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Policies after Independence


Policies related to Science and Technology

Policies after Independence

India has a long and distinguished tradition in science and technology from the ancient times. The great achievements during the last century, the latter half prior to independence, have been related largely to pure research. At the time of independence, our scientific and technological infrastructure was neither strong nor organized as compared to the developed world. This had resulted in our being technologically dependent on the skills and expertise available in other countries. There is now a reservoir of expertise well acquainted with the most modern advances in basic and applied areas that is equipped to make choices between available technologies, to absorb readily new technologies and provide a framework for future national development.
Department of Science & Technology (DST) was established in May 1971, with the objective of promoting new areas of Science & Technology and to play the role of a nodal department for organising, coordinating and promoting S&T activities in the country. The Department has major responsibilities for specific projects and programmes as listed below:
1. Formulation of policies relating to Science and Technology.
2. Matters relating to the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Cabinet (SACC).
3. Promotion of new areas of Science and Technology with special emphasis on emerging areas.
4. Futurology.
5. Coordination and integration of areas of Science & Technology having cross-sectoral linkages in which a number of institutions and departments have interest and capabilities.
6. Undertaking or financially sponsoring scientific and technological surveys, research design and development, where necessary.
7. Support and Grants-in-aid to Scientific Research Institutions, Scientific Associations and Bodies.
8. All matters concerning:
(a) Science and Engineering Research Council;
(b) Technology Development Board and related Acts
(c) National Council for Science and Technology Communication;
(d) National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board;
(e) International Science and Technology Cooperation
(f) Autonomous Institutions relating to the subject under the Department of Science and Technology including Institute of Astro-physics, and Institute of Geo-magnetism;
(g) Professional Science Academies funded by Department of Science and Technology;
(h) The Survey of India, and National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organization;
(i) National Spatial Data Infrastructure and promotion of G.I.S;
(j) The National Innovation Foundation, Ahmadabad.

9. Matters commonly affecting Scientific and technological departments/organizations/ institutions e.g. financial, personnel, purchase and import policies and practices.
10. Management Information Systems for Science and Technology and coordination thereof.
11. Matters regarding Inter-Agency/Inter-Departmental coordination for evolving science and technology missions.
12. Matters concerning domestic technology particularly the promotion of ventures involving the commercialization of such technology other than those under the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.
13. All other measures needed for the promotion of science and technology and their application to the development and security of the nation.
14. Matters relating to institutional Science and Technology capacity building including setting up of new institutions and institutional infrastructure.
15. Promotion of Science and Technology at the State, District, and Village levels for grass- roots development through State Science and Technology Councils and other mechanisms.
16. Application of Science and Technology for weaker sections, women and other disadvantaged sections of Society.
Science, Technology & Innovation Policy 2013
• Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) have emerged as the major drivers of national development globally. As India aspires for faster, sustainable and inclusive growth, the Indian STI system, with the advantages of a large demographic dividend and the huge talent pool, will need to play a defining role in achieving these national goals. The national STI enterprise must become central to national development.
• Scientific research utilizes money to generate knowledge and, by providing solutions, innovation converts knowledge into wealth and/or value. Innovation thus implies S&T based solutions that are successfully deployed in the economy or the society.
• It has assumed centre stage in the developmental goals of nations. Paradigms of innovation have become country and context specific. India has, hitherto not accorded due importance to innovation as an instrument of policy. The national S&T enterprise must now embrace S&T led innovation as a driver for development.
• India has declared 2010-20 as the “Decade of Innovation”. The Government has stressed the need to enunciate a policy to synergize science, technology and innovation and has also established the National Innovation Council (NlnC). The STI Policy 2013 is in furtherance of these pronouncements. It aims to bring fresh perspectives to bear on innovation in the Indian context.
The key elements of the STI Policy are as follows:
• Promoting the spread of scientific temper amongst all sections of society.
• Enhancing skill for applications of science among the young from all social strata.
• Making careers in science, research and innovation attractive enough for talented and bright minds.
• Establishing world class infrastructure for R&D for gaining global leadership in some select frontier areas of science.
• Positioning India among the top five global scientific powers by 2020.
• Linking contributions of science, research and innovation system with the inclusive economic growth agenda and combining priorities of excellence and relevance.
• Creating an environment for enhanced Private Sector Participation in R&D.
• Enabling conversion of R&D outputs into societal and commercial applications by replicating hitherto successful models as well as establishing of new PPP structures.
• Seeding S&T-based high-risk innovations through new mechanisms.
• Fostering resource-optimized, cost-effective innovations across size and technology domains.
• Triggering changes in the mindset and value systems to recognize, respect and reward performances which create wealth from S&T derived knowledge.
• Creating a robust national innovation system.
Attracting Private Sector Investments in R&D: The Public funds for partnerships with the private sector for social and public good objectives will be earmarked as a new policy initiative. A National Science, Technology and Innovation Foundation will be established as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative for investing critical levels of resources in innovative and ambitious projects. The focus of the policy will be as follows:
• Facilitating private sector investment in R&D centres in India and overseas.
• Promoting establishment of large R&D facilities in PPP mode with provisions for benefits sharing.
• Permitting multi stakeholders participation in the Indian R&D system.
• Treating R&D in the private sector at par with public institutions for availing public funds.
• Bench marking of R&D funding mechanisms and patterns globally.
• Modifying IPR policy to provide for marching rights for social good when supported by public funds and for co-sharing IPRs generated under PPP.
• Launching newer mechanisms for nurturing Technology Business Incubators (TBls) and science-led entrepreneurship.
• Providing incentives for commercialization of innovations with focus on green manufacturing.
– The guiding vision of aspiring Indian STI enterprise is to accelerate the pace of discovery and delivery of science-led solutions for faster, sustainable and inclusive growth. A strong and viable Science, Research and Innovation System for High Iechnology-Ied path for India (SRISHTI) is the goal of the new STI policy.
National Intellectual Property Rights Policy
• The National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy will endeavor for a “Creative India; Innovative India”
• The National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy will lay the future roadmap for intellectual property in India. The Policy recognises the abundance of creative and innovative energies that flow in India, and the need to tap into and channelise these energies towards a better and brighter future for all.
• The National IPR Policy is a vision document that aims to create and exploit synergies between all forms of intellectual property (IP), concerned statutes and agencies. It sets in place an institutional mechanism for implementation, monitoring and review. It aims to incorporate and adapt global best practices to the Indian scenario.
• This policy shall weave in the strengths of the Government, research and development organizations, educational institutions, corporate entities including MSMEs, start-ups and other stakeholders in the creation of an innovation-conducive environment, which stimulates creativity and innovation across sectors, as also facilitates a stable, transparent and service-oriented IPR administration in the country.
• The Policy recognizes that India has a well-established TRIPS-compliant legislative, administrative and judicial framework to safeguard IPRs, which meets its international obligations while utilizing the flexibilities provided in the international regime to address its developmental concerns. It reiterates India’s commitment to the Doha Development Agenda and the TRIPS agreement.
• While IPRs are becoming increasingly important in the global arena, there is a need to increase awareness on IPRs in India, be it regarding the IPRs owned by oneself or respect for others’ IPRs. The importance of IPRs as a marketable financial asset and economic tool also needs to be recognised. For this, domestic IP filings, as also commercialization of patents granted, need to increase. Innovation and sub-optimal spending on R&D too are issues to be addressed.
• The broad contours of the National IPR Policy are as follows:
Vision Statement: An India where creativity and innovation are stimulated by Intellectual Property for the benefit of all; an India where intellectual property promotes advancement in science and technology, arts and culture, traditional knowledge and biodiversity resources; an India where knowledge is the main driver of development, and knowledge owned is transformed into knowledge shared.
Mission Statement: Stimulate a dynamic, vibrant and balanced intellectual property rights system in India to:
• foster creativity and innovation and thereby, promote entrepreneurship and enhance socio-economic and cultural development, and
• focus on enhancing access to healthcare, food security and environmental protection, among other sectors of vital social, economic and technological importance.
Objectives: The Policy lays down the following seven objectives:
1) IPR Awareness: Outreach and Promotion – To create public awareness about the economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all sections of society.
2) Generation of IPRs – To stimulate the generation of IPRs.
3) Legal and Legislative Framework – To have strong and effective IPR laws, which balance the interests of rights owners with larger public interest.
4) Administration and Management – To modernize and strengthen service-oriented IPR administration.
5) Commercialization of IPRs – Get value for IPRs through commercialization.
6) Enforcement and Adjudication – To strengthen the enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms for combating IPR infringements.
7) Human Capital Development – To strengthen and expand human resources, institutions and capacities for teaching, training, research and skill building in IPRs.
These objectives are sought to be achieved through detailed action points. The action by different Ministries/ Departments shall be monitored by DIPP which shall be the nodal department to coordinate, guide and oversee implementation and future development of IPRs in India.
National Biotechnology Development Strategy 2015-2020
The National Biotechnology Development Strategy – 2015-2020 aims to establish India as a world-class bio-manufacturing hub. It intends to launch a major mission, backed with significant investments, for the creation of new biotech products, create a strong infrastructure for R&D and commercialization, and empower India’s human resources scientifically and technologically.
The envisaged mission is to:
1) Provide impetus to utilising the knowledge and tools to the advantage of Humanity
2) Launch a major well directed mission backed with significant investment for generation of new Biotech Products
3) Empower scientifically and technologically India’s incomparable Human Resource
4) Create a strong Infrastructure for R&D and Commercialisation
5) Establish India as a world class Bio-manufacturing Hub
The Key elements of the Strategy are as follows:
• Building a Skilled Workforce and Leadership
• Revitalizing the knowledge environment at par with the growing bio-economy
• Enhance Research opportunities in basic, disciplinary and inter-disciplinary sciences
• Encourage use-inspired discovery research
• Focus on biotechnology tools for inclusive development
• Nurturing innovation, translational capacity and entrepreneurship
• Ensuring a transparent, efficient and globally best Regulatory system and communication strategy
• Biotechnology cooperation- Fostering global and national alliances
• Strengthen Institutional Capacity with redesigned governance models
• Create a matrix of measurement of processes as well as outcome
The key elements would be implemented in collaboration and partnership with Other Ministries, Departments, State Governments and international agencies towards achieving:
A) Making India ready to meet the challenge of achieving US$100bn by 2025
B) Launching Four Major Missions – Healthcare, Food and Nutrition, Clean Energy and Education
C) Creating a Technology Development and Translation network across the country with global partnership-5 new clusters, 40 Biotech incubators, 150 TTOs, 20 Bio-connect centres
D) Strategic and focussed investment in building the Human Capital by creating a Life Sciences and Biotechnology Education Council
Technology Vision Document 2035
• The Prime Minister unveiled the ‘Technology Vision Document 2035’ while inaugurating the 103rd Indian Science Congress on 3rd January 2016. The document foresees the Indians of 2035, and technologies required for fulfilling their needs. It is not a visualization of technologies that will be available in 2035, but a vision of where our country and its citizens should be in 2035 and how technology should bring this vision to fruition.
• The document is dedicated to late Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, the former President of India.
• The Aim of this ‘Technology Vision Document 2035’ is to ensure the Security, Enhancing of Prosperity, and Enhancing Identity of every Indian, which is stated in the document as “Our Aspiration” or “Vision Statement” in all languages of the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.
• The Prime Minister has hoped that the 12 Sectoral Technology roadmaps being prepared by Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council, (TIFAC), which is also the author of this ‘Technology Vision 2035’ document, would excite our scientists and decision makers. Roadmaps, when prepared, will be presented to the Government of India and they would lead for further adoption of technologies in those sectors.
The 12 identified sectors of Vision Document are as follows:
1) Education
2) Medical Sciences & Healthcare
3) Food and Agriculture
4) Water
5) Energy
6) Environment
7) Habitat
8) Transportation
9) Infrastructure
10) Manufacturing
11) Materials
12) Information and Communication Technology
• The Vision documents also identifies twelve (12) prerogatives- (six for meeting individual needs and six for the collective needs) that should be available to each and every Indian. These are as follows:
Individual Prerogatives:-
• Clean air and potable water
• Food and nutritional security
• Universal healthcare and public hygiene
• 24×7 energy
• Decent habitat
• Quality education, livelihood and creative opportunities
Collective Prerogatives:-
• Safe and speedy mobility
• Public safety and national security
• Cultural diversity and vibrancy
• Transparent and effective governance
• Disaster and climate resilience
• Eco-friendly conservation of natural resources
– The vision document also makes a mention of three critical essential prerequisites or Transversal Technologies i.e., materials, manufacturing, and Information and Communication technology (ICT) to provide the foundation upon which all other technologies would be constructed.
– The document also talks of required infrastructure which it says primarily include relevant knowledge institutions besides ports, highways, airports, railways, cold chains, etc. Among the essential prerequisites, it also mentions fundamental research in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology and other allied sciences.
– There has also been a raging debate on the Social Impact of technology and the choice between capital intensive and manpower intensive. Capital intensive technology, especially in India with abundant human resources, has been projected as detrimental to the use of ‘Manpower’ as it is argued that it would reduce jobs. The Vision Document seeks to bust this myth by arguing in favor of judicious policy and conscious planning in employing technology to impart new skills to the manpower and fulfill needs of the society. It visualizes technology as a great leveler rather than as an enhancer of social stratification.
– In order to overcome these challenges, the Vision Document 2035 envisages a rational assessment of the capabilities and constraints of the Indian Technological Landscape. It categorizes technologies into a five-fold classification from an Indian perspective which is as follows:
A) Technology Leadership – niche technologies in which we have core competencies, skilled manpower, infrastructure and a traditional knowledge base e.g., Nuclear Energy, Space Science.
B) Technology Independence – strategic technologies that we would have to develop on our own as they may not be obtainable from elsewhere e.g., Defence sector.
C) Technology Innovation – linking disparate technologies together or making a breakthrough in one technology and applying it to another e.g., solar cells patterned on chlorophyll based synthetic pathway are a potent future source of renewable energy.
D) Technology Adoption – obtain technologies from elsewhere, modify them according to local needs and reduce dependence on other sources e.g., foreign collaboration in the sectors of rainwater harvesting, agri-biotech, desalination, energy efficient buildings.
E) Technology Constraints – areas where technology is threatening and problematic i.e. having a negative social or environmental impact because of serious legal and ethical issues e.g., Genetically Modified (GM) Crops.
– The Vision Document, in a separate section, gives a ‘Call to Action’ to all the key stakeholders. It brings to notice that for long term sustainability of India’s technological prowess, it is important that
1) Technical Education Institutions engage in advanced research on a large scale leading to path-breaking innovations.
2) Government enhances its financial support from the current 1% to the long-envisaged 2% of the GDP.
3) The number of full-time equivalent Scientists in the core research sector should increase.
4) Private Sector Participation and Investment in evolving technologies that is readily deployable and is translatable from lab to field thereby increasing efficiency in terms of technology and economic returns.
5) Academia-Intelligentsia-Industry connect is established via idea exchange, innovative curricula design, based on the needs of the industry, industry-sponsored student internships and research fellowships inter alia.
6) Creation of a Research Ecosystem so as to achieve the translation of research to technology product/process by integrating students, researchers and entrepreneurs.
– The document also identifies three key activities as a part of the ‘Call to Action’. The first being knowledge creation. It says that India cannot afford not to be in the forefront of the knowledge revolution, either applied or pure. The second activity that cannot be reflected, it says is ecosystem design for innovation and development. The document again interestingly says that the primary responsibility for ecosystem design must necessarily rests with government authorities. A third key activity that it mentions is technology deployment with launching certain national missions involving specific targets, defined timelines requiring only a few carefully defined identified players.
– While this Vision document walks towards the future taking into consideration the country as a whole, the technology roadmap of each sector would provide of outlining future technology trends, R&D directives, pointers for research, anticipated challenges and policy imperatives pertaining to each sector.
Space Vision India 2025
It consists of the following:
1) Satellite based communication and navigation systems for rural connectivity, security needs and mobile services
2) Enhanced imaging capability for natural resource management, weather and climate change studies
3) Space science missions for better understanding of solar system and universe Planetary exploration
4) Development of Heavy lift launcher
5) Reusable Launch Vehicles – Technology demonstrator missions leading to Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO)
6) Human Space Flight.

Sufi and Bhakti Movement


Religious Development In Medieval India

Sufi and Bhakti Movement

• The Medieval period is considered as an age of great cultural synthesis in India and during this period a new phase of cultural development was initiated.
• The Turks and Mughals introduced fresh ideas and helped in giving rise to new features in the areas of religion, philosophy and ideas.
• The synthesis between different cultures gave birth to new philosophical and religious traditions, ideas.
SUFISM
• Sufism or tasawuf is the name for various mystical and movements in Islam.
• It aims at establishing direct communion between god and man through personal experience of mystery which lies within Islam.
• Every religion gives rise to mystical tendencies in its fold at a particular stage of its evolution. In this sense, Sufism was a natural development within Islam based on the spirit of Quaranic Piety.
• The Sufis while accepting the Shariat did not confine their religious practice to formal adherence and stressed cultivation of religious experience aimed at a direct perception of god.
• There developed a number of Sufi orders of silsilah in and outside India. All these orders had their specific characteristics. However, there were a number of features which are common to all Sufi orders.
• Sufism stressed the elements of love and devotion as effective means of the realization of God. Love of God meant love of humanity and so the Sufis believed service to humanity was tantamount to service to God.
• In Sufism, self discipline was considered an essential condition to gain knowledge of God by sense of perception.
• While orthodox Muslims emphasise external conduct, the Sufis lay stress on inner purity.
• While the orthodox believe in blind observance of rituals, the Sufis consider love and devotion as the only means of attaining salvation.
• According to Sufis one must have the guidance of a pir or guru, without which spiritual development is impossible.
• Sufism also inculcated a spirit of tolerance among its followers.
• Other ideas emphasised by Sufism are meditation, good actions, repentance for sins, performance of prayers and pilgrimages, fasting, charity and suppression of passions by ascetic practices.
Growth of Sufism in Islamic World
• Sufism began to acquire the form of an organised movement with the establishment of the Turkish rule under the Ghaznavis and then under the Seljuqs in various parts of central Asia and Iran in the later 10th and 11th centuries.
• The period marks the development of two parallel institutions in the Islamic world – the Madarasa system (seminary, higher religious school) in its new form as an official institution of orthodox Islamic learning and the Khanqah system as an organized, endowed an permanent centre for Sufi activities.
• Another salient feature of Sufism during this period was the emergence of Sufi poetry in Persian.
• While Arabic literature on mysticism is in prose, Persian literature is in poetry.
• Sufi poetry in Persian in the form of narrative poems (mannavis) reached its peak during the 12th and 13th centuries.
• Al-Ghazzali was the most outstanding sufi author.
• One of the most authentic and celebrated manual of sufism was KashfulMahjub written by Al-Hujwiri.
Sufi movement in India
• The Sufi movement in India commenced in the 11th century A.D. Al Hujwiri, who established himself in north India was buried in Lahore and regarded as the oldest Sufi in the sub-continent.
• Among the important Sufi Orders in the history of Medieval India were those of the Chishtitiya, Suhrawardiya, Qadiriya and Naqshbandiya.
• Chisti and the Suhrawardisilsilahs were popular during the Sultanate period.
• The Suhrawardis were active in Punjab and Sindh while the Chishti’s were active in Delhi, Rajasthan and parts of the western Gangetic plains. By the end of the sultanate period Chishti’s spread to the eastern regions of the Gangetic plain (Bihar and Bengal) and into the Deccan.
• During the medieval period the Sufis played an important role in interpreting and elaborating on Islamic theological concepts like WahdatulWujud (unity of being) and also encouraged the development of practices like Ziyarat (the practice of visiting tombs).
The ChishtiSilsilah
• The Chisti Order was established in India by MuinuddinChishti who moved to India after the invasion of Muizzuddin Muhammad Ghori and subsequently to Ajmer in 1206.
• The fame of KhwajaMuinuddin grew after his death in 1235.
• His grave was visited by Muhammad Tughlaq after which the mosque and dome were erected by Mahmud Khalji of Malwa in the fifteenth century.
• The patronage of this dargah peaked after the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar.
• The Chishtis believed in love as the bond between God and individual soul and tolerance between people of different faiths.
• They accepted disciples irrespective of their religious beliefs.
• They associated with Hindu and Jain yogi’s, and used simple language.
• The Chishti presence in Delhi was established by QutbuddinBakhtiyar Kaki who settled in Delhi from his homeland in Trans-oxiana in 1221. This was at the time of the Mongol invasions when there was a steady flow of people from central Asia fleeing from the Mongols.
• QutbuddinBakhtiyar Kaki presence in Delhi was a threat to the Suhrawardis who sought to force him to leave by leveling charges against him. The Sultan of Delhi, Iltutmish, dismissed these attempts eventually forcing the Suhrawardis to relent.
• The Chishtipirs laid great emphasis on the simplicity of life, poverty, humility and selfless devotion to God.
• The renunciation of worldly possessions was regarded by them as necessary for the control of the senses that was necessary to maintain a spiritual life.
• KhwajaMuinuddinChishti argued that highest form of devotion to God was to redress the misery of those in distress, fulfilling the need of the helpless and to feed the hungry.
• Chisti’s refused to accept any grant for their maintenance from the Sultans.
• The other important Chishti Baba FariduddinGanj-i-Shakar, established himself at Hansi (in Haryana) on the route between Multan and Lahore.
• NizamuddinAuliya, was the best known Chishti saint of the Sultanate period. He lived in the fourteenth century, during a period of political change and turmoil. During his lifetime he was witness to the establishment of the Khalji rule after the death of Balban and subsequently the establishment of the Tughlaq’s.
• There are numerous stories surrounding the life of NizamuddinAuliya, famous among them were stories of his confrontations with the Sultans of Delhi. The Khwaja is said to have maintained a strict policy of not involving himself with the various groups and factions of the Sultan’s court in Delhi earning him the respect of many.
• NasiruddinChiraghDehlvi was another of the Chishti saint of Delhi. He played an active role in the political affairs of the period.
• In the 13th century the Chishti Order was established in the Deccan by ShaikhBurhanuddinGharib.
• Between the 14th and 16th centuries many Chishti Sufis migrated to Gulbarga. This was accompanied with a change where some of the Chishtis began accepting grants and patronage from the ruling establishment.
• Muhammad Banda Nawaz was among the famous pirs in the region.
• The Deccan city of Bijapur emerged as an important centre for Sufi activity.
The Suhrawardi Silsilah
• This Silsilah was founded by ShihabuddinSuhrawardi in Baghdad.
• It was established in India by BahauddinZakariya who founded the Suhrawardi Order, based in Mutan, which was under the control of Qubacha.
• BahauddinZakariya was critical of Qubacha and openly favored Iltutmish over his rival.
• BahauddinZakariya’s ways were different from that of the Chishtis.
• The Suhrawardis, unlike the Chishtis, accepted, maintenance grants from the Sultans.
• They believed that a Sufi should possess the three attributes of property, knowledge and hal or mystical enlightenment.
• Suhrawardi saints argued that this was necessary to ensure that they served the poor better.
• BahauddinZakariya stressed on the observance or external forms of religious belief and advocated a combination of ilm (scholarship) with mysticism.
• Practices like bowing before the sheikh, presenting water to visitors and tonsuring the head at the time of initiation into the Order that the Chishtis had adopted were rejected. After his death the silsilah continued to play an important role in Punjab and Sindh.
Naqshbandi Silsilah
• In India this order was established by Khwaja Bahauddin Naqshbandi.
• From the beginning the mystics of this Order stressed on the observance of the Shariat and denounced all innovations or biddat.
• Sheikh BaqiBillah the successor to KhawajaBahauddinNaqshbandi settled near Delhi, and his successor Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi attempted to purge Islam from all liberal and what he believed were ‘un-Islamic’ practices.
• He opposed the listening of sama (religious music) and the practice of pilgrimage to the tombs of saints.
• He opposed interaction with Hindus and Shias.
• He criticised the new status accorded by Akbar to many non-Muslims, the withdrawal of the Jizyah and the ban on cow slaughter.
• He believed that he was the mujaddid (renewer) of the first millennium of Islam.
• He maintained that the relationship between man and God was that between the slave and the master and not the relation of a lover and beloved.
• He emphasized the individual’s unique relation of faith and responsibility to God as creator.
• He tried to harmonize the doctrines of mysticism and the teachings of orthodox Islam.
The QadriSilsilah
• The Quadiriyyasilsilah was popular in Punjab.
• Sheikh Abdul Qadir and his sons were supporters of the Mughals under Akbar.
• The pirs of this Order supported the concept of Wahdat al Wajud.
• Among the famous Sufis of this order was Miyan Mir who had enrolled the Mughal princess Jahanara and her brother Dara as disciples.
• The influence of the sheikh’s teachings is evident in the works of the princeDara.
• Shah Badakhshani another pir of this silsilah while dismissing orthodox elements, declared that, the infidel who had perceived reality and recognised it was a believer and that a believer who did not recognise reality was an infidel.
• During medieval period there was constant tension between the liberal and orthodox views in Islam.
• The sufis featured on both sides, while there were those like the Chishtis who held a liberal view and argued in favour of assimilation of local traditions there were others like Sheikh Abdul Haqq of the Qadiriyyasilsilah who held the view that the purity of Islam was being diluted.
• This Orthodox view was represented by the ulema that argued from the perspective of being upholders of the Shariat.
• The liberal opinion found its voice among many sufis who argued against the narrow definition of Islamic laws by the ulema.
BHAKTI MOVEMENT
• In the ninth century Sankara started a Hindu revivalist movement giving a new orientation to Hinduism.
• His doctrine of Advaita or Monism was too abstract to appeal to the common man.
• Moreover, there was a reaction against the Advaita concept of Nirgunabrahman (God without attributes) with the emergence of the idea of Sagunabrahman (God with attributes).
• In the twelfth century, Ramanuja, who was born at Sriperumbudur near modern Chennai, preached Visishtadvaita.
• According to RamanujaGod is Sagunabrahman. The creative process and all the objects in creation are real but not illusory as was held by Sankaracharya. Therefore, God, soul, matter are real. But God is inner substance and the rest are his attributes. He also advocated prabattimarga or path of self-surrender to God. He invited the downtrodden to Vaishnavism.
• In the thirteenth century, Madhava from Kannada region propagated Dvaita or dualism of Jivatma and Paramatma. According to his philosophy, the world is not an illusion but a reality. God, soul, matter are unique in nature.
• Nimbarka and Vallabhacharya were also other preachers of Vaishnavite Bhakti in the Telangana region.
Sankaracharya
• Sankaracharya was a Nambudiri Brahman born in Kaladi, Malabar.
• He was originally a worshiper of Shiva.
• He gave an entirely new turn to the Hindu revival movement by providing it with a solid philosophical background through the reinterpretation of ancient Indian scriptures, particularly the Upanishads.
• Sankaracharya advocated the philosophy of “Advaita” the monism of the Vedanta by giving a brilliant exposition to the entire range of the Vedic religions and spiritual thought.
• Having lost his father in his childhood, Sankaracharya become a sanyasi, while in his teens and began to roam around in search of true knowledge and wisdom.
• A genius by birth and intensely religious by outlook and social heritage, he received instruction in religious scriptures and philosophy at Kashi.
• Sankaracharya renewed and systematised Vedanta philosophy by stressing on its main principle of monism (evalaadvaita or absolute non-dualism).
• Sankaracharya started a vigorous campaign for the revival of Hinduism based on the solid foundation of Vedic philosophy and ancient Indian cultural tradition in order to check the growth of Buddhism and Jainism.
• He recognised the ascetic order of sanyasis on the pattern of Buddhist sangha and launched a campaign for the popularisation of Hinduism.
• He composed extensive commentaries on the Brahmasutra and chief Upanishad and traveled all around India to highlight the cultural unity of India.
• The mathas also began propagating and became the centre of Vedic religion.
• The mathas, among many, included Jaganathpuri in the east, Sringeri in the South, Dwarka in the west and Badrinath in the north.
• Sankaracharya was an orthodox Brahmin for whom the Vedic literature was sacred and unquestionably true.
• In order to harmonise the many paradoxes of Vedic tradition, he had to take recourse to a philosophy of “ double standard of truth” (already known in Buddhism). It meant that on the everyday level of truth, the world was produce by Brahma, and it went through an evolutionary process similar to that taught by the Sankhya school of philosophy. But on the highest level of truth, the whole universe including the God was unreal, i.e., the world in maya, an illusion and figment of imagination,
• Therefore, Shankarcharya believed that ultimately the only reality was the Brahman, the impersonal world soul of the Upanishads with which the individual soul was identical.
• Sankaracharya also believed that god and the created world was one and the difference which is evident is due to ignorance.
• According to him, the way to salvation was to realize by means of meditation and knowledge that god and the created beings were one and same. At the deepest level of meditation “nirvikalpasamadhi”, the complete identity between god and the individual is realized.
• It is the goal of everyone to know, realize, feel and display in action this identity. When this is accomplished all sufferings, birth and death cease. This identity has been termed as “sachidanand Brahman” by Sankaracharya.
• Sankaracharya’s ‘Brahman’ is not really different from the concept of ‘nirvana’ of Mahayana Buddhism.
• It is a fact which was well recognised by his opponents who called him “crypto-Buddhist.”
• However, Shankarcharya proved the Buddhist scholars wrong and was able to show that Buddhist metaphysics was only a poor imitation of the metaphysics of Sanatan dharma.
• The philosophy of Sankaracharya had far reaching consequences for the India society. For example, the monsticSankaracharya (mathas) which he established in the four corners of India served as an effective step towards the physical and spiritual unification of India.
• By the able use of arguments he reduced all the apparently self-contradicting passages of the Upanishads to a consistent system which has remained the standard of Hinduism to this day.
• Sankaracharaya passed away at KedarNath at the age of 32.
• Later on Ramanuja combined Sankara’sAdvaitavada with the VaishnavaPancharatra theology which claimed that Vishnu is the very foundation of the universe.
• The impact of Ramanuja’s writings and his long service as priest of the famous Vishnu temple at Srinangam made his ideas widely known among the Vaishnavites and he is justly regarded as the founder of Srivashnavism.
• The Vedantic Philosophy of Sankaracharya was revived by Vivekanand in the second half of the 19th century.
The Bhakti movement in North India
• The bhakti movement in the north included socio-religious movements that were linked to one of the acharyas from the south and is sometimes seen as a continuation of the movement that originated in the south.
• Though there were similarities in the traditions of the two regions, the notion of bhakti varied in the teachings of each of the saints.
• The Nirguna’s like Kabir rejected the varnaashrama and all conventions based on caste distinction and championed new values, helping the emergence of new groups and new unorthodox/protestant sects.
• The Saguna’s like Tulsidas on the other hand upheld the caste system and the supremacy of the Brahmins. They preached religion of surrender and simple faith in a personal god and had a strong commitment to idol worship.
Monotheistic Bhakti
• Kabir was the earliest and most influential Bhakti saint in north India.
• He was a weaver and spent a large part of his life in Banaras.
• His poems were included in the Sikh scripture, the AdiGranth.
• Among those who were influenced by Kabir were Raidas, who was a tanner by caste from Banaras, Guru Nanak who was a Khatri from Punjab and Dhanna who was a Jat peasant from Rajasthan.
• There are similarities in the teachings of the various monotheistic Bhakti saints in North India.
• Most of the monotheists belonged to the low castes and were aware that there existed a unity in their ideas.
• They were also aware of each other’s teachings and influence and in their verses they mention each other and their predecessors in a manner suggesting ideological affinity among them.
• All of them were influenced by the Vaishnava concept of Bhakti, the Nathpanthi movement and Sufism.
• Their ideas seem to be a synthesis of the three traditions.
• The importance given to the personal experience of Bhakti saint with God was another common feature among the monotheistic bhakti saints.
• Nirguna bhakti and not saguna bhakti was what they believed in. They had adopted the notion of bhakti from Vaishnavaism but they gave it a nirguna orientation.
• Though they called God using different names and titles their God was non-incarnate, formless, eternal and ineffable.
• The Bhakti saints refused any formal association with the organized dominant religions of the time (Hinduism and Islam) and criticized what they regarded to be the negative aspects of these religions.
• They rejected the authority of the Brahmans and attacked the caste system and practice of idolatry.
• They composed their poems in popular languages and dialects spoken across north India which enabled them to transmit their ideas among the masses. It also helped their ideas to spread rapidly among the various lower classes.
Vaishnava Bhakti
• In the 14th and early 15th centuries Ramananda emerged as a popular Vaishnava bhakti saint in north India.
• Though he was from the south he lived in Banaras because he considered it to be the link between the South Indian bhakti and North Indian Vaishnava bhakti traditions.
• He looked upon Ram and not Vishnu as the object of bhakti.
• He worshiped Ram and Sita and came to be identified as the founder of the Ram cult in north India.
• He like the monotheist bhakti saints also rejected cast hierarchies and preached in the local languages in his attempt to popularize the cult.
• His followers are called Ramanandis.
• Tulsidas also championed the bhakti cause.
• In the early 16 century Vallabacharya, a popular bhakti saint popularized the Krishna bhakti.
• Among those who followed Vallabacharya’sfootsteps were Surdas and Mira Bai.
• Surdas popularized Krishna cult in north India.
• Mirabai was a great devotee of Krishna and she became popular in Rajasthan for her bhajans.
• Tulsidas was a worshipper of Rama and composed the famous Ramcharitmanas, the Hindi version of Ramayana.
• The Vaishnava bhakti movement in Bengal was very different form its counterparts in north India and the south and was influenced by the Vaishnava bhakti tradition of the Bhagavatapurana and the Sahajiya Buddhist and Nathpanthi traditions. These traditions focused on esoteric and emotional aspects of devotion.
• In the 12th century, Jayadeva was an important bhakti saint in this tradition. He highlighted the mystical dimension of love with reference to Krishna and Radha. Chaitanya was a popular bhakti saint from the region; he was looked upon as an avatara of Krishna. Though, he did not question the authority of the Brahmans and the scriptures. He also popularized the sankirtan (group devotional songs accompanied with ecstatic dancing). With him the bhakti movement in Bengal began to develop into a reform movement with the notions of caste divisions that came to be questioned.
• In Maharashtra the bhakti movement drew its inspiration from the Bhagavatapurana and the Siva Nathpanthis. Jnaneswar was a pioneer bhakti saint of Maharashtra. His commentary on the Bhagavad Gita called Jnanesvari served as a foundation of the bhakti ideology in Maharashtra. Arguing against caste distinctions he believed that the only way to attain God was through Bhakti. Vithoba was the God of this sect and its followers performed a pilgrimage to the temple twice a year. The Vithoba of Pandarpur became the mainstay of the movement in Maharashtra.
• Namdev (1270–1350) was another important bhakti saint from Maharashtra. While he is remembered in the north Indian monotheistic tradition as a nirguna saint, in Maharashtra he is considered to be part of the varkari tradition (the Vaishnava devotional tradition).
• Some of the other important bhakti saints of Maharashtra were the saints Choka, Sonara, Tukaram and Eknath. Tukaram’s teachings are in the form of the Avangas (dohas), which constitute the Gatha, while Eknath’s teachings that were in Marathi attempted to shift the emphasis of Marathi literature from spiritual to narrative compositions.
Importance of the Bhakti Movement
• The importance of the bhakti movement was very great.
• Various preachers spoke and wrote in the regional languages and thus, the bhakti movement provided an impetus for the development of regional languages such as Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, etc.
• Through regional languages they made direct appeal to the masses. A
• s the caste system was condemned by the bhakti saints, the lower classes were raised to a position of great importance.
• The importance of women in society was also increased because the bhakti movement gave equal importance to them.
• Moreover, the bhakti movement gave to the people a simple religion, without complicated rituals.
• They were required to show sincere devotion to God.
• The new idea of a life of charity and service to fellow people developed.
GURU NANAK
• The teachings and philosophy of Guru Nanak form an important part of Indian philosophical thought.
• His philosophy consists of three basic elements: a leading charismatic personality (the Guru), ideology (Shabad) and Organization (Sangat).
• Nanak evaluated and criticized the prevailing religious beliefs and attempted to establish a true religion, which could lead to salvation.
• He repudiated idol worship and did not favour pilgrimage nor accept the theory of incarnation.
• He condemned formalism and ritualism.
• He laid emphasis on having a true Guru for revelation.
• He advised people to follow the principles of conduct and worship: sach (truth), halal (lawful earning), khair (wishing well of others), niyat (right intention) and service to the lord.
• He denounced the caste system and the inequality it caused.
• He argued that the caste and honour should be judged by the acts or the deeds of individuals.
• He laid stress on concepts of justice, righteousness and liberty.
• His verses mainly consist of two basic concepts, Sach (truth) and Naam (name).
• The bases of the divine expression for him were formed by, the Sabad (the word), Guru (the divine precept) and Hukam (the divine order).
• He introduced the concept of Langar (a community kitchen).
• Guru Nanak identifies himself with the people or the ruled.
• Though the Sikh guru’s stressed on equality the social differentiation among the followers continued. It was only towards the end of the 17th century that Guru Gobind Singh reasserted the idea of equality.
• In 1699 Guru Gobind Singh attempted to resolve the differences among the various Sikh groups and created the Khalsa. This institution removed the masands as intermediaries. Thereafter every Sikh was to have a direct link with the Guru. To create a sense of unity among the Sikhs the Guru started some practices which were to be followed by Sikhs. These were initiation through the baptism of the double edged sword, wearing uncut hair, carrying arms, adopting the epithet Singh as part of the name.
• The idea of Guru Panth was another institutional idea that emerged during this period. It sanctified the collective authority of the KhalsaPanth, which equated the Panth with the Guru.
• Guru Nanak in his last days had nominated a successor and paid homage to him, this gave rise to the idea that the Guru and the Sikh were interchangeable.
• This created a problem for the institution of the Sangat (that was a collective body of the Sikhs) in which God was said to be present.
• When Guru Gobind Singh created the Khalsa he chose the panjpiyare (the five beloved) and requested them to administer the pahul (amritchakhha) to him.
• With this the difference between the Guru and the Khalsa was symbolically removed. Guru Gobind Singh is believed to have said that the Khalsa is his own roop (form).
• Guru Arjun compiled the Guru Granth Sahib.
• After the death of Guru Gobind Singh the tenth Guru the tradition of guru ended.
• It was believed that the spirit of the guru did not pass onto any successor but instead remained within “ShriGurugranth Sahib”.

CERN


CERN

India recently became an associate member of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), the world’s largest nuclear and particle physics laboratory. The agreement was signed by Sekhar Basu, Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), and CERN Director General Dr Fabiola.
About CERN
• CERN began in the 1950s as the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
• Today it is also known as the European Laboratory for Particle Physics.
• It is one of the world’s most prestigious research centres.
• Its business is fundamental physics—finding out what makes our Universe work, where it came from and where it is going.
• At CERN, some of the world’s biggest and most complex machines are used to study nature’s tiniest building blocks, the fundamental particles.
• By colliding these minute particles of matter physicists unravel the basic laws of nature.
• The organisation is the world’s largest nuclear and particle physics laboratory, where scientists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the Universe using the most sophisticated scientific instruments and advanced computing systems.
• Presently CERN has 22 member states, four associate member states, and the observer status is given to four states and three International Organisations.

Food Adulterants


Food Adulterants

Adulteration means the addition of such substances in the food which are harmful, toxic and cause deterioration of health.
According to Prevention of Food Adulteration Act; a food article is considered adulterated if it:
• Contains any added poisonous or deleterious substance;
• Contains filth;
• Contains Unapproved food or, coloured additives;
• If any valuable constituent has been omitted or removed;
• If any substance has been substituted for it;
• If inferiority is concealed; and
• If any substance has been added to increase bulk or weight, or to make it appear more valuable.
Common adulterants 
1. Desi ghee : adulterant added is Vanaspati, hydrogenated fat, animal fat, vegetable oils, argemone oil, mashed potato, sweet potato.
2. Haldi/Trurmeric : adulterant added is Metanil yellow.
3. Milk: adulterant added is Water dried milk, powder, urea, synthetic milk form shampoos, detergent, soluble starch and low quality refined oil.
4.  Green chillies, green peas and other vegetables: adulterant added is Malachite Green (To accentuate the bright, glowing green colour of the vegetable).
5. Monosodium glutamate (MSG): It is sold under the commercial name Ajinomoto. It is a flavour enhancer and is used in Chinese cooking (noodles, macaroni, soups, salad dressings and packaged food).
6. Aspartame: it is an artificial sweetener sold as Sugar-Free. It is also present in diet sodas and low-calorie diet foods. It is carcinogenic.
7. Oxytocin: Farmers give oxytocin injection to buffaloes so that they can be milked easily and for a longer period of lactation. Some effects of this injection appear in milk and affect its consumers (through biological magnification).
8. Ice cream: adulterant added is pepperonil, ethylacetate, butraldehyde, emil acetate, nitrate, washing powder, etc.
9. Food additives are chemicals added to foods to keep them fresh or to enhance their colour, flavour or texture. They may include food colourings (such as tartrazine or cochineal), flavour enhancers (or a range of preservatives which are harmful for the human beings.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has been established under Food Safety and Standards Act, to lay down the Standards and guidelines in relation to articles of food and specifying appropriate system of enforcing various standards thus notified.
It also lays down mechanisms and guidelines for accreditation of certification bodies engaged in certification of food safety management system for food businesses.
It also provide scientific advice and technical support to Central Government and State Governments in the matters of framing the policy and rules in areas which have a direct or indirect bearing of food safety and nutrition.
Other major functions are:
• Collect and collate data regarding food consumption, incidence and prevalence of biological risk, contaminants in food, residues of various, contaminants in foods products, identification of emerging risks and introduction of rapid alert system.
• Creating an information network across the country so that the public, consumers, Panchayats etc receive rapid, reliable and objective information about food safety and issues of concern.
• Provide training programmes for persons who are involved or intend to get involved in food businesses.
• Contribute to the development of international technical standards for food, sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards.
• Promote general awareness about food safety and food standards.

RFID


RFID

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) uses radio waves to communicate between two objects: a reader and a tag. RFID communication is the same as two way radio communication in the sense that information is transmitted or received via a radio wave at a specific frequency.
Passive tags collect energy from a nearby RFID reader’s interrogating radio waves. Active tags have a local power source such as a battery and may operate at hundreds of meters from the RFID reader.
Emerging RFID applications include:
• Self-checkins at Libraries / rental services as well as retail premises.
• Livestock Management and pet identification.
• Toll/road – collection/charging and control measures. Many more RFID-based payment collection systems.
• Building Security – secure access controls, documentation and passports.
• Airports – for baggage tracking and tracing/locating.
• SMART home controls – systems to manage home/business energy consumption/production.
• Seismic Sensing – such as locating gas lines and temperature sensing (geophysical).
• Environmental – Energy, Ozone & Pollution measuring equipment.

Sai Praveen

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