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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 9 August 2021 | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. Pensilungpa Glacier retreat due to warming
  2. Sunderbans is now drowning in plastic
  3. Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) weakens
  4. ITBP inducts its first women officers
  5. Made-in-India carrier – INS Vikrant
  6. Dravidian languages spoken in IVC

Pensilungpa Glacier retreat due to warming

Context:

A recent study has found that the Pensilungpa Glacier located in Ladakh’s Zanskar Valley is retreating due to increase in temperature and decrease in precipitation during winters.

Relevance:

GS-I: Geography (Physical Geography, Distribution of Key Natural Resources, Water Resources, Important Geophysical Phenomena), GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Climate change and its impact)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is a Glacier?
  2. What does “Glacier Retreating” mean?
  3. About the Study on retreating Glacier in Zanskar Valley
  4. About Zanskar Valley
  5. Important Glaciers in India

What is a Glacier?

  • A glacier is a persistent body of dense ice that is constantly moving under its own weight. It is form by the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation (melting and sublimation) over many years. It is the largest reservoir of fresh water on the Earth (75 percent of the world’s fresh water).
  • Glaciers are unique because they are reservoir of fresh water, have sheer mass and their ability to move (Glaciers flow like very slow rivers). It may move in two ways- Internal flow is when the pressure and gravity on the ice in a glacier cause it to move downhill; Basal sliding is when an entire glacier moves because its base is slightly melted. Rivers, valleys and lakes are formed after melting of glaciers.
  • As per National Snow & Ice Date Centre, it occupies about 10 percent of the world’s total area.

What are Glacial lakes?

  • A glacial lake is a body of water with origins from glacier activity.
  • They are formed when a glacier erodes the land, and then melts, filling the depression created by the glacier.

How are glaciers and glacial lakes formed?

  • Glaciers are found on every continent except Australia and some are hundreds of thousands of years old; and a large cluster of glaciers are in the Himalayas.
  • Glaciers are made of layers of compressed snow that move or “flow” due to gravity and the softness of ice relative to rock.
  • A glacier’s “tongue” can extend hundreds of kilometers from its high-altitude origins, and the end, or “snout,” can advance or retreat based on snow accumulating or melting.
  • Proglacial lakes, formed after glaciers retreat, are often bound by sediment and boulder formations.
  • Additional water or pressure, or structural weakness, can cause both natural and manmade dams to burst, sending a mass of floodwater surging down the rivers and streams fed by the glacier.

What does “Glacier Retreating” mean?

  • A glacier retreats when its terminus does not extend as far downvalley as it previously did.
  • Glaciers may retreat when their ice melts or ablates more quickly than snowfall can accumulate and form new glacial ice. Higher temperatures and less snowfall have been causing many glaciers around the world to retreat recently.
  • Glacial retreat leaves boulders and masses of scraped-together rocky debris and soil called glacial moraines. Large temporary lakes of glacial meltwater may rupture, causing catastrophic floods and even shifting global climate by dumping freshwater into the oceans and so altering their circulation.

About the Study on retreating Glacier in Zanskar Valley

  • Observations for four years (2015–2019) showed that the Pensilungpa Glacier is now retreating at an average rate of around 6 metre per annum. This is attributed to an increase in the temperature and decrease in precipitation during winters.
  • The study also points at the significant influence of debris cover on the mass balance and retreat of the glacier’s endpoint, especially in summer.
  • The study also suggests that due to continuous rise in the air temperature in line with the global trend, the melting would increase, and it is possible that the precipitation of summer periods at higher altitudes will change from snow to rain, and that may influence the summer and winter pattern.

About Zanskar Valley

  • Zanskar Valley is a semi-arid region nestled in the northern flank of the Great Himalayas at an altitude of more than 13 thousand feet.
  • The Zanskar Range is a mountain range in the union territory of Ladakh that separates Zanskar from Ladakh and the average height of the Zanskar Range is about 6,000 m.
  • This mountain range acts as a climatic barrier protecting Ladakh and Zanskar from most of the monsoon, resulting in a pleasantly warm and dry climate in the summer.
  • Marbal Pass, Zojila Pass in the extreme northwest of Zanskar range are two notable passes in the region.
  • Many rivers start in different branches of this range flow northward, and join the great Indus River. These rivers include Hanle River, Khurna River, Zanskar River, Suru River (Indus), and Shingo River.
  • The Zanskar river then takes a north-eastern course until it joins the Indus in Ladakh.

Important Glaciers in India

Name StateMountain Range
Batura GlacierJammu & KashmirKarakoram Mountain Range
Khurdopin GlacierJammu & KashmirKarakoram Mountain Range
Hispar GlacierJammu & KashmirKarakoram Mountain Range
Biafo GlacierJammu & KashmirKarakoram Mountain Range
Baltoro GlacierJammu & KashmirKarakoram Mountain Range
Chomolungma glacierJammu & KashmirKarakoram Mountain Range
Diamir GlacierJammu & KashmirKarakoram Mountain Range
Siachen GlacierJammu & KashmirKarakoram Mountain Range
Gangotri GlacierUttarkashi, UttarakhandHimalayas
Milam GlacierUttarakhandTrishul peak of  Pithoragarh
Pindari glacierNanda Devi, UttarakhandUpper reaches of the Kumaon Himalayas
Zemu GlacierSikkimEastern Himalaya Located on Kanchenjunga peak

-Source: The Hindu


Sunderbans is now drowning in plastic

Context:

Cyclone-ravaged Sunderbans is now drowning in plastic as plastic accumulating in the isolated islands of the fragile ecosystem are cause for great concern.

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Conservation of the Environment and Ecology), GS-I: Geography (Physical Geography, Indian Geography)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Sunderbans
  2. Flora and Fauna of the Sunderbans
  3. Risks faced by the Sunderbans
  4. About the recent study on Plastic in Sunderbans

Sunderbans

  • Sunderbans, formerly Sunderbunds, is a vast tract of forest and saltwater swamp forming the lower part of the Ganga (Padma)-Brahmaputra River delta in southeastern West Bengal state, northeastern India, and southern Bangladesh.
  • The tract extends approximately more than 250 kms west-east along the Bay of Bengal from the Hugli River estuary in India to the western segment of the Meghna River estuary in Bangladesh.
  • A network of estuaries, tidal rivers, and creeks intersected by numerous channels, it encloses flat, densely forested, marshy islands.
  • Three-fifths of the Sunderbans area is in Bangladesh, out of the approximate 10 thousand square kilometers of area it covers.
  • Much of the area has long had the status of a forest reserve, but conservation efforts in India were stepped up with the creation of the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve in 1973.
  • Sunderbans National Park, established in 1984, constitutes a core region within the tiger reserve; it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.

Flora and Fauna of the Sunderbans

  • The forestland transitions into a low-lying mangrove swamp approaching the coast, which itself consists of sand dunes and mud flats.
  • Mangrove forests constitute about two-fifths of the Sunderbans region’s overall surface area, with water covering roughly half of that area.
  • Mangrove forests perform multiple ecological functions such as production of woody trees, provision of habitat, food and spawning grounds for fin-fish and shellfish, provision of habitat for birds and other valuable fauna; protection of coastlines and accretion of sediment to form new land.
  • Notably, it is one of the last preserves of Bengal tigers (Panthera tigris tigris), which are found in relative abundance there. The Sunderbans Delta is the only mangrove forest in the world inhabited by tigers. s
  • Other mammals include spotted deer, wild boars, otters, wildcats, and Ganges river dolphins (Platanista gangetica), but several species that once inhabited the region—including Javan rhinoceroses, guar, water buffalo, and spotted deer—are now believed to be extinct there.
  • Several dozen reptile and amphibian species are found in the Sunderbans, notably crocodiles, Indian pythons, cobras, and marine turtles.
  • The region is home to more than 250 bird species—both seasonal migrants and permanent residents—including hornbills, storks and other waders, kingfishers, white ibis, and raptors such as sea eagles.

Risks faced by the Sunderbans

  • The landscape is constantly being transformed by the erosional forces of the sea and wind along the coast and by the enormous loads of silt and other sediments that are deposited along the myriad estuaries.
  • Human activity has also altered the landscape, notably through forest removal, which accelerates erosion.
  • In addition, because considerable amounts of river water have been diverted upstream for irrigation and other uses, salinity in the mangrove swamps has moved farther inland, especially in the Indian sector of the territory.
  • During each monsoon season almost all the Bengal Delta is submerged, much of it for half a year. The shore currents vary greatly along with the monsoon and they are also affected by cyclonic action. Erosion and accretion through these forces maintains varying levels of physiographic change.
  • In a study conducted in 2012, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) found out that the Sunderban coast was retreating up to 200 metres (660 ft) in a year.
  • Agricultural activities had destroyed more than 40 thousand acres of mangroves from 1975 to 2010. Shrimp cultivation had destroyed more than 18 thousand acres during that time.
  • The mangrove vegetation itself provides a remarkable stability to the entire system, and loss of the mangrove forest will result in the loss of the protective biological shield against cyclones and tsunamis.

About the recent study on Plastic in Sunderbans

  • While it is difficult to estimate the total amount of plastic waste that’s arriving in about 50 inhabited islands of the Sunderbans spread across thousands of square kilometres, tonnes of plastic is seen in the remote areas of the Sunderbans causing concerns to be raised over the huge dumping of plastic waste.
  • The presence of plastic in saline water will increase the toxicity of water gradually and also there will be eutrophication of water.
  • Because of the presence of plastics in the water, there will be an increase in microplastics, which will slowly enter the food system.
  • Sunderbans are connected to the sea and the increase of plastic in the region could lead to plastic in the water entering the ocean.
  • Sunderbans is home to a population of 5 million, is largely dependent on fisheries and aquaculture, and any change in the delicate ecosystem can spell doom not only for the ecology but also to livelihoods.
  • The threat posed by plastic is so great for the Sundarbans because the region is witnessing frequent tropical storms, which lead to devastation, followed by the necessity for relief and rehabilitation of inhabitants.
  • There is an urgent need to stop the influx of plastic in the region by maintaining a tight vigil on the entrances to the Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve and the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve. NGOs and locals should be encouraged to collect plastic waste, which should be recycled.

-Source: The Hindu


Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) weakens

Context:

The Atlantic Ocean’s current system (AMOC) could be weakening to such an extent that it could soon bring big changes to the world’s weather according to a recent study.

Relevance:

GS-I: Geography (Climatology, Important geographical phenomena), GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Impact of Climate Change)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What are Ocean Currents?
  2. Factors responsible for Ocean Currents
  3. The Slowdown of Ocean Circulation: How is it happening?
  4. About the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC)

What are Ocean Currents?

  • The movements of water in oceans can be categorized into currents, waves, and tides. Among these, ocean currents are the large masses of surface water that circulate in regular patterns around the oceans.
  • Depending upon their temperature, ocean currents can be classified into warm currents and cold currents.
  • Warm currents flow from equatorial regions towards the polar regions and hence have a higher surface temperature. These currents flow in the clockwise direction in the northern hemisphere and in the anti-clockwise direction in the southern hemisphere.
  • Cold currents flow from polar regions towards the equator and have a lower surface temperature. These currents flow in the anti-clockwise direction in the northern hemisphere and in the clockwise direction in the southern hemisphere.

Ocean conveyor belt:

  • All of Earth’s oceans are interconnected by a global circulation system sometimes called the ocean conveyor belt, and officially known as thermohaline circulation.
  • The global network of ocean currents transports heat from warm equatorial seas to colder polar waters.
  • The system consists of warm surface currents and cold deep ocean currents.

Factors responsible for Ocean Currents

  1. The Planetary winds: The strongest evidence of prevailing winds on the flow of ocean currents can be witnessed in the North Indian Ocean where there is a change in the direction of ocean currents with a change in direction of the monsoon winds.
  2. Temperatures: At the equator, since the temperature is higher the ocean water gets heated up, making the warm water lighter which rises while at the poles, cold water is denser and sinks. Warm water from the equator slowly moves along the surface towards the poles, while the cold water from the poles slowly creeps along the bottom of the sea towards the equator.
  3. Salinity: The density of water also depends on its salinity and the salinity of water varies from place to place. Waters of low salinity flow on the surface of waters of high salinity while waters of high salinity flow at the bottom.
  4. The Earth’s Rotation: Under the action of Coriolis force, the movement of ocean currents in the northern hemisphere is in the clockwise and in the southern hemisphere it is in the anti-clockwise direction.
  5. Obstruction from land: A land mass obstructs the direction of flow of ocean current and divides the ocean current which in turns flow in a different direction.

The Slowdown of Ocean Circulation: How is it happening?

  • The slowdown of ocean circulation is directly caused by warming global temperatures and has been predicted by climate scientists – the slowdown is likely not a natural change but the result of human influence.
  • The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) transports water across the planet’s oceans, including the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian. The region contributing to the slowdown is the North Atlantic, according to the research.
  • If this Atlantic overturning circulation breaks down all together, this will lead to a strong cooling around the northern Atlantic, especially into Europe, into the kind of coastal areas of Britain and Scandinavia.
  • In this part of the ocean, the Greenland ice sheets are melting, contributing to both a rise in sea levels and serving to reduce the speed of the circulation.
  • Ice melting in Greenland and the heavy rainfall over the North Atlantic induced by climate change has affected the salinity and density of the waters.
  • As warm water currents move north, they typically turn back south as it gets cooler and heavier.
  • Added freshwater from the melting ice is causing this turn to be slower because of reduced salinity.

About the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC)

  • The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) is the zonally integrated component of surface and deep currents in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • It is characterized by a northward flow of warm, salty water in the upper layers of the Atlantic, and a southward flow of colder, deep waters that are part of the thermohaline circulation.
  • These “limbs” are linked by regions of overturning in the Nordic and Labrador Seas and the Southern Ocean.
  • The AMOC is an important component of the Earth’s climate system, and is a result of both atmospheric and thermohaline drivers.
  • The net northward heat transport in the Atlantic is unique among global oceans, and is responsible for the relative warmth of the Northern Hemisphere.
  • As well as acting as a heat pump and high-latitude heat sink, AMOC is the largest carbon sink in the Northern Hemisphere, sequestering ∼0.7 PgC/year.

-Source: The Hindu


ITBP inducts its first women officers

Context:

The India-China LAC guarding the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) force commissioned its first two women officers in combat after they completed their training.

Relevance:

GS-III: Internal Security Challenges (Various Security Forces/Agencies and their mandate)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)
  2. Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF)

About the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)

  • Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBPF) is a Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) functioning under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
  • The ITBP was established in 1962 under the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) act, during the India-China War and is a border guarding police force specializing in high altitude operations.
  • However, in 1992, parliament enacted the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBPF) Act and the rules were framed in 1994.
  • The ITBP, which started with 4 battalions, has, since restructuring in 1978, undergone expansion to a force of 60 Battalions with 15 Sectors and 05 Frontiers as of 2018 with a sanctioned strength of almost 90 thousand personnel.
  • The ITBP is trained in the Civil Medical Camp, disaster management, and nuclear, biological and chemical disasters.
  • ITBP personnel have been deployed abroad in UN peacekeeping missions in various countries as well.
  • Presently, ITBP is deployed on border guarding duties from Karakoram Pass in Ladakh to Jachep La in Arunachal Pradesh covering ~3,500 km of Indo-China Border.
  • ITBP Border Out Posts are of the height upto 18,750 feet where the temperature dips down minus 40 degree Celsius.

For the first time: 2 women Assistant Commandants

  • The ITBP started recruiting women combat officers in its cadre from 2016 through an all-India examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
  • Before this, it only had combat women in the constabulary ranks.
  • Out of the total 53 officers, 42 officers are in the general duty combat cadre, while 11 are in the engineering cadre of the about 90,000 personnel strong mountain warfare trained force.

Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF)

  • The Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) comprises five Armed forces of the Union of India under the authority of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • The 5 forces of CAPF are:
  1. Border Security Force (BSF),
  2. Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF),
  3. Central Industrial Security Force (CISF),
  4. Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the
  5. Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
  • Apart from the primary role, all CAPFs are involved in assisting Police in Law & Order situations and also Army in Counter-Terrorist Operations. BSF & CRPF have assisted the army during external aggression in the past.
  • Central Armed Police Forces personnel also serve in various important organisations such as Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Special Protection Group (SPG), National Investigation Agency (NIA), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) etc.

-Source: The Hindu


Made-in-India carrier – INS Vikrant

Context:

Recently, India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-1) set out to sea for its maiden set of trials, propelling India to a select group of nations capable of designing and building a complex platform such as this.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-III: Internal Security Challenges (Security Challenges & their Management in Border Areas, Technological Advancements in Defence sector), Science and Technology (Indigenization of Technology)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About INS Vikrant (Indigenous)
  2. Current Status of Indian Navy, and Vikrant’s significance

About INS Vikrant (Indigenous)

  • The vessel is named Vikrant after the decommissioned maiden carrier of the Navy.
  • It will have an air component of 30 aircraft, comprising MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31 airborne early warning helicopters and the soon-to-be-inducted MH-60R multi-role helicopter, besides the indigenous Advanced Light Helicopters.
  • It is expected to have a top speed of 30 knots (approximately 55 kmph) and is propelled by four gas turbines. Its endurance is 7,500 nautical miles at 18 knots (32 kmph) speed.
  • The shipborne weapons include Barak LR SAM and AK-630, while it has MFSTAR and RAN-40L 3D radars as sensors. The vessel has a Shakti EW (Electronic Warfare) Suite.
  • It has a pair of runways and a ‘short take off but arrested recovery’ system to control aircraft operations.

Current Status of Indian Navy, and Vikrant’s significance

  • At present, India has only one aircraft carrier, the Russian-origin INS Vikramaditya – and with the commissioning of INS Vikrant in the near future – it will become India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier and its only second aircraft carrier.
  • As per the Maritime Capability Perspective Plan, by 2027, India ought to have about 200 ships but there is still a lot to cover to reach the target.
  • However, the cause is not mainly funding but procedural delays or some self imposed restrictions.
  • The navy ensures that it has state of the art SONARs and Radars. Also, many of the ships contain a high amount of indigenous content.
  • The combat capability, reach and versatility of the new Vikrant aircraft carrier will add formidable capabilities in the defence in the country and help secure India’s interests in the maritime domain.
  • It would offer an incomparable military instrument with its ability to project air power over long distances, including air interdiction, anti-surface warfare, offensive and defensive counter-air, airborne anti-submarine warfare and airborne early warning.

-Source: The Hindu


Dravidian languages spoken in IVC

Context:

A recent publication has provided crucial evidence that Ancestral Dravidian languages were possibly spoken by a significant population in the Indus Valley civilisation.

Relevance:

GS-I: History (Ancient Indian History), Prelims, GS-I: Art and Culture (Languages)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Indus Valley Civilization
  2. What is the relevance of Harappa in today’s world?
  3. Proto-Dravidian language
  4. Dravidian languages
  5. About the recent study on Dravidian Languages and the IVC

About Indus Valley Civilization

  • The history of India begins with the birth of the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC), also known as Harappan Civilization which flourished around 2,500 BC, in the western part of South Asia (contemporary Pakistan and Western India).
  • The Indus Valley was home to the largest of the four ancient urban civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China.
  • In 1920s, the Archaeological Department of India carried out excavations in the Indus valley wherein the ruins of the two old cities, viz. Mohenjodaro and Harappa were unearthed.
  • Three phases of IVC are:
  1. the Early Harappan Phase from 3300 to 2600 BCE,
  2. the Mature Harappan Phase from 2600 to 1900 BCE, and
  3. the Late Harappan Phase from 1900 to 1300 BCE.

What is the relevance of Harappa in today’s world?

  • Harappan civilisation is amongst the first major urban civilisation that stretched over an area of 1.5 million square kilometres (the size of a modest sized modern country).
  • It was highly standardised architecture, art and utilitarian items.
  • It traded over an even larger area, getting raw material and exporting (to region where its standardisation rules did not apply) finished products, traders and some of its habits to different regions.
  • The occurrence of the first civilization from which the emergence of the city and urbanism can be understood
  • Their expertise in town planning, water management and harvesting systems as well as drainage mechanism is unparalleled.
  • They had public and private wells at most of their sites and their houses were often equipped with bathing areas and toilets.
  • They were also technologically very advanced in pyrotechnics and metallurgy.
  • Their craftsmanship is evident in their beads, jewelry, pottery, seals as well as other artifacts made of metals and their alloys.
  • Their trade networks were also quite widespread.
  • They had standardized weights and measures.
  • They often used standardized bricks in their architecture.
  • Recent research has suggested that Harappan people were probably the first ones to introduce silk and lost-wax casting techniques.
  • No large-scale weapons have been discovered from the Harappan sites which also suggests that they did not indulge in warfare.
  • It post-dated the great cultures of Mesopotamia and was contemporaneous to Sumerian cultures.
  • However, it received a lot of ideas also from Central Asia and in many ways, it collected the finest of ideas and technologies.
  • Among other things, the Harappan civilization provides important insights into the relationship between civilizational collapse, violence, and disease.
  • Global bodies and governmental organizations seeking to make predictions about global warming in the contemporary context have essentialized the relationship between climate change, environmental migration, and violence.

Proto-Dravidian language

  • Proto-Dravidian is the linguistic reconstruction of the common ancestor of the Dravidian languages.
  • It is thought to have differentiated into Proto-North Dravidian, Proto-Central Dravidian, and Proto-South Dravidian, although the date of diversification is still debated.
  • As a proto-language, Proto-Dravidian is not itself attested in historical records. Its modern conception is based solely on reconstruction.
  • The reconstruction has been done on the basis of cognate words present in the different branches (Northern, Central and Southern) of the Dravidian language family.

Dravidian languages

  • Dravidian is a family of languages spoken by 220 million people, mainly in southern India and north-east Sri Lanka, with pockets elsewhere in South Asia.
  • The Dravidian languages are first attested in the 2nd century BCE as Tamil-Brahmi script inscribed on the cave walls in the Madurai and Tirunelveli districts of Tamil Nadu.
  • The Dravidian languages with the most speakers are (in descending order of number of speakers) Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam, all of which have long literary traditions. Smaller literary languages are Tulu and Kodava.
  • here are also a number of Dravidian-speaking scheduled tribes, such as the Kurukh in Eastern India and Gondi in Central India.
  • Only two Dravidian languages are spoken exclusively outside the post-1947 state of India: Brahui in the Balochistan region of Pakistan and Afghanistan; and Dhangar, a dialect of Kurukh, in parts of Nepal and Bhutan.
  • Dravidian place names along the Arabian Sea coasts and Dravidian grammatical influence such as clusivity in the Indo-Aryan languages, namely, Marathi, Gujarati, Marwari, and Sindhi, suggest that Dravidian languages were once spoken more widely across the Indian subcontinent.

About the recent study on Dravidian Languages and the IVC

  • Analysing numerous archaeological, linguistic, archaeogenetic and historical evidences the study finds some proto-words whose likely origin in Indus Valley civilisation gets confirmed through historical and linguistic evidence (whereas archaeological evidence indicates that the objects signified by those proto-words were prevalently produced and used in the Indian Valley civilization).
  • The study claims that the words used for elephant (like, ‘pīri’, ‘pīru’) in Bronze Age Mesopotamia and the ivory-word (‘pîruš’) recorded in certain sixth century BC Old Persian documents, were all originally borrowed from ‘pīlu’, a Proto-Dravidian elephant-word, which was prevalent in the Indus Valley civilisation, and was etymologically related to the Proto Dravidian tooth-word ‘*pal’ and its alternate forms.
  • The paper points out that elephant-ivory was one of the luxury goods coveted in the Near East, and archaeological, and zoological evidence confirms that Indus Valley was the sole supplier of ancient Near East’s ivory in the middle-third to early-second millennium BC.
  • Some of this Indus ivory came directly from Meluhha to Mesopotamia, whereas some of it got imported there through Indus Valley’s thriving trade with Persian Gulf, and even via Bactria.
  • Thus, along with the ivory trade, the Indus word for ivory also got exported to the Near East and remained fossilised in different ancient documents written in Akkadian, Elamite, Hurrian, and Old Persian languages.
  • However, the study says that it would be very wrong to assume that only a single language or language-group was spoken across the one-million square kilometre area of Indus Valley civilisation.

-Source: The Hindu

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