Current Affairs for today-11th November 2019
GS Paper I, Paper II
Karnataka to seek UNESCO World Heritage Site status for 14 Hoysala Temples
INTACH is working on a dossier on serial nomination to be submitted to the UNESCO next year.
The State Archaeology Department has clubbed 14 temples from the Hoysala period reflecting similar architectural styles- including the monuments at Belur-Halebid and Somnathapur- for serial nomination to seek UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Bengaluru is preparing the final dossier to be submitted by September 2020. Among the various steps to be taken to revise and refine the final dossier that will ‘comprise and highlight the monuments as representing a masterpiece of creative genius in monumental arts and as an example of an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble illustrating a significant stage in human history’ which is what a Tentative List calls for.
There are 137 Hoysala temples of significant value in the State- 43 are protected by the Archaeological Survey of India, 55 by the Archaeology Department and the remaining 39 are unprotected. At present, Karnataka has Hampi and Pattadakal group of monuments inscribed World Heritage Sites.
Serial nomination: UNESCO defines serial nominations as any two or more unconnected sites that may contain a series of properties in different locations but belonging to the same historical and cultural group.
The country has 33 World Heritage Sites- 30 Cultural and 8 National properties.
Hoysala era (1026 CE -1343 CE) marked a prosperous span of art, architecture and culture. The nucleus of the activity lay in the present-day Hassan, Karnataka. They were originally from Malenadu used the opportunity to annex major territories in Southern India during the internal warfare between the Western Chalukyan Empire and the Kalachuris of Kalyani.
They shifted the capital from Belur to Halebidu.
Hoysala rulers were influenced by the Western Chalukyan architecture and employed their craftsmen as well. Hoysala rulers were the successors to the Chalukya dynasty in the Mysore plateau between 11th and 14th century AD. They were fond lovers of art and they were richly carved with a stellate/ high star-shaped base.
Hoysala temples are sometimes called hybrid or vesara as their unique style seems neither completely Dravida nor Nagara, but somewhere in between.
Vishnuvardhana’s military conquest against the Cholas marks the 1st milestone towards the making of a new dynasty- Hoysala. He built the Chennakesava temple (1117 CE) in Belur to celebrate his victory. He brought major changes in the art and architecture by introducing Vaishnavism (Hoysalas would practice Jainism earlier), under the influence of Ramanuja, a Vaishnavite reformer. Hoysala King, Narasimha III built Chennakesava Temple in Somanathpur in 1268 CE.
Two prominent sites of Jain worship of the Hoysala Dynasty are – Shravanabelagola and Panchakuta Basadi, Kambadahalli.
The best specimen of Hoysala art is the Hoysaleswara temple at Halebid and the Chenna Kesava temple at Belur.
- A cuboid cell, the garbha griha (sanctum sanctorum) houses a centrally placed murti (enshrined icon) on a pitha (pedestal).
- The shikhara (superstructure), rises over the garbha griha and togetherwith the sanctum they form the vimana (or mulaprasada) of a temple.
- A ribbed stone, amalaka, is placed atop the shikhara with a kalash at its finial.
- An intermediate antarala (vestibule) joins the garbha griha to an expansive pillared mandapa (porch) in front, chiefly facing east (or north).
- The temple may be approached via entrances with gigantic gopurams (ornate entrance towers) towering over each doorway.
- In the prakaram (temple courtyard) several minor shrines and outbuildings often abound.
- Mythical representation: Hoysala dynasty glorifies the Hindu mythology in the sculptures and architectural forms like no other. The pictures from Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas are very vigorously decorated in the walls of the Hoysala temples. At the entrance of the makartorana, various scenes are depicted from the Hindu mythology in sequential manner in clockwise direction.
- Artistic plan: The shrine of the Hoysala temples are generally seen in stellate shaped though sometimes staggered square plan is visible.
- Erotica: In some temples of Hoysala dynasty erotic sculptures are seen swayed by sakta tradition prevailing that time.
- Influence of Chola and the Chalukyan art in Hoysala art: The decoration of the Western Chalukyas (Kalyani) influenced the Hoysala decoration. The pillar image called “Sthambha buttalikas” seen in Hoysala art bears evidence of Chola and Chalukya art. In Chennakeshava temple, the image of Mohini seen in one of the pillars in the mantapa bears the fine example of Chola art in Hoysala art.
Some Hoysala styles are prominent in Belur- Chennakesava Temple Complex, Halebidu, Somanathapur, Nageshwara and Chennakesava Temple in Mosale.
The process of the listing of the monuments as a UNESCO World Heritage Site:
- The monument must be in the tentative list for at least 6 months to 1 year.
- The submission of the final dossier alone will not suffice as it will have to go through another round of scrutiny by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India which has to nominate the monuments and then submit them to UNESCO.
- Then, UNESCO will take the final call.
A Tentative List is an inventory of those properties which each State Party intends to consider for nomination. It must be submitted in English or French. 184 out of the 193 State Parties have submitted the tentative list.
- States Parties are encouraged to submit their Tentative Lists, properties which they consider to be cultural and/or natural heritage of outstanding universal value and therefore suitable for inscription on the World Heritage List.
- States Parties are encouraged to prepare their Tentative Lists with the participation of a wide variety of stakeholders, including site managers, local and regional governments, local communities, NGOs and other interested parties and partners.
- States Parties should submit Tentative Lists that are not exhaustive to the World Heritage Centre, at least one year prior to the submission of any nomination.
- States Parties are encouraged to re-examine and re-submit their Tentative List at least every ten years.
- It must contain the name of the properties, their geographical location, a brief description of the properties, and justification of their outstanding universal value.
- Nominations to the World Heritage List will not be considered unless the nominated property has already been included on the State Party’s Tentative List.
Mission of UNESCO World Heritage:
- Encourage countries to sign the World Heritage Convention and to ensure the protection of their natural and cultural heritage.
- Encourage States Parties to the Convention to nominate sites within their national territory for inclusion on the World Heritage List.
- Encourage States Parties to establish management plans and set up reporting systems on the state of conservation of their World Heritage sites.
- Help States Parties safeguard World Heritage properties by providing technical assistance and professional training.
- Provide emergency assistance for World Heritage sites in immediate danger.
- Support States Parties’ public awareness-building activities for World Heritage conservation.
- Encourage participation of the local population in the preservation of their cultural and natural heritage.
- Encourage international cooperation in the conservation of our world’s cultural and natural heritage.
GS Paper II, Paper III
Report on GM corn-derived feed likely to be taken up today
There has been a growing demand for permitting the import of Genetically Modified (GM) crops the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), the country’s apex biotechnology regulatory body is to take up a report on the Guidelines for import of Dried Distillers’ Grains with Solubles (DDGS) derived out of GM Corn.
There has been a massive scarcity of corn, the key source for animal feed for the burgeoning poultry industry in the country, post the failure of the maize crop on account of drought and disease. The GEAC only has the permitting of import authority.
Many countries like the US grow corn as GM corn and also use it significantly for producing bio-ethanol. After the starch is removed from the starch, the remainder is rich in protein and other nutrients that can be used as a potent animal feed- called DDGS.
However, there have been arguments that express concern over the import of the GM variety crops and its effects on humans when they consume the livestock fed on a GM diet. A food scientist ruled out the possibility of the entry into the food chain as the food human eat get broken down and become building blocks, they cannot reform again; the human body is not designed to absorb GM DNA.
GS Paper I, Paper II
The man who cleaned up the Indian Electoral system
T.N Seshan, as CEC was the man who ensured all the academic papers were put to practice and diligently followed. He ensured that the model code of conduct was seriously taken by the political parties and the candidates and was famed to be a no-nonsense CEC. He left for his heavenly abode on 10th November 2019.
A bit on T.N Seshan
Tirunellai Narayana Iyer Seshan was born on 15th December 1932 in Palakkad, Kerala, Mr. Seshan belonged to the 1955 batch of Tamil Nadu cadre officers of the IAS. As an IAS officer and an alumnus of the Madras Christian College took a year-long course in Management at Harvard University in the 1960s.
- As the Madurai District Collector during 1965-67, he came to public attention when he dealt sternly with the participants of the anti-Hindi agitation. The then CM of Tamil Nadu received “complaints of the suppression of civil rights” in the district, but Mr Seshan was left intact.
- Though he held various positions as Agriculture Secretary and Industries Secretary in the TN Government, due to the differences he had with his political masters in the TN State Government administration, he opted for a Central Government posting.
- At the Centre he held several positions like Environment and Forests Secretary, Defence Secretary and later Cabinet Secretary.
- As the Chief Election Commissioner, Mr Seshan had enforced, in his own way, the discipline on political parties and candidates and thus earned more enemies than friends for his honest policies and measures.
- Reforms to the Election Commission:
- The introduction of the elector’s photo identity cards was a measure in the direction of cleaning up the electoral system.
- He also ensured that the Model Code of Conduct, till then considered just as an academic and theoretical interest, was taken seriously by the parties and the contesting candidates.
- During his period only was the Commission made a multi-membered body in October 1993.
- During the mid-1990s, Mr Seshan was seen as a crusader against corruption and electoral malpractices.
- Recognizing his contribution to the country’s seamless election regimes, he received an international recognition through the Ramon Magsaysay award for 1996.
What is the award about?
The Ramon Magsaysay Award is an annual award established to perpetuate former Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay’s example of integrity in governance, courageous service to the people, and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society. Ramon Magsaysay was the 3rd President to the Republic of Philippines after World Word 2.
The 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award was given to Ravish Kumar, an influential senior Indian TV journalist in August 2019.
- Awarded by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, its first award was given in 1958.
The award is ideally internationally recognized as the Nobel counterpart of Asia and is the highest award given to Asian individuals and organisations.
- The awards were given in six categories of outstanding contribution (five of which were discontinued in 2009):
- Government Service
- Public Service
- Community Leadership
- Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts
- Peace and International Understanding
- Emergent Leadership