10 October, 2019

12 Min Read

GS-II : International Relations
1,300 story of Mahabalipuram’s China connection

GS-II: 1,300 story of Mahabalipuram’s China connection.


Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram where PM Modi will meet China’s President Xi Jinping on October 11 & 12 in an informal Wuhan-style summit, had ancient links with Buddhism and China through the maritime outreach of the Pallava dynasty.

When the Pallavas ruled?

The name Mamallapuram derives from Mamallan, or “great warrior”, a title by which the Pallava King Narasimhavarman I (630-668 AD) was known. It was during his reign that Hiuen Tsang, the Chinese Buddhist monk-traveller, visited the Pallava capital at Kanchipuram.

Narasimhavarman II (c.700-728 AD), also known as Rajasimhan, built on the work of earlier Pallava kings to consolidate maritime mercantile links with southeast Asia.

The Descent of the Ganga/Arjuna’s Penance, a rock carving commissioned by Narasimhavarman I, with its depiction of the Bhagirathi flowing from the Himalayas, may serve as a reminder of the geography of India-China relations, and their shared resources.

Overseas mission:

  • He sent a mission to the Tang court in 720 with a request that would seem unusual in the context of India-China relations today.
  • The emissaries of the Pallava king sought the permission of Emperor Xuangzong to fight back Arab and Tibetan intrusions in South Asia.
  • Pleased with the Indian king’s offer to form a coalition against the Arabs and Tibetans, the Chinese emperor bestowed the title of ‘huaide jun’ (the Army that Cherishes Virtue) to Narayansimha II’s troops.

Continuing connections:

In later centuries, the Coromandel coast retained its importance for trade between China and the west. In the 17th and 18th centuries, it was a staging post for the Dutch, French and British for control of the seas between South Asia and Southeast Asia, as the Europeans fought to protect their trade routes with China and other countries in the region.

The ancient port city of Pondicherry, 80 km south of Mahabalipuram, was a French colony famous for its Chinese exports known as “Coromandel goods”, including crepe de chine. Today the Union Territory, with its French legacy, Tamil residents, Bengali and international devotees of Sri Aurobindo, is among the most diverse and cosmopolitan of cities in South India.

Source: Indian Express

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For a happy childhood

GS-II: For a happy childhood.


India requires multiple interventions to prevent mental health disorders among adolescents.

With over 18% of India’s population aged 10-17 the future f the country will be driven by this segment.

The government has introduced many initiatives for their health, nutrition, education, and employment.

Suicide among adolescents:

  • Happy childhood becoming a challenge for many. Recent data suggest that mental health disorders are on the rise among 13-17 years olds with one out of five children’s in schools suffering from depression.
  • According to the National Mental Health Survey of 2016 the prevention of mental disorders was 7.3% among 13-17 years old.
  • Half of all mental health disorders in adulthood starts by 14 years of age with many cases being undetected. Those who suffer from depression and anxiety in adulthood may often being experiencing this from childhood and it may peak during adolescents and their early 20s.
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts are two of the most frightening things a person can face in their lifetime. Unfortunately, acting on those suicidal thoughts is a far too common scenario for many across the world, including students.
  • These cases force us to recognise that youth suicides are ubiquitous, and the educational ecosystem must take the blame for this.

Harsh Facts that need Immediate Attention:

  • According to the National Crime Records Bureau, between 2014 and 2016, 26,476 students committed suicide in India. Of them, 7,462 committed suicide due to failure in various examinations.
  • The rising number of these cases provokes a serious discussion on the way in which outcomes of education are perceived in India.
  • The instrumental value of education in India is its potential in generating socio-economic and cultural capital through a promise of decent job opportunities in the future. But the education system has not been successful in generating enough job options.
  • For instance, the International Labour Organisation’s World Employment and Social Outlook Trends Report of 2018 says that in 2019, the job status of nearly 77% of Indian workers would be vulnerable and that 18.9 million people would be unemployed.
  • With their job future being so bleak, students are put under constant pressure to perform. They have failed to learn to enjoy the process of education. Instead, the constant pressure and stress has generated social antipathy and detachment among them.

Resiliency Factors:

The presence of resiliency factors can lessen the potential of risk factors to lead to suicidal ideation and behaviours. Once a child or adolescent is considered at risk, schools, families, and friends should work to build these factors in and around the youth. These include:

  • Family support and cohesion, including good communication.
  • Peer support and close social networks.
  • School and community connectedness.
  • Cultural or religious beliefs that discourage suicide and promote healthy living.
  • Adaptive coping and problem-solving skills, including conflict-resolution.
  • General life satisfaction, good self-esteem, sense of purpose.
  • Easy access to effective medical and mental health resources.


Suicide is the second leading cause of death among school age youth. However, suicide is preventable. Youth who are contemplating suicide frequently give warning signs of their distress. Parents, teachers, and friends are in a key position to pick up on these signs and get help. Most important is to never take these warning signs lightly or promise to keep them secret. Parents are crucial members of a suicide risk assessment as they often have information critical to making an appropriate assessment of risk, including mental health history, family dynamics, recent traumatic events, and previous suicidal behaviours.


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GEMINI system to aid fisherman.

GS-III: GEMINI system to aid fisherman.


To avoid communication blackouts that led to 20 fishermen going missing in the aftermath of Cyclone Okchi in 2017, a slew of government departments, research agencies and private companies have developed GEMINI.


  • GEMINI is a portable receiver linked to ISRO-satellites, that is “fail-proof” and warn fishermen of danger.
  • The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), a Hyderabad institute collaborated with Accord, a private company, to develop a box-shaped receiver.
  • It has an antenna and in-built battery that can last three to four days, according to a brochure describing the device.
  • GEMINI works on GAGAN developed by ISRO and the Airports Authority of India and is an India-made global positioning system and relies on the positioning system by ISRO’s GSAT satellites.

Why need GEMINI?

  • The satellite-based communication is the only suitable solution for the dissemination of such emergency information.
  • And affordable satellite based communication system should be made part of the dissemination chain to deal with cyclones, high waves and tsunamis.


  • The device allows only one-way communication it can’t be used by fishermen to make calls, for instance.
  • At ?9,000 a device, it’s also relatively expensive for the average fisherman, say officials, but attempts are on to subsidise it by as much as 90%.
  • The device could be more easily accessible to India’s 900,000 fishermen if the chips powering mobile phones were able to receive signals from the GAGAN system.


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Nobel Prize in Chemistry: for Lithium ion battery.

GS-III: Nobel Prize in Chemistry: for Lithium ion battery.


This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry recognizes the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power most of the portable devices that we use, such as mobile phones and more recently the e-vehicles. The prize has been given jointly to Stanley Whittingham, John B Goodenough and Akira Yoshino.

Li-Ion battery:

  • Lithium-ion battery is the most dominant battery system finding applications for variety of societal needs including handy consumer electronics goods such as mobile phones, laptops, cameras and many other portable consumer gadgets apart from industrial applications and aerospace.
  • Most of the current domestic demand is met by batteries imported from China, South Korea and Taiwan.
  • The Li ion cell production initiative is part of Central Government’s plan to achieve 100% EVs in the country by 2030.


  • Batteries convert chemical energy into electricity.
  • A battery comprises two electrodes, a positive cathode and a negative anode, which is separated by a liquid chemical, called electrolyte, which is capable of carrying charged particles.
  • The two electrodes are connected through an electrical circuit.
  • When the circuit is on, electrons travel from the negative anode towards the positive cathode, thus generating electric current, while positively charged ions move through the electrolyte.

Advantages of Li-Ion Batteries:

Low maintenance: One major lithium ion battery advantage is that they do not require and maintenance to ensure their performance. Ni-Cad cells required a periodic discharge to ensure that they did not exhibit the memory effect. As this does not affect lithium ion cells, this process or other similar maintenance procedures are not required.

High energy density: The high energy density is one of the chief advantages of lithium ion battery technology. With electronic equipment such as mobile phones needing to operate longer between charges while still consuming more power, there is always a need to batteries with a much higher energy density. In addition to this, there are many power applications from power tools to electric vehicles. The much higher power density offered by lithium ion batteries is a distinct advantage. Electric vehicles also need a battery technology that has a high energy density.

How it is different from conventional batteries?

  • Single-use batteries stop working once a balance is established between the electrical charges.
  • In rechargeable batteries, an external power supply reverses the flow of electric charges, so that the battery can be used again.

Source: Indian Express

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