1. A man, an ideology: The importance of EV Ramasamy Periyar
Born in 1879, Periyar is remembered for the Self Respect Movement to redeem the identity and self-respect of Tamils. He envisaged a Dravida homeland of Dravida Nadu, and launched a political party, Dravidar Kazhagam (DK).
- Periyar started his political career as a Congress worker in his hometown Erode. He quarrelled with Gandhi over the question of separate dining for Brahmin and non-Brahmin students at Gurukkulam, a Congress-sponsored school owned by nationalist leader V V S Iyer in Cheranmahadevi near Tirunelveli.
- After failing to bend the Congress to his view, Periyar resigned from the party in 1925, and associated himself with the Justice Party and the Self Respect Movement, which opposed the dominance of Brahmins in social life, especially the bureaucracy.
- Periyar’s fame spread beyond the Tamil region during the Vaikom Satyagraha of 1924, a mass movement to demand that lower caste persons be given the right to use a public path in front of the famous Vaikom temple. Periyar took part in the agitation with his wife, and was arrested twice. He would later be referred to as Vaikom Veerar (Hero of Vaikom).
- He reconstructed the Tamil identity as an egalitarian ideal that was originally unpolluted by the caste system, and counterposed it against the Indian identity championed by the Congress. He argued that caste was imported to the Tamil region by Aryan Brahmins, who spoke Sanskrit and came from Northern India. In the 1940s, Periyar launched Dravidar Kazhagam, which espoused an independent Dravida Nadu comprising Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, and Kannada speakers. Periyar died in 1973 at the age of 94.
For the average Tamil, Periyar today is an ideology. He stands for a politics that foregrounded social equality, self-respect, and linguistic pride. As a social reformer, he focused on social, cultural and gender inequalities, and his reform agenda questioned matters of faith, gender and tradition. He asked people to be rational in their life choices. He argued that women needed to be independent, not mere child-bearers, and insisted that they be allowed a equal share in employment. C N Annadurai, who was Periyar’s dearest pupil at one time, broke with him, split the DK, and formed the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in 1949.
The universal condemnation of BJP leader H Raja’s social media remarks — he has since removed the post and apologised — underlines the iconic status Periyar enjoys in Tamil Nadu. DK now has limited political influence in Tamil Nadu, but Periyar has grown beyond the DK and even Tamil Nadu. While caste discrimination continues to be prevalent in the state, every political party pays at least lip service to Periyar’s ideals of social and political justice. Periyar is seen as an icon of OBC political assertion. Any attempt to deride him will be seen as an attempt to undermine the gains made by OBCs even beyond Tamil Nadu.
2. ‘Dotard’ Trump to meet ‘rocket man’ Kim
- US President Donald Trump said he was prepared to meet North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in what would be the first face-to-face encounter between leaders from the two countries and could mark a breakthrough in a standoff over the North’s nuclear weapons. Kim and Trump have engaged in an increasingly bellicose exchange of insults over the North’s nuclear and missile programmes, which it pursues in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, before an easing of tension coinciding with last month’s Winter Olympics in the South. Chung said Trump agreed to meet by May in response to Kim’s invitation.
- Both Russia and China, who joined years of on-again, off-again “six-party” talks, along with the United States, the two Koreas and Japan, aimed at ending the standoff, welcomed the new, positive signals after months of deteriorating relations between North Korea and the US
Road to peace
- Signs of a thaw emerged this year, with North and South Korea resuming talks and North Korea attending the Winter Olympics. During the Pyongyang talks this week, the two Koreas agreed on a summit in late April, their first since 2007
- Japan, however, remained cautious. Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and Trump, in a call on Thursday, vowed to continue to enforce sanctions until Pyongyang took “tangible steps … toward denuclearisation,” the White House said in a statement
3. SC Constitution Bench holds passive euthanasia, living wills permissible
In a historic decision, the Supreme Court on Friday declared passive euthanasiaand the right of persons, including the terminally ill, to give advance directives to refuse medical treatment permissible.
A Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, in three concurring opinions, upheld that the fundamental right to life and dignity includes right to refuse treatment and die with dignity.
- The fundamental right to a “meaningful existence” includes a person’s choice to die without suffering, it held.
- Chief Justice Misra spoke about how societal pressure and fear of criminal liability by relatives and medical doctors ultimately led to the suffering and the undignified death of the patient. Chief Justice Misra, in a common judgment with Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, said it was time to “alleviate the agony of an individual” and stand by his right to a dignified passing. A dignified death should follow a meaningful existence, the five-judge Bench agreed in a unanimous voice.
- Justice Sikri said an advance directive or living will from a patient to stop medical treatment at a particular stage — “particularly when he is brain dead or clinically dead or not revivable” — quelled apprehensions of future regret for relatives and criminal action against doctors. “Free will includes the right of a person to refuse medical treatment,” he said.
- A person need not give any reasons nor is he answerable to any authority on why he should write an advanced directive.
- But the judge held that active euthanasia is unlawful.
- For this reason, he said the reasons given by a two-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in the Aruna Shanbaug case, allowing passive euthanasia,were “flawed” as the convoluted procedure to get a go-ahead for passive euthanasia made the dignity of a dying person dependent on the whims and will of third parties.
4. What is active, passive euthanasia and ‘living will’?
The Supreme Court, in a landmark judgement on Friday, decided that passive euthanasia will be legally allowed henceforth in India.
What is active and passive euthanasia?
The apex court, in the Aruna Shanbaug case, said that active euthanasia “entails the use of lethal substances or forces to kill a person, e.g. a lethal injection…”. This means that a terminally-ill patient is administered a lethal drug or substance intentionally in order for them to pass away peacefully, in this case, in the event of terminal illness.
- While legalising passive euthanasia on Friday, the chief bench defined Active euthanasia as “a positive act or affirmative action or act of commission entailing the use of lethal substances or forces to cause the intentional death of a person by direct intervention, e.g., a lethal injection given to a person with terminal cancer who is in terrible agony.”
- Passive euthanasia also called negative euthanasia or non-aggressive euthanasia, on the other hand, was defined by the apex court, as that which “entails withholding of medical treatment for continuance of life, e.g. withholding of antibiotics where without giving it a patient is likely to die…”.
What is ‘living will’?
The “living will” is a person’s right to issue advance directive on the course of his/her treatment, including withdrawal of life support, should such a situation arise. However, there is no way a living will provision can be made foolproof requiring no intervention of the doctor or immediate decisionmakers around a person.
5. SC recognises living will by terminally-ill patients for passive euthanasia
The apex court said that it has laid down guidelines on who would execute the will and how nod for passive euthanasia would be granted by the medical board. The court said its guidelines and directives shall remain in force till a legislation is brought to deal with the issue. The court observed that patients have a right to die with dignity.
- A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Mishra, also comprising justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, had reserved its verdict on a plea on October 11. The CJI, while reading out the judgment, said that though there were four separate opinions of the bench but all the judges were unanimous that the ‘living will’ should be permitted since a person cannot be allowed to continue suffering in a comatose state when he or she doesn’t wish to live. The bench was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Common Cause, saying safeguards were needed while taking a decision by medical boards to withdraw life support of a terminally-ill patient.
- On January 15, 2016, the Centre had said the 241st report of the Law Commission stated that passive euthanasia should be allowed with certain safeguards and there was also a proposed law—Medical Treatment of Terminally Ill Patient (Protection of Patients and Medical Practitioners) Bill, 2006.
- Nearly one lakh female olive ridley sea turtles have turned up on the tranquil nesting ground of the gahirmatha beach off the Bay of Bengal
- 6.04 lakh olive ridley sea turtles ,the world largest rookery of these species ,crawled their way to the Gahirmatha Beach for mass nesting over the past 24 hours as the dug out nests to lay eggs. The mass nesting process begin after the day break and continues till the wee hours.
- It is expected to continue for atleast 5-6 more days.
7. CISF Raising DAY
Central Industrial Security Force Raising day is celebrated on March 10. This year 2018 ,it celebrated 50th Year of excellence in securing the national assets.
- Over 1,54,000 strong CAPF
- CAPF having largest interface
- CAPF having highest percentage of women workforce
- Providing security and fire consultancy services