Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs – 7th September 2023



Today’s Topics List:

  1. Nataraj Statue at Bharat mandapam

  2. Driest August, Falling Reservoirs

  3. Ban on Caste discrimination – California

  4. Digene: The Recalled drug




Nataraj Statue at Bharat mandapam

    • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has remarked that the magnificent Nataraja statue at Bharat Mandapam brings to life aspects of India’s rich history and culture.

Nataraj Statue:

  • This poised sculpture of Nataraja belongs to the medieval era and originated in South India under the patronage of the Chola Dynasty in 12th century CE.
    • It is 96.0 cm tall, 82.8 cm wide and 28.2 cm in depth.
    • It is currently on display at the National Museum, New Delhi in the gallery of Chola Bronzes.

Historical Significance:

  • Archeometric, iconographic and literary evidence shows that the bronze representations of Shiva’s Ananda Tandava first appeared in the Pallava period between 7th century CE and mid 9th century CE.
    • Pallava productions of the Nataraja in bronze were borrowed heavily from the Nataraja wooden sculptures.
    • The later Chola craftsmen began experimenting with the greater tensile strength of metal and thus, began to produce figures that were flared and dynamic as opposed to the Pallava sculptures that were close-set and linear.
  • This Nataraja can hence be dated to the era of the Chola Dynasty.
    • Tanjavur or Tanjai was the capital of the imperial Cholas, both in the political and ceremonial sense.
    • Further, the physical and symbolic centre of the capital was a temple dedicated to Shiva, built during the reign of Rajaraja Chola I. The temple was associated very closely with the royals. It was named ‘Rajarajeshvara Temple’ after the incumbent king.
  • Although Shiva was depicted in many divine roles, it was the Shiva Nataraja which became a symbol of Chola power.
    • This sculpture would be clothed and ornamented; it played a significant role in the various temple rituals.
    • Many Shiva temples in southern India have a separate Natana Sabha where the image of Nataraja would have been placed.

Cultural Significance:

  • The Chola period is well known for its metal sculptures. It is known for the high standard of aesthetic and technical skill achieved by the craftsmen during this period.
    • Metal sculptures both in the South and North India were made using the ‘Lost-Wax’ process.
    • While South India produced solid sculptures, North India produced hollow ones.
  • Most metal sculptures produced in the South were made of an alloy of five metalscopper, silver, gold, tin, and lead.
  • Within the literature of Shaivite iconography, the dancing Shiva was depicted as either angry or calm.
    • His cosmic dance would signify the cyclical creation and destruction of the universe.
    • He is usually depicted with four arms carrying a Danda (staff), Gaja (an elephant symbol), a flame which signifies destruction and its counterpart, the Damru (drum), which signifies creation.
    • His front right hand is in the Abhaya Mudra.
    • He is shown wearing a snake ornament and dancing on Muyalaka the dwarf who signifies ignorance and evil.

Artistic Significance:

  • Nataraja is regarded as the ‘Lord of Dance’ and his dance is a manifestation of his panchkrityas or the five activities of Shiva that are creation, preservation, destruction, veiling and grace
    • On the forearm of his right hand is placed a bhujanga-valaya which is a bracelet shaped like a coiled snake.
    • The left leg of Nataraja is raised diagonally towards the right one with its foot up in the air denoting the path of salvation.
    • The image of Shiva is encircled in a prabhamandala, that is the circle of fire.
    • Adorning the head of the lord is a crown of coiled hair (jatamukuta), embellished with the river Goddess Ganga, a snake, jewels, flowers, a crescent moon, and a human skull.
    • Several jatas emerge from the crown on either side spreading horizontally, touching the prabhamandala.
    • Shiva is adorned with a pearl necklace, a yajnopavita that is a sacred thread, urassutra (a chest band), rings, anklets, and a Makara-kundala in the right ear and Patra-kundala on his left ear.
    • The former refers to an earring shaped like a Makara that is a mythical fish-like creature, while the latter refers to earrings shaped as coconut or palmyra leaves.



Driest August, Falling Reservoirs

    • August month has more than 35% deficiency in Rainfall, which had impacted the water storage in Country’s reservoirs.
      • Since, India’s bulk of rainfall (75%) comes during South West monsoon season ( 4 months), these reservoirs are crucial for rest of the year.

What is the present level of water in reservoirs:

  • The cumulative amount of water in the 150 large and important reservoirs fell below the normal level in August.
    • The latest data from the Central Water Commission (CWC) show that these 150 reservoirs across the country had about 113 billion cubic meters (BCM).
    • It is about 10% below the normal or average of the last 10 years – storage at this time of the year.
  • The biggest deficit is in the reservoirs of South India, where the August deficiency of rainfall is the highest.
    • There are 42 large reservoirs in this region, which held together about 53 BMC od water on August 31, which represents 49% of their combined capacity.
    • Normally, these reservoirs are full to about 67% of their combined capacity at this time of the year.

Why August Rainfall is Important:

  • August is usually the month when these reservoirs see their storage levels going up.
    • It is the second rainiest month accounting for nearly 22% of the rainfall.
    • July is the rainiest with 24% rainfall.

What happened this August:

  • 2023 August was the driest August in more than 120 years for which the records atre available.
    • It produced only about 162 mm of rain in the country as a whole.
    • Normally it is expected to be almost 255mm, which is a deficiency od 36%.
  • Central India had a rainfall deficiency of 47%, South India had a 60% deficit in August. The east and North east region was the only one that received normal rainfall.
    • Incidentally, East and northeast are the only regions where water levels in the reservoirs did not show a declining trend in august.

Impact of the Dry August:

  • It resulted in an unexpected increase in power demand, mainly for irrigation activities. So, Power generation touched a record high in August.
    • Due to lower water levels in reservoirs, the additional power demand could not be met by hydro power.
    • This could be done through additional generation by coal fired powerplants.
    • In August, the share of coal in total power generation increased to 66.7% in August, which is bad from the perspective of Climate Change.

What are the prospects:

  • The first half of September is expected to bring decent rainfall, especially in southern region, which might improve the situation in reservoirs.
    • Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted a rainfall which would not be more than 10% deficient.
    • But, El Nino in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, which is still gaining in strength is a major threat.






Nagarjuna Sagar






Tamil Nadu














Gobind Sagar







Ban on Caste discrimination – California

    • California lawmakers voted to outlaw discrimination based on caste, adding protections for people of South Asian descent.
      • The South Asian descent people say they have been left out of traditional American Safeguards for fairness in employment and housing.
      • South Asians have been pushing for caste protection in the US.
      • Many Universities have added caste to their non- discrimination policies, including University of California and California State University
    • The Bill is a first of its kind in the US.
      • This bill would redefine “ancestry” to include “lineal descent, heritage, parentage, Caste or any hereditary social status.
    • California could become the first state to ban caste discrimination.
      • In February, Seattle became the first city to ban caste based discrimination



Digene: The Recalled drug


  • Drug manufacturer Abbott India has withdrawn all batches of the popular antacid syrup Digene gel manufactured at its Goa facility.
    • Customers have reported that the liquid in the bottle had turned white, tasted bitter and had pungent smell. The syrup is usually pink with a sweetish taste.
    • It was issued through a public notice issued by Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation.
  • The notice said, Other than gel, consuming Digene in tablet form and stick packs is safe and Digene Gel manufactured at its facilities other than the Goa is safe.

What happened:

  • The company first withdrew one batch of its product available in mint flavour and four batches in orange flavour.
  • Within a week it recalled all Digene batches sold in mint, orange and mixed fruit flavours manufactured at its goa facility.

What is Digene used for?

  • It is prescribed for acidity and its symptoms such as heart burn, stomach discomfort, abdominal pain, and gas.
    • It can be prescribed for gastritis (inflammation of stomach lining) and acid reflux (a condition where stomach acid flows back to the food pipe).
    • It uses basic compounds like magnesium hydroxide to neutralise the stomach acid.

What do Doctors say?

  • For the products which were withdrawn, Doctors said, it should not be consumed and patients should opt for alternatives.
    • Long-term use of Digene can lead to issues of the Kidney and bones.
    • People should take such medicines only under the guidance of a doctor if they need it for long term use.
    • It can lead to elevated calcium levels and cause a condition known as milk-alkali syndrome, an elevated pH of the body and kidney damage.

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