UPSC Essentials: Key terms of the past week with MCQs

Essential key terms from the last week’s news categorised as per the relevance in the UPSC-CSE syllabus. Solve the MCQs below.

Tribal Revolts

Why in news?

Addressing the nation after being sworn-in, President Murmu spoke about her journey from a small tribal village in Odisha to the Rashtrapati Bhavan. She also invoked four tribal revolutions that she said had strengthened tribal contribution to the freedom struggle.

Key takeaways

Santhal revolution

—On June 30, 1855, over 10,000 Santhals were mobilised by their leaders — Kanho Murmu, Chand Murmu, Bhairab Murmu and Sidho Murmu – to revolt against the East India Company over oppression by revenue officials, zamindars, and corrupt moneylenders.

—The landmark event in tribal history, referred to as Santhal Hul, took place in Bhognadih village in present-day Jharkhand. Soon after their open rebellion, Santhals took to arms to resist imposition of East India Company laws.

—The seeds of the protracted rebellion, however, were sown in 1832 where the East India Company created Damin-i-koh region in the forested belt of Rajmahal hills, and invited the Santhals to settle there. Over the years, Santhals found themselves at the receiving end of exploitative practices aided by the British.

—After the rebellion broke out in 1855, both sides continued clashing till the uprising was crushed in 1856. The British defeated the Santhals using modern firearms and war elephants in decisive action in which both Sidho and Kanho died.

Paika rebellion

—In several recent descriptions, the 1817 Paika Rebellion in Odisha’s Khurda is referred to as the “original” first war of Indian Independence.

—That year, the Paikas – a class of military retainers traditionally recruited by the kings of Odisha – revolted against the British colonial rulers mainly over being dispossessed of their land holdings.

—In the run-up to the revolt, the British had dethroned and exiled the Khurda king in 1803, and then started introducing new revenue settlements. For Paikas, who were into rendering martial services in return for hereditary rent-free land (nish-kar jagirs) and titles, this disruption meant losing both their estates and social standing.

—The trigger for the revolt came as some 400 Kondhs descended from the Ghumusar area to rise against the British. Bakshi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar Mohapatra Bharamarbar Rai, the highest-ranking military general of the banished Khurda king, led an army of Paikas to join the uprising of the Kondhs.

—The Paikas set fire to government buildings in Banapur, killed policemen and looted the treasury and the British salt agent’s ship docked on the Chilika. They then proceeded to Khurda and killed several British officials.

—Over the next few months, the Paikas fought bloody battles at several places, but the colonial army gradually crushed the revolt.

— Bakshi Jagabandhu escaped to the jungles, and stayed out of reach of the British until 1825, when he finally surrendered under negotiated terms.

Kol revolt

—The Kols, tribal people from the Chhota Nagpur area, rose in revolt against the British in 1831. The trigger here too was gradual takeover of tribal land and property by non-tribal settlers who were aided by new land laws.

—The simmering discontent over economic exploitation of the original inhabitants, led to an uprising led by Buddhu Bhagat, Joa Bhagat and Madara Mahato among others. The Kols were joined by other tribes like the Hos, Mundas and Oraons.

—The tribals fought with traditional weapons taking the battle to colonial forces who finally overpowered them with modern weaponry. The uprising, which spread to areas like Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Palamau, Manbhum and continued for almost two years before being snuffed out, mainly targeted colonial officials and private money-lenders.

Bhil uprising

—After the British intruded into the Bhil territory in Maharashtra’s Khandesh region, the tribals pushed back fearing exploitation under the new regime in 1818. The revolt was led by their leader, Sewaram and was brutally crushed using the British military might.

—This uprising again erupted in 1825 as the Bhils sought to take advantage of reverses being suffered by the British in the first Anglo-Burmese war.

Point to ponder: What is important to note that Tribal revolts in areas of Indian subcontinent were not an exclusive element but its intensity increase during the colonial rule. Comment.


1. Which of the following uprising/rebellion is also known as Ulgulan?

(a) Ramosi Uprising

(b) Munda Uprising/Rebellion

(c) Santhal Rebellion

(d) Kol Uprising


Why in news?

— ‘Cryptojacking’ attacks on computer systems have gone up by 30% to 66.7 million in the first half of 2022 compared to the first half of last year, according to a report by SonicWall, a US-based cybersecurity firm.

Key takeaways

— Cryptojacking is a cyber attack wherein a computing device is hijacked and controlled by the attacker, and its resources are used to illicitly mine cryptocurrency. In most cases, the malicious programme is installed when the user clicks on an unsafe link, or visits an infected website — and unknowingly provides access to their Internet-connected device.

—Coin mining is a legitimate, competitive process used to release new crypto coins into circulation or to verify new transactions. It involves solving complex computational problems to generate blocks of verified transactions that get added to the blockchain. The reward for the first miner who successfully manages to update the crypto ledger through this route is crypto coins.

—But the race to crack this 64-digit hexadecimal number code needs considerable computing power involving state-of-the-art hardware, and electrical power to keep the systems involved up and running.

— Cryptojackers co-opt devices, servers, and cloud infrastructure, and use their resources for mining. The use of ‘stolen’ or cryptojacked resources slashes the cost involved in mining.

—According to the SonicWall’s Cyber Threat Report, the crackdown on ransomware attacks is forcing cybercriminals to look for alternative methods. Cryptojacking involves “lower risk”, and promises “potentially higher payday”.

Terry Greer-King, vice president for EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) at SonicWall, told Tech Monitor that cryptojacking is an appealing alternative for cybercriminal gangs as “it has a lower potential of being detected by the victim; unsuspecting users across the world see their devices get unaccountably slower, but it’s hard to tie it to criminal activity, much less point to the source”.

“Unlike ransomware, which announces its presence and relies heavily on communication with victims, cryptojacking can succeed without the victim ever being aware of it,” the report said.

— Cryptojacking is hard to detect and the victims of these attacks mostly remain unaware that their systems have been compromised. Some telltale signs are the device slowing down, heating up, or the battery getting drained faster than usual.

—Apart from individuals, businesses too are on the target list of cryptojackers. According to the report, cryptojacking incidents targeting the retail industry rose by 63% year-to-date, while similar attacks on the financial industry skyrocketed 269%.

— “The primary impact of cryptojacking is performance-related, though it can also increase costs for the individuals and businesses affected because coin mining uses high levels of electricity and computing power,” says the Interpol.

Point to ponder: Private cryptocurrencies are a big threat to our financial and macroeconomic stability. Do you agree?


2. With reference to “Blockchain Technology”, consider the following statements: (UPSC-CSE 2020)

  1. It is a public ledger that everyone can inspect, but which no single user controls.
  2. The structure and design of blockchain is such that all the data in it are about cryptocurrency only.
  3. Applications that depend on basic features of blockchain can be developed without anybody’s permission.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a)1 only
(b)1 and 2only
(c)2 only
(d)1 and 3 only

UN Peacekeeping Mission 

Why in news?

—Two BSF personnel who were part of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), were among five people killed during a protest in an eastern town near the border with Uganda on Tuesday (July 26).

—A total 175 Indian peacekeepers have so far died while serving with the United Nations. India has lost more peacekeepers than any other UN Member State.

Key takeaways

—Since 1948, UN Peacekeepers have undertaken 71 Field Missions. There are approximately 81,820 personnel serving on 13 peace operations led by UNDPO, in four continents currently. This represents a nine-fold increase since 1999.

—A total of 119 countries have contributed military and police personnel to UN peacekeeping. Currently, 72,930 of those serving are troops and military observers, and about 8,890 are police personnel.

—India has a long history of service in UN Peacekeeping, having contributed more personnel than any other country. To date, more than 2,53,000 Indians have served in 49 of the 71 UN Peacekeeping missions established around the world since 1948.

—Currently, there are around 5,500 troops and police from India who have been deployed to UN Peacekeeping missions, the fifth highest amongst troop-contributing countries.

—India has also provided, and continues to provide, eminent Force Commanders for UN Missions. India is the fifth largest troop contributor (TCC) with 5,323 personnel deployed in 8 out of 13 active UN Peacekeeping Missions, of which 166 are police personnel.

* India’s contribution to UN Peacekeeping began with its participation in the UN operation in Korea in the 1950s, where India’s mediatory role in resolving the stalemate over prisoners of war in Korea led to the signing of the armistice that ended the Korean War. India chaired the five-member Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission, while the Indian Custodian Force supervised the process of interviews and repatriation that followed.

* The UN entrusted the Indian armed forces with subsequent peace missions in the Middle East, Cyprus, and the Congo (since 1971, Zaire).

* India also served as Chair of the three international commissions for supervision and control for Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos established by the 1954 Geneva Accords on Indochina.

Point to ponder: What is India’s view on UN Peace keeping missions?


3. Which of the following statements with respect to UN peace keeping mission is true?

UN peace keeping comprises of civilian, police and military personnel.
In 2007, India became the first country to deploy an all-women contingent to a UN Peacekeeping Mission.

a) only 1          b) only 2              c) both 1 and 2                d) none

Marburg virus disease

Why in news?

— The first two cases of the Marburg virus disease, a highly infectious Ebola-like disease, have been confirmed officially by Ghana after test results were verified by a Senegal laboratory.

— This outbreak is only the second time that the disease has been detected in West Africa.

— It was first detected in 1967 after simultaneous outbreaks in Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany; and in Belgrade, Serbia.

— Due to its detection in Marburg, it got its name.

Key takeaways

— According to WHO, Marburg virus disease (MVD), is a severe, often fatal hemorrhagic fever.

— It was earlier known as Marburg haemorrhagic fever.

— Marburg, like Ebola, is a filovirus; and both diseases are clinically similar.

— Rousettus fruit bats are considered the natural hosts for the Marburg virus.

— According to WHO, African green monkeys imported from Uganda were the source of the first human infection.

— It was first detected in 1967 after simultaneous outbreaks in Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany; and in Belgrade, Serbia.

— The disease has an average fatality rate of around 50%.

— However, it can be as low as 24% or as high as 88% depending on virus strain and case management, says the WHO.

— It is difficult to clinically distinguish MVD from diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever and other viral haemorrhagic fevers.

— However, it is confirmed by lab testing of samples, which like Coronavirus and Ebola are extreme biohazard risks.

— There is no approved antiviral treatment or vaccine for MVD as of now.

—It can be managed with supportive care.

— According to the WHO, rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids, and treatment of specific symptoms can help prevent death.

Point to ponder: What is “disease management”?


Which of the following statement is/are correct?

1. The non-living characteristic of viruses is the ability to be crystallised.

2. Syphilis is a viral disease.

3. Marburg like Ebola is a filovirus.

a) 1, 2 and 3                       b) 1 and 3

c) only 3                             d) only 2

Kuno wildlife sanctuary

Why in news?

—70 years after the cheetah’s extinction, the Indian government is planning to introduce them in the Kuno wildlife sanctuary.

Key takeaways

—Kuno National Park is a national park in MP established in 1981 as a wildlife sanctuary with an area of 344.686 sq km in the Sheopur and Morena district. In 2018, it was given the status of a national park. It is part of the Khathiar-Gir dry deciduous forests.

—India and Namibia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Wednesday to reintroduce the African cheetah in India. The MoU signed by Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav and the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Namibia Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, in New Delhi, also focuses on cooperation on wildlife conservation and sustainable biodiversity utilisation.

—The Asiatic cheetah was declared extinct in India in 1952 and is a critically endangered species surviving only in Iran. In 1947, there were confirmed records of the cheetah’s presence in India, but the three surviving males were gunned down by Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo of Surguja state in what is now Guru Ghasidas National Park in Chhattisgarh.

—The Indian government has been attempting to reintroduce cheetahs in India since the 1960s and the 1970s, but over the past decade these plans have gained more momentum.

Point to ponder: The biggest challenge facing conservation in India is how to maintain habitat connectivity that keeps meta-populations self-sufficient (genetically viable) to perform their ecological roles. Discuss


5. According to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, which of the following animals cannot be hunted by any person except under some provisions provided by law?

1. Gharial

2. Indian wild ass

3. Wild buffalo

Select the correct answer using the code given below:(UPSC 2017)
a)1 only
b) 2 and 3 only
c) 1 and 3 only
d) 1, 2 and 3

Answers to MCQs: 1 (b), 2 (d), 3 (c), 4 (b), 5 (d)

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