Art & Culture Current Affairs - 2019

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Japan gifts Manipur a Peace Museum built on WWII memories

Japan gifted Manipur, one of India’s north eastern state a Museum of Peace built on the memories of Battle of Imphal, one of the fiercest battles of 2nd World War (WWII). The inauguration of Imphal Peace Museum marked 75th anniversary of Battle of Imphal.

Key Highlights

Location: The Imphal Peace Museum was inaugurated at Red Hill which lies about 20 km southwest of Imphal (Manipur capital).

Funding: The museum is funded by Nippon Foundation, a private, non-profit grant-making organization based in Japan.

Relics: Among the highlights of museum such as diaries and other memorabilia of those who returned to Japan safely, is a framed calligraphy by Shinzo Abe Japan’s Prime Minister, which reads heiwa- meaning peace in Japanese.

Why Red Hill?

About 70,000 Japanese soldiers, alongside those of Indian National Army (INA) of Subhash Chandra Bose, died in battles with British-led Allied forces in areas around Imphal and Kohima from March-June 1944. The last of these battles was fought at Red Hill in Imphal. In 1994 Japanese War Memorial was also built at Red Hill to mark 50th anniversary of battle.

Significance: Imphal Peace Museum symbolises the reconciliation between Japan and Britain and Japan and India. It will serve as a living memory of the tragic war which reinforces the message that history changes and will make the world learn from past which is required for a lasting peaceful world.

What is Battle of Imphal 1944?

Battle of Imphal took place in region around city of Imphal (Manipur’s capital) from March to July 1944. Japanese armies with an attempt to destroy Allied forces at Imphal invaded India, but were driven back into Burma (todays’ Myanmar) with heavy losses.

The Battle of Imphal together with simultaneous Battle of Kohima (also known as Stalingrad of the East) on road by which encircled Allied forces at Imphal were relieved, was the main turning point of 2nd World War’s Burma Campaign.

The Japanese faced the largest defeat up until that time at Kohima and Imphal with many of Japanese deaths resulting from starvation, disease and exhaustion suffered during their retreat.

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GI Tag: Kolhapuri chappals

The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (CGPDTM) has granted Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Kolhapuris, the ethnic leather chappal (footwear) to four districts in each state of Maharashtra and Karnataka. These 8 districts are- Kolhapur, Sangli, Solapur and Satara districts of Maharashtra and Belgaum, Dharwad, Bagalkot and Bijapur districts of Karnataka.

Kolhapuri Chappal

Uniqueness: These sturdy leather chappals are hand-crafted and tanned using vegetable dyes and the art of making them is passed down one generation to another.

History: As per GI application made by two states of Mharashtra and Karnataka, Kolhapuris can be traced back to 12th century when King Bijjal ruled Bidar (in Karnataka). King’s Prime Minister Vishwaguru Basavanna, wanted to create a casteless society and remove stigma attached to cobbler community, thus, the community embraced Lingayat faith and used its skills to start producing footwear that came to be known equally for its ruggedness and regal bearing.

‘Kolhapuri’ as a Brand was created only at beginning of 20th century when footwear began to be traded in Kolhapur (Maharashtra). Later, Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur encouraged its production and 29 tanning centres were opened during his rule in Kolhapur.

Benefits of GI Tag

It will help artisans export these chappals and also tie up with e-commerce giants such as Flipkart and Amazon.

With GI tag now these local artisans get legal support. Thus, anyone who is going to copy this can be punished.

Significance of GI tag

Getting GI tag will open large markets, both domestic and international to artisans who produce Kolhapuris. Also, getting GI tag for Kolhapuri means that footwear produced only in these 8 districts will qualify to carry tag of being Kolhapuris.

What is Geographical Indications?

GI is used on products/items which have specific geographical origin and possess qualities, reputation and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to its origin in that defined geographical locality.

Validity: The tag is valid for a period of 10 years following which it can be renewed.

GI India: Recently Union Minister of Commerce and Industry launched logo and tagline for Geographical Indications (GI) of India. The 1st product to get a GI tag in India was Darjeeling tea (2004).

The sui generis Act for protection of GI in India is Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 (GI Act). This Act was enacted by India so as to comply with Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) by World Trade Organisation (WTO).

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