26/10/2019 The Hindu Editorials Notes : Mains Sure Shot 

No. 1.

This is related to today’s article titled ‘’ When the abstract destroys the physical being”it doesn’t have much content but these are the important highlights:

  • The article argues that there are two things, one is the concept of something like the concept of a nation or the concept of a family, in the minds of the people. And the second is the physical existence of a human being.
  • What happens mostly is that the concept takes over the physical and leads to the exploitation and hurting of the human being.
  • For example, in the case of family, we have heard instances of honour killing. In such instances people are ready to kill a member of their own family (their daughter) to save the honour of their concept of family.
  • Similarly there was an instance of Dalit children beng beaten to death for defecating in the open. This is another case when the notion of nation and the prestige of our nation in front of foreign media is being misunderstood by many Indians.
  • The concept becomes more important than the situation or the individual associated with it. A family member becomes less important in front of the notion of family, a concept of nation becomes more important than the individuals who make it. In the whole process what is affected the most is individual human rights.
  • Human rights are something that are not linked to any concept, but they emerge or are rooted in the actual biological existence of human beings in a society. So the basic human rights have to be the same for all human beings beyond any differences of gender, race, caste, sex or religion or any other matter as such.
  • It is more so because if differences of nationality, culture, gender, colour, sexuality etc. means that basic human rights have to change across these categories, then we are basically arguing that the ‘human’ does not exist, or it exists only in an abstract context, un-rooted in biological or other realities.
  • So basic human rights – that is access to shelter, food, inheritance and reproductive rights, educational, freedom of work and movement – cannot be denied on the basis of gender differences, just as they cannot be denied on the basis of ‘race’.




GS-2 Mains ( Health Updates)



The WHO on world polio day officially declared that wild poliovirus type 3 has been eradicated. In Spite of this progress in the global fight against polio, there is no room for complacency.


  • The eradication of type 3 virus opens up the possibility of switching from the currently used bivalent oral polio vaccine containing type 1 and type 3 to a monovalent vaccine containing only type 1.
  • This would lead to lower costs.
  • It also helps reduce the number of vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDVP) cases.
  • Vaccine-associated paralytic polio (VAPP) can be greatly reduced if there is a switch from the bivalent to a monovalent vaccine containing only type 1, as type 3 poliovirus in the vaccine has the greatest propensity to cause vaccine-associated paralytic polio (VAPP). Though the risk of VAPP is small, it is caused when the live, weakened virus used in the vaccine turns virulent in the intestine of the vaccinated child or spreads to close contacts who have not been immunized.

More information:

  • Vaccine-derived polioviruses (VDPVs) are rare strains of poliovirus that have genetically mutated from the strain contained in the oral polio vaccine.
  • The oral polio vaccine contains a live, attenuated (weakened) vaccine-virus. When a child is vaccinated, the weakened vaccine-virus replicates in the intestine and enters into the bloodstream, triggering a protective immune response in the child. Like wild poliovirus, the child excretes the vaccine-virus for a period of six to eight weeks. Importantly, as it is excreted, some of the vaccine-virus may no longer be the same as the original vaccine-virus as it has genetically altered during replication. This is called a VDPV.
  • VAPP is caused when the live, weakened virus used in the vaccine turns virulent in the intestine of the vaccinated child or spreads to close contacts who have not been immunized.




  • In an announcement by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on World Polio Day (24th of October), an independent commission of experts declared that wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) has been eradicated worldwide.
  • The development follows eradication of smallpox and wild poliovirus type 2.


  • There are three individual and immunologically distinct wild poliovirus strains: wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1), wild poliovirus type 2 (WPV2) and wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3).
  • Symptomatically, all three strains are identical, in that they cause irreversible paralysis or even death.
  • But there are genetic and virological differences, which make these three strains three separate viruses that must each be eradicated individually.
    • Poliovirus type 1 remains in circulation in just two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
    • Type 2 was eradicated back in 2015.
    • The last case of type 3 polio surfaced in northern Nigeria in 2012 and the virus hasn’t been seen since. It is declared that Wild poliovirus type 3 is globally eradicated.
  • A poliovirus can be considered eradicated if it hasn’t been detected for three years.
  • India, where polio was paralyzing 500 to 1,000 children per day in the 1990s, eliminated the disease in 2014.


  • Polio, short for poliomyelitis, or infantile paralysis, is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus.
  • Polio is transmitted through contaminated water or food, or contact with an infected person.
  • Polio mainly affects children under the age of 5.
  • At its peak in the middle of the 20th century, the disease killed half a million people every year.
  • In 1988, when WHO launched the eradication program, there were more than 350,000 cases in 125 polio-endemic countries.
  • Since then, cases of wild poliovirus have decreased by over 99 percent, according to WHO, to just 94 this year.
  • The current goal for full polio eradication is 2023.


This is a significant achievement that should reinvigorate the eradication process and provides motivation for the final step — the eradication of wild poliovirus type 1.



NOTE 2 – This article is of 25th October (yesterday). 

Question – Explain the significance of morning assembly in schools. Are prayers an essential part of it?(150 words)

Context – The present controversy over morning prayers in schools.

Why in news?

  • The constitution says that institutions getting state funding cannot provide religious instruction.
  • The headmaster of a government school in Pilibhit (U.P.) was suspended recently by the district administration following complain that he was making the students sing religious prayers in the morning assembly.
  • But last year the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sanghathan made a morning prayer quoting the BrihadAranyaka.

Significance of morning prayer in schools:

  • Morning prayers are almost synonymous to the morning assembly in schools. It plays an important role in inculcating good moral values among the students and reciting them early in the morning registers it more fruitfully in the students.
  • Also prayers have the power of creating a pious atmosphere that helps inculcate certain values like humanity and discipline among the students.

Certain things to understand:

  1. Do prayers in the morning assembly mean giving religious instruction?
  • If we see typically the morning assembly in schools is used to sing one or more prayers and they are of different kinds. Some are traditional, some are from belief systems and religious and some are on the borderline of both.
  • Through these prayers and singing, the schools fulfil several different needs more than religious instruction.
  • For example, headmasters use this occasion to address the students, giving general notices and gave a short speech. Amidst all this there is singing and this quite often includes prayers.
  • So the question is not whether there should be a morning prayer but more about the lyrical material used in the prayer. Whether it fulfils the purpose for which the morning assembly  is used and not question the arrangement itself.
  1. One reason why some people are skeptical about prayers in morning assembly is that according to them it appeals to something superhuman, it contradicts the spirit of rationality and compromises on scientific temper.
  2. Also coming to the question of not allowing state funded school to provide religious instruction, if we believe that prayer is a part of the morning assembly and fulfils several other purposes and more importance should be given to the lyrics, then it needs to be analysed whether  restricting the state funded schools all together is a good option rather than regulating them.
  3. Also if we talk of scientific temper, then what does science mean? it means systematic pursuit of knowledge and the study of religion is a part of it. What we need to do is to distinguish direct religious instructions from traditions of religion which are a part of the cultural ethos of the country. Prayer as a part of music and poetry is generally used in schools and poetry is centrally located in most Indian languages. Many of the songs of Tagore have a spiritual overtone.
  4. Moreover a rigid categorisation between spirituality and religion cannot be done but it needs to be understood that spirituality is something more rooted and hence more emphasis should be given on spirituality in prayers than promoting religion.
  5. Overall if we study the situation widely then we find that most schools have beautiful morning assemblies. Many beautiful traditions of the country are communicated through the morning assemblies.

Way ahead:

  • Morning assembly prayers are significant but we need to focus more on what their lyrics contain rather than banning the whole routine.

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