9 PM Daily NEWS Brief

9 PM Daily Current Affairs – 23 February 2017

Front Page / NATIONAL [The Hindu]

  • Maintain law, order on SYL canal issue: SC
  • There’s poison in the air

Editorial/OPINION [The Hindu]

  • Ageing with dignity
  • A foreign policy of cruel populism
  • Tackling the Islamic State
  • A pit stop to change attitudes

Economy [The Hindu]

  • TRAI told to review tariff plans
  • Centre doubles solar park capacity to 40,000 MW

Indian Express

  • Reaching for the stars
  • Holes in the security net
  • Court self-corrects

Front Page / NATIONAL

[1]. Maintain law, order on SYL canal issue: SC


The Hindu



SC’s affirmation on SYL issue


What has happened?

The Supreme Court has stood firm by its decision to construct the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal and urged the neighboring States to maintain law and order at any cost


Bench concerned

SC bench raised concern about violence after reports that the Indian National Lok Dal, Haryana’s main opposition party, had asked its workers to gather on 23rd Feb 17 at Ambala and march inside Punjab to start digging the SYL canal


Punjab’s stance

Punjab maintains that Punjab Termination of Water Agreement Act of 2004 was still in force.

  • SC verdict only an opinion: It argued that a recent Supreme Court verdict that declared the 2004 Act as unconstitutional was only an opinion given by the court on a presidential reference and not a verdict as such to be complied as law


[2]. There’s poison in the air


The Hindu



Article talks about CPCB data


What is the data all about?

The numbers, the latest available and updated in blocks of 4 years have been sourced from 680 pollution-monitoring stations spread over 300 cities across the country, measure levels of particulate matter (PM 10), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and Sulphur dioxide (SO2)


Observations based on CPCB data

  • Breach of annual particulate matter limit: 94 cities spanning States from Andhra Pradesh to Jammu and Kashmir and Assam to Gujarat breached the annual, particulate matter limit of 60 micro-gram per cubic meter
  • Transgression of NO2 levels: Delhi, Badlapur, Pune and Ulhasnagar in Maharashtra; and Kolkata additionally transgressed the NO2 levels
  • Lack of monitoring capability: While cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Pune measure PM2.5 levels, most lack the sensors required to gauge the presence of these minute particles that are considered more toxic than the more-commonly measured PM 10



The numbers come on the back of international research reports attributing about a million deaths in India to air pollution


Key directives to tackle PM pollution

Key directives by the Centre to the States to control particulate matter pollution include

  • Promoting public transport
  • Improving fuel quality
  • Fuel efficiency standards
  • Banning burning of leaves, biomass and municipal solid waste


[1]. Ageing with dignity


The Hindu


We may be a young nation, but we need to gear up to meet the needs of the elderly


Issue: Rapidly ageing population


Why a rapidly ageing population is a cause of concern?

Bcz India already has world’s second largest population of the elderly i.e. those above 60 years of age. Issues that we might see as a result of this huge population,

  • Demand for healthcare services will increase
  • Demand for customised Accommodations (i.e. Senior Housing Units) will also spike


Cursory impact of the ageing population

Beside above concerns, an ageing population will cause,

  • Shift from communicable to non-communicable: A shift in the disease patterns from communicable to non-communicable. It implies that we must shift our attention towards preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative aspects of health


Scale of ageing

It is projected that approximately 20% of Indians will be elderly by 2050


Health models for elderly

Author states that mature economies have created following models of healthcare to suit the needs of the elderly,

  • Accessible health insurance
  • Networks of nursing home
  • Palliative care specializations


Problems faced by the elderly

As highlighted in ‘Uncertain Twilight’, a four-part series in The Hindu on the welfare of senior citizens, the ground realities faced by the elderly include,

  • Abandonment by their families: According to the National Sample Survey Organization’s 2004 survey, nearly 3% of persons aged above 60 lived alone.
  • Destitution and homelessness
  • Inability to access quality health care
  • Low levels of institutional support
  • The loneliness and depression associated with separation from their families


Way forward

Author suggests that,

  • Awareness campaigns: Advocacy and information campaigns may be necessary to redirect social attitudes toward ageing, which often do not help the elderly enjoy a life of stability and dignity
  • Helping the elderly poor: While those who have sufficient income might be able to help themselves to a retirement community or a senior housing unit but those who have a very poor background cannot but rely on the government for help


[2]. A foreign policy of cruel populism


The Hindu



Leaders like Donald Trump are offering a harsh cultural agenda to address the West’s economic problems


Article mentions the rise of anti-immigrant and populist regimes in the West pointing towards Donald Trump.


Give it a light read. Article offers a perspective as to what the coming years under the new US presidency might look like.


[3]. Tackling the Islamic State

The Hindu



Despite some disillusioned youth leaving the group, its endurance remains evident


Article mentions the decline of IS against a relentless operation by US and coalition forces.


Why IS is losing ground?

As per experts, IS is facing reverses because,

  • Diminishing revenues: Earlier it used to pay attractive wages and offered other perks to the recruits but in the face of attacks by US & Coalition forces, its resources in the form of captured government treasuries and revenue from oil wells, have depleted considerably. Hence, IS is witnessing a thin influx and a higher exodus


Two categories

Author states that those who have left the IS can be categorized under two heads,

  • Those who have now become disillusioned about the cause for which they were fighting. They will never return
  • Those who have left the IS are still said to be determined to establish a Caliphate even though they have returned home. This category boasts of a higher number than the previous one



This situation introduces a new dimension in the internal security of the countries from which these volunteers went to join IS.

  • Relevance for India: Some of such volunteers belonged to India as well. So, we should invest intelligence to keep an eye on any new situation that might develop as a result


Where is IS headed?

IS, unlike Al-Qaeda, is not personality oriented. It is based on an ideology so it is more enduring than its rivals


[4]. A pit stop to change attitudes


The Hindu



Article discusses the stigma associated with manual pit emptying in the backdrop of the public display of pit emptying in Warangal


What has happened?

Nearly a dozen top bureaucrats from 23 states including Union sanitation secretary took up a unique exercise of emptying some of the twin pit toilets in a village in Warangal district to demonstrate how it’s the best technology for rural folk and also to end the stigma of cleaning these pits


Read More: You can read more about the above news here


Author’s contention

Pit emptying must become central to India’s efforts to eliminate open defecation


Associated stigma

  • Studies find that many rural Indians associate emptying a latrine pit by hand with manual scavenging, work that Dalits have traditionally been compelled to do
  • Caste Hindus refuse to empty latrine pits themselves


Impact of the stigma

As the latrines provided by the government under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan require manual pit emptying, rural Indians do not want to use those. For this reason,

  • Latrines with big pits: People want to use latrines with very large pits or tanks that take decades to fill. Yet, latrines with very large pits are expensive, so most rural families cannot afford them


How the government is dealing with the problem?

Government is now promoting latrines with two pits instead of one to tackle the problem.

  • Having a second pit allows the contents of a full pit to decompose before being emptied
  • Emptying a decomposed latrine pit is not illegal: According to the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act (PEMSRA), which made the employment of manual scavengers illegal, emptying human waste that has decomposed in a latrine pit is not considered manual scavenging, and is therefore not illegal


Social consequences not addressed

Author states that the two pit solution only addresses the problem of open defecation and manual scavenging but it does not addresses the social consequences and stigma attached to problem of pit emptying


Public display of pit emptying

Most Indians believe that pit emptying will make them ritually impure and cause them to become outcaste. So, the public display of pit emptying in Warangal was an important step forward.


[1]. TRAI told to review tariff plans


The Hindu



Mobile phone operators have been facing severe headwinds since Reliance Jio started services


What has happened?

Following a decline in revenue of the telecom sector for two quarters in a row, the Telecom Commission has asked the sectoral regulator TRAI to “review” mobile tariff plans offered by telecom operators, including promotional offers

  • The Telecom Commission, which is the highest decision making body in the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), has also asked the regulator to ensure proper implementation of its 2002 and 2008 amendments to the Telecom Tariff Orders, 1999



The move can be seen in the light of the falling revenues of the other telecom operators ever since introduction of Reliance Jio, which has been offering free voice and data services to consumers since September last year under two different plans

  • It should be noted that Centre earns revenue from the telecom operators through spectrum usage and license fees among others and recent events have impacted their capacity to meet their commitment towards spectrum charges and instalments


[2]. Centre doubles solar park capacity to 40,000 MW


The Hindu



The Cabinet has approved the doubling of solar park capacity to 40,000 MW, which will entail an additional 50 solar parks to be set up at a cost to the government of ₹8,100 crore


Article details the plans of the government to set up solar parks


Give it a light read

Indian Express

[1]. Reaching for the stars


Indian Express



ISRO launched a record 104 satellites on a single launch vehicle. The bar will be raised further when India fires its most powerful rocket ever, the GSLV Mark-III


Issue: The future launches by ISRO esp. the impending launch of GSLV Mk III



  • It will be launched in March by a GSLV
  • The satellite is also known as Satellite for South Asia
  • Purpose: It is intended to provide a range of communication and broadcasting services to neighboring countries. (Pakistan, however, decided to opt out)
  • GAGAN: The satellite will carry GAGAN navigation payload that will provide GPS services to the security forces and air traffic control organizations. GAGAN is a regional GPS navigational system developed by India. The satellite will have a mission life of 12 years



  • 1st developmental flight of GSLV Mk III is currently expected to take place in the second half of April
  • Payload capacity: Its payload capacity is twice than its predecessor. The payload capacity of the rocket could be enhanced in various ways to about 4.5 tonnes
  • Benefits to India: GSLV Mk III will be able to carry communication satellites that are too heavy for the latter and which ISRO must at present launch abroad at a cost of hundreds of crores of rupees each
    • Since 2002, ISRO has launched 11 INSAT and GSAT communication satellites that exceeded 2 tonnes. These satellites, weighing between 2.7 tonnes and 3.4 tonnes, went into space aboard Europe’s Ariane rockets
    • The cost of launching just one of those satellites, the 3.4-tonne GSAT-18 that flew on the Ariane 5 last October, came to Rs 459 crore


Successful test of Mk III’s cryogenic stage

Author states that just two days after ISRO launched 104 satellites into orbit, another milestones was achieved,

  • The final ground test of the Mark-III’s cryogenic stage was successfully completed at the ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) at Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu
  • The Mark-III’s core stage is powered by twin Vikas liquid propellant engines that are used in the PSLV and GSLV as well
  • ISRO flight tested the GSLV Mark-III on an experimental mission in December 2014, using a dummy cryogenic stage


Cryogenic technology: A difficult technology to master

A Cryogenic engine burns a highly-efficient propellant combination, liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.

  • The problem: But their ultra-low temperature, particularly of liquid hydrogen, creates enormous problems when using them in rockets
  • Cryogenic stage:A cryogenic stage holds the engine as well as insulated tanks for the propellants and all the pipes, valves and other components need to control their flow to the engine


Cryogenic Upper Stage

The first successful flight of a GSLV-D5 equipped with an indigenous “Cryogenic Upper Stage” (CUS) took place in 2014, making India only the sixth nation to possess cryogenic technology.


Read More: CUS launch


CUS vs CE20

  • The GSLV Mark-III’s CE-20 cryogenic engine and C25 cryogenic stage, are based on a wholly Indian design that is considerably simpler than CUS, though a bit less efficient in terms of propellant consumption
  • CE-20 is two & a half times more powerful than CUS


Significance of CUS

  • Experience with the CUS had greatly aided development of the Mark-III’s cryogenic engine and stage
  • Some elements of the CUS engine and its manufacturing process has gone into the Mark-III’s CE-20 engine


  • Current capacity: The GSLV is currently capable of accommodating a communication satellite weighing up to about 2 tonnes



On its forthcoming flight, the GSLV Mark-III will be carrying a 3.3-tonne communication satellite, GSAT-19

  • The satellite is planned to carry Ka and Ku band payload along with a Geostationary Radiation Spectrometer (GRASP) payload to monitor and study the nature of the charged particles and influence of space radiation on spacecraft and electronic components


Semi-Cryogenic stage

Semi-cryogenic engine, running on liquid oxygen and kerosene. A core stage with one such engine would raise the Mark-III’s capacity to 6 tonnes


[2]. Holes in the security net


Indian Express



Article highlights the findings of a survey conducted regarding the effect of demonetisation on India’s social welfare measures like MGNREGS


The Survey

A survey of approximately 400 individuals, MGNREGS workers and old age pensioners was done in the second and third week of January in 15 districts across seven states, with 20 volunteers from these areas


Important findings of the survey

  1. Turned away by banks: Since demonetization, 57 per cent of people studied were turned away by banks, without their wages or pension. On average, people had been to the bank thrice since demonetization. 30 per cent had made more than three visits
  2. After demonetization, 73 per cent of MGNREGS households and about 52 per cent of pensioners said they had a greater need for these entitlements.
  3. On Demonetization as a whole, respondents were split halfway, between perceiving it as a good and bad move: People viewed demonetisation as a disruptive measure which impacted access to social security.
  4. 10 per cent of respondents had not gone to the bank even once, reflecting the non-monetized economy our poorest citizens operate in


Question posed: whether the need for these entitlements had increased post-demonetization?

Answer: 73 per cent of MGNREGS households and about 52 per cent of pensioners said they had a greater need

  • Official corroboration: According to the Ministry of Rural Development’s data, people worked more on MGNREGS than what was planned for in the past three months, while in the comparable time period in the previous year, it was consistently less than planned


High transaction costs

Uncertainty and delays translated into high transaction costs: People made multiple trips to the bank to check whether their money had been deposited or not

  • On average, MGNREGS workers made more visits to the bank than pensioners, reflecting greater uncertainty in wage payments
  • 70 per cent of workers who went to the bank returned empty-handed, compared to only 30 per cent of pensioners who were denied their pensions


Question: Did MGNREGS and the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) provide social security in times of an economic shock like demonetisation?

Answer: The answer is yes & no

  • Yes, because these programmes have the potential to provide social security
  • No, because of patchy implementation


Article concludes in the end that survey reaffirms the need for enhanced social security entitlements and strengthening welfare systems, precisely to overcome such ill thought-out shocks like demonetisation


[3]. Court self-corrects


The Hindu



SC decision on surveys critical of judiciary is a step towards bringing contempt provision in line with spirit of democracy.


The article will be covered in tomorrow’s brief.


Read it once.

Live Mint


Daily Quiz

Daily Quiz : UPSC Prelims Marathon – February 23

free upsc prelims questions and answers by forumias

[WpProQuiz 45]


Daily Editorials for UPSC IAS Exam Preparation

Learn and Practice: Daily Editorial – Palliative Care in India

Palliative Care in India

Click here to Download Daily Editorial PDF (23rd Feb. 2017)


It is projected that approximately 20% of Indians will be elderly by 2050, marking a dramatic jump from the current 6% and there is likely to be a shift in the disease patterns from communicable to non-communicable, which itself calls for re-gearing the health-care system toward “preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative aspects of health.”
Recently Karnataka became the third state in the country after Maharashtra and Kerala to adopt a Palliative Care policy, and experts say palliative care procurement law is the need of the hour for India.
What is Palliative Care?
WHO defines palliative care as “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.

Palliative care:

• provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms;
• affirms life and regards dying as a normal process;
• intends neither to hasten or postpone death;
• integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care;
• offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death;
• offers a support system to help the family cope during the patients illness and in their own bereavement;
• uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counselling, if indicated;
• will enhance quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness;
• Is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and includes those investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complications.

Need for Palliative care

• Of the 9 million estimated deaths every year, almost 6 million are said to need palliative care. This includes almost all cases of cancer (80% of the 1 million new cases in India come for treatment at an advanced stage).
• There are conditions — AIDS, muscular dystrophy, dementia, multi-organ failure, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, end-stage renal disease, heart diseases, those who are permanently bed-ridden and people with neurological problems are increasing at all levels in India

Status of Palliative care in India

There has been a lot of progress in palliative care in India, but the fact remains that despite the passing of almost a quarter of a century of palliative care activity in the country, even today palliative care reaches only about 1% of the people in India.
The National Program in Palliative Care was created in 2012, but due to lack of budget allocation, only a tiny part of the programme has been implemented. Even for the part that is funded, considerable catalytic work is needed with the state governments to ensure that proper plans are made and implemented.
In short, some major barriers to access to palliative care in India have been overcome, but implementation of created policies and laws still requires massive efforts by both the government system and non-government organizations.

The main gaps for creating adequate availability of palliative care services in India are

• Lack of palliative care services in most of the country.
• Lack of awareness among professionals, administrators and the public.
• Lack of facilities for palliative care education in the country.
• Unrealistic narcotic regulations preventing access to opioids for those in pain.
• Lack of clear guidelines and resources for those wishing to provide palliative care services.

What should government do?

1. Improve the capacity to provide palliative care service delivery within various government programs like National Program for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Stroke; National Program for Health Care of the Elderly; the National AIDS Control Program; and the National Rural Health Mission.
2. Refinethelegal and regulatory systems and support implementation to ensure access and availability of opioids for medical and scientific usewhile maintaining measure for preventing diversion and misuse
3. Encourage attitudinal shifts amongst healthcare professionals by strengthening and incorporatingprinciples of long term care and palliative care into the educational curricula (of medical, nursing, pharmacy and social work courses).
4. Promote behaviour change in the community through increasing public awareness and improved skills and knowledge regarding pain relief and palliative care leading to community owned initiatives supporting health care system.
5. Encourage and facilitate delivery of quality palliative care services within the private health centres of the country.
6. Develop national standards for Palliative Care services and continuously evolve the design, and implementation of the National Program to ensure progress towards theVision of the program.


• Palliative care is an urgent humanitarian need worldwide for people with cancer and other chronic fatal diseases. Palliative care is particularly needed in places where a high proportion of patients present in advanced stages and there is little chance of cure.
• Ideally, palliative care services should be provided from the time of diagnosis of life-threatening illness, adapting to the increasing needs of cancer patients and their families as the disease progresses into the terminal phase. They should also provide support to families in their bereavement.
• Effective palliative care services are integrated into the existing health system at all levels of care, especially community and home based care. They involve the public and the private sector and are adapted to the specific cultural, social and economic setting.
• Kerala, Maharashtra and Karnataka have taken the lead and have launched state wide policies, even Tamil Nadu has created palliative care units; it is high time other states should take a cue from them and implement the palliative care units.


1. There is an increasing shift from the communicable to non-communicable diseases, in this regard discuss how government can bring about palliative care for the bedridden people?
2. What are the challenges for the implementation of palliative care facilities in India?


UPSC Preparation Guide UPSC Preparation Strategy

ENGLISH LITERATURE Optional Strategy Part-3 for UPSC Mains

When reading 14th-15th-16th Century [William Shakespeare’s King Lear and The Tempest ] the following questions are very important, and would be useful across both texts. [this is not an exhaustive list].

1) The Renaissance – most important movement, although Shakespeare doesn’t necessarily show renaissance traits in his plays [which are better represented by Christopher Marlowe], but the context will help appreciate how, contrary to authors writing morality plays and miracle plays etc in the 14th century,

Shakespeare’s heroes are human figures, not gods or sons of gods, or gifted by gods.

Their only superpower is their will power, ambition, jealousies etc. Just a hint.

2) Look at Reformation – for understanding the growing positive sense of the human intellect and of human capability

3) Language/failure of language/pressure on language to contain vast emotions about society, [although sonnets not mentioned here, neither by Shakespeare not by others but it’s a good idea to look at them and know why suddenly, contrary to epic-length studies of the previous centuries, authors suddenly turned towards a mere 14-line poem.

4) Elizabeth’s reign – its problems, wars, rivalry with Scotland, absence of an heir, a growing, old, ageing queen with no heir, a sense of fear, apprehensions looming large on nation’s fate, the drifting apart of Catholics and Protestants,

Parliament beginning to display its independence which was very new to the English court [especially, if you Know Spenser’s court poetry where knights subsumes all their devotion to the kings and queens, kings and queens were supposed to be chosen by God to rule over people, Shakespeare shows how human agency resigned to accept that willingly, or at least uncomfortable with this passivity.], and population growing to an unprecedented level.

5) human love creating discord in society, an attempt to maintain, keep stable the social order, but in comedies like The Tempest, this social order gets restored. And that is why they are comedies.

In Shakespeare’s tragedies, on the contrary, even when the plays end, one is left with the idea that there is a gap by author’s forceful ending of the play by closing the action by positive/negative ends, and the complex human feelings and hideous desires of ambition, jealousy, hatred etc that motivate people in the first place.

One is alarmed at the human capacity to be a “bad” person. But if you look at Hamlet kind of plays, they make you realize that this pressure to decide, to act, to take revenge etc is something human beings cannot escape.

One is meddled with this constant pressure to decide – something which was not there in the previous century plays where people knew that God will bring peace to everything.

In Shakespeare’s tragedies, there is no respite from Gods. So, it’s like human beings are left to themselves, with no assurance, no help, no recourse to god’s comforts etc. Just imagine, how helpless one would feel in that sort of world.

Shakespeare, that is why, is called one of the earliest modernists.

6) Questions about leadership, frailty of order to control a vast population/kingdom, challenges to leadership,

7) The role of women – Look at different types of women in Shakespeare’s comedies as well as Tragedies – they are hardly puppets.

They are capable of having ambitions much like their men counterparts, or sometimes even more.

Call it sexist, call it feminists, women of Shakespeare’s plays can play men like anything: with their beauties, with their disguised games, with their “overflowing” femininity, or, for that matter.

Although these women show conventional hierarchies of white women/black women, courtly lady women/commoner women, “good women like Ophelia in Hamlet who are just too good/ bad women like lady Macbeth, but the very diverse range of women we encounter in Shakespeare’s plays is amazing. Something we don’t see in previous plays. Also remember- in Shakespeare’s time, boys were playing women’s role, so look at that angle as well how women were not supposed to do certain things in public.

So the entire public/private, political/domestic debate, Shakespeare complicates them. He brings the interiority of domestic issues interlaced with political issues such brilliantly. Personal is indeed political.

8) Apart from that psychological development of characters. I guess is a very important angle to look at. Characters are hard to know from their inside.

They are hardly flat or two-dimensional. So, Shakespeare’s character making is a good point to explore.

Now, let us come to 17th -18th Century.When reading Metaphysical Poetry by John Donne (The following poems mentioned in syllabus: Canonization, Death be not proud, The Good Morrow, On his Mistress going to bed, The Relic), keep in mind the following things most importantly.

1) John Donne’s life – look at that – he was a poet and a court person [several duties], so an imaginative writer taking an interest,

in fact, active interest in the public life of the Nation.

2) Twists and turns of the syntax, look at their language, heavy adjectives etc. Why suddenly after the 16th century of simple sonnets [not simple, actually!], suddenly a different language?

Look at the change in the form of the poems.

3) A different kind of love – mysterious, untidy – very erotic as well [although often disguised], physical desires and spiritual dimension. It’s like wanting to have sex with the God – see, how blasphemous! Imagine what kind of torpor it must have led to!

4) Metaphysical conceits: Why would the poet employ them, why at all? The politics and meanings of conceit – explore it.

5) Role of women and sexual desires – look at how poets/period responds to this.

• The Epic
a) John Milton : Paradise Lost, I, II, IV, IX [Originally published in 1667, in ten books]

1) When looking at this book, just explore how Milton was a radical poet for his times. He engages in a fundamental political and religious re-thinking. I think if you do that, you’re done.

Use textual evidence when answering your questions. Look at Milton in line with renaissance – an absolute epitome of individuality – imagine conceptualizing a book in 12 fat, volumes – an act of human ambition and will power ready to devour even God, anything that comes in way of ambition.

2) And look at the way Milton devours classic repertoire of references for his benefit. He is extremely knowledgeable, not a passive person or mediocre person demanding an identity, he is super-prepared to demand a human identity and is willing to fight for it.

Appreciate Milton using this perspective.

3) Role of imagination – Milton became blind eventually, so sometimes people ask you how could a blind person imagine all this – which is a bullshit question, as he talks of heaven and hell and even a man with eyes won’t have access to that!

But anyway, they are the examiners and we are students, so better be prepared.
Satire [an aspect studied within neo-classicism, I divided because Paradise Lost isn’t a satire per se] and the Mock-epic.
a) Alexander Pope. The Rape of the Lock. [Originally published in May 1712]

1) When looking at this, explore the French court angle, its difference to the English court, its whims and fancies, and ladies and knights etc.

2) Their stress on moderation, decorum, urbanity – why, suddenly after the grandness of Milton etc? Explore this.

3) Again, look at the women characters, love as play, a duel to win at, no Shakespearean true “love” but a game of wit where partners need to excel at each other all the time.

This constant business class idea is a good point to explore.

The Romantic Movement
William Wordsworth.

The following poems:
a) Ode on Intimations of Immortality.
b) Tintern Abbey.
c) Three years she grew.
d) She dwelt among untrodden ways.
e) Michael.
f) Resolution and Independence.
g)The World is too much with us.
h) Milton, thou shouldst be living at this hour.
i) Upon Westminster Bridge.

When looking at this, keep in mind the following points:

1) A sense of individuality, development of personal metaphors, personal religion, personal creed.

Not a universal god, for e.g. how the poet imagines the god becomes important.

2) Look at what kind of political social world, the poet imagines and wants. The stress on vision and imagination.

3) Most obviously, role of children.

4) the French Revolution, the sense of human agency, the Napoleonic war where England supplied things and remained involved for like twenty years.

5) Development of Metaphysics in England – an influence from Germany – Kant, Schilling etc.

Read the Previous Posts below: 

ENGLISH LITERATURE Optional Strategy for UPSC Mains Part-1

ENGLISH LITERATURE Optional Strategy for UPSC Mains Part-2



Must Read News Articles – February 23

The Hindu

Front Page / NATIONAL

Maintain law, order on SYL canal issue: SC: Even as Punjab denied any liability on its part to share water with Haryana, the Supreme Court on Wednesday stood firm by its decision to construct the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal and urged the neighbouring States to maintain law and order at any cost.

There’s poison in the air: Nearly a third of Indian cities have breached annual pollution limits mandated by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) between 2011 and 2015, according to figures from the Union Environment Ministry-affiliated organisation.


Ageing with dignity: We may be a young nation, but we need to gear up to meet the needs of the elderly.

A foreign policy of cruel populism: Leaders like Donald Trump are offering a harsh cultural agenda to address the West’s economic problems.

Tackling the Islamic State: Despite some disillusioned youth leaving the group, its endurance remains evident.

A pit stop to change attitudes: Pit emptying must become central to India’s efforts to eliminate open defecation.


TRAI told to review tariff plans: Mobile phone operators have been facing severe headwinds since Reliance Jio started services.

Centre doubles solar park capacity to 40,000 MW: The Cabinet has approved the doubling of solar park capacity to 40,000 MW, which will entail an additional 50 solar parks to be set up at a cost to the government of ₹8,100 crore.

Indian Express

Reaching for the stars: ISRO launched a record 104 satellites on a single launch vehicle. The bar will be raised further when India fires its most powerful rocket ever, the GSLV Mark-III.

Holes in the security net: Demonetisation shows India’s social welfare measures like MGNREGS to be worryingly patchy.

Court self-corrects: SC decision on surveys critical of judiciary is a step towards bringing contempt provision in line with spirit of democracy.

Live Mint


Mains Marathon

Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – February 23

Read the following questions and answer them by clicking on the links in not more than 200 words

Time: 30 Minutes

Kindly review each others answers.

Sorry for the little delay Friends 🙂 Start answering!

1.What is Palliative care? The number of elderly persons in poverty in India are increasing rapidly and are unable to access basic healthcare. Discuss the reasons. (GS 1)

प्रशामक देखभाल क्या है? भारत में गरीब बुजुर्ग व्यक्तियों की संख्या तेजी से बढ़ रही है और बुनियादी स्वास्थ्य सेवा का उपयोग करने में असमर्थ हो रहे हैं। कारणों की चर्चा करें।

The Hindu

2.What is the need for ratifying the convention on international terrorism? What role can India play? (GS 2)

अंतरराष्ट्रीय आतंकवाद पर सम्मेलन की पुष्टि करने की क्या जरूरत है? भारत क्या भूमिका निभा सकता है?


3.PSLV has become ISRO’s backbone for important and impressive missions. Discuss. (GS 3)

पीएसएलवी महत्वपूर्ण और प्रभावशाली मिशन के लिए इसरो की रीढ़ की हड्डी बन गया है। चर्चा करें ।

Live Mint