Historic Scepter ‘Sengol’ Finds Home in New Parliament Building
The upcoming inauguration of the new parliament building will feature an important addition, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi will place a significant golden sceptre near the Speaker’s seat, announced Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
According to Mr. Shah, this sceptre holds historical significance as it was originally presented to India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, symbolizing the transfer of power from the British to the Indian people. The Home Minister explained that the sceptre, known as “sengol,” derives from the Tamil word “semmai,” meaning “righteousness.”
About Historic Scepter ‘Sengol’
The origins of the sengol can be traced back to a series of events that began with a question posed by Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of British India, to Prime Minister Nehru.
Historical accounts and news reports reveal that Mountbatten inquired about the symbol that would commemorate the transfer of power upon India’s independence.
In response, Prime Minister Nehru consulted C Rajagopalachari, the last Governor General of India, for advice.
Rajagopalachari, also known as Rajaji, informed Nehru about the Tamil tradition of the high priest presenting a sceptre to a new king upon assuming power.
He mentioned that this practice was followed during the Chola dynasty and suggested that it could symbolize India’s liberation from British rule. Rajaji took on the responsibility of procuring a sceptre for this historic moment.
Tasked with the challenge of arranging the sceptre, Rajaji contacted the Thiruvaduthurai Atheenam, a prominent religious institution in present-day Tamil Nadu.
The head of the institution at that time accepted the responsibility.
The sengol was crafted by Vummidi Bangaru Chetty, a jeweler in the former Madras.
It stands at a height of five feet and features a ‘nandi’ bull atop it, representing justice.
As per reports, a senior priest from the institution initially presented the sceptre to Lord Mountbatten before retrieving it. It was then ritually purified with gangajal (holy water from the Ganges) and carried in a procession to Prime Minister Nehru, who received it approximately 15 minutes before midnight, signifying the moment of India’s independence. A special song was composed and performed during the handover of the sceptre to Nehru.
Historic Scepter ‘Sengol’ in New Parliament Building
Highlighting the lesser-known history and significance of the sengol, the Home Minister emphasized that its inclusion in the new parliament aimed to bridge cultural traditions with modernity. Mr. Shah commended Prime Minister Modi’s foresight in proposing the installation of the sengol, which will be relocated from its current display at a museum in Allahabad to its new residence within the parliament building.
Addressing questions from the media, Mr. Shah stressed that the sengol should not be associated with politics. He expressed the desire for the administration to be guided by the rule of law, with the sceptre serving as a constant reminder of this principle. The installation of the sceptre in parliament sheds light on a forgotten chapter of history.
Bulgarian writer Georgi Gospodinov wins International Booker Prize for ‘Time Shelter
Georgi Gospodinov’s captivating novel, “Time Shelter,” translated by Angela Rodel, has secured the prestigious 2023 International Booker Prize. This remarkable achievement marks the first time a Bulgarian novel has been awarded this renowned literary honor.
Bulgarian writer Georgi Gospodinov wins International Booker Prize for ‘Time Shelter
A Brilliant Exploration of Memory and Destiny
Gospodinov’s “Time Shelter” presents readers with a profound narrative, skillfully addressing the contemporary question of the implications when our memories begin to fade. The novel seamlessly weaves together individual and collective destinies, offering a poignant reflection on the delicate balance between the intimate and the universal.
The Intriguing Premise of “Time Shelter”
At the heart of the novel lies the concept of a “clinic for the past,” a haven for Alzheimer’s sufferers seeking solace in recaptured memories. Each floor of the clinic meticulously reconstructs a different decade, providing patients with the opportunity to relive moments from their personal histories. However, as the narrative unfolds, the past begins to encroach upon the present, blurring the boundaries between time and reality.
A Story Inspired by a Disrupted World
Gospodinov’s motivation to write “Time Shelter” stems from a sense of disarray in the fabric of time itself. Influenced by global events such as the rise of populism and the repercussions of Brexit, the author explores the manipulation of the past as a tool for political agendas. Through his narrative, Gospodinov examines the challenges of living in a world where meaning and a clear future seem elusive
Recognitions and Acclaim for “Time Shelter”
Originally published in Bulgarian in 2020, “Time Shelter” quickly rose to prominence, topping book charts and receiving the prestigious Strega European prize. Its success both within Bulgaria and on the international stage demonstrates the novel’s profound impact and universal appeal.
Triumph of Resilience: Hari Buddha Magar Climbs Mt Everest with Artificial Legs
Hari Budha Magar, a former Gurkha soldier from Nepal who lost both his legs, made history by successfully climbing Mount Everest using prosthetic legs. Upon his return to Kathmandu, he was warmly welcomed by his relatives and family members. Speaking to the crowd gathered at the airport, the ex-Nepalese soldier expressed his gratitude and acknowledged that this accomplishment was the result of a collective effort.
He mentioned the team of people who risked their lives to help him fulfill his dream of ascending Everest. Hari Budha Magar also thanked the Government of Nepal and individuals from around the world for their support, constant presence, and blessings, emphasizing that without them, this feat would not have been possible.
About Hari Buddha Magar
Hari Budha Magar, who was born in 1979, grew up in the mountainous district of Rolpa in Nepal, which was the center of the Maoist insurgency.
At the age of 19, in 1999, Magar began his career in the British Gurkhas and dedicated a significant portion of his life to the service of the British government.
Hari Buddha Magar’s Loss of Legs and Journey Beyond
In 2010, while on a mission in Afghanistan, the British Army veteran tragically lost both his legs when he accidentally stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted by the Taliban.
About a year after the incident, Magar started participating in various sports activities included in the Paralympics.
During an interview with the news agency ANI in 2022, Magar expressed his aspirations for the future, stating that he aimed to climb mountains and undertake more adventurous activities to raise awareness about disabilities in Nepal and across the globe.
In the past decade following the tragedy, Magar successfully reached the summits of several notable peaks, including Ben Nevis (1,345 meters) in a time of 23 hours and 20 minutes, Mount Blanc (4,808.72 meters), Kilimanjaro (5,895 meters), Mera Peak (6,476 meters), and Mount Toubkal (4,167 meters).
In 2022, he also engaged in a skydiving experience from a helicopter in the Khumbu region and embarked on a trek up to the Everest Base Camp, all while using his prosthetic legs.
International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories
The United Nations has designated May 25 to 31 as the “International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories.” This observance was established by the UN General Assembly on December 6, 1999. According to the UN Charter, a Non-Self-Governing Territory refers to a territory where its people have not yet achieved complete self-government.
The International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories holds significant importance in highlighting the ongoing struggles of these territories and promoting their right to self-determination. Here are some key aspects of its significance:
Raising Awareness: The week serves as a crucial platform to raise global awareness about the existence and plight of Non-Self-Governing Territories. It sheds light on the historical and current challenges faced by these territories and their peoples, including limited political rights, economic exploitation, social inequality, and cultural marginalization.
Advocating Self-Determination: The week underscores the fundamental principle of self-determination, which is enshrined in the UN Charter. It emphasizes that the people of Non-Self-Governing Territories have the right to freely determine their political status and pursue their own paths of development without external interference. By focusing on their aspirations for self-government, the week advocates for the fulfillment of this right.
Mobilizing Support: The International Week of Solidarity mobilizes support and solidarity from the international community, governments, organizations, and individuals. It encourages stakeholders to actively engage in efforts to promote the decolonization process, provide assistance to these territories, and support their journey towards self-governance. This support can include political, diplomatic, economic, and humanitarian assistance.
Promoting Dialogue and Cooperation: The observance of the week fosters dialogue and cooperation among various stakeholders, including governments, UN bodies, civil society organizations, and representatives from Non-Self-Governing Territories. It provides a platform for discussions on strategies, challenges, and best practices related to decolonization, self-determination, and sustainable development in these territories.
Inspiring Action: The week serves as an inspiration for action, encouraging governments, international organizations, and civil society to take concrete steps towards resolving the issues faced by Non-Self-Governing Territories. It stimulates initiatives aimed at facilitating their political empowerment, socioeconomic development, and preservation of their cultural heritage.
Tracking Progress: The International Week of Solidarity also offers an opportunity to review and assess progress made in the decolonization process. It allows for the monitoring of advancements, challenges, and setbacks in the realization of self-governance for Non-Self-Governing Territories, enabling stakeholders to identify areas that require further attention and support.
History of the week
The International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories is an annual observance held from May 25 to 31. It was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999 with the resolution A/RES/54/91. The purpose of the week is to raise awareness of the issue of decolonization and to express solidarity with the peoples of non-self-governing territories who are still struggling for self-determination.
The UN Charter defines a non-self-governing territory as a territory “whose people have not yet attained a full measure of self-government.” In 1946, the UN received information from 72 countries about the non-self-governing territories under their administration. Since then, many of these territories have achieved independence, but there are still 17 territories that remain on the UN list.
The International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories is an opportunity for the international community to reaffirm its commitment to the right to self-determination and to support the peoples of these territories in their struggle for freedom. During the week, UN Member States, civil society organizations, and individuals are encouraged to hold events and activities to raise awareness of the issue of decolonization.
GRSE launch ‘GAINS 2023’ Startup Challenge in Kolkata
Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd, a leading defense shipyard in India, has launched a program called GRSE Accelerated Innovation Nurturing Scheme – 2023 (GAINS 2023) in Kolkata. The aim of this initiative is to identify and promote innovative solutions for technological advancements in shipbuilding by startups.
GRSE launch ‘GAINS 2023’ Startup Challenge: Key Points
By leveraging the ecosystem that addresses current and future challenges in ship design and construction, GRSE is embracing the energy and ideas of young talents to revolutionize the industry.
The launch event was attended by Shri G Surya Prakash, Assistant Manager (Finance), the youngest officer of GRSE, and Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and IT & Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
This strategic move demonstrates GRSE’s unwavering commitment to fostering innovation and embracing fresh perspectives.
GRSE has a rich history as a pioneering shipyard, having delivered the first indigenous warship, INS Ajay, to the Indian Navy in 1961.
To stay at the forefront of shipbuilding in the global market, the shipyard has been adopting technological advancements.
Recognizing the value of open innovation in generating ideas from external sources, GRSE aims to accelerate innovation in the shipyard and become future-ready.
To achieve this, they have introduced an “Open Innovation Challenge” as part of the GAINS 2023 scheme.
This challenge encourages innovators to contribute to GRSE’s journey by understanding the shipyard’s core business interests and established practices. By creating a separate department dedicated to the GAINS initiative, GRSE aims to support and collaborate with innovators in line with the Indian government’s focus on innovation.
About ‘GAINS 2023’ Startup Challenge
The ‘GAINS 2023’ Challenge is a two-part process designed to generate a wide range of ideas, from which a few promising ones will be chosen and supported.
In the first stage, participants, whether organizations, companies, or individuals, are only required to submit concise written and visual entries that provide enough detail to demonstrate their understanding of the selected problem and solution.
These submissions should also include an approximate cost estimate and an explanation of the professional qualifications or expertise needed to successfully implement the proposal.
The main focus areas for the GRSE (Green Renewable Sustainable Energy) and the ‘GAINS 2023’ Challenge are Artificial Intelligence, Renewable/Green Energy, Energy Efficiency, and Efficiency Enhancement. Anyone with a passion for innovation, entrepreneurship, or visionary thinking can find more information about the ‘GAINS 2023’ Challenge by visiting the GRSE website at www.grse.in/gains.
India and Australia Sign Agreements on Migration and Green Hydrogen Task Force
In a significant development highlighting the strengthening ties between India and Australia, the two nations signed crucial agreements on migration and mobility partnership, as well as on the establishment of a Green Hydrogen task force. The Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) were exchanged following a bilateral meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese in Sydney.
Mutual Trust and Confidence in India-Australia Ties
Prime Minister Modi emphasized that the India-Australia relationship is built upon mutual trust and confidence. During their constructive discussions, both leaders focused on enhancing strategic cooperation in the mining and critical minerals sector. The talks centered around taking the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries to new heights. In a friendly gesture, Prime Minister Modi extended an invitation to Prime Minister Albanese and all Australian cricket fans to visit India for the upcoming Cricket World Cup this year.
Addressing Security Concerns and Promoting Friendly Ties
The Prime Minister also brought up the issue of attacks on temples in Australia and the activities of separatist elements. He confirmed that this matter had been previously discussed with his Australian counterparts, and it was once again a topic of discussion during the meeting. Prime Minister Modi reiterated that any elements or actions harming the friendly and warm ties between the two countries would not be accepted. He further stated that Prime Minister Albanese has assured him of taking strict actions against such elements in the future as well.
Shared Ambitions for Economic Cooperation and Digital Innovation
Prime Minister Albanese expressed the shared ambition of both nations to conclude the Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement later this year. This agreement aims to further strengthen economic ties and facilitate greater trade and investment between the two countries. Additionally, Prime Minister Albanese announced the establishment of a new Australian Consulate General in Bengaluru, which will serve as a vital connection between Australian businesses and India’s thriving digital and innovation ecosystem.
Ceremonial Welcome and Reinforcing Bilateral Relations
During his visit to Australia, Prime Minister Modi was accorded a ceremonial Guard of Honour, symbolizing the respect and importance attached to his visit. This trip to Australia marks the final leg of his three-nation tour, showcasing the significant priority both India and Australia place on their bilateral relationship. Notably, this visit comes just two months after the state visit of the Australian Prime Minister to India in March this year, highlighting the frequent high-level engagements between the two nations.
Kerala Becomes India’s First Fully E-Governed State, Achieving Total E-Governance
Kerala, the southern state of India, is set to make history by declaring itself as the country’s first “total e-governed state.” Building upon its reputation as the first fully-literate state in India, Kerala has achieved this milestone through a series of policy initiatives aimed at transforming the state into a digitally-empowered society. With a focus on a knowledge-based economy and 100% digital literacy, the government has digitized the delivery of vital services across various domains, ensuring transparency, inclusivity, and accessibility for all citizens.
Kerala’s Quest for Digital Empowerment:
Decades after attaining full literacy, Kerala embarked on a journey to become a fully e-literate society. Recognizing the potential of digital technologies to enhance governance and public service delivery, the state government launched several initiatives to achieve total e-governance. The vision for transparent and speedy service delivery to all citizens has been a key driving force behind these efforts.
Digitization of Vital Services
Under the comprehensive e-governance framework, Kerala has successfully digitized the delivery of all vital services. Key domains such as health, education, land revenue, documentation of properties, public distribution system, and social security payouts have been integrated into the digital ecosystem. By eliminating physical paperwork and leveraging technology, the government has streamlined processes, making services more efficient and accessible.
E-Sevanam: A Single-Window Service Delivery Mechanism
Central to Kerala’s e-governance infrastructure is e-Sevanam, a unified single-window service delivery mechanism. This platform brings together over 800 government services online, enabling citizens to avail themselves of various services conveniently. With user-friendly interfaces and state-of-the-art technology, e-Sevanam ensures a seamless experience for users, facilitating quick and hassle-free access to government services.
Inclusion and Accessibility for All
Kerala’s total e-governance initiative emphasizes the inclusion of all sections of society, including the less privileged and marginalized. By digitizing service delivery, the government has made it easier for citizens, regardless of their socio-economic background, to access essential services. This commitment to inclusivity aligns with the state’s long-standing tradition of social welfare and equitable development.
Digital Platforms Empowering Government Offices
To support the implementation of e-governance at all levels, the state IT Mission has developed digitized platforms and applications. Notably, the e-Office File Flow system has been introduced, enabling seamless digital workflows even at the village office level. This integration of technology ensures efficient administration and enhances the overall governance process.