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18th November 2022 (9 Topics)

Baliyatra: Celebrating Odisha’s ancient links with Indonesia and Southeast Asia


Bali Yatra, one of the biggest trade fairs in Odisha, has been held.


Historical significance:

  • Bali Jatra (also known as Bali Yatra and BoitaBanda?a) literally means ‘A Voyage to Bali’.
  • This festival is held in Odisha, in the city of Cuttack at GadagadiaGhata of the Mahanadi River.
  • It is organized every year to commemorate the 2,000-year-old maritime and cultural links between ancient Kalinga (today’s Odisha) and Bali and other South and Southeast Asian regions like Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Burma (Myanmar), and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
  • The festival is celebrated from the day of Kartika Purnima (full moon night in the month of Kartik) can according to the Odia Calendar, which comes around the end of October and November.
  • People of Odisha gather near the banks of Mahanadi, Brahmani River, other river banks, and ponds to float miniature toy boats, made of colored paper as a symbolic gesture of their ancestors' voyage.

The festival is similar to the ‘MasakapanKeTukad’ festival of Bali, the ‘LoiKrathong’ festival of Thailand (ritualistic floating of model boats), the ‘Bon Om Touk’ Water Festival of Cambodia, and the ‘That Luang’ Festival of Laos all of which involve around the same time of the year.

Origins of the festival:

  • It begins on Kartik Purnima (full moon night in the month of Kartik) and can be traced back more than 1,000 years.
  • According to historians, popular items of trade between Kalinga and Southeast Asia included pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, silk, camphor, gold, and jewellery.
  • The Bay of Bengal region had several ports, and sadhavas (traders) traditionally began their voyage across the sea on this auspicious day, when the winds were favourable for the boats, known as boita, to sail.
  • Even today, people across Odisha sail decorative miniature boats made of banana stems, paper, or thermocol to celebrate boita bandana, or the worshipping of the boats.

Commercial Significance:

  • It is a time when people purchase everything from automobiles and electronic devices to local artisanal products at prices that are comparatively low.
  • Numerous communities of weavers and dyers became active throughout the state, perfecting techniques like the weaving of fine muslin, Ikat, Sambalpuri, and bomkai silks and cotton, applique, and embroidery.
  • The district administration allots stalls to traders through an auction, and the fair is estimated to see business worth more than Rs 100 crore over its nine days.

Odisha province:

  • It is known as Kalinga in ancient timesand was commanded by a very high position in the maritime activities of India in the past.
  • The heroic and ever-agile merchants of the ancient Kalinga kingdom were making daring voyages to different far-off lands of the world.
  • Odisha’s glorious maritime past has been proven from the excavated materials like Roman coins, Kushan coins, and Chinese ceramic sherds found in different parts of Odisha.

Odisha and Bali connection:

  • Odisha played a significant role in the evolution of Hindu culture in Bali.
  • A section of Brahmanas in the Karangasem district of Bali styled themselves as Brahmana - Bouddha – Kalinga.
  • It seems very likely that their ancestors were immigrants from Kalinga.
    • Some words and usages concerning vocabulary, crafts, religious practices, forms of worship, food habits, and manners prevalent in Bali areOdia in origin.
  • There are linguistic parallels between Odisha and the island of Bali.
  • Both the Balinese and the Odias' food habits seem to have some common likes and dislikes.




    Death anniversary of Uda Devi

    • November 16 marks the death anniversary of Uda Devi, the Dalit freedom fighter
    • Uda Devi was a freedom fighter from the Pasi community.
    • She managed to mobilise people — specially Dalit women — to take up arms against the British.
    • Born in Ujirao, Lucknow, she was part of the royal guard of Begum Hazrat Mahal of Awadh.
    • Her husband, MakkaPasi, worked as a foot soldier in the army of Awadh’sNawab, Wajid Ali Shah.
      • Amid the revolt of 1857, on June 10, at Chinhat near Ismailganj, a battle was fought between the army of Lucknow and the British troops led by Henry Lawrence, in which MakkaPasi lost his life.
      • The death of her husband spurred Uda Devi on to take up a more active role in the mutiny.
    • On November 16, 1857, Uda Devi was among the soldiers who clashed with the British regiment stationed near the Gomti River. 

    Important dalit freedom fighter (women):Kuyili  (Commander-in-Chief to VeluNachiyar), Jhalkaribai, Helen Lepcha alias Sabitri Devi, Rani Gaidinliu (Rani of the Nagas), Putalimaya Devi Poddar.

    International Relations

    The Moscow format

    • India joined the latest meeting of the ‘Moscow format consultations on Afghanistan’ held in the Russian capital.
    • The Moscow format is one of the several dialogue platforms on Afghanistan.
    • It began before the Taliban takeover of Kabul, consists of Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and India.

    Science & Technology

    Antimicrobial Stewardship Programme

    • Apollo Hospitals announced the launch of an Antimicrobial Stewardship Programme (ASP) at a national level.
    • The programme will sensitise care providers on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).
      • o   AMR is an issue leading to a public health problem that is one of humanity’s top ten global public health threats today.
      • o   AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites mutate over time and are no longer affected by medicine against them.


    Smugglers trafficking rhino horns with impunity: report

    • The seizure of rhino horns by weight has increased.
      • Lucrative: In the black market, rhino horn prices can fetch up to $400,000 per kg for Asian rhino horns and $20,000 per kg for African rhino horns.
    • There are five species and 11 subspecies of rhino. 
      • White, Black, Indian, Javan, and Sumatranmake up the five species of rhino in the world. 
    • The Indian rhino is the largest of the rhino species.
    • It is identified by a single black horn and a grey-brown hide with skin folds.
    • Protection Status
      • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
      • CITES: Appendix I
      • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I
    • White and black rhinoceros are native to Africa.
    • Indian, Javan and Sumatran can be found in India and Asia.

    Conservation status of the four species 

    • Javan Rhinos (Rhinoceros sondaicus): Critically Endangered 
    • Sumatran rhinos (Dicerorhinussumatrensis): Critically Endangered 
    • Black rhinos (Dicerosbicornis): Critically Endangered 
    • White rhinos (Ceratotheriumsimum): Near Threatened 

    International Relations

    Indo-US Military Exercise “YudhAbhyas 2022”

    • India and the US began the 18th edition of their joint training exercise “YudhAbhyas 2022” on in Uttarakhand’sAuli.
    • Exercise YudhAbhyas is conducted annually between India and USA.
    • Aim: To exchange best practices, Tactics, Techniques and Procedures between the Armies of the two nations.

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