New Beginning And A Brave Ending For Indian Armed Forces

New Beginning And A Brave Ending For Indian Armed Forces

While the iconic aircraft carrier INS Viraat sailed the last time before its dismantling, news of jubilation came from the Indian Navy as it appointed its first female airborne tacticians from warship decks. Let’s have a look at the recent events surrounding Indian Armed Forces.

Crux of the Matter

INS Viraat To Be Dismantled
INS (Indian Naval Ship) Viraat, an Aircraft Carrier ship, arrived on the Alang coast in Bhavnagar district (Gujarat) on 22 September 2020. It would be dismantled “during high tide at 1 PM on September 28” after being decommissioned in 2017 by the Indian Navy, and would be sold as scrap.

INS Viraat belonged to the ‘Centaur-Class aircraft carrier’ category, while having Sea Harriers jet fighters and ‘Anti Submarine aircraft Sea King Mk 42B, Sea King Mk 42 C and Chetak’ helicopters operate from it.

History Of INS Viraat

  • The ship was integrated into the Royal Navy of the UK in 1959 by the name ‘HMS (Her Majesty’s Ship) Hermes‘.
  • It played a vital role in the 1982 Falklands war between the UK and Argentina.
  • It was decommissioned by the UK in 1985, after which India purchased it in 1985-86.
  • The ship was integrated into the Indian Navy in May 1987 as INS Viraat.
  • It played an important role in Operation Jupiter (1989) during the Peacekeeping operation in Sri Lanka.
  • It was deployed in Operation Parakram (2001-02) after terrorist attacks on the Parliament of India.

Indian Armed Forces – Women Make History
Sub Lieutenant (SLt) Kumudini Tyagi and SLt Riti Singh were recently selected as ‘Observers’ (Airborne Tacticians) in the “helicopter stream” of the Indian Navy, becoming the first women airborne tacticians in India to operate from warships’ decks. Earlier, women were restricted to ‘fixed-wing aircraft’ that both ascended from and landed on the shore.

Rear Admiral Antony George claimed that women trained for the first time in “helicopter operations” would eventually lead to women being deployed in “frontline warships of Indian Navy”.

Indian Air Force (IAF) would be inducting a female pilot (name withheld currently) in the ‘Rafale’ squadron, with the pilot currently operating MiG-21 Bison jets. IAF has been integrating women fighter pilots since 2016.

  • The motto of INS Vikrant is, Jayema Sam Yudhi Sprdhah, which is taken from Rigveda and can be translated as “I defeat those who fight against me”. The Rigveda is an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns.
  • The motto of INS Viraat is, Jalameva Yasya, Balameva Tasya. It translates as, “He who rules over the seas is all powerful”.
  • INS Viraat was originally commissioned by the British Royal Navy as HMS Hermes on 18 November 1959, 15 years after she was laid down in June 1944. In April 1986, Hermes was towed from Portsmouth Dockyard to Devonport Dockyard to be refitted, re-activated and sold to India.

100 Years Of Women’s Suffrage In US

100 Years Of Women's Suffrage

Let us take a look at the history of women’s representation in the US and the world after US recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

Crux of the Matter

Women’s Suffrage
On 18th August 1920, the 19th Amendment of the US Constitution was passed which allowed women to vote for the first time across all the states. Prior to the Amendment, several states had partial suffrage which allowed women to vote in certain states in the local elections. However, the Native Americans faced issues even after the amendment was passed.

Timeline Of How Suffrage Was Achieved

  • 1848: The first Women’s Rights Convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York, demanding more rights for women.
  • The movement was diminished amidst the American Civil War beginning in 1861.
  • 1868-70: Amendments in the Constitution allowed all males, including the blacks, to vote.
  • 1869: The National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) was formed by Elizabeth C Stanton and Susan B Anthony. The association rejected the 15th amendment which allowed black males to vote and called for voting rights for all irrespective of gender and colour. Soon afterward, the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) was formed which supported the 15th amendment but had the same end goal as of the National Woman Suffrage Association. The association was formed by Henry Blackwell, Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe etc.
  • 1878: The Woman Suffrage Amendment was introduced in the Parliament, but was rejected in 1887.
  • 1890: NWSA and AWSA merged, and formed the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).
  • 1912: The Bull Moose Party of Theodore Roosevelt became the first major party to support women’s suffrage.
  • 1915: A tour by Mabel Vernon and Sara Bard Field gained 500,000 signatures in favour of women’s suffrage petition to the Congress.
  • 1919: The Woman Suffrage Amendment was reintroduced in Parliament.
  • 1920: On 18th August, the 19th Amendment was passed which granted voting rights to women across all states.

Abysmal Female Representation In The US
Victoria Woodhull was the first female Presidential Candidate of the US, standing in the 1872 elections. However, there have been zero female Presidents and Vice Presidents in the US to date. On the contrary, several female Prime Ministers and Presidents have been observed in other countries so far.

  • Indira Gandhi: First elected in 1966, Indira Gandhi is the first and the only woman Prime Minister of India.
  • Margaret Thatcher: Thatcher became the first elected female leader of a major Western nation, becoming the Prime Minister of the UK in 1979.
  • Vigdís Finnbogadóttir: Finnbogadóttir was elected in 1980 as the President of Iceland.
  • Angela Merkel: Merkel is the current Chancellor of Germany, having been first elected in 2005.
  • Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: Elected as the President of Liberia in 2005, Sirleaf became the first elected female leader in Africa.
  • Jacinda Ardern: Ardern became the Prime Minister of New Zealand in 2017.
  • Sanna Marin: Elected as the Prime Minister of Finland in 2019, Marin became the youngest female leader in the world.

Women’s Suffrage In Other Nations
Several nations have had universal suffrage right from the start, while several nations have had the women’s suffrage before the US.

  • New Zealand: Women’s suffrage was achieved in 1893.
  • Finland: Universal suffrage has been present in the country since 1905.
  • Germany: Achieved Women’s suffrage in 1918.
  • United Kingdom: First women’s suffrage achieved in 1918 when women over age 30 were allowed to vote. Complete women’s suffrage was achieved in 1928.
  • India: Universal suffrage since independence in 1947.
  • Saudi Arabia: Women were allowed to vote in municipal elections for the first time in 2015.
  • The word suffrage comes from Latin suffragium, which initially meant “a vote” or “the right to vote”. Later the word was used in the sixth century with connection to buying influence or profiteering from appointing to office, and eventually the word referred to the bribe but the word regained its Latin meaning by the 17th Century.
  • Emmeline Pankhurst was a British political activist. She is best remembered for organizing the UK suffragette movement. In 1999, Time named her as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, stating that “she shaped an idea of women for our time”.
  • The International Alliance of Women is an international non-governmental organization that works to promote women’s human rights around the world, focusing particularly on empowerment of women and development issues and more broadly on gender equality. It is one of the oldest, largest and most influential organizations in its field.

Women in STEM – World of Technology

Women in STEM - World of Technology

Love Steve Jobs and Elon Musk? But did you know the world of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) has some hidden heroes or rather heroines? As the Internet completes 25 years in India on August 15, let us explore some of the most inspirational women pioneers in technology, whose inventions like parallel computing and Wi-Fi continue to help us in the modern world.

Crux of the Matter

Ada Lovelace – First Machine Visionary
Countess of Lovelace or Augusta Ada King, was an English mathematician and writer. Born a curious mind, when she was 12, she illustrated a guide called “Flyology,” to record her findings on birds and wings.

Calling herself a poetical scientist, she is best known for her work on the father of computing, Charles Babbage‘s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. She had a vision of the capability of computers to go beyond mere number-crunching,

It is also believed that she published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine and became the earlier programmer. In 1981, the Association for Women in Computing inaugurated its Ada Lovelace Award. In fact, Ai-Da, an AI robot launched as a painter and artist in 2019 was named after her.

Hedy Lamarr – The Actress Cum Inventor
She was an American actress and film producer and after her acting career spanning 28 years, she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. During World War II, Lamarr and composer George Antheil developed a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes, an underwater weapon that listens to sound and then fires itself.

This was intended to defeat the threat of jamming, deliberate blocking of authorised wireless communications by the Axis powers (Rome-Berlin-Tokyo). They used frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology i.e transmitting radio signals that rapidly change (“hop”) their carrier frequencies via a transmitter and receiver, in order to prevent eavesdropping.

This was helpful in the creation of Bluetooth technology and legacy versions of Wi-Fi, for which she was work posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.

Grace Hopper – Navy Official And Programmer
She was a computer scientist and rear admiral in the U.S. Navy. After earning a PhD in Maths from Yale, she was a part of an all-female division during the World War II, where she helped program the new Mark I computer at Harvard.

Ironically, Hopper received the ‘Man of the Year’ award in 1969 from the Data Processing Management Association. She helped invent the first working code compiler and FLOW-MATIC, an English-language-based computer language, became the basis for the popular business language COBOL. (COmmon Business-Oriented Language)

Hopper also coined the term ‘bug‘, when her team was working on a machine glitch. She called the problem like a live bug that is stuck in an electrical switch, ‘debugging‘ the computer.

Frances Allen – Compiler Researcher
She was the first woman to become an IBM Fellow and then go on to win the Turing Award, also called the “Nobel Prize of Computing“.

She was also introduced in the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame and received the IEEE Computer Society Charles Babbage Award for her work on compilers and parallel computing. She passed away on her birthday, 4th August this year, due to complications in Alzheimer’s disease.

As a programmer in IBM, she worked on Fortran, one of the earliest computing languages. Then she was assigned the Harvest project for code breaking with the National Security Agency in 1959 & worked on Alpha language.

Her most groundbreaking work was with fellow researcher John Cocke, wherein she wrote a series of papers on optimizing compilers, which helped convert machine code from the human-understandable software languages like C++. This became a foundation of modern computing and Parallelization, in which many calculations are carried out simultaneously – for instance, IBM’s Blue Gene/P massively parallel supercomputer.

  • A 300-page iPhone bill from AT&T Mobility mailed in a box was the subject of a viral video made by YouTube personality Justine Ezarik. The video focused on the unnecessary waste of paper and resulted in AT&T changing its billing practice.
  • The acronym, STEM, was adopted by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2001. However, the acronym STEM predates NSF which was used by a variety of educators including Charles E. Vela, the founder and director of the Center for the Advancement of Hispanics in Science and Engineering Education (CAHSEE).
  • HASS is a term used to group together the academic disciplines of humanities, arts and social sciences. It is used as an academic counterpart to STEM in some countries.
  • Indian writer and mental calculator, Shakuntala Devi, was popularly known as the ‘Human Computer’. She also wrote the book ‘The World Of Homosexuals’, which is considered the first study of homosexuality in India.