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UPSC Prelims News 29 September 2022


UPSC Prelims News of 29th September 2022

Sign Learn

Context: Government of India (Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment) has launched an Indian Sign Language (ISL) dictionary mobile app called ‘Sign Learn’ containing 10,000 words.

About Sign Learn App:

  • The app is based on the Indian sign language dictionary of the Indian Sign Language Research And Training Centre (ISLRTC).
  • The Android and IOS version of the app is available. The words in the dictionary can be searched through English or Hindi medium.

Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC):

  • The ISLRTC promotes the use of Indian Sign Language as educational mode for deaf students at primary, secondary and higher education levels.
  • The centre aims to build an inclusive society in which equal opportunities are given for the growth and development of Persons with Disabilities so that they can lead productive, safe and dignified lives.

UPSC Prelims News of 28 September 2022

Vadakkupattu Archeological Site

Context: The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has discovered ancient artifacts near Vadakkupattu village in Tamil Nadu.

Vadakkupattu Archeological Site
Vadakkupattu Archeological Site

Discoveries at the site:

  • Chiselled stone tools such as hand axes, scrapers, cleavers and choppers belonging to the Mesolithic era were discovered.
    • It was likely a place where stone tools were produced for hunting.
  • Rouletted ceramics belonging to the Sangam age.
  • Roman amphora sherds, and glass beads, indicating trade with Rome.
  • They also discovered gold decorations, terracotta toys, beads, bangles, pot sherds, and coins.
  • Sculptures ranging from the early Pallava period (275 CE) to the late Pallavas were also unearthed.
  • Significance:
    • The artifacts from Stone Age reveal a culture before it developed into a civilisation.
    • The discoveries play a crucial role in bridging the gap in Tamil history.
  • Vadakkupattu site:
    • The archeological site at Guruvan Medu (Natham Medu) is located near Vadakkupattu village. It was originally discovered in 1922.


Ancient Silphion Plant

Context: A recent study suggests that a Mediterranean medicinal plant that mysteriously vanished 2,000 years ago may still exist.

About the Silphion Plant

  • Silphion was an ancient medicinal plant most likely obtained from a Ferula species growing in the Cyrene region of Libya ca. 2500 years ago.
  • Due to its superior medicinal properties, it was regarded as ‘Cure-All’ plant in the ancient times.
  • Silphion was used to treat various health problems, including goiter, sciatica (nerve pain), toothache, intestinal disorders, hormonal disorders, epilepsy, tetanus, polyps (abnormal growth of tissues) and malignant tumours, according to studies.
  • Also, the resin of the silphion was extensively used as a spice, perfume, aphrodisiac, and contraceptive.
  • Due to its numerous therapeutic uses and spice qualities, it was the major economic resource of the Cyrenaic region of Libya for six centuries.
  • Overharvesting, widespread deforestation, human-induced environmental changes may have driven the plant into extinction, many researchers believed.
Ancient Silphion Plant
Ancient Silphion Plant

Ajanta Caves

Context: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has reported 26 Ajanta-era Buddhist caves in Madhya Pradesh’s Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve after an exploration exercise between May and June this year.

Important highlights from the findings

  • The caves date back to between the 2nd century BCE and the 5th century BCE (around the same time as the Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra), and belong to the Mahayana sect of Buddhism.
  • The exploration also reported the remains of 26 ancient temples/Kalchuri period (9th-11th century AD) apart from the remains of Gupta period.

About Ajanta Caves

  • Location: Ajanta is a series of rock-cut caves in the Sahyadri ranges (Western Ghats) on Waghora (tiger) River near Aurangabad in Maharashtra.
  • Number of Caves: They were total thirty in number which includes Viharas or residential caves and Chaityas or prayer halls.
  • Time Period:
    • The earliest caves belonging to the Hinayana phase of Buddhism, can be roughly traced back to the 2nd century BCE, during the rule of Satavahana Dynasty.
    • The later phase of activities, between 5th and 6th century CE, largely took place under the patronage of the Vakataka kings – Harishena being a prominent one (The Vakatakas were contemporaries of the Gupta Empire).
  • Protection status:
    • In 1953, the ASI undertook protection and preservation of Ajanta caves, rock carvings as well as paintings
    • The caves were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.
    • In 1995, the Government of India declared Ajanta caves the monument of national and heritage value.

About Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

  • Location: Situated in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh.
  • Climate: Tropical monsoon climate
  • Important waterbodies: The reserve is filled with streams such as ohilla, Janadh, Charanganga, Damnar, Banbei etc. These streams then merge into the Son River (a tributary of the Ganga River).
  • Important fauna: Royal Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Jackal, Bengal Fox, Sloth Bear, Striped Hyena, Leopard, Nilgai, Chinkara and Gaur.


Operation Southern Readiness of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF)

  • Context: INS Sunayna entered Port Victoria Seychelles on 24 September to participate in the annual training exercise Operation Southern Readiness.
  • It is being conducted by conducted by the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) in Seychelles.
  • It is scheduled to participate as associate partner in capacity building exercises being conducted by CMF.
  • Joint training exercise is being attended by representative delegations from USA, Italy, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and ship participation from UK, Spain & India.
  • Joining the CMF is another step in a series of multilateral engagements by the Indian Navy as part of India’s widening military diplomacy.
  • The CMF is a multi-national naval partnership to promote security, stability and prosperity across approximately 3.2 million square miles of international waters, which encompass some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.
  • The CMF comprises three task forces: CTF 150 (maritime security and counter-terrorism), CTF 151 (counter-piracy) and CTF 152 (Arabian Gulf security and cooperation).


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