Current Affairs – August, 2019

PDF Compilation of these updates can be downloaded from This Link

‘The Diary of Manu Gandhi’ Book launched in New Delhi

The book ‘The Diary of Manu Gandhi’ (1943-44), edited and translated by Tridip Suhrud, was launched by Prahlad Singh Patel, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Culture and Tourism, at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in New Delhi. The book has been brought out on occasion of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi by National Archives of India in collaboration with Oxford University Press.

Manu Gandhi (Mridula): She was a grand niece of Mahatma Gandhi, daughter of his Nephew Jaisukhlal Amritlal Gandhi, and stayed with M Gandhi till his assassination on 30 January 1948. She was an aide to Kasturba Gandhi (wife of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi) during her imprisonment in Aga Khan Palace in 1943.

About ‘The Diary of Manu Gandhi’

The book was originally written in Gujarati and has been edited and translated by Tridip Suhrud, a well known scholar engaged in understanding Gandhian Intellectual tradition.

First volume of the diary covers period from 1943-1944 which includes a record of her life and times with Mahatma Gandhi. She had expressed the deep emotional bond she had developed with Gandhiji.

The book has been authenticated by M. Gandhi himself. The meticulous and intimate entries in Diary throws light on his life as a prisoner and his endeavour to establish possibility of collective non-violence.

It chronicles spiritual and educational pursuits of a woman who takes up writing as a mode of self-examination. Author has shared a moving portrait of Kasturba Gandhi’s illness and death.

Significance: The publication of such books immensely benefit scholars interested in Gandhian studies and history of modern India at large.  The book will be another milestone added to publications that have been brought out by National Archives of India from time to time.

About National Archives of India

It is an Attached Office under Union Ministry of Culture.

It was established as ‘Imperial Record Department’ on 11 March 1891 at Kolkata (then Calcutta).

Following the transfer of capital from Calcutta to Delhi in 1911, the present building of National Archives of India was constructed in 1926. The New Delhi’s building was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.  All records stored were completely transferred from Calcutta to New Delhi in 1937.

Saudi Arabia:  Travel abroad restriction on women lifted

In a landmark reform, Saudi Arabia has allowed women above 21 years of age to receive passports (issue or renew) and travel abroad without permission from a male guardian. Saudi Arabian Women have for long required permission from their male guardians (which includes husband, father and other male relatives) for these tasks. These restrictions have drawn international censure also.

Key Highlights

Saudi Arabia’s Departments of Passport and Civil Status have begun enforcing amended Travel Documents Law and regulations, for the purpose of allowing women to travel abroad without permission.

In addition to this, mothers who have primary custody of their children can now also apply for passports and provide travel permission for their children.

This reform weakens the restrictive guardianship system that has long been a symbol of repression against women in Saudi Arabia.

Trigger: This reform comes after several high-profile attempts by Saudi Arabian women to escape alleged guardianship abuse were witnessed despite a string of reforms undertaken by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman regime.

Other reforms undertaken by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman includes-

A landmark decree in 2018 that overturned world’s only ban on women drivers.

In early August 2019, Saudi women were also granted right same as men, to officially register childbirth, marriage and divorce as well as to be recognized as a guardian to children who are minors.

Reform comes as OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) petroleum producer stumbles from low oil prices and seeks to boost employment opportunities for women who are currently facing chronic joblessness.