tech

Genetic Profiling

  • Understanding Individual DNA:Analyzes genetic makeup of cells/tissues.
  • Applications:
    • Disease Diagnosis: Identifies genetic variations linked to health conditions.
    • Treatment Planning: Informs personalized medicine approaches.
    • Forensic Science: DNA fingerprinting for identification in criminal investigations or paternity testing.
    • Wildlife Conservation: WII creating a national elephant DNA database for conservation purposes.


Punnett Square

Predicting Offspring Traits

  • A tool to predict the likelihood of genetic outcomes in offspring.
  • Developed by British geneticist Reginald Punnett.

How it Works

  • Arranged in a grid, listing possible traits from each parent on opposing sides.
  • Each square represents a combination of traits an offspring might inherit.
  • Visualizes the probability of different traits appearing in the offspring.



Afar Depression: A Rift Valley Poised for a New Ocean

Afar Triangle/ Depression: Three Tectonic Plates Meet

  • Location: Horn of Africa
  • Significance: Afar Triangle is part of the East African Rift System, a vast zone of geological activity.
  • Formation: Convergence of three tectonic plates (Nubian, Somali, Arabian) over millions of years.

A Future Ocean in the Making

  • Evidence: 2005 – 35-mile rift opened in Ethiopia, signifying ongoing continental separation.
  • Prediction: In 5-10 million years, continued plate movement will split Africa, creating a new ocean basin.
  • Source of the new ocean: Red Sea and Gulf of Aden waters flooding the Afar region and the East African Rift Valley.
  • Consequence: Eastern Africa could become a separate continent.


Katchatheevu Island

Island in Dispute

  • Uninhabited island in Palk Strait, believed to be formed by a 14th-century volcanic eruption.
  • Claimed by both India and Sri Lanka (formerly British colonies) since 1921.

Ceded to Sri Lanka

  • 1974: Indian government led by Indira Gandhi ceded the island to Sri Lanka.
  • Island lies on Sri Lanka’s side of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).
  • Recognized as Sri Lankan territory under India-Sri Lanka agreement.

Point of Contention

  • Fishing rights for Indian fishermen:
    • Fishermen from Rameswaram, India, traditionally fish in the area.
    • View it as their historic fishing ground.


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