Culture Current Affairs - 2019

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World renowned Chardham Yatra begins in Uttarakhand

The world renowned and much awaited chardham yatra  began in Uttrakhand. The Gangotri and Yamunotri dhams were opened for pilgrims on auspicious occasion of Akshay Tritya (also called ‘Teej’, is an annual spring time festival of Jains and Hindus).

About Chardham

  • It literally means four sacred pilgrimage centres.
  • The four pilgrim-destinations are Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath which are collectively called Chardham.
  • It is located in the great Himalayas in Uttarakhand.
  • Route Followed: As per traditions, this pilgrimage tour should begin from West and end in East. Therefore, Char Dham Yatra starts from Yamunotri, then proceeds to Gangotri and finally end towards Kedarnath and Badrinath.
  • Religious Deities: Each sites is devoted to a specific deity.
  • Yamunotri dedicated to Goddess ‘Yamuna’. It stands high up in deep left on western face of Bandarpunch Peak.
  • Gangotri dedicated to Goddess ‘Ganga’. The shrine overlooks River Bhagirathi.
  • Kedarnath dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is also a part of Panch Kedar. It is northern-most Jyotirlinga and is close to source of holy River Mandakini.
  • Badrinath dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is situated on the bank of River Alaknanda (it is one of the two headstreams of Ganges other is Bhagirathi).
  • Importance: In accordance with Hindu conventions, devotees take up this pious tour of Char Dham yatra in hope to experience bliss (heaven) and successfully remove their souls of all worldly demons.

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IIT Madras researcher develops easy OCR system for Bharati Script

A team of researcher at IIT-Madras headed by Professor V. Srinivasa Chakravarthy, developed a method for reading documents in Bharati Script by using a multi-lingual optical character recognition (OCR) scheme.

About Bharati

It is a unified script for nine Indian languages which is being proposed as a common script for India. The integrated script includes Devnagari, Bengali, Gurmukhi, Gujarati, Oriya, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Tamil. Urdu and English were not integrated so far because of their very different phonetic organisation.

Why was it needed?

Many European languages (English, French, German, Italian etc.) use Roman script as a common script, which eases communication across all nations that speak and write those languages. Similarly in a diverse nation like ours a common script for entire country can be hoped to bring down many communication barriers existing in India.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Schemes

First it involves separating/segmenting document into text and non-text. The text is then further divided into paragraphs, sentences words and letters. Each letter is recognized as character in some recognisable format like ASCII or Unicode. Each letter has different components like basic consonant, consonant modifiers, vowels etc.

In Bharati Script characters these different components are separable by design, therefore, OCR works quite accurately, giving almost 100% accuracy even with mild noise added.

Other Undergoing Projects at IIT Madras

In collaboration with TCS Mumbai, they created a universal finger-spelling language for nine Indian language and using this finger-spelling technique persons with hearing disability can generate signatures or a sign language. Other plans include developing new Braille system with Bharati script.

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