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30-01-2023

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Gandhi’s ideals of non-violence and communal harmony remain relevant 75 years after his assassination

GS-1: The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.

 

Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated 75 years ago on January 30 while on his way to a prayer meeting. Gandhi's vision for India was not just political independence, but also social and economic empowerment, transcending language, religion and cultural differences. His vision is embodied in the Constitution of India, which is the foundation of Indian democracy.

 

Gandhiji – As a leader

  • Leaders throughout history have taken various approaches to gaining and exercising power, ranging from violence to non-violence, hate to love, and more. 
  • Gandhiji was a leader who inspired people by spreading love, compassion, and a sense of belonging
  • He made even the poorest Indians feel empowered and participatory in their own destiny through voting. 
  • Some argue that violence played a role in gaining independence for India, but it should not be glorified as a legitimate means of achieving political goals in a democratic state. 
  • Gandhiji believed in non-violent resistance even against colonial rule, recognizing that violence can spiral out of control and harm innocent people. 
  • His legacy of non-violent political and social change is a fundamental aspect of Indian democracy.

 

Ideals of Gandhiji

Non-violence 

  • Gandhi believed that violence only begets more violence and the best way to fight oppression was through peaceful means. 
  • He used nonviolent resistance to achieve independence from British rule and advocated for non-violent resistance as a tool for social and political change.

Truth 

  • Gandhi believed that truth was the ultimate goal and guide for human actions. 
  • He lived his life according to the principles of truth and advocated for truthfulness in all relationships.

Self-sufficiency/Swadeshi 

  • Gandhi believed in the idea of self-sufficiency, where communities should be self-reliant and produce what they need themselves. 
  • He encouraged the use of indigenous goods and the boycott of foreign goods.

Civil disobedience 

  • Gandhi believed in the power of non-compliance with unjust laws and advocated for the use of civil disobedience as a way to bring about social and political change. 
  • He used the concept of satyagraha to lead India to independence through nonviolent resistance.

Religious tolerance

  • Gandhi believed in the unity of all religions and advocated for tolerance and respect towards all religious beliefs. 
  • He worked towards promoting unity and understanding between people of different religious backgrounds.

Equality

  • Gandhi believed in the equality of all people, regardless of caste, race, or gender. 
  • He worked towards the elimination of social discrimination and the empowerment of marginalized communities.

Education

  • Gandhi believed in the importance of education for individual and national development
  • He advocated for education for all, including women and lower castes.

Simplicity

  • Gandhi lived a simple and austere life, and encouraged others to do the same. 
  • He believed that excessive materialism and consumerism were damaging to society and individuals.

Human dignity

  • Gandhi believed in the inherent worth and dignity of every human being. 
  • He worked towards the protection of human rights and advocated for the elimination of poverty and exploitation.

Community service

  • Gandhi believed in the importance of serving others and gave priority to the well-being of the community over individual interests. 
  • He encouraged individuals to contribute to their communities and to work for the betterment of society.


Relevance of ideals of non-violence and communal harmony in contemporary world

  • Gandhi transformed the idea of independence from a small, educated, English-speaking group to a mass-centered movement rooted in India's heritage. 
  • He advocated for the Congress to disband as a political party and become a mass movement dedicated to social and economic transformation after independence in 1947. 
  • Unfortunately, India failed to empower its citizens and a divide emerged between the English-speaking, privileged elites and the vernacular masses. 
  • Today, the lack of empowerment and distribution of minimal entitlements has led to a revolt against the elites, but it lacks the vision of empowerment that Gandhi had for India. 
  • Gandhi's legacy points towards an India of empowered citizens and it is important to reflect on how and why this vision has been lost.
  • The ideals of non-violence and communal harmony are highly relevant in today's world as we face challenges such as social divisions based on caste, creed, and religion, as well as the rise of communal tensions
  • Gandhi's legacy highlights the importance of creating a secular country where all religions can coexist in mutual respect and harmony
  • He recognized the potential for civilisational fault lines to threaten the national unity, and worked towards breaking down these barriers through his condemnation of untouchability and his promotion of religious tolerance
  • The recent rise in communal tensions emphasizes the need to reflect on Gandhi's legacy and uphold his values in order to prevent the erosion of social and religious harmony.

 

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As India prepares for centralised power market shift, EU moves a different way

GS-3: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.


India is changing its power market design to a mandatory pool model, ending fixed-price contracts, while the European Union (EU) is proposing a new market for long-term contracts to provide stable electricity bills for users due to price volatility. 

 

The EU's move is a response to the impact of rising gas prices and flaws in its current marginal pricing market design.


India’s model of electricity market

  • India is planning to implement the Market-Based Economic Dispatch (MBED) mechanism to centralize the scheduling of its annual electricity consumption, shifting from its current decentralized model. 
  • As buttressed by the Electricity Act 2003 and follow-on reforms, the current electricity market operates on a multi-layered model, with different rules for scheduling, transmission charges, and a growing day-ahead spot market. 
  • India's electricity market has multiple layers, starting with legacy power purchase agreements (PPAs) and including newer competitively-bid agreements, regulated PPAs, and cross-border PPAs
  • This is followed by medium-term PPAs and then short-term PPAs.
  • India has added a new layer of a real-time market that operates 24/7 for emergency needs and to handle the fluctuation of renewable energy
  • Additionally, a finalizing new grid code and a flexible transmission access system known as General Network Access (GNA) is being developed. 
  • However, the proposed move towards MBED has caused concerns among various industry players, including states. 
  • The former chairman of the Central Electricity Authority says electricity is a spectral product with different hues that affect price and that India's current model has worked well for consumers. 
  • The current market has multiple prices and has avoided price shocks or windfall gains, with the spot market's volatility being absorbed by the market. 
  • The obsession for uniform prices is irrational and that India learned its lesson from the California market rigged by Enron.


Reason for EU Electricity Market Reforms

  • The EU is trying to change its electricity market design to prevent price spikes like last year, when Russian gas cuts caused electricity prices to reach new highs. 
  • The current design, which sets prices based on the costs of the marginal producer, resulted in an electricity price shock. 
  • The European Commission has proposed several options in a public consultation to revamp the power plant sales, including the use of long-term contracts and PPAs to create a buffer between energy consumers and short-term energy market volatility, leading to more stable electricity bills for households and companies.

 

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Fact File


Beating Retreat 2023: What is the ceremony’s history, and who presides over it?

  • The Beating Retreat Ceremony is a solemn event that marks the end of India's 4-day Republic Day celebrations.
  • It includes synchronized marchesmusical performances and takes place in Vijay Chowk, Delhi. 

History

  • The Beating Retreat Ceremony, also known as "Beating the Retreat," originated in India in the 1950s and traces its roots to military tradition where troops would withdraw from the battlefield to their camps at sunset accompanied by protocols such as flag lowering. 
  • It has its roots in 17thcentury England where King James II ordered troops to beat drums, lower flags and parade to announce the end of a day of combat and was called "watch setting".
  • Similar ceremonies are also held by armed forces in various countries such as the UK, US, Canada, New ZealandAustralia, etc.
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