Art & Culture - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   How many years old Microfossils found in Canada may represent oldest known life on earth?
- Published on 02 Mar 17

a. 4.3 billion
b. 5.3 billion
c. 4.7 billion
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 4.3 billion

Microfossils close to 4.3 billion years in age were found in Canada similar to bacteria thriving on sea floor hydrothermal vents. This may represent the oldest-known evidence of life on Earth, scientists on March 1, 2017 said.

The fossils from the Hudson Bay shoreline in northern Quebec near the Nastapoka Islands lend credence to the hypothesis that hydrothermal vents spewing hot water may have been the cradle of life on Earth.

This is relatively soon after the planet formed, the researchers said.

They also said Earth's planetary neighbour Mars at that time is thought to have had oceans, long since gone, that may have boasted similar conditions conducive to the advent of life.

Tiny filaments and tubes made of a form of iron oxide, or rust, formed by the microbes were found encased in layers of quartz that experts have determined to be between 3.77 billion and 4.28 billion years old.

The researchers expressed confidence the fossils from northeastern Canada were formed by organisms, saying no non-biological explanation was plausible.

It was primordial microbes like those described in the study that set in motion the evolutionary march toward complex life and, eventually, the appearance of humans 200,000 years ago.

The scientists said the primordial microbes' structure closely resembled modern bacteria that dwell near iron-rich hydrothermal vents.

They believe that, like their modern counterparts, they were iron-eaters. The rock's composition was consistent with a deep-sea vent environment.

This is important for the origin of life as it shows microbial life diversified to specialized microbes very early in Earth history.

It is also important for the evolution of life. It shows that some microbes have not changed significantly since Earth's early times.

The fossils appear to be older than any other previously discovered evidence of life.

For example, other scientists last year described 3.7 billion-year-old fossilized microbial mats, called stromatolites, from Greenland.

2)   What is Hamari Dharohar?
- Published on 27 Feb 17

a. A scheme for promotion of cultural heritage
b. A Union Minority Affairs ministry scheme
c. A Union WCD Ministry scheme
d. Both a and b
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Both a and b

The Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge), Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has said that India is enriched with talent in art-culture, music and literature.

This rich cultural heritage can become an effective mission of “social and cultural harmony”.

The first meeting of Committee on Cultural Harmony Conclave under “Hamari Dharohar” scheme of Minority Affairs Ministry was held on 26th Feb 2017 under the chairmanship of Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi in New Delhi.

It was attended by several renowned artists, musicians, writers.

“Hamari Dharohar” scheme of Ministry of Minority Affairs aims to be helpful in Cultural Harmony Conclave.

The Minister further said that Ghazals, poems, qawwalis, traditional songs-music can be utilized as an effective and constructive mission to shape, showcase and empower India's cultural harmony and heritage.

All programmes of ghazals, poems, qawwalis, traditional songs-music and dance can be organized in different parts of the country under “Hamari Dharohar” scheme.

A high level committee, constituted in this regard, will chalk out a framework for the entire process including nature of the programme, venues, dates, months and the participant musicians, lyricists, dancers, singers and other artists.

The Ministry has been planning to organize the first programme of cultural harmony conclave at Delhi’s Purana Quila.

3)   UNESCO has added which heritage activities/products to its list of intangible heritage in Nov 2016?
- Published on 02 Dec 16

a. Rumba dance from Cuba
b. Beer from Belgium
c. Portuguese pottery
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: All of the above

UNESCO on 30th Nov, added Yoga to its coveted list of intangible heritage, along with Cuba’s Rumba dance and Belgian beer to its coveted list of “intangible” heritage.

The UN body also included Portuguese pottery and Ugandan traditional music in the list

List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in India:

  • Koodiyattam: Sanskrit Theatre, Kerala
  • Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras, Jandiala Guru, Punjab (Inscribed in 2014)
  • Ritual theatre Mudiyett of Kerala
  • Sankirtana: Ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur (Inscribed in 2013)
  • The Tradition of Vedic Chanting
  • Buddhist chanting of Ladakh: recitation of sacred Buddhist texts in the trans-Himalayan Ladakh region, Jammu and Kashmir, India (Inscribed in 2012)
  • Ramlila: the Traditional Performance of the Ramayana (Inscribed in 2008)
  • Chhau dance: a tradition from eastern India (Inscribed in 2010)
  • Ramman: religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal Himalaya
  • Kalbelia: folk songs and dances of Rajasthan
  • Yoga has now been inscribed in the UNESCO list during the 11th session in Ethiopia.
  • India’s proposal for Yoga as an intangible heritage was unanimously supported by 24 members of the UNESCO committee.
  • Yoga became the 13th intangible cultural heritage listed in India.

  • UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage

  • Aims at ensuring better protection of important intangible cultural heritages worldwide and awareness of significance.
  • List was established in 2008.
  • This was the year 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage took effect.

4)   Scientists have made a new discovery In the innermost chamber of the site, said to be the tomb of Jesus. What is the chamber known as?
- Published on 01 Nov 16

a. Ediciule
b. Holy Sepulchre
c. Both of the above
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Ediciule

In the innermost chamber of the site said to be the tomb of Jesus, a restoration team has peeled away a marble layer for the first time to reach out the original rock surface where the body of Jesus Christ was laid.

  • Many historians hold that the original cave identified a few centuries after Jesus’s death as his tomb was obliterated ages ago.
  • The archeologist accompanying the restoration team indicated that ground penetrating radar tests determined the cave walls are standing- at a height of six feet and connected to bedick- behind the marbled panels of the chamber at the core of the Jerusalem’s Church of Holy Sepulchre.
  • Work is part of a historic renovation project to reinforce and preserve the Edicule, a chamber housing the cave where Jesus is said to have been entombed and resurrected.
  • It is the centrepiece of the oldest churches of Christian faith and one of the most important shrines.
  • National Geographic is collaborating with Greek restoration experts for documenting the work.
  • The 12th century building is sitting on 4th century remains.
  • The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the only place where 6 Christian denominations practice their faith at the same site.
  • The Edicule was last restored in 1810 after a fire and is in need of reinforcement following years of exposure to humidity and candle smoke.
  • A massive iron cage is built around the Edicule by British authorities in 1947 for support; it still stands, but is not enough to support the chamber’s weight.
  • Renovations at the holiest spots requires require mutual agreements by church’s various custodians and is hard to secure.
  • The denominations guard different pats of the site and object to the slightest of changes.
  • Israeli police shut down the building after Israel’s Antiquities Authority deemed it unsafe.
  • It prompted Christian denominations to start the repairs.
  • Pilgrims lined throughout the day for chance to crouch the tiny room in Edicule.
  • They also kneel before a white marble encasing, said to cover the surface hewn from the side of the limestone cave where Jesus’s body was laid prior to his resurrection.
  • Church officials closed the Edicule to pilgrims commencing 27th Oct evening and workers used a pulley to slide open the marble slab, in hopes of reaching the burial surface.
  • The slab has not been removed since 1550.
  • Church officials found a layer of debris encasing another marble slab.
  • Main Christian communities that govern the church have allowed a work crew only 60 hours to excavate the inner sanctum.
  • Work is on to reach the tomb’s core and analyse it.
  • The restoration team wants to seal the core of the tomb before injecting parts of the shrine with mortar for reinforcement so material does not seep inside what is considered to be a holy rock.
  • The Edicule’s marble walls had a rectangular window cut into it, as the part of the limestone wall had the tomb of Jesus cut into it.

5)   Which site has been inscribed as India’s first Mixed World Heritage Site on UNESCO World Heritage List?
- Published on 20 Jul 16

a. Kaziranga National Park
b. Khangchendzonga National Park
c. Kanchenjunga National Park
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Khangchendzonga National Park

Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim has been inscribed as India’s first Mixed World Heritage Site on UNESCO World Heritage List by fulfilling the nomination criteria under both national and cultural heritage.

  • The 40th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee granted approval to the inscription of this Indian site on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
  • The IUCN and ICOMOS are two advisory have given a positive recommendation for the 21 member UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
  • KNP has one of the widest attitudinal ranges of any protected area worldwide.
  • Park has an extraordinary vertical sweep of over 7 km within the area of only 178,400 ha and comprises unique diversity of lowlands, valleys and world’s third highest peak, Mt. Khangchendzonga
  • Numerous lakes and glaciers include the 26 km long Zemu glacier dot these barren high altitudes.
  • KNP is home to numerous endemic and rare as well as threatened animal, avian and plant species
  • With this inscription, the number of Indian sites on the World Heritage List has become 35

6)   Research of prehistoric megaliths and tools show Khasi tribe has lived in this state since ______ BCE.
- Published on 13 Jul 16

a. 1200
b. 1240
c. 1230
d. 1250
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 1200

A new study of pre-historic megaliths and tools indicate that Meghalaya’s Khasi drive has been residing in the state since 1200 BCE.

  • The study was conducted on the megaliths and tools discovered in Meghalaya’s Ri-Bhoi district.
  • A megalith is a large stone that forms part of a prehistoric monument.
  • The excavation at Lummawbuh is the first one of a Neolithic site in Meghalaya.

7)   Signet created out of clay with ornamental design was among how many artefacts found by ASI from the Sankkala Tamil civilisation?
- Published on 30 May 16

a. 2000
b. 2500
c. 3000
d. 3500
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 3000

A signet made of clay with ornamental design was among the about 3,000 ancient artefacts found at the Keezhadi Pallai Sandhaipudur village in Sivangaga district during an excavation conducted by a team of experts from the Archaeological Survey of India ( ASI ).

  • According to ASI officials, the ancient settlement at the village, which was on the highway travelled by traders all over the world once, had an underground drainage system which was on par with the Harappan system.
  • The sewage drains had been laid with "baked clay pipe lines”.
  • "The drainage system is similar to what was found in Harappan civilisation site" they said.
  • They claimed that the settlement was more than 2,500 years old, belonging to the ancient Pandiya era.
  • Apart from signets, arrows, iron and copper weapons, rare ornaments and scribbling nail, had been found, Amarnath Ramakrishna said.

8)   ASI has received UNESCO World Heritage Status for which of the following tourist sites?
- Published on 28 Apr 16

a. Ajanta Caves
b. Ellora Caves
c. Taj Mahal
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: All of the above

ASI or Archaeological Survey of India has received approval for the following sites for UNESCO World Heritage status:

  • Ajanta Caves (1983)
  • Ellora Caves (1983)
  • Agra Fort (1983)
  • Taj Mahal (1983)
  • Sun Temple, Konarak (1984)
  • Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984)
  • Churches and Convents of Goa (1986)
  • Group of Temples, Khajuraho (1986)
  • Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986)
  • Group of Monuments, FatehpurSikri (1986)
  • Group of Temples, Pattadakal (1987)
  • Elephanta Caves ( 1987)
  • Great Living Chola temples at Thanjavur, Gangaikondacholapuram and Darasuram (1987 & 2004)
  • Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989)
  • Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi (1993)
  • Qutb Minar Complex, Delhi (1993)
  • Prehistoric Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003)
  • Champaner-Pavagarh Archaeological Park (2004)
  • Red Fort Complex, Delhi (2007)
  • Hill Forts of Rajasthan
  • Rani ki Vav (2014)
  • Mountain Railway of India ( Darjeeling,1999), Nilgiri (2005), Kalka-Shimla(2008)
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004)
  • Under Protection of Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee
  • Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya (2002)
  • Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (2010)
  • Under Protection of Ministry of Environment & Forest
  • Kaziranga National Park (1985)
  • Manas Wild Life Sanctuary (1985)
  • Keoladeo National Park (1985)
  • Sunderban National Park (1987)
  • Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988, 2005)
  • Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra,Tamil Nadu
  • Great Himalayan National Park (2014)

9)   Which famous singer entered the entered the Guinness Book of Records for singing 17695 songs in 12 Indian languages?
- Published on 31 Mar 16

a. P. Susheela Mohan
b. Asha Bhosle
c. Lata Mangeshkar
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: P. Susheela Mohan

While the Guinness Book of Records officially recorded her for singing 17695 songs (solo, duet and chorus backed songs) in twelve Indian languages, Asia Book of Records provided renovation to her for singing 17330 songs.

  • Pulapaka Susheela Mohan, known as P. Susheela, is an Indian playback singer.
  • She is associated with the South Indian cinema for over 60 years.
  • She is the first playback singer to receive National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer in the 1960s and thereafter on multiple occasions
  • She was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the GoI

10)   Where has the Muziris Heritage project been implemented?
- Published on 29 Feb 16

a. Kerala
b. Karnataka
c. Tamil Nadu
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Kerala

This project was initiated 6 years ago. It is an important project for restoring archeological monuments through Thrissur, Enrakulam, Pattanam and Pallipuram. The project is named after Port Muziris where everything from stones to spices was traded. Large ships of ocean traders from across the world including Arabs, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Chinese once came to this port. It is the largest conservation project in the country and the first green project in Kerala. It involves heritage, conservation and tourism. Apart from Athithi Devo Bhava, the Spice Route Initiative that will explore international linkages and collections across Malabar Coast and many parts of the world will be implemented with the support of UNESCO and United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

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