Facts Corner-Part-97

The legend of Sheikh Chehli

  • Sheikh Chilli is a Sufi saint whose tomb is in Thanesar, Haryana.
  • He was Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh’s spiritual advisor.
  • Thanesar was a well known centre of the Sufi Chishti silsila.
  • The tomb is situated in the Old Trunk Road.
  • In the middle of the complex there is a shallow tank.
  • The legend of Chehli can be attributed to a report by Sir Alexander Cunningham in 1862-65 where he identifies the tomb as belonging to the spiritual adviser of Dara Shukoh. Cunningham writes that his real name is in dispute and he is known in the area as Sheikh Chilli or Sheikh Tilli.
  • Galleries are found around the tank and they were used as madarasa which is a place to study.
  • Dara Shukoh could have built the madarsa to promote the Qadriya order of Suifism.
  • The madarsa dates back to the mid-17th century when Dara Shukoh was powerful in the Mughal court.

East Himalayan biodiversity

  • The jungles of Northeast India host some of the world’s most interesting species such as one-horned rhino, Hoolock Gibbon, pygmy hog, white-winged wood duck, golden langur, river dolphins and mahseer.
  • There is a staggering variety of wildlife in the marshes and forests of Arunachal Pradesh, part of the eastern Himalayas.
  • A large array of new species has been found in recent years such as-
    (a) New ornamental fish – Microphis ignoratus – in a tributary of the Siang river etc. This was the first discovery of a freshwater pipefishin the sub-continent.
    (b) Three species of mammals and an amphibian. The mammals include two mountain pikas and Himalayan marmot (ground squirrel).
    (c) In 2012, a new species of frog from the Dicroglossidae family was discovered at Mawphlang, near Shillong in Meghalaya etc.


  • Baobabs, the “biggest and longest-living angiosperm tree” of Africais fast dying and scientists suspect climate change to be the cause.
  • The baobabs are mainly present in southern Africa, particularly in the savannah region, live anywhere between 1,100 and 2,500 years.
  • Within a matter of few years, there has been a rapid increase in the apparently natural deaths of many mature baobabs, which are popularly known as the “upside down trees”.
  • This is when Africa is the least responsible for climate change.
  • The baobabs can grow in the harshest of conditions while adapting to their environment by shedding leaves to require less water, being able to access water during dry seasons through tap roots and being unaffected by bushfires owing to its thick bark.
  • Medicinal benefits.
  • Provide fruit etc.

Lymphatic Filariasis (LF)

  • Also known as elephantiasis, is a human disease caused by parasitic worms known as filarial worms.
  • The worms are spread by the bites of infected mosquitoes.
  • It is marked by severe swelling in the arms, legs, breasts, or genitals.
  • The skin may become thicker as well, and the condition may become painful.
  • India bears approximately 40 per cent of the global LF burden.
  • Maharashtra is one of the states with a higher incidence of LF.

Chhau Dance

  • Recently the distinctive Chhau mask of Purulia, West Bengal was awarded the Geographic Indication tag.
  • The traditional rural craft of making masks is an integral component of the semi-martial art dance form of Chhau.
  • Chhau dance is a tradition from eastern India that enacts episodes from epics including the Mahabharata and Ramayana, local folklore and abstract themes.
  • Its three distinct styles hail from the regions of Seraikella (Jharrkhand) , Purulia (West Bengal) and Mayurbhanj (Odisha), the first two using masks.
  • Chhau dance is intimately connected to regional festivals, notably the spring festival Chaitra Parva.
  • The dance is performed at night in an open space to traditional and folk melodies, played on the reed pipes ”mohuri” and ”shehnai.”
  • In 2010 the Chhau dance was inscribed in the UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Supercomputer “Summit”

  • US scientists have unveiled the world’s most powerful and smartest scientific supercomputer “Summit” that can complete over 200,000 trillion calculations per second.
  • It is developed by IBM.
  • Summit also possesses more than 10 petabytes of memory paired with fast, high-bandwidth pathways for efficient data movement.
  • Summit takes accelerated computing to the next level, with more computing power, more memory, an enormous high-performance file system and fast data paths to tie it all together.
  • Summit will empower scientists to address a wide range of new challenges, accelerate discovery, spur innovation and above all.
  • Summit also possesses more than 10 petabytes of memory paired with fast, high-bandwidth pathways for efficient data movement.

‘Super Dads’ campaign

  • The new analysis forms part of UNICEF’s ‘Super Dads’ campaign, now in its second year, which aims to break down barriers preventing fathers from playing an active role in their young children’s development.
  • The campaign celebrates Father’s Day, recognised in more than 80 countries in June, and focuses on the importance of love, play, protection and good nutrition for the healthy development of young children’s brains.

ALMA telescope

  • Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array has uncovered convincing evidence for three young planets orbiting within a protoplanetary disk – or planet-forming disk – around an infant star. The star is called HD 163296. It’s 330 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius.
  • The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is an international partnership of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan, together with NRC (Canada), NSC and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (Republic of Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile.
  • ALMA -the largest astronomical project in existence- is a single telescope of revolutionary design, composed of 66 high precision antennas located on the Chajnantor plateau, 5000 meters altitude in northern Chile.
  • ALMA allows scientists to unravel longstanding and important astronomical mysteries, in search of our Cosmic Origins.


  • Scientists have developed a new technique called seqFISH that enables them to image 10,421 genes at once within individual cells.
  • seqFISH (sequential fluorescence in situ hybridisation), is a major advance in being able to identify what goes on across the genome in hundreds of different cells at once.
  • Previously, researchers could only image four to five genes at a time in cells with microscopy.
  • Using the newly developed intron seqFISH technique, each intron is labelled with a unique fluorescent barcode, enabling it to be seen with a microscope.
  •  First, a gene will be read and copied into a precursor messenger RNA, or pre-mRNA, like jotting a quick, rough draft.
  • This molecule then matures into a messenger RNA, or mRNA, akin to editing the rough draft.
  • During the “editing” process, certain regions called introns are cut out of the pre-mRNA.
  • An intron is any nucleotide sequence within a gene that is removed by RNA splicing during maturation of the final RNA product.

Iceberg B-15

  • Iceberg B-15 broke away from Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf 18 years ago in 2000.
  • It measured about 296 km long and 37 km wide.
  • It is the largest iceberg ever recorded and could be nearing the end of its voyage.
  • The iceberg may not be tracked if it splinters into smaller pieces.
  • B-15 has since fractured into numerous smaller bergs, and most have melted away.
  • Melting and breakup would not be surprising, given the berg’s long journey and northerly location.
  • Currents prevented the berg from continuing through the Drake Passage.

eDNA extraction

  • The technique of extracting environmental DNA (eDNA) was used to confirm the presence of specific varieties of rare turtles in the scared ponds of North east.
  • Due to the ritual nature of Ponds, scientists were denied complete access to these ponds and so this technique was used.
  • Indian softshell turtle (Vulnerable) and South Asian narrow-headed softshell turtle (Endangered) were the species whose presence was confirmed by this technique.
  • eDNA testing is fast emerging as a tool for monitoring the biodiversity of an area without physically collecting specimens.
  • Coupled to DNA metabarcoding, eDNA is a powerful means of biodiversity monitoring.
  • Environmental DNA or eDNA is DNA that is collected from a variety of environmental samples such as soil, seawater, or even air rather than directly sampled from an individual organism.
  • In other words, Environmental DNA (eDNA) is genetic material that persists in an environment and is derived from organisms living there.
  • Researchers have recently been using eDNA to detect the presence of macro-organisms, particularly those living in aquatic/semiaquatic ecosystems.

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