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Celebrating Maulana Azad’s Birth Anniversary as National Education Day

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Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was an Indian scholar, independence activist,and a senior leader of the Indian National Congress during the Indian independence movement. Following India’s independence, he became the First Minister of Education in the Indian government. He is commonly remembered as Maulana Azad; the word Maulana is an honorific meaning ‘Our Master’ and he had adopted Azad (Free) as his pen name. His contribution to establishing the education foundation in India is recognised by celebrating his birthday as “National Education Day” across India. More Info

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Sardar Patel’s Birth Anniversary Celebrated as ‘Rashtriya Ekta Divas’

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Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (31 October 1875 – 15 December 1950), was an Indian freedom fighter and politician. He served as the first Deputy Prime Minister of India after her independence in 1947. He was an Indian barrister, a senior leader of the Indian National Congress and a founding father of the Republic of India who played a leading role in the country’s struggle for independence and guided its integration into a united, independent nation. In India and elsewhere, he was often called Sardar, meaning “chief” in Hindi, Urdu, and Persian. He acted as Home Minister during the political integration of India and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. He organised non-violent civil disobedience against the British Raj during India’s freedom struggle, becoming one of the most influential leaders in India. As the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India, Patel organised relief efforts for refugees fleeing to Punjab and Delhi from Pakistan and worked to restore peace. He led the task of forging a united India, successfully integrating into the newly independent nation those British colonial provinces that had been “allocated” to India as well as 565 princely states that had been released from British suzerainty in 1947. More Info

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35th Death Anniversary of Indira Gandhi

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Indira Gandhi was an Indian politician, stateswoman and a central figure of the Indian National Congress. She was the first and, to date, the only female Prime Minister of India. Indira Gandhi was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India. She served as Prime Minister from January 1966 to March 1977 and again from January 1980 until her assassination in October 1984, making her the second longest-serving Indian Prime Minister, after her father. As Prime Minister, Gandhi was known for her political intransigency and unprecedented centralisation of power. She went to war with Pakistan in support of the independence movement and war of independence in East Pakistan, which resulted in an Indian victory and the creation of Bangladesh, as well as increasing India’s influence to the point where it became the regional hegemon of South Asia. Citing separatist tendencies and in response to a call for revolution, Gandhi instituted a state of emergency from 1975 to 1977 where basic civil liberties were suspended and the press was censored. Widespread atrocities were carried out during the emergency. In 1980, she returned to power after free and fair elections. After Gandhi ordered military action in the Golden Temple in Operation Blue Star, she was assassinated by her own bodyguards and Sikh nationalists on 31 October 1984. In 1999, Indira Gandhi was named “Woman of the Millennium” in an online poll organised by the BBC.

US Formally Recognizes Armenian Genocide

The US House of Representatives voted 405-11 to recognize the Armenian genocide during World War I by the erstwhile Ottoman Empire. As per conservative estimates, more than 1.5 million Armenians were massacred by Ottoman forces.

Crux of the Matter
  • This resolution comes on the heels of the recent invasion of Syria by Turkey where Turkish forces assaulted Kurdish forces. Ground reports mentioned massive human rights violations by the Turkish army on Kurdish common folk.
  • The Turkish assault on the Kurds was facilitated by President Trump’s move to pull out American troops after a call with Turkish president Erdogan. The House also voted overwhelmingly to impose economic sanctions on Turkey for their military misadventure.
  • Turkey has long denied the genocide and the country’s foreign minister condemned the resolution as “an attempt to rewrite history”.
  • House speaker Nancy Pelosi (Democrat) said, “If we ignore history, then we are destined to witness the mistakes of the past be repeated. Recent attacks by the Turkish military against the Kurdish people are a stark reminder of the danger in our own time.”
  • Notably, Democrat representative Ilhan Omar, who had recently publicly condemned India on the Kashmir issue and refused to acknowledge Pakistan’s hand in promoting cross border terrorism in the valley, refrained from supporting the resolution.
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The Armenian Genocide was the mass systematic extermination and expulsion of 1.5 million ethnic Armenians within the Ottoman Empire (most of whom were citizens) by the Ottoman government from approximately 1914 to 1923. The starting date is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, the day that Ottoman authorities rounded up, arrested, and deported from Constantinople (now Istanbul) to the region of Angora (Ankara), 235 to 270 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders, the majority of whom were eventually murdered. The genocide was carried out during and after World War I and implemented in two phases—the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and subjection of army conscripts to forced labour, followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly, and the infirm on death marches leading to the Syrian Desert. Driven forward by military escorts, the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to periodic robbery, rape, and massacre. Other ethnic groups were similarly targeted for extermination in the Assyrian genocide and the Greek genocide, and their treatment is considered by some historians to be part of the same genocidal policy. More Info

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Picasso’s 138th Birth Anniversary

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Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright who spent most of his adult life in France. Regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a dramatic portrayal of the bombing of Guernica by the German and Italian airforces during the Spanish Civil War. More Info