Maharaja Ranjit Singh
NEWS: Honouring an iconic Punjab Maharaja.
SOURCE: The Hindu.
He was born on November 13, 1780 in Gujranwala, now in Pakistan.
At that time, Punjab was ruled by powerful chieftains who had divided the territory into Misls (refers to the sovereign states of the Sikh Confederacy, that rose during the 18th century in the Punjab region in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent after the collapse of the Mughal Empire).
Ranjit Singh overthrew the warring Misls and established a unified Sikh empire.
He was given the title Lion of Punjab (Sher-e-Punjab) for his success in freeing Lahore (his capital) from the Afghan invaders.
Modernization of Army
He combined the strong points of the traditional Khalsa army with western advances in warfare to raise Asia’s most powerful indigenous army of that time.
He also employed a large number of European officers, especially French, to train his troops.
He appointed French General Jean Franquis Allard to modernize his army.
Ranjit Singh’s trans-regional empire (spread over several states) included the former Mughal provinces of Lahore and Multan besides part of Kabul and the entire Peshawar.
The boundaries of his state went up to Ladakh — in the northeast, Khyber pass (route the foreign rulers took to invade India) in the northwest, and up to Panjnad in the south where the five rivers of Punjab fell into the Indus.
The Maharaja was known for his just and secular rule.
Both Hindus and Muslims were given powerful positions in his darbar.
He turned Harimandir Sahib at Amritsar into the Golden Temple by covering it with gold.
He is also credited with funding Hazoor Sahib gurudwara at the final resting place of Guru Gobind Singh in Nanded, Maharashtra.
National Mission On Natural Language Translation
NEWS: National mission on natural language translation soon.
SOURCE: The Hindu.
It aims to make science and technology accessible to all by facilitating access to teaching and researching material bilingually — in English and in one’s native Indian language.
It is one of the key missions identified by the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).
To overcome the language barrier, the government planned to set up an ecosystem which involved the Central and State agencies and start-ups.
To achieve this, the government plans to leverage a combination of machine translation and human translation.
The govt. is looking at speech-to-speech machine translation as well as text-to-text machine translation for this additional to human translation.
The IT ministry is the lead agency for implementation of the mission along with the Ministry of HRD and Department of Science and Technology.
Two pronged strategy
Translation activities can also help generate employment for educated unemployed.
The mission would help not just students but also teachers, authors, publishers, translation software developers and general readers.
The PM-STIAC is an overarching body that identifies challenges in certain areas of science and technology.
It then creates a road map to deal with these challenges and presents the recommendations to the Prime Minister.
Besides natural language translation, other missions identified by the body includes Quantum Frontier, AI, National Bio-diversity mission, electric vehicles, BioScience for Human Health and deep ocean exploration.