Personalities in News

  • Nana Jagannath Shankarseth

    Source-This post on Nana Jagannath Shankarseth is based on the article “Who was Nana Jagannath Shankarseth, the social reformer ‘architect of Mumbai‘” published in “The Indian Express” on 15th March 2024.

    Why in the News?

    The Maharashtra government recently requested the Ministry of Railways to rename Mumbai Central station after Nana Jagannath Shankarseth.

    Who was Nana Jagannath Shankarseth?

    Nana Jagannath Shankarseth
    Source- The Indian Express

    a. He was often called the “architect” of Mumbai (previously Bombay) and was recognized as a social reformer, educator, and philanthropist.
    b. He provided invaluable contributions, both ideologically and financially, across numerous sectors, establishing a robust foundation for the city.

    Birth– He was born (February 10, 1803) in a wealthy Brahmin family in Murbad,Thane district ,Maharashtra.

    Inspired by– He was deeply influenced by the renowned merchant and philanthropist Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy.

    Political journey– He was the first Indian to be appointed to the Legislative Council of Bombay.

    What are Shankarseth’s main contributions?


    1. Shankarseth was dedicated to expanding education in Bombay and donated his family’s land for educational purposes.

    2. He established the Native School of Bombay, later known as the Bombay Native Institution and then the Board of Education. Eventually, it became the renowned Elphinstone College.

    Museum, Temples:

    1. Shankarseth was one of the wealthy donors who supported the development of the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Byculla, which was designed by a renowned architect from London.

    2. The Bhawani Shankar Temple near Nana Chowk was built by Shankarseth in honor of his late mother, Bhawanibai Murkute.


    1. The first train journey in India took place on April 16, 1853, between Boribunder and Thane, covering a 34-km route managed by the Great Indian Peninsular Railway Company.

    2. Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy and Nana Shankarseth were part of the committee overseeing the project.

    UPSC Syllabus- Personalities in news

  • Sant Ravidas

    Source-This post on Sant Ravidas has been created based on the article “Prime Minister pays tributes to Sant Ravidas on his birth anniversary“published in “PIB” on 26 February 2024.

    Why in the news?

    Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the statue of Sant Ravidas in Varanasi and offered floral tribute on the occasion of his 647th birth anniversary.

    About Sant Ravidas

    Sant Ravidas
    Source- Jagran

    1. About

    a. Guru Ravidas was a mystic poet saint of the Bhakti Movement from the 15th and 16th centuries, and founded the Ravidassia religion.

    b. He was a revered poet and a renowned philosopher.

    2. Birth- He was born in 1377 CE in Seer Govardhanpur in Uttar Pradesh. His place of birth is now known as Shri Guru Ravidass Janam Asthan.

    3. Life history:

    a. Despite belonging to a community whose initial occupation was in leatherwork, Ravidas shifted his focus to spiritual pursuits, spending much of his time on the banks of the Ganges.

    b. Throughout his life, he associated with Sufi saints, sadhus, and ascetics.

    c. At the age of 12, Ravidas was married to Lona Devi, and they had a son named Vijay Dass.

    3. Teachings and Works:

    a. Since his birth, Guru Ravidas devoted his life to advocating for human rights and equality.

    b.  A few of his compositions were also included in Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

    c. He is one of the most famous personalities of the nirguna sampradaya (sant parampara) and was one of the prominent leaders of the North Indian Bhakti movement.

    d. He also became a symbol of opposition to untouchability in society by the higher caste people for lower caste people.

    e) Sant Guru Ravidas Jayanti is hugely observed in the Northern part of India including Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Haryana.

    About Guru Ravidas Jayanti

    a. Sant Ravidas Jayanti or birthday anniversary is celebrated every year on Magh Purnima on full moon day of Magh month.

    b. On this special day, a ceremony of Nagar Kirtan procession is performed by people with the chants of mantras during Aarti.

    c. Music, songs, and Doha are sung in the temples located on the streets.

    d. Some of the followers and devotees also perform the ceremony of holy bath in the Ganga River or other holy places then go to worship his image at home or in a temple.

    UPSC Syllabus- Art and Culture, Personalities in News

  • Rani Chennamma

    Source-This post on Rani Chennamma is based on the article “How Rani Chennamma’s revolt against the British inspired a national campaign for women’s rights” published in “The Indian Express” on 20th February 2024.

    Why in the News?

    To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Rani Chennamma’s rebellion against the British, various social groups across the country are organizing a national campaign called “Naanoo Rani Chennamma” (I am Rani Chennamma too).

    The campaign aims to empower women to oppose patriarchal, anti-democratic, and casteist forces in the country, inspired by Rani Chennamma’s legacy of bravery and defiance.

    About Rani Chennamma

    Rani Chennamma
    Source- Wikipedia

    1. About:
    a. Rani Chennamma was an Indian freedom fighter and Rani of the Kittur, a former princely state in Karnataka.
    b. She led the Kittur revolt of 1824, which stands as one of the earliest woman-led anti-colonial struggles against British rule in India.

    2. Birth– She was born on October 23, 1778, in Kagati, a small village in Belagavi district of Karnataka.

    3. Marriage– She married Raja Mallasarja of Kittur at 15 and played a crucial role in defending her kingdom after his death.

    4. Struggle against the British:
    She initiated a rebellion against the British in 1824 after they declined to acknowledge her adopted son as the successor according to the ‘doctrine of lapse‘.
    b. Although she was initially successful, the British captured Kittur Fort in their third attempt in December 1824, resulting in Rani Chennamma’s imprisonment and eventual death in 1829.

    5. Significance– Her brave resistance to colonial oppression has made her a symbol in Karnataka’s political imagination and an important figure in Indian history.

    What is Doctrine of Lapse?

    1. The doctrine of lapse was an annexation policy applied by the British East India Company in India until 1859.

    2. Under the doctrine, the ruler of an independent state died childless, the right of ruling the State reverted or ‘lapsed’ to the sovereign.

    3. The policy is most commonly associated with Lord Dalhousie who was the Governor General of the East India Company in India between 1848 and 1856.

    4. However, it was not solely his invention. The East India Company had annexed Kittur in 1824, Mandvi in 1839, Kolaba and Jalaun in 1840 and Surat in 1842 by imposing a ‘doctrine of lapse’.

    Additional Facts:
    About Kittur Utsav:
    a. Kittur Utsav is a three-day festival which celebrates the Queen Rani Chennamma’s victory over East India’s company in 1824.
    b. The festival organizes sports, cultural programmes and lectures by resource persons on the kingdom of Rani Channamma.

    UPSC Syllabus- History and Art & Culture/Personalities in news

  • Acharya Shri Vidyasagarji Maharaj

    Source-This post on Acharya Shri Vidyasagarji Maharaj is based on the article “PM Narendra Modi writes on Sant Shiromani Acharya Vidhyasagar Maharaj: Loss of a guiding light” published in “The Indian Express” on 21st February 2024.

    Why in the News?

    Recently, Acharya Shri Vidyasagarji Maharaj attained samadhi on February 18, 2024, at Chandragiri Teerth in Dongargarh, Chhattisgarh.

    Who was Acharya Shri Vidyasagarji Maharaj?

    Acharya Vidhyasagar ji Maharaj
    Source- Wikipedia

    1. About:
    He was an Indian Digambara Jain Acharya (Digambar Jain Monk).
    b. He was also known as Sant Shiromani Acharya Shri 108 Vidyasagar Ji Maharaj.

    2. Birth– He was born in Sadalga, Belgaum district of Karnataka on October 10, 1946. His childhood name was Vidhyadhar.

    3. Initiation of monk life– Vidyasagarji became a Digambara monk in 1968 at the age of 22, guided by Acharya GyansagarJi Maharaj, who came from the lineage of Acharya ShantisagarJi Maharaj, in Ajmer.

    4. Transition– Although he was born in Karnataka and embraced spiritual discipline in Rajasthan, he mainly resided in the Bundelkhand region.

    5. Teachings and Works:
    a. He was widely respected for his teachings on Jain philosophy, spirituality, and ethics.
    b. He is credited with reviving educational and religious activities.
    c. He wrote extensively in Sanskrit, Prakrit and Hindi.
    d. He wrote haiku poems and the epic Hindi poemMukamati“.
    e. He was also known as “Chote Baba” in Jain community.

    He strongly believed that education is vital for a fair and enlightened society.
    b. He advocated for knowledge as a tool to empower people, helping them live meaningful lives and make valuable contributions.
    c. He stressed the significance of self-learning and self-awareness for genuine wisdom. He encourages his followers to pursue lifelong learning and spiritual development.
    d. He strongly supported voting, viewing it as a way to participate in democracy.

    UPSC Syllabus- Personalities in news

  • Bharat Ratna for P.V. Narasimha Rao, Charan Singh, MS Swaminathan

    Source-This post on Bharat Ratna for P.V. Narasimha Rao, Charan Singh, MS Swaminathan is based on the article “M.S. Swaminathan, P.V. Narasimha Rao, Charan Singh to get Bharat Ratna” published in “The Hindu” on 9th February 2024.

    Why in the News?

    The government has recently announced that the Bharat Ratna will be conferred on former PM P.V. Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh, as well as Green Revolution pioneer M.S. Swaminathan. 
    This is in addition to the two recipients previously announced earlier this year — socialist leader Karpoori Thakur and former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani.

    Who were P.V. Narasimha Rao, Chaudhary Charan Singh, and M.S. Swaminathan?

    P.V. Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh, MS Swaminathan
    Source- The Hindu

    Note- PV Narshima Rao was the first PM from southern India.

    About Bharat Ratna

    Bharat Ratna
    Source- The Print

    1) About– Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award of India, instituted in 1954.

    2) Domain of recognition– The award initially honored contributions in arts, literature, science, and public services. However, in December 2011, its scope was expanded to include ‘any field of human endeavor.

    3) First recipients– Scientists Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, C. Rajagopalachari and Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan.

    4) Non Indians– The award has also been given to non-Indians – Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Nelson Mandela.

    5) Recommendation for Bharat Ratna-The recommendations for Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister to the President.

    6) Bharat Ratna Award Limit:
    The number of Bharat Ratna Awards is restricted to a maximum of three in a particular year.
    b. However, in 2024, five Bharat Ratna awards were announced, one more than the four announced in 1999. This marks the highest number ever conferred in a single year.

    7) Title guidelines:
    a. According to Article 18 (1) of the Constitution, the Bharat Ratna cannot be used as a prefix or suffix to the recipient’s name.
    b. However, if the award holder wishes to indicate they have received the award, they may do so in their biodata, letterhead, or visiting card.

    UPSC Syllabus- Personalities in news/Miscellaneous/History Art and Culture

  • Late former Bihar CM Karpoori Thakur to be awarded Bharat Ratna

    Source-This post is based on the article “Late former Bihar CM Karpoori Thakur to be awarded Bharat Ratna” published in “Times of India” on 23rd January 2024.

    Why in the News?

    Recently Government of India has announced that Late former Bihar chief minister Karpoori Thakur will be posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna.

    Who was Karpoori Thakur?

    Karpoori Thakur
    Source- India Today
    About1. He was an Indian politician who served two terms as the Chief Minister of Bihar.
    2. He was born on January 24, 1924, in the village of Pitaunjhia (now Karpuri Gram) in the Samastipur District of Bihar.
    3. He passed away in February 1988.
    4. He was popularly known as Jan Nayak. He was also known as the champion of the poor.
    5. He drew inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi and Satyanarayan Sinha.
    Political career1. He began his political journey with the Praja Socialist Party and later aligned himself with the Janata Party.
    2. He was elected as a member of the Bihar Vidhan Sabha in 1952 from the Tajpur constituency as a candidate of the Socialist Party.
    3. He served as a minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, before becoming the first non-Congress socialist Chief Minister of Bihar in 1970.
    4. He also enforced total prohibition of alcohol in Bihar.
    5. He served as the President of Samyukta Socialist Party.

    What is Bharat Ratna?

    1) Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award of India.

    2) The award, initially focused on arts, literature, science, and public services. It was broadened to encompass ‘any field of human endeavor‘ in December 2011.

    3) The provision of Bharat Ratna was introduced in 1954.

    4) The first recipients of the award were scientists Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, C. Rajagopalachari and Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan.

    5) The award has also been given to non-Indians – Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Nelson Mandela.

    6) The number of Bharat Ratna Awards is restricted to a maximum of three in a particular year.

    UPSC Syllabus- History and Art & Culture/ Personalities in news

  • Macron for Republic Day 2024: Exploring India’s Criteria for Selecting the Republic Day Chief Guest

    Source– This post is based on the article “Macron for Republic Day 2024: How India chooses its Republic Day chief guest” published in “The Indian Express” on 22nd December 2023.

    Why in the News?

    France’s President Emmanuel Macron will be India’s chief guest for its 2024 Republic Day celebrations.

    How is the Republic Day Chief Guest chosen?

    1) The process starts nearly six months in advance of the event.

    2) The Ministry of External Affairs considers various factors before issuing the invitation.

    3) The key factor is the relationship between India and the guest country, as the Republic Day Chief Guest invitation symbolizing the ultimate friendship gesture.

    4) Decision-making is strongly influenced by India’s political, commercial, military, and economic interests, as the Ministry of External Affairs aims to enhance ties in these areas during the occasion.

    5) Another factor that has historically played a role in the choice of the Chief Guest is the association with the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), initiated in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
    For example, President Sukarno of Indonesia, a founding NAM member, was the inaugural Chief Guest in 1950.

    6) After careful consideration, the MEA seeks approval from the PM and the President on a list of potential candidates.

    7) Upon confirming the availability of potential chief guests, official communication takes place between India and the invitee’s country.

    8) The planning of the visit involves the Government of India, state governments which the foreign dignitary might visit, and the government of the concerned country.

    What is the Significance of being India’s Republic Day Chief Guest?

    1) Being invited as the chief guest at Republic Day celebrations is the highest honour a country accords in terms of protocol.

    2) The chief guest is front and centre in many ceremonial activities.

    3) They are given the ceremonial guard of honour at Rashtrapati Bhavan followed by a reception hosted by the President of India.

    4) The symbolism serves as a powerful tool to forge and renew ties between India and the nation of its invitee, having greater political and diplomatic significance as well.

    UPSC Syllabus- Polity and Nation

  • Indira Gandhi Peace Prize: Activist Ali Abu Awwad and pianist Daniel Barenboim wins

    Source: The post is based on the article “Indira Gandhi Peace Prize: Activist Ali Abu Awwad and pianist Daniel Barenboim wins” published in “The Hindu” on 16th December 2023

    Why in the News?

    The Indira Gandhi Peace Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development 2023 has been jointly awarded to Daniel Barenboim and Ali Abu Awwad.

    What is the Indira Gandhi Peace Prize?

    Established in1986 in memory of Indira Gandhi, the former Prime Minister of India.
    PurposeThe award is given to individuals or organisations in recognition of their efforts towards:
    1) Promoting international peace, development, and a new international economic order.
    2) Ensuring that scientific discoveries are used for the larger good of humanity.
    3) Enlarging the scope of freedom.
    Given byIndira Gandhi Memorial Trust
    PrizeThe award consists of a monetary award of 25 lakh rupees along with a citation.
    Past RecipientsUNICEF, ISRO (2014), Pratham NGO (2021) among others.

    Who has been awarded the Indira Gandhi Peace Prize 2023?

    1) Daniel Barenboim and Ali Abu Awwad have been jointly awarded Indira Gandhi Peace Prize 2023 for their efforts in bringing together the people of Israel and the Arab World for a non-violent resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

    2) Daniel Barenboim is an Argentine-born distinguished classical pianist, known for his relentless endeavor in using music to foster harmony in West Asia.

    3) Ali Awwad co-founded a local Palestinian-Israeli initiative called Roots promoting understanding, non-violence and transformation. 

    UPSC Syllabus: Awards in News

  • The Langlands Program

    Source– This post is based on the article “Meet the Langlands Program, the world’s biggest maths project | Explained” published in “The Hindu” on November 21, 2023.

    Why in the News?

    Langlands Program provides a beautifully intricate set of connections between various areas of mathematics, pointing the way toward novel solutions for old problems in mathematics.

    What is the Langlands Program?

    What is it?1. It is the world’s biggest maths project and can be likened to building bridges across mathematical cultures with different objects and languages.
    2. It is named after Robert Langlands, a mathematician at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
    3. In 2018, he was awarded the Abel Prize for “his visionary program connecting representation theory to number theory”
    ObjectiveTo find connections between two far-flung areas of mathematics – number theory and harmonic analysis.
    – It seeks to do this by connecting every Galois group with automorphic functions, allowing mathematicians to investigate polynomial equations using tools from calculus.
    Significance of the program1. Solving old Maths problems– In 1994, Andrew Wiles and Richard Taylor applied Langlands’ conjectures to prove Fermat’s last theorem.
    2. Creating new functions– It can help mathematicians create new automorphic functions from preexisting ones. Such efforts could be crucial to prove the Ramanujan conjectures (speculations), many of which remain unsolved.
    3. Can evolve into new fields of mathematics– For example, Geometric Langlands. It investigates connections between algebraic geometry and representation theory.
    4. Multidisciplinary significance– Mathematicians have suggested connections between Geometric Langlands and physics, particularly for studying electromagnetic waves.

    1. Number theory: It is the arithmetic study of numbers and the relationships between them. For example, the pythagoras theorem.

    2. Harmonic analysis: It is interested in the study of periodic phenomena. Unlike number theorists, who deal with discrete arithmetic’s (like integers), harmonic analysts deal with mathematical objects more continuous in nature (like waves).

    3. Galois group: In 1832, mathematician Évariste Galois concluded that it is impossible to have a general formula to find the precise roots of polynomial equations and instead suggested focusing on symmetries between roots as an alternate route. Galois group is a collection of such symmetries of the roots of a polynomial equation.

    4. Automorphic functions: Functions that turn back into themselves when the variables are changed by some process are called automorphic functions. The sine function is a simple example.

    UPSC Syllabus- Science & Technology

Print Friendly and PDF