NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.
Art and Culture
- ‘India has a rich cultural heritage with varied traditions of music all across the country ‘. Elucidate. Also, briefly explain the role music plays in our daily lives. (15M)
Music is the soul of any culture and India has had a long tradition of musical ingenuity. Literary traces of music can be found for the first time 2,000 years ago in the Vedic times. The first reference to musical theory was discussed in Bharata’s Natyashastra (between 200 BC to 200 AD).
Tradition of music in different parts of the country; –
- Hindustani Music: – Hindustani classical music is the traditional music of the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. Varied traditions of Hindustani Music got integrated through Vedas( Samveda), and cultural assimilation by traders, Mughals, etc.
- Dhrupad- it is mainly performed by male singers and is devotional in nature and recitals are used in praise of deities. Earlier, it was sung in Sanskrit but now in Brajbhasa. Tansen was a prolific singer of dhrupad.
- Khyal- It creates an illusionary world, mainly romantic songs are sung in this type and less rules are followed than Dhrupad.
- Tarana; – It is a medium to fast-paced song that is used to convey moods and is performed towards the end of a concert.
- Ghazals – Common form of poetry in the Urdu language and was popularized by classical poets like Mir Taqi Mir and Ghalib. Vocal music set to this mode of poetry is popular with multiple variations across Central Asia and the Middle East.
- Carnatic music; –
- It is mainly popular in south India and creates music that is played in the traditional octave. It is Kriti based and focuses more on the prosody (lyrics), known as Sahitya.
- Rasiya Geet, Uttar Pradesh;- It flourished in Braj which is the sacred land of Lord Krishna’s charming leelas from time immemorial. It is not confined to any particular festival but is closely woven into the very fabric of daily life and the day-to-day chores of its people.
- Pankhida, Rajasthan; – Sung by the peasants of Rajasthan while doing work in the fields, the peasants sing and speak while playing algoza and manjira. The literal meaning of the word ‘Pankhida’ is a lover.
- Pandavani, Chhattisgarh; – In Pandavani, tales from Mahabharata are sung as a ballad.
- Shakunakhar – Mangalgeet, Kumaon;- it is sung during religious ceremonies of baby-shower, and child-birth. Songs are sung by only ladies, without any instrument.
- Qawwali; – In India Qawwali was brought from Persia around the thirteenth century and Sufis enlisted its services to spread their message.
- Amir Khusro (1254-1325) a Sufi and an innovator contributed to the evolution of Qawwali. It is a mode of singing rather than a form of composition.
- Powada, Maharashtra; – It is a traditional folk art from Maharashtra. Powada itself means “the narration of a story in glorious terms”. The chief narrator is known as the Shahir who plays the duff to keep the rhythm.
- Southern India
- Burrakatha, Andhra Pradesh; – it is a highly dramatic form of ballad. A bottle-shaped drum (tambura) is played by the main performer while reciting a story.
- Bhuta song, Kerala;- The basis of Bhuta song is rooted in superstitions. Some communities of Kerala do Bhuta rituals to send away the evil ghost and spirits. This ritual is accompanied by vigorous dancing and the music has a piercing and eerie character.
- Villu Pattu, “Bow Song”, Tamil Nadu;- The songs revolve around theological themes and the conquest of good over evil is emphasized.
- Bihu songs, Assam;- Bihu songs ( geet) are the most distinctive type of folk songs of Assam, both for their literary content and for their musical mode. Bihu songs are blessings for a happy new year and the dance is associated with an ancient fertility cult.
- Songs of Lai Haraoba Festival, Manipur;- It is performed for the Umang-Lai (forest deity). Ougri Hangen, a song of creation and Heijing Hirao a ritualistic song is sung on the last day of the Lai Haraoba festival.
Role of Music in our daily lives
- Mental wellbeing; — Music has the ability to change people’s emotions and feelings in a matter of seconds. It has the ability to reduce stress, discomfort, difficulty, and distraction while also bringing happiness and peace into our daily lives.
- Creativeness; – Music, like other kinds of art, can be characterized as a method of expression that necessitates creative abilities and a strong imagination.
- Joy and happiness;- Music offers joy, whether it’s learning one’s favourite song, singing on stage, or just having a good old sing-a-long with friends.
- Discipline and Perseverance; – In a digital age where many services and products are instantly available with the click of a button, learning a musical instrument provides a platform for people to achieve through discipline and perseverance.
- Self-control and time management; – The music teaches us self-control and time management abilities that we can’t learn anywhere else. When you regularly practice an instrument, you concentrate on tangible ideas and take modest steps toward larger goals.
Music is also known as humanity’s global language. It has the ability to bring happiness and positivity into people’s life. Everyone appreciates music because it can change one’s mood and provide a sense of relief in one’s daily life.
Q2. How does the art of numismatics help us in deciphering the achievements of the empires in India? Discuss with special reference to Chola Empire. (15M)
Numismatics is the study/ collection of currency (coins, banknotes, or money in some other form like beads, tokens, and related objects). Historians use these to understand the past. In Ancient times when very few chronicles were produced, coins gives us a window into history.
Significance of numismatics in deciphering the achievements of empire;-
- Geographical extent: – it shows the geographical extent of any empire, e.g., at the Rajaraja-I time, with the expansion of the empire through planned conquests that the currency system of the Cholas spread across their territory.
- Rajaraja I’s coins were discovered in regions beyond his territory esp. South-east Asia.
- Samudragupta’s coins show he remained forever undefeated. His gold coins and inscriptions suggest that he was a masterful poet, and also played musical instruments.
- Economical achievement; – coins not only provide the information about monetary situation but also broader questions related to the economy.
- Chola’s coinage issues were in all the three metals Gold, Silver and Copper, showing the richness of the empire.
- Uniformity: The value of money was fixed on the measure of metal that goes into making the coins, showing the system of standardisation of measurement.
- The spread of coins in the different regions also shows the spread of excellent trade activities prevalent during Chola times.
- Gupta coinage started with a remarkable series of gold issued by Chandragupta I, showing the wealth of the empire.
- Political achievement; – The inscribed figures of rulers, deities and legends give us an insight into the social and political aspects of various kingdoms.
- For instance, Chola’s insignia in the centre with the title of the king and the regnal year punched around the perimeter.
- The other side is left blank. Titles like Gangai-Konda-Cholan (Rajendra I), and Malai-Nadu-Konda-cholan ( Rajadhiraja I) are used to denote the period of issuing the coin.
- Coins issued by Razia Sultan show her reign.
- Technological advancement; – Coins tell us about metallurgical developments during the reign of any ruler. For instance, if the coin is pure, that means metallurgy in those days was more developed and vice-versa.
- It also shows the influence of other regions on the development of coinage.
- For instance, Sri Lankan standards were chosen to be used by the imperial Cholas much before the times of Rajaraja I.
- Religious patronage; – Numismatics also reveals the religious beliefs and sentiments during that time.
- For instance, Chola s were followers of the Shaivite sect but the coins introduced by them depicted gods/goddesses from Vaishnavism and other sects like Jainism and Buddhism (coins depicting a man standing with a lamp).
- The coins of the Chola King Raja Raja I had the standing king on one side and a seated goddess on the other side with inscriptions generally in Sanskrit.
- Later development; – the coins act as an important link between the rise and fall of any dynasty and incidents that occurred thereafter.
- For instance, the socio-political changes that happened from the times of Kulothunga I had an impact on the issuing of coins too.
- Several coins carrying the name of feudatories and their titles started finding a mentioned in Chola inscriptions.
- This can be clearly viewed as a sign of the downfall of economic control that the imperial Chola had on their feudatories
Thus the history of Indian Coinage is both exciting yet complicated as it is immensely vast. Over umpteen reigns, there has been a great lineage of coinage set by different rulers that throw light on the customs and traditions of that Era. Thus, Numismatics is extremely important to get details on periodical changes in history.
- “Finding a balance between the growing technology in present times and ensuring this happens within an ethical framework is going to be a difficult task”. Elucidate with examples (10M)
Ethics in technology refers to moral principles that govern how technologies should be used. These principles include accountability, digital rights, privacy, freedom, data protection, online behaviour, and more. As new technologies become available, ethical issues are also raised, thus balancing the two has become a difficult task.
Ethical issues involved in growing technology :
- Hacking -accessing a computer system without authorisation might be illegal.
Eg – A Cyberattack on Kundankulam nuclear power plant in Tamilnadu.
- Privacy invasion – The potential for privacy invasion and misuse of identity is very high with the use of technology.
Eg – Recently Pegasus Spyware was used to hack phones belonging to journalists, and human rights activists.
- Misuse of Personal Information – Personal information is the new gold, Private agencies commoditized data because of the value it provides to businesses attempting to reach their consumer base.
Eg – In April 2020 Zoom meeting app gave data to third parties without the users’ knowledge.
- Infringement of Rights – Copyright issue – breach someone’s rights when their work is directly copied or plagiarised. This also violates the right to privacy.
Eg – Recently in the US Google violated Children’s privacy laws by collecting biometric data unlawfully from children, as the law requires parental consent before collecting data from minors.
- Misinformation and Deep fakes – celebrities and political figures can disseminate opinions on social media without fact-checking, which is then aggregated and further spread despite its accuracy or inaccuracy.
Eg – The recent case of Cambridge Analytica using a third-party app to harvest data from a Facebook quiz for political purposes.
- Online behaviour – As a larger percentage of people using social media, there have been changing the behaviour of individuals thus rising cases of online abuse, personal threats, etc.
Eg- Eight out of 10 people in India have experienced some form of online harassment, with 41% of women have faced sexual harassment on the web, according to a new survey commissioned by cybersecurity solutions firm, Norton by Symantec.
- Ethical dilemma – The use of automotive technology in self-driving cars, robotic weapons and drones for critical services raises confusion about their efficiency in working and its possible consequences for humans.
- Lack of Oversight and Acceptance of Responsibility – These ethical issues arises the question of the responsibility of governance, cybersecurity concerns, and managing personal information.
Balancing growing technology in present times and ensuring this happens within an ethical framework
- Effective laws – Implementation of effective laws to protect personal data from misuse by private agencies.
Eg – Data Protection Bill in India, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by the EU.
- Responsibility and accountability – Responsibility of social media intermediaries in spreading misinformation and identifying the first originator of misinformation.
Eg – Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021.
- The whole of Society Approach – Many countries including India are cognizant of the opportunities and the risks and are striving to strike the right balance between Technology promotion and its governance.
Eg – Niti Aayog’s AI for All strategy includes year-long consultation processes that enable us to develop broad-based ethical principles, cultures, and codes of conduct.
- Use of Technology – Technology itself can be a solution for ethical issues.
Eg – Social media like Facebook and YouTube can be used to inculcate Ethical, Moral principles thus influencing ethical online behaviour.
- Ethical use of data – it’s extremely valuable to know what kind of products are being searched for and what type of content people are consuming the most. For political figures, it’s important to know what kind of social or legal issues are getting the most attention. Thus General opinions given by people have to be used for maximizing the gains of the people instead of maximizing the gain for the self.
- Information ethics – Application of Information ethics in growing technologies resolves Cases of state surveillance, ethical dilemma, and misuse of information.
The Institute for the Future (IFTF) estimated that 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t yet been invented. With the implementation of new technology comes an ethical duty, and the generation who’ll be taking up these future jobs must have a sound understanding of their ethical responsibilities.