Art & Culture - Current Affairs Questions and Answers

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1)   What is the name of the living goddess of Nepal?
- Published on 29 Sep 17

a. Kumari
b. Rani
c. Rajkumari
d. Both a and c
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Kumari

A three-year-old girl has become Nepal’s new living goddess, revered by both Hindus and Buddhists in the Himalayan nation.

Trishna Shakya was carried in a religious ceremony to a temple palace in the heart of the Nepalese capital where she is to live until just before puberty.

She was among four final contestants from the Shakya clan for the position of living goddess, called “Kumari.”

Soon after Trishna’s arrival at the temple palace, her predecessor, 12-year-old Matina Shakya, left from a rear entrance on a palanquin carried by her family and supporters.

The ceremony took place on the eighth day of the two-week-long Dasain festival, the main festival in Nepal.

2)   Which initiative was launched to promote tribal products and empower India’s tribal artisans on 2nd Sept 2017?
- Published on 04 Sep 17

a. Festival Offers
b. TRIFED Offers
c. Tribal Offers
d. Handicrafts Offers
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Festival Offers

Minister of Tribal Affairs Shri Jual Oram inaugurated the ‘Festival Offers’ to promote Tribal Products and empower Tribal Artisans of the Country.

The Tribes India showroom is not only for Exhibiting Tribal Arts and Handicrafts but also for Tribal Empowerment.

Ministry has planned for opening Exhibition cum Sale Outlets for Tribal Products and inviting artisans for demo all throughout the country

TRIFED: Know More

  • Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development of India Ltd., (TRIFED) is an organization under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India.
  • It is engaged in marketing development of tribal products including tribal art & craft under the brand name “TRIBES INDIA”.
  • The main mandate of TRIFED is capability enhancement of the tribals, promotion of tribal products and creation of marketing opportunities for the tribals with a view to ensuring them fair prices for their products and augmenting their income on sustainable basis.
  • Towards the attainment of this mandate, TRIFED is engaged in the retail operations for marketing of unique and ethnic tribal handicrafts and natural products in high end markets through a chain of retail outlets under the brand name “TRIBES INDIA” across the country.
  • It also focuses on trainings for skill up-gradation and capacity building of tribal artisans and gatherers of Minor Forest Produce.
  • TRIFED, with its Head Office at New Delhi, has a network of 14 Regional Offices and a chain of retail outlets (expanding every year) across the country.

3)   Aarchaeologists discovered a six feet three inch statue in which country?
- Published on 01 Aug 17

a. Cambodia
b. Vietnam
c. Burma
d. Bhutan
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Cambodia

Archaeologists at Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple complex studying the site of a hospital from eight to nine centuries ago say they have found a large statue in their excavations.

The government agency that oversees the complex, the Apsara Authority, said on its website that the statue measuring six feet and three inches in height and 23 inches in width was discovered on 30th July 2017 by its team, working with experts from Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

It is one of the largest statues from the era to be unearthed in recent years.

The agency said the statue, believed to be from the 12th or 13th century, is thought to have been a symbolic guardian of the entrance of the hospital.

It will be put on public exhibition in the museum in the northwestern province of Siem Reap, where Angkor is located.

In late 2011, archaeologists at the temple complex unearthed the two largest Buddhist statues found there in eight decades.

Angkor Vat: Know More

  • Angkor was the capital of the Khmer Empire, which flourished from approximately the 9th to the 15th centuries.
  • Large numbers of architectural and religious artefacts have been looted from there and sold overseas.
  • Many others were buried for safekeeping during a civil war in the 1970s.

4)   Which Indian city is the first to make it to the UNESCO World Heritage List?
- Published on 11 Jul 17

a. Kolkata
b. Delhi
c. Chennai
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: None of the above

UN cultural agency Unesco on 8th July 2017 declared the 600-year-old walled city of Ahmedabad as a world heritage city, the first Indian city to make it to the list.

The World Heritage Committee of Unesco met in Karlow, Poland on Saturday night where the decision was made.

This journey began in 2010 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi proffered the dossier of Ahmedabad to Unesco.

With this title, the Walled City of Ahmedabad has joined Paris, Vienna, Cairo, Brussels, Rome and Edinburgh.

Of the 287 world heritage cities across the globe, the only two cities in the Indian subcontinent which enjoy the status are Bhaktapur in Nepal and Galle in Sri Lanka.

The committee also added Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, to its list of World Heritage sites on Saturday. Earlier on Friday, it added Hebron-Al Khalil Old Town (Palestine) and W-Arly-Pendjari Complex (Benin, Burkina Faso) to the list.

It also added the site of Hebron-Al Khalil to the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger.

For over 600 years, Ahmedabad has stood for peace, as a landmark city where Mahatma Gandhi began India’s freedom struggle.

It has stood for unity with its elegant carvings in its Hindu and Jain temples as well as standing as one of the finest examples of Indo-Islamic architecture and Hindu Muslim art.

And beyond this, it epitomizes the United Nation’s objective of sustainable development as it accelerates in its development, chosen to be one of India’s first smart cities, while preserving its ancient heritage.

The nomination of Ahmedabad was supported by about 20 countries including Turkey, Lebanon, Tunisia, Portugal, Peru, Croatia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, South Korea, Croatia, Cuba and Poland.

Ahmedabad’s journey towards attaining a world heritage tag began in 1984 when the first study for conserving heritage structures was instituted by Ford Foundation.

In March 2011, Ahmedabad made it to Unesco’s tentative list of world heritage sites.

In January 2016, it was chosen over Delhi and Mumbai as India’s entry for the title.

Ahmedabad has about 25 ASI (Archaeological Survey of India)-protected structures, hundreds of ‘pols’(housing clusters in the walled city areas of Ahmedabad) that capture the essence of community living, and numerous sites associated with Gandhi, who lived here from 1915 to 1930.

This makes the walled city of Ahmedabad the first city in India and the third in Asia to be inscribed to the World Heritage List. In the past 3 years alone, India has managed to put five built heritage sites on the world heritage list of UNESCO.

India now has overall 36 World Heritage Inscriptions with 28 Cultural, 07 Natural and 01 Mixed site.

While India stands second largest in number after China in terms of number of world heritage properties in ASPAC (Asia and Pacific) region, it is overall seventh in the world.

Ahmedabad: Know More

  • Founded in 15th century, the walled city of Ahmadabad, on the eastern bank of the Sabarmati river, presents a rich architectural heritage.
  • Within this complex are 28 ASI Centrally Protected Monuments.
  • The urban structures of the historic city of Ahmedabad are distinctive due to their puras (neighbourhoods), pols (residential streets), and khadki (inner entrances to pols) largely made of timber.
  • The historic architecture reflects symbols and myths connected with its inhabitants.
  • The urban fabric is made up of densely-packed traditional houses (pols) in gated traditional streets (puras) with characteristic features such as bird feeders, public wells and religious institutions.
  • It is a unique example of multi-religious and multicultural coexistence.
  • The inscription has been done under Criteria (ii) and (v) as defined in the UNESCO's Operational Guidelines, 2016. Criterion (ii) refers to the important interchange of human values, over a span of time on development of architecture, monumental arts, town planning and landscape while Criterion (v) refers to being an outstanding example of human settlement and land use.
  • Thus, the acceptance of the proposal highlights historic city of Ahmedabad's exemplary settlement architecture and town planning.

5)   Where has a 1700 year old mummy been discovered?
- Published on 03 Jul 17

a. Ancient Silk Road
b. Edge of Qinghai-Tibet plateau
c. Dunhuang
d. Both a and b
e. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

China has unearthed the mummified remains of a middle-aged man on a less frequented section of the ancient Silk Road on the edge of China’s Qinghai-Tibet plateau.

The mummy is believed to be 1,700 years old. It was found at a construction site in the town of Mang’ai.

It is perhaps the oldest and the best-preserved mummy discovered on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

The body measures 1.62 metres and features perfectly preserved skin and hair remnants. The body is believed to have belonged to a man in his 40s.

To know further about the man’s ethnicity and identity, archaeologists will conduct DNA tests. Besides this, the mummy was found amidst dried reeds, dyed cloth mats, a horse’s hoof, and sheep bones, all of which were thought to be funeral objects for the upper class of the time.

The area where the body was found is on the northern edge of the plateau close to Taklamakan Desert, on a less travelled off-shoot route of the ancient Silk Road.

Traders took this route to avoid conflict on the Hexi Corridor, the much-popular main road.

Mummies are usually formed in very dry environments which prevent bodies from decay.

6)   UNESCO has named which city as the world book capital for 2019?
- Published on 30 Jun 17

a. Madrid
b. New Delhi
c. Buenos Aires
d. Sharjah
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Sharjah

UNESCO has named Sharjah as the World Book Capital for 2019. Sharjah was chosen for its efforts to make books accessible to its entire population.

Sharjah was selected to underline the efforts taken by it to make books accessible for reading to as many people as possible, especially the marginalised populations.

It has followed an innovative and inclusive community-focused activity programme to engage people, in particular, the very large migrant population.

Sharjah is the 19th city to be named as World Book Capital by the UNESCO. The earlier cities which were named as World Book Capital are: Madrid (2001), Alexandria (2002), New Delhi (2003), Antwerp (2004), Montreal (2005), Turin (2006), Bogota (2007), Amsterdam (2008), Beirut (2009), Ljubljana (2010), Buenos Aires (2011), Yerevan (2012), Bangkok (2013), Port Harcourt (2014), Incheon (2015), Wroclaw (2016), Conakry (2017) and Athens (2018).

Sharjah has become the first among the Gulf Cooperation Council and third in the Arab world and the Middle East to receive this prestigious recognition.

The GCC countries include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Earlier, it has received various accolades like Capital of Arab Culture (1998), Capital of Islamic Culture (2014), and Capital of Arab Tourism (2015) and so on.

World Book Capital City: Know More

  • UNESCO has been annually designating a city as World Book Capital City beginning with the designation of Madrid as World Book Capital City in 2001.
  • For designating a city, UNESCO invites the International Publishers Association, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, and the International Booksellers Federation to nominate and take part in deciding the World Book Capital.
  • The designation of a city does not include any financial prize.
  • It acknowledges the programmes followed by the city dedicated to books and reading.

7)   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.

8)   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.

9)   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.

10)   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.

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