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Current Affairs – 27 May 2021

Current Affairs (27th May 2021)

Indian youth marrying later

Context:

  • As norms and values around marriage and family life change, the Indian youth too are being influenced by recent trends. Compared to a decade ago, youth are now marrying later in life.
  • Lokniti-CSDS Youth Studies in 2016 and 2007 show the proportion of married youth decreased by eight percentage points from 55% In 2007 to 47% in 2016.

About:

  • A much higher share of young men were unmarried (61%) compared to women (41%).
  • Educational attainment too is an important factor associated with marriage. One observes a decline in the proportion of married youth with successive levels of education.

Marital preferences

  • In an age of online dating, growth of social networking and matrimonial sites, arranged marriages are still a preferred choice: 84% of the married youth in 2016 said their marriage was decided by families and only 6% reported self-choice.
  • Unmarried youth too showed an inclination towards arranged marriages with 50% saying they would opt for this kind of marriage.
  • Only 12% would opt for self-choice marriage. Surprisingly, the 2016 study indicates that a mere 3% of youth had placed a matrimonial advertisement.
  • 31% of the youth said their parents will have or had a lot of influence on their marriage This influence was greater for women (35%) than men (28%).
  • Data from a recent study, ‘Politics and Society between Election’, show there is some change in attitudes — if not in practice — when it comes to decision-making for women in marriage: 72 % support women’s say in when to get married and 74 % in whom to marry.
  • There has been an attitude shift on the importance of marriage with an increase in acceptance of being single. Though close to 5 in 10 Indian youth said it is important to get married, this is much lower than 8 in 10 a decade ago.
  • Barring non-literates, all other groups were found to be over twice more likely to express this sentiment than they were a decade ago.

Caste & religion

  • The Youth Study 2016 shows that marriage across caste and religion is still not accepted in an arranged marriage set-up.
  • Among the married youth, very few had opted for inter-caste (4%) or marriage outside their religion (3%). These were more prominent among love marriages (inter-caste 34%; inter-religious 12 %).
  • Its acceptance was much higher than what was in practice. One notices an upward trend in acceptance for inter-caste marriages, from 31% in 2007 to 56% in 2016.
  • On the contrary, the acceptance of inter-religious marriage is much lower, with 47% approving of it and 45% considering it wrong.
  • Youth who had an arranged marriage displayed more resistance towards the idea of inter-caste and inter-religious marriages than those whose marriage had been self-arranged.
  • Less than a quarter of youth consider love affair between two boys or two girls as right (24% and 26% respectively).
  • Over half 53% in 2016 were opposed to dating before marriage, but this too has declined from 2007 (60%). However, 67% youth consider the idea of live-in before marriage wrong.

Life partner consideration

  • When it comes to characteristics one seeks in one’s life partner, the youth seem rather vague.
  • Close to half the respondents did not respond to the question. Among those who responded, 14% said their biggest consideration was that the person should have a good nature and simple personality; 8% gave priority to education and 5% each to being respectful and understanding and being traditional, cultured and having moral values.
  • Another 5% said looks and skin colour were their biggest consideration. The spouse’s profession and salary were important to about 4%.
  • A higher proportion of men gave primacy to qualities such as education and looks, especially skin colour.
  • Young womenwere more likely to give importance to profession and salary compared to young men. On most other parameters, there was no striking difference between men and women.

Conclusion:

  • The youth are marrying late; the institution of arranged marriage is still intact; marrying across caste or religion is still not much accepted; and overall, attitudes to marriage remain within the boundaries of traditional thinking.

 

Reclining Buddha 

Context:

  • On Buddha Jayanti, or Vesak — India’s largest statue of the Reclining Buddha was to have been installed at the Buddha International Welfare Mission temple in Bodh Gaya.
  • The ceremony has been put off due to COVID-19 restrictions, but the giant 100-foot fibreglass statue remains a fascinating work of art, as much for its size as for the way

The Reclining Buddha

  • It represents The Buddha during his last illness, about to enter Parinirvana, the stage of great salvation after death that can only be attained by enlightened souls.
  • The Buddha’s death came when he was 80 years old, in a state of meditation, in Kushinagar in eastern Uttar Pradesh, close to the state’s border with Bihar.
  • The Reclining Buddha comes from this very well-recorded final moment of the Buddha’s life, which is why it could be recreated visually with such distinct details in statues and paintings.
  • This also signifies the Buddha’s last deeksha — even while on his deathbed, he took a follower into the fold.
  • Mahaparinirvana of the Buddha is supposed to be a very important event that happened in Kushinagar; it is not simply a demise, it is the great demise, after which there is no rebirth for him. So, it is his final going away.

Iconographic representation

  • Statues and images of the Reclining Buddha show him lying on his right side, his head resting on a cushion or on his right elbow.
  • It is a popular iconographic depiction in Buddhismand is meant to show that all beings have the potential to be awakened and be released from the cycle of death and rebirth.
  • The Reclining Buddha was first depicted in Gandhara artand peaked during the Kushana period.
  • Since the Buddha was against idol worship, in the centuries immediately following his parinirvana (483 BC), his representation was through symbols.
  • As the devotional aspect subsequently entered Buddhist practice, however, iconographic representations of The Buddha began.

Reclining Buddha outside India

  • In Sri Lanka and India, the Buddha is mostly shown in sitting postures, while the reclining postures are more prevalent in Thailand and other parts of South East Asia.
  • The largest Reclining Buddha in the world is the 600-foot Winsein Tawya Buddha built in 1992 in Mawlamyine, Myanmar.
  • In the late 15th century, a 70-metre statue of the Reclining Buddha was built at the Hindu temple site of Baphuon in Cambodia’s Angkor.
  • The Bhamala Buddha Parinirvana in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which dates back to the 2nd century CE, is considered the oldest statue of its kind in the world.
  • There are several statues of the Reclining Buddha in China, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Reclining Buddha in India

  • Cave No. 26 of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ajanta contains a 24-foot-long and nine-foot-tall sculpture of the Reclining Buddha, believed to have been carved in the 5th century CE.
  • Kushinagarhas a 6-metre-long red sandstone monolith statue of the Reclining Buddha inside the Parinirvana Stupa.

Other depictions of the Buddha

  • At the Mahabodhi temple, the Buddha is sitting in the bhoomi-sparsha mudra, where his hand is pointing towards the ground. It symbolises earth as being witness to his enlightenment.
  • At Sarnath, where the Buddha gave his first sermon, the stone statue has a hand gesture called the dharma-chakra mudra, which signifies preaching. This is also the most popular depiction in India, along with the Bodhi tree depiction.
  • Buddha is depicted in over a hundred poses around the world. While the Sitting Buddha — most common depiction — is believed to be teaching or meditating, the Standing Buddha signifies rising to teach after reaching nirvana.
  • The Walking Buddha is either beginning his journey toward enlightenment or returning after giving a sermon. This is the least common of the Buddha postures, and is seen mostly in Thailand.
  • The Buddha statues found in South East Asia are an amalgamation of all his various postures and life events, including mahaparinirvana, but not limited to it.

 

New IT rules

Context:

  • ‘The Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021’ would come into effect soon.
  • The IT rules, 2021 contain rules for social media intermediaries such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, Twitter, and Telegram.

Noncompliance:

  • Despite the closing in on the last date for compliance, most platforms are yet to fully comply with the new rules.
  • While all the concerned companies have vowed to comply with the new rules, some have sought more time for compliance and asked for more consultation with the government agencies over some provisions of the rules.

Chance of misuse:

  • New rules may amount to an overreach and lead to suppression of the right to free expression of people on these platforms.
  • New rules can arm the ruling government to take undue advantage of the power to regulate to suppress views against the ruling dispensation.

Consequences of noncompliance:

  • Though there is no clarity on the immediate consequences of non-compliance. However, experts say these companies could lose the ‘safe harbour’ protection.
  • The safe harbour protection gives the social media intermediaries protection against liability (civil as well as criminal) for content posted on their platform by third party users.
  • The safe harbour protection is granted under Section 79 of the IT Act.
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