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Current Affairs 06 May 2024

  1. Expansion of Glacial Lakes in Himalayan Region: ISRO Findings
  2. Nepal’s Rs-100 Currency Note to Feature Map Controversy
  3. Supreme Court Rejects Centre’s Plea for Administrative Spectrum Allocation
  4. WHO Study: Global Immunisation Efforts Save 154 Million Lives
  5. World Press Freedom Index
  6. Blue Corner Notice
  7. Koothandavar festival 
  8. Paliyar Tribe


Recent satellite monitoring data from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has revealed a significant expansion of glacial lakes in the Himalayan region between 1984 and 2023. This expansion raises concerns about potential risks for downstream areas, highlighting the need for further attention and monitoring of glacial dynamics in the region.


GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Observations on Himalayan Glacial Expansion by ISRO
  2. Factors Contributing to Glacial Lake Expansion in the Himalayas
  3. Glacial Lakes
  4. Path Forward for Glacial Lake Management in the Himalayas

Observations on Himalayan Glacial Expansion by ISRO

Expansion Trends of Glacial Lakes

  • ISRO’s assessment reveals significant growth in 676 glacial lakes out of 2,431 identified lakes larger than 10 hectares during 2016-17.
  • Within India, 130 of these expanded lakes are situated, with 65, 7, and 58 lakes found in the Indus, Ganga, and Brahmaputra River basins, respectively.
  • Notably, 601 lakes, comprising 89% of the total, have expanded more than twice their original size. An additional 10 lakes have grown by 1.5 to 2 times, while 65 lakes have expanded by 1.5 times.
  • Elevation-wise analysis indicates that 314 lakes are positioned in the 4,000 to 5,000 m range, and 296 lakes are located above 5,000 m elevation.
  • An exemplary case is the Ghepang Ghat glacial lake in the Indus River Basin, situated at an elevation of 4,068 m in Himachal Pradesh, India, which has witnessed a 178% enlargement from 36.49 to 101.30 hectares between 1989 and 2022.
Classification and Quantity of Glacial Lakes
  • Moraine-dammed (307): Formed when accumulated rocks and debris block valleys, creating natural dams.
  • Ice-dammed (8): Result from glaciers acting as dams.
  • Erosion (265): Occupying depressions carved into bedrock by glaciers.

Factors Contributing to Glacial Lake Expansion in the Himalayas

Climate-Related Influences

  • Climatic warming in the Himalayas is causing glacier melt, resulting in increased inflow into existing lakes, thus expanding their size.
  • Melting glaciers expose new land surfaces, facilitating the formation of additional glacial lakes.

Natural Phenomena

  • Natural barriers like moraines, formed by glacier retreat, weaken over time, potentially leading to Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) upon collapse.
  • Alterations in precipitation patterns, including heightened rainfall and snowfall, augment water input into glacial lakes, promoting expansion.
  • Thawing permafrost due to rising temperatures creates depressions that collect water, aiding in glacial lake enlargement.

Human-Induced Factors

  • Human activities such as infrastructure development, mining, and deforestation indirectly contribute to glacial lake expansion by exacerbating climate change and altering drainage patterns.

Glacial Lakes

  • Glacial lakes, exemplified by South Lhonak Lake, are expansive bodies of water situated in proximity to, on top of, or beneath a melting glacier.
  • These lakes, as they expand, become progressively hazardous due to their containment by unstable ice or sediment comprising loose rock and debris.
  • A breach in the boundary surrounding these lakes can result in the rapid release of vast volumes of water down mountain slopes, leading to downstream flooding, an event termed as a glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF).

Causes Behind GLOF

Triggering Factors

  • GLOFs can be precipitated by various factors, including seismic activity such as earthquakes, extraordinarily heavy rainfall, and ice avalanches.
  • Given their typical presence in steep, mountainous terrains, occurrences like landslides or ice avalanches have the potential to directly impact these lakes.
  • The result is the displacement of water, causing it to surpass the natural dam and inundate areas downstream.

Notable Incident

  • In 2013, a catastrophic event unfolded in Uttarakhand’s Kedarnath region, marked by flash floods and a consequential GLOF.
  • The Chorabari Tal glacial lake was responsible for this incident, resulting in the loss of thousands of lives.

Path Forward for Glacial Lake Management in the Himalayas

Addressing Climate Change

  • Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions globally is paramount to address the root cause of glacial melt and retreat.
  • This requires concerted efforts to transition to renewable energy sources, enhance energy efficiency, and enact policies to curb carbon emissions across various sectors.

Early Warning Systems and Monitoring

  • Developing and implementing early warning systems is crucial for monitoring glacial lakes, weather forecasting, and disseminating timely alerts to at-risk communities.

Engineering Measures for Risk Reduction

  • Implementing engineering measures to stabilize and manage glacial lakes can mitigate the risk of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs).
  • Infrastructure such as spillways, drainage channels, and dams can be constructed to control water levels and prevent uncontrolled water releases.

Natural Ecosystem Restoration

  • Restoring and conserving natural ecosystems like wetlands and forests can regulate water flow, providing additional benefits such as habitat conservation and carbon sequestration.

Community Engagement and Capacity Building

  • Involving local communities in risk assessment, planning, and decision-making processes is essential for effective glacial lake management.
  • Building local capacity for disaster preparedness, including training in emergency response and evacuation procedures, can enhance community resilience to GLOFs and other hazards.

International Cooperation

  • Given the transboundary nature of many glacial lakes in the Himalayas, international cooperation is vital for effective management and risk reduction.
  • Collaborative efforts among countries sharing glacier-fed river basins can facilitate information sharing, joint monitoring, and coordinated action to address common challenges.

-Source: The Hindu


The Government of Nepal has announced plans to introduce a new Rs-100 currency note featuring the country’s map, including territories claimed by India. This move is likely to fuel tensions between the two neighboring countries, which have long-standing border disputes.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Nepal’s Introduction of New Currency Note with Disputed Territories
  2. Historical Background
  3. Recent Dispute Between the Two Countries
  4. Way Forward

Nepal’s Introduction of New Currency Note with Disputed Territories

  • Nepal’s government has decided to unveil a new Rs-100 currency note featuring a map incorporating areas contested by India, including Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura.
  • This move, authorized during a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda,’ has drawn a firm response from India, with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar asserting that Nepal’s action wouldn’t alter the current situation.
  • Approval from Rastra Bank, Nepal’s central bank, is awaited for the decision, which may take approximately a year for the note’s production. Subsequently, the central bank will initiate the tendering process to ensure the printing of high-quality notes.
  • However, the decision has faced internal opposition, with certain former diplomats and central bank governors deeming it “unwise” and “provocative.”

Following Nepal’s release of an updated political map in May 2020, which laid territorial claims over Kalapani, Limpiyadhura, and Lipulekh, tensions between India and Nepal heightened. The Kalapani region, named after the Kali River (known as Mahakali in Nepal), serves as a natural border between the two nations. Disputes over the river’s origin, with India asserting it originates in Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand, and Nepal claiming it starts from either Limpiyadhura or Lipulekh, have been a persistent issue.

Historical Background:

  • The Treaty of Sagauli (1816) between the British East India Company and Nepal delineated the Kali River as Nepal’s western boundary with India.
  • However, it omitted mention of the ridgeline, leading British surveyors to depict varying sources of the Kali River on subsequent maps.
  • This discrepancy has fueled boundary disputes between India and Nepal, with Nepal officially raising the issue of Kalapani for the first time in 1998.

Recent Dispute Between the Two Countries:

  • In 2020, Indian Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh inaugurated a new road linking India to China via the Lipulekh pass to expedite pilgrim travel to Kailash Mansarovar.
  • Nepal strongly protested this action, asserting it breached a 2014 agreement between the Prime Ministers of India and Nepal to address outstanding boundary issues in Kalapani and Susta.
  • In response, Nepal’s parliament passed a Constitutional Amendment Bill to endorse the updated map incorporating Kalapani, Lipulekh, and Limpiyadhura, leading to a breakdown in communication between the two nations.
  • India rejected Nepal’s revised map, deeming it devoid of historical substantiation and unilateral in nature, urging Nepal to return to dialogue.

Way Forward:

  • Given the deep-rooted historical and cultural ties between India and Nepal, India must promptly address this matter.
  • Amidst the ongoing border dispute with China in Ladakh, resolving the issue with Nepal through dialogue is imperative.
  • Nepal holds strategic importance for India due to the free movement of people between the two nations and the significant Nepali diaspora in India, which substantially contributes to Nepal’s economy.
  • Therefore, a political resolution of the boundary dispute is in the best interest of both countries.

-Source: The Hindu


The Supreme Court of India has made a significant decision by rejecting the Centre’s plea to permit administrative allocation of spectrum. This decision reaffirms the principle of open and transparent auction for allocating this scarce natural resource.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Reasons for Supreme Court’s Rejection of Centre’s Application
  2. What is Airwaves/Spectrum?
  3. Centre’s Plea: Arguments in Favor of Allocating Spectrum Through Administrative Processes
  4. The Telecommunications Act, 2023

Reasons for Supreme Court’s Rejection of Centre’s Application

Misconceived Application

  • The Registrar deemed the application for clarification as misconceived, citing Order XV Rule 5 of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013, which allows refusal to accept a petition lacking reasonable cause, containing frivolous content, or scandalous matter.

Precedent from 2G Spectrum Case

  • The Supreme Court emphasized that spectrum allocation to private players must adhere to open and transparent auction processes, as established by the landmark judgment in the 2G spectrum case, commonly known as the “2G spectrum scam” case, which occurred 12 years ago.

Importance of Fairness and Transparency

  • Spectrum allocation is a critical procedure, and allowing “administrative allocation” would have granted the government exclusive authority to select operators for distributing airwaves. This move was deemed contradictory to principles of fairness and transparency, as highlighted by the Supreme Court.

What is Airwaves/Spectrum?

  • Airwaves, also known as spectrum, are radio frequencies within the electromagnetic spectrum used for wireless communication services.
  • The government manages and allocates airwaves to companies or sectors for their use.
  • Spectrum is auctioned by the government to telecom operators for providing communication services to consumers.
2G Spectrum Scam Verdict
  • In 2008, the government sold 122 2G licences on a first-come-first-serve (FCFS) basis to specific telecom operators.
  • Allegations arose regarding a ₹30,984 crore loss to the exchequer due to discrepancies in the allocation process.
  • Petitions were filed in the Supreme Court alleging a ₹70,000 crore scam in the grant of telecom licenses in 2008.
  • In February 2012, the Supreme Court cancelled the licenses, advocating for competitive auctions as the only route to allocate spectrum.

Centre’s Plea: Arguments in Favor of Allocating Spectrum Through Administrative Processes

Assignment for Various Purposes:

  • Spectrum assignment is required not only for commercial telecom services but also for sovereign and public interest functions such as security, safety, and disaster preparedness.
  • Certain spectrum categories have unique uses where auctions may not be the best choice, such as for captive, backhaul, or sporadic use.

Situation of Lower Demand Than Supply:

  • Administrative allocation is necessary when demand is lower than supply or for space communication, where sharing spectrum among multiple players is more efficient.
  • Since the 2012 decision, non-commercial spectrum allocation has been temporary, and the government seeks to establish a solid framework for assigning spectrum, including methods other than auctions.

2012 Presidential Reference:

  • Referring to a previous Constitution Bench’s remarks on a Presidential reference about the 2012 verdict, the government highlights that the auction method is not a constitutional mandate for the alienation of natural resources excluding spectrum.
  • However, spectrum, as per the law declared in the 2G case, is to be alienated only by auction and no other method.

The Telecommunications Act, 2023

  • Empowers Government to Use Administrative Route:
  • The Telecommunications Act, 2023, passed by the Parliament, grants the government authority to assign spectrum for telecommunication through administrative processes other than auctions.
  • This provision applies to entities listed in the First Schedule, which includes those engaged in national security, defence, and law enforcement, as well as Global Mobile Personal Communication by Satellites (GMPCS) providers like Space X and Bharti Airtel-backed OneWeb.

Assignment of Part of Assigned Spectrum:

  • Additionally, the government has the discretion to assign part of a spectrum that has already been allocated to one or more additional entities, referred to as secondary assignees.
  • Furthermore, the Act empowers the government to terminate assignments where a spectrum or a part of it has remained underutilized for insufficient reasons.

-Source: The Hindu


A recent study conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that global immunisation efforts have saved an estimated 154 million lives over the past 50 years. The report was released on the occasion of World Immunization Week, ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) scheduled for May 2024.


GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Findings of the Report on Immunization Impact
  2. Status of Immunization in India
  3. Universal Immunization Programme

Key Findings of the Report on Immunization Impact

Significance of Immunization

  • Immunization stands out as the single most impactful health intervention for ensuring the health of infants.

Measles Vaccine Contribution

  • An estimated 94 million out of 154 million lives saved since 1974 were attributed to protection provided by measles vaccines.

Measles Vaccine Coverage Gap

  • Despite progress, 33 million children missed a measles vaccine dose in 2022, indicating a coverage gap.

Global Measles Vaccine Coverage Rates

  • Current global coverage rates for the first and second doses of measles vaccine stand at 83% and 74%, respectively, contributing to numerous outbreaks worldwide.

Threshold for Outbreak Prevention

  • A minimum coverage rate of 95% with two doses of measles-containing vaccine is necessary to shield communities from outbreaks.

Continued Impact of Vaccination

  • Immunization accounts for 60% of lives saved and is projected to remain the foremost contributor to preventing deaths in the future.

Evolution of Immunization Programs

  • Before the initiation of the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), only a fraction of infants globally had access to routine immunization. Presently, 84% of infants receive protection with three doses of the DTP vaccine.

Reduction in Infant Mortality

  • Immunization has led to a 40% reduction in infant mortality from 14 diseases, including diphtheria, pertussis, and measles, among others.

Progress in Africa

  • The African Region has witnessed over a 50% reduction in disease burden over the past five decades.

Polio Eradication Efforts

  • Wild poliovirus cases have plummeted by over 99% since 1988, with types 2 and 3 eradicated in 1999 and 2020, respectively. India was declared polio-free in 2014.

Success of Other Vaccines

  • Vaccines against malaria and cervical cancer have demonstrated notable efficacy in disease containment.

Health Impact of Immunization

  • On average, each life saved through immunization translates to gaining 66 years of full health, totaling 10.2 billion full health years gained over five decades.

Status of Immunization in India


  • India’s Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) ranks among the world’s most extensive public health initiatives.
  • Annually, more than 30 million pregnant women and 27 million children receive vaccinations under the UIP.


  • India achieved polio-free certification in 2014 and eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus in 2015.
  • Introduction and nationwide expansion of new vaccines like Measles-Rubella, Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV), and Rotavirus Vaccine (RVV).

Current Situation:

  • Despite efforts, only 65% of children in India receive full immunization during their first year of life.
  • The number of zero-dose (ZD) children reduced to 1.1 million in 2022 from 2.7 million in 2021, covering an additional 1.6 million children with life-saving vaccination.
  • 63% of ZD children are concentrated in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.


  • Mission Indradhanush (MI) launched in 2014 aims to vaccinate all unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children under UIP.
  • Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) aims to reduce the number of zero-dose children.


  • Globally, 14.3 million infants did not receive the first DPT vaccine in 2022, highlighting inadequate access to immunization and health services.
  • Nearly 60% of not vaccinated or partially vaccinated children live in 10 countries, including India.
  • Substantial child mortality and morbidity persist, with almost one million children dying before their fifth birthday, many of which are preventable through interventions like breastfeeding, immunization, and access to treatment.


  • Despite progress, full immunization coverage in India remains at 76.1%, leaving one in four children without essential vaccines.

Universal Immunization Programme

The Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) is a comprehensive public health initiative aimed at providing immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases. Here’s an overview:


  • The initiative was initially launched as the Expanded Programme on Immunization in 1978. It was later renamed the Universal Immunization Programme in 1985 to reflect its expanded reach beyond urban areas.

Integration with National Health Initiatives:

  • Since the inception of the National Rural Health Mission in 2005, the UIP has been an integral component of it, emphasizing its importance within the broader framework of national health programs.


  • Under the UIP, immunization services are offered free of cost to target populations, encompassing both rural and urban areas.

Vaccine Coverage:

  • The UIP provides immunization against 12 vaccine-preventable diseases, aiming to protect individuals from various health threats.
  • Nationally, vaccines are administered for nine diseases, including Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Measles, Rubella, severe forms of Childhood Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, and Meningitis & Pneumonia caused by Haemophilus influenzae type B.
  • Additionally, sub-nationally, vaccines are provided for three diseases: Rotavirus diarrhoea, Pneumococcal Pneumonia, and Japanese Encephalitis.


  • The primary goal of the UIP is to ensure widespread coverage of immunization services, thereby reducing the incidence and prevalence of vaccine-preventable diseases across the population.
  • By providing free access to vaccines and implementing comprehensive immunization strategies, the UIP aims to safeguard public health and promote overall well-being.


  • The UIP operates through a network of healthcare facilities, including primary health centers, sub-centers, and outreach vaccination sessions, to ensure accessibility and outreach to all segments of society.
  • Regular immunization drives, awareness campaigns, and surveillance systems are integral components of the UIP’s operational framework, aimed at maximizing vaccine coverage and minimizing disease transmission.

-Source: The Hindu


India’s rank in the 2024 World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), has improved slightly from 161 to 159 among 180 jurisdictions. However, this improvement contrasts with a decline in India’s score, which fell from 36.62 to 31.28. Scores dropped across most indicators except for security, with the ranking improvement attributed to declines in other countries’ rankings rather than substantial progress in India. Despite these challenges, the Indian government has historically dismissed international rankings of freedoms in the country as propaganda.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. World Press Freedom Index
  2. What the 2024 WPFI Highlights About India?

World Press Freedom Index

The World Press Freedom Index (WPFI) is an annual assessment of press freedom in countries worldwide, compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), an international NGO based in France. Here’s an overview:

Purpose and Scope:

  • The WPFI provides a ranking of countries based on their level of press freedom, focusing solely on this aspect and not on the quality of journalism or broader human rights issues.
  • It aims to assess the degree of freedom journalists, news organizations, and internet users have in each country, considering various factors that impact press freedom.


  • The assessment is conducted through a press freedom questionnaire covering five categories: political context, legal framework, economic context, sociocultural context, and security.
  • By evaluating these aspects, the index seeks to reflect the extent of press freedom and the efforts made by authorities to uphold this freedom within each country.
2024 WPFI Rankings:
  • There has been an overall decline in the political indicator, affecting the top-ranking countries in the WPFI.
  • Norway remains in first place but has experienced a decline in its political score. Ireland, previously in the top position within the EU, has dropped to 8th place due to instances of judicial intimidation against media outlets, with Denmark now ranking 2nd followed by Sweden in 3rd.
  • The countries at the bottom of last year’s index, including Vietnam, China, and North Korea, have been replaced by Afghanistan, Syria, and Eritrea, respectively, with Eritrea ranking last.
  • Concerns regarding press freedoms in countries undergoing elections are notable, with the United States identified as particularly concerning in this regard.

India’s Ranking:

  • India’s rank improved from 161 in 2023 to 159 in 2024, but this was because other countries had slipped in their rankings. 
  • Scores for India dropped (worsened) in all but the security indicator.
  • India is ranked behind Turkey, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, which are ranked at positions 158, 152, and 150, respectively.

What the 2024 WPFI Highlights About India?

The 2024 World Press Freedom Index highlights several concerning developments regarding press freedom in India:

Crisis in Press Freedom:

  • Reporters Without Borders (RSF) claims that press freedom is in crisis in India, the world’s largest democracy.
  • As of the report, nine journalists and one media worker have been detained in India, though no journalist or media worker has been killed in the country since January 2024.

Draconian Laws:

  • The Indian government has introduced several new laws that grant extraordinary powers to control the media, censor news, and silence critics.
  • These laws include the Telecommunications Act 2023, the draft Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill 2023, and the Digital Personal Data Protection Act 2023.

Unofficial State of Emergency:

  • RSF’s analysis suggests that the government has fostered a close relationship between the ruling party and prominent media families, creating an atmosphere akin to an unofficial state of emergency.
  • For instance, the Reliance group owns more than 70 media outlets followed by at least 800 million Indians, raising concerns about media ownership and independence.

Harassment of Journalists:

  • Journalists critical of the government face routine online harassment, intimidation, threats, physical attacks, criminal prosecutions, and arbitrary arrests.
  • The situation is particularly concerning in Kashmir, where reporters often face harassment from police and paramilitaries, exacerbating challenges to press freedom.

-Source: The Hindu


The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is likely to issue a Blue Corner notice against a political Party MP who fled to Germany on a diplomatic passport after allegations of sexual abuse.


Facts for Prelims

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Blue Corner Notice
  2. About Interpol

About Blue Corner Notice:

  • A Blue Corner Notice is an integral component of Interpol’s comprehensive system of color-coded notices, facilitating global dissemination of alerts and requests for information regarding wanted individuals or criminal activities.
  • This exchange of critical crime-related data plays a vital role in combating transnational criminal enterprises.

Interpol issues seven types of notices, each serving a distinct purpose:

  • Red Notice: Issued to locate and apprehend individuals wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence.
  • Yellow Notice: Aimed at locating missing persons, often minors, or individuals unable to identify themselves.
  • Blue Notice: Intended to gather additional information about an individual’s identity, location, or activities in connection with a criminal investigation.
  • Black Notice: Issued to seek information about unidentified bodies.
  • Green Notice: Provides warning about an individual’s criminal activities, posing a potential threat to public safety.
  • Orange Notice: Alerts about events, persons, objects, or processes posing a serious and imminent threat to public safety.
  • Purple Notice: Seeks or provides information on criminal methods, objects, devices, or concealment techniques.

These notices are authorized by Interpol’s General Secretariat at the request of a member country’s Interpol National Central Bureau and are accessible to all member nations for dissemination and action.

About Interpol

  • The International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO), commonly known as INTERPOL, is an international organization that facilitates worldwide police cooperation and crime control.
  • Headquartered in Lyon, it has seven regional bureaus worldwide and a National Central Bureau in all 194 member states, making it the world’s largest police organization.
  • INTERPOL provides investigative support, expertise, and training to law enforcement worldwide, focusing on three major areas of transnational crime: terrorism, cybercrime, and organized crime.
  • Its broad mandate covers virtually every kind of crime, including crimes against humanity, child pornography, drug trafficking and production, political corruption, copyright infringement, and white-collar crime.
  • The agency also facilitates co-operation among national law enforcement institutions through criminal databases and communications networks.
  • Contrary to popular belief, INTERPOL is itself not a law enforcement agency.
  • INTERPOL is mostly funded by annual contributions by member police forces in 181 countries.
  • It is governed by a General Assembly, composed of all member countries, which elects the Executive Committee and the President.
  • Pursuant to its charter, INTERPOL seeks to remain politically neutral in fulfilling its mandate, as it is barred from interventions or activities of a political, military, religious, or racial nature or involving itself in disputes over such matters.
  • The agency operates in four languages: Arabic, English, French, and Spanish.
  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the nodal agency in the INTERPOL for India.

-Source: Indian Express


Koothandavar festival at Koovagam in Tamil Nadu plays out a tale of marriage and widowhood, all in a day.


Facts for Prelims

About Koothandavar Festival:

  • The Koothandavar festival is an annual event held in the Tamil month of Chithirai, spanning from mid-April to mid-May, in Koovagam, Tamil Nadu.
  • This traditional 18-day festival garners global attention for its distinctive celebration of the transgender identity.
  • According to a Tamil rendition of the Mahabharata, a character named Aravan offered himself as a sacrifice for the victory of the Pandavas in the war.
  • Aravan possessed a boon granting him marriage before his sacrifice, but no woman was willing to marry him as it would result in widowhood.
  • Eventually, Lord Krishna is said to have married Aravan in the form of Mohini. Legend holds that Lord Krishna mourned Aravan’s death as a widow.
  • The central ritual of the festival revolves around the sacrificial ceremony of Lord Aravan.
  • On the 17th day of the festival, transwomen from various regions assemble to wed Lord Aravan.
  • The following day marks the culmination of the festival, with Aravan’s sacrifice in the war.
  • In observance of his death, the transwomen who married Aravan undergo rituals of widowhood, mourning his demise.

-Source: The Hindu


Recently, a recent research carried out on ‘Paliyar Tribals in Kodaikanal and Theni areas’ urged the State government to take necessary and immediate steps to uplift the Paliyar tribes as well as the other such Adivasi communities.


Facts for Prelims

About Paliyar Tribe:

  • The term ‘Paliyar’ is derived from ‘Palaniyan’ in the Tamil language, signifying a person from Palani.
  • They are alternatively known as Paliyans, Pazhaiyarares, and Panaiyars.
  • Location: The Paliyars are primarily located in the districts of Madurai, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, Tirunelveli, and Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.
  • Language: Their language of communication is Tamil, and they use the Tamil script for both inter-group and intra-group communication.
  • Occupation: Historically, the Paliyars were hunters and gatherers, inhabiting the forests of the Western Ghats.
  • Religious Practices: They offer prayers to Vanadevadai within the forest and worship the deity Karuppan by visiting remote forest areas with their families.
  • Funeral Customs: Unlike cremation, the Paliyar tribe traditionally buried their deceased near their residential areas, typically on the western side.

-Source: The Hindu

May 2024