Table of Contents
- Indian Sludge finds ‘high potential’ for use as Fertilizer
Facts for Prelims
- Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy (MRT)
- Carbon Dating
- Visva-Bharati University
Anti-Conversion Legislation In India
The Uttar Pradesh government recently provided data about the Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act amidst the current controversy surrounding The Kerala Story film. The government disclosed that there were 427 cases related to conversions reported between January 1, 2021, and April 30, 2023.
Status of Anti-Conversion Laws:
- Article 25 of the Indian Constitution guarantees the freedom to practice, profess, and propagate any religion.
- Religious groups have the right to control their own religious affairs, considering public morality, health, and order.
- No national restrictions or regulations on religious conversions.
- Some states have enacted \”Freedom of Religion\” laws to prohibit forced or fraudulent conversions.
- Anti-conversion laws vary among states, with different provisions and levels of stringency.
- Permission from the government is often required for individuals seeking to convert.
Controversy and Debate:
- Anti-conversion laws have sparked controversy and discussions in recent years.
- Supporters argue they protect cultural and social cohesion, while critics claim they suppress minority religions and violate freedom of religion.
- Supreme Court has ruled that these laws are constitutional as long as they do not interfere with an individual\’s right to freedom of religion.
Supreme Court\’s Observations:
- Verdict in Rev. Stainislaus vs. State of Madhya Pradesh:
- Article 25 allows for the propagation of one\’s religion but not the conversion of others by force.
- Forced religious conversions are considered dangerous and can affect national security.
- The Union government is urged to inform the court about measures taken to prevent such occurrences.
Arguments in Favor of Anti-Conversion Laws:
- Focus on preventing forced conversions.
- Fundamental right to propagate religion does not extend to forced conversions.
- No fundamental right to convert others to one\’s own religion.
Arguments against Anti-Conversion Laws:
- Accusation that these laws target religious minorities and interfaith couples.
- Concern that voluntary conversions may also be targeted, violating freedom of conscience.
- Some argue these laws are unreasonable and unfair, conflicting with constitutional rights.
Right to Freedom of Religion in India:
- Indian Constitution guarantees the freedom to practice, profess, and propagate religion.
- Separation of religious affairs from the power of the State.
- Constitutional provisions protect freedom of conscience, religious management, tax payment, and attendance at religious institutions.
- Strengthen anti-conversion laws to prevent use of force or deception.
- Laws should not discriminate among religions when identifying perpetrators.
Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy (MRT)
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the U.K. fertility regulator, recently confirmed that less than five children have been born using mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT) as of April 2023.
About Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy (MRT):
What is it?
- A new type of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) technique.
- Replaces a woman\’s abnormal mitochondrial DNA (mt-DNA) with healthy DNA from a donor.
Why is MRT done?
- To prevent the transmission of heritable genetic diseases caused by mitochondrial DNA mutations.
- Focuses on women who are carriers of mitochondrial diseases.
How is MRT carried out?
- Uses an egg from a donor without mutations.
- The nucleus of the egg is removed and replaced with the nuclear DNA from the woman with mitochondrial DNA mutations.
- The egg is then fertilized with the father\’s sperm in a lab.
- If the embryo grows successfully, it can be transferred during IVF without mitochondrial disease.
About In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF):
What is IVF?
- An assisted reproductive technology where fertilization occurs outside the human body.
- Eggs and sperm are combined in a lab to create embryos.
- The embryos are later placed into the uterus for pregnancy.
What are mitochondria?
- Membrane-bound cell organelles.
- Generate chemical energy required for the cell\’s biochemical reactions.
- Referred to as the \”powerhouses\” of the cell.
- Produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the cell\’s energy currency.
- Mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA are usually inherited exclusively from the mother.
The Allahabad High Court recently ordered a “scientific survey”, including carbon dating, of a “Shivling” said to have been found at the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi after setting aside a lower court order on the issue.
About Carbon Dating:
What is Carbon Dating?
- A method used to determine the age of organic materials that were once living.
- Relies on the radioactive decay of Carbon-14 (C-14) isotopes.
How does Carbon Dating work?
- Living organisms contain both stable Carbon-12 (C-12) and radioactive Carbon-14 (C-14).
- When organisms die, they no longer interact with the atmosphere, and C-14 begins to decay at a known rate.
- By measuring the ratio of C-12 to C-14 in the remains, the approximate time of death can be estimated.
Limitations of Carbon Dating:
- Cannot be used to determine the age of non-living objects like rocks.
- Accuracy decreases for materials older than 40,000-50,000 years.
Radiometric Dating Methods:
What are Radiometric Dating Methods?
- Used to determine the age of inanimate objects.
- Relies on the decay of radioactive elements present in the material.
- Measures the ratio of decaying potassium isotopes to argon isotopes in rocks.
- Provides insights into the age of rocks.
- Measures the ratios of radioactive uranium and thorium isotopes to stable lead isotopes in rocks.
- Helps estimate the age of rocks.
Cosmogenic Nuclide Dating:
- Determines the length of time an object has been exposed to sunlight.
- Often used to study the age of ice cores in polar regions.
Visva-Bharati University is set to become the first living heritage university to receive the Unesco World Heritage tag.
About Visva-Bharati University:
Establishment and History:
- Founded by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in 1921 in Santiniketan, West Bengal.
- Named Visva-Bharati, meaning the connection between the world and India.
- Initially started as a college and later became a central university in 1951.
Rabindranath Tagore\’s Philosophy about Visva-Bharati:
- Tagore believed in education that takes place in natural surroundings, rather than within walls.
- He saw walls as symbols of mental limitations and conditioning.
- Disagreed with the Western educational system introduced by the British in India.
Unique Learning Approach:
- Tagore introduced a new system of learning at Visva-Bharati.
- Students can continue their courses until both the student and the teacher are satisfied.
- If a desired course is not available, the university creates a course and arranges teachers for it.
- Emphasis on fulfilling the educational needs of students, regardless of demand.
Special Features of Visva-Bharati:
- If a student requests a specific course that is not offered, the university designs it and provides the necessary resources.
- Focuses on individual learning requirements and interests.
- The university is not bound by the popularity or demand for a course.
- Prioritizes meeting the educational needs of students over external considerations.