Government issues notification of ‘Indian Skill Development Service’

The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has issued the notification of setting up of Indian Skill Development Services (ISDS). This service has been created for the Training Directorate of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

The purpose of instituting a formal service in Group ‘A’ category was initiated almost two years back when the Ministry was formed and the union cabinet approved its creation on October 7, 2015. With notification of this service the skill ecosystem is expected to get strengthened and modernised in line with the current scientific and industrial development in the country.

ISDS will be a Group ‘A’ service where induction will take place through Indian Engineering Service Examination conducted by UPSC.

The mystique of Mehrauli Complex

The Archaeological Park in Mehrauli is the site of many a monument and the abode of history. Every lane and stone in it is historical, for here flourished many kings, princes, princesses, wazirs, generals, warriors, saints and mendicants.

Prehistoric tales associate Mehrauli with the descendants of the Pandavas. Later, it saw the building of Quila Rai Pithora which bears witness to the glory of Prithviraj Chauhan. But after the Rai’s defeat in the second battle of Terain at the hands of Mohammed Ghori, Qutubuddin Aibak made Mehrauli his capital and the Slave kings who followed him continued to rule from there.

Then the Khiljis took over and monuments like the Qutub Minar, Alai Darwaza and Alai Minar of Alauddin took shape. The Tughlaqs built their own capital nearby and the Sayyids and the Lodhis also left behind their grand creations.

The Moghuls too built monuments there as they were great devotees of the saint Qutubuddin Bhakhtiar Kaki after whom the Qutub Minar is named.

Near the post office in Mehrauli is a rugged, nondescript building that gives the impression of a fortress, a small one, which marks the site where Banda Singh, the famous Sikh warrior, was executed by emperor Farrukhsiyar. Now more than 250 years after Banda’s martyrdom, a shrine has been built in his memory.

Semi-divine females or yoginis have been an integral part of the Indian folklore. These women were naturally beautiful and had voices which could charm the listener by the emotional intensity of their songs, a sort of heavenly chant which was not of this world.

Many a king and commoner was enchanted by yoginis who appeared suddenly in wood, glen and dale or standing under a gnarled tree or beside a stream where the angler was taken by surprise. A temple dedicated to yoginis is said to have existed in Mehrauli which legend says was built by the eldest of the Pandava brothers, Yudhishtra. It was after them that the part of Delhi not covered by the imperial city of Indraprastha was known as Yoginipura. The temple of yoginis is now referred to as the Yogmaya or Jogmaya mandir.

To its north is Anang Tal, a tank said to have been built by Anangpal or Anandapal, son of Raja Jaipal, who was defeated by Mahmud of Ghazni. Anangpal also built a sun temple close to the Yogmaya mandir but of this no trace remains. 

When Taimur the Lame camped on the bank of Hauz Khas in 1398, his historian Sharfuddin Yazdi remarked that the place was not only a good retreat, but worthy of respect for its creator, whom he wrongly thought was Feroz Shah Tughlaq. The tank was actually built by Alauddin Khilji, who reigned from 1296 to 1316.

Viewing the tomb of Iltutmish from inside one instinctively looks up at the sky, for it is roofless. It is believed that the Slave Emperor, who ruled from 1210 to 1235, had asked his beloved daughter Razia not to get him buried under a roof, though there are some who think that the roof caved in during an earthquake. It was subsequently repaired by Feroz Shah Tughlaq, though the original construction was completed by Razia.

The tomb of Adham or Adam Khan in Mehrauli gives the impression of peace and quietude, but it has a turbulent history behind it, a history of rape, murder and bloodshed. The person who lies buried below it is Adham Khan, Akbar’s foster brother, and the son of the Emperor’s wet nurse Maham Anga. He was a man with a great deal of swagger and could not bear the sight of Atgah Khan, the husband of another wet nurse of Akbar’s. So he murdered him one day in the Agra Fort. When Akbar came to know of it he was mad with rage and struck Adham Khan a blow on the head that knocked him down senseless. Some say the infuriated king threw Adham Khan down a balcony of the fort. The monument is rarely visited by women because of the stigma attached to him as a womaniser.

The tomb of Jamali-Kamali is a riddle of sorts. Sheikh Fazalullah was a noted poet and saint who lived through the reigns of Sikander Lodhi, Ibrahim Lodhi, Babar and Humayun. He died in 1536, exactly 10 years after the Moghul rule had been established. His romantic bent of mind found expression in poetry which was highly appreciated and because of this young Fazalu went about with his head high in the air. One night Fazalu paced the green grass up and down as the hours went by and at last saw a form approaching through the trees. Thinking that his beloved had come, he bounded forward and caught hold of the figure draped in a robe. But on parting it found to his surprise that it was an old man who looked like a dervish. Since that night his life changed and he became a hermit himself.

Three surveyors who contributed to our knowledge of India

Dr. Francis Buchanan-Hamilton, generally known as Buchanan, began his assignment in South India after the final Mysore War with the mandate to gather botanical, agricultural and zoological information as well as knowledge about the soil and natural resources found in the area of his first survey.

Buchanan discovered and named laterite as  “indurate clay” or “iron clay” and said this soft red soil which hardened on exposure to air and heat was ideal for building purposes, something long known in the area but first recorded for a wider audience, and given a name by him.

The mention of this ‘discovery’ was made in the context of a story related about another ‘discovery’, that of a monument to Buchanan and his ‘find’ in Angadipuram (near Malappuram) in Kerala where he first spotted the material. The monument, one of the 26 National Geological Monuments in the country, has inscriptions in English, Hindi, Malayalam and Tamil describing the material, and recalls Buchanan. The monument was recently ‘found’ while clearing the overgrown garden of the Government Rest House in Angadipuram.

The laterite-Buchanan monument in Anganwadipuram  

Another surveyor – William Lambton, ‘the Father of the Great Trigonometrical Survey of Indiathat led to the map of the India we know.

William Lambton and the European on the Big Temple gopuram in Thanjavur.  

Colin Mackenzie,was the first Surveyor-General of India, mandated with creating a Survey of India office.

Helpline for Handloom Weavers ‘Bunkar Mitra’ starts functioning

“Bunkar Mitra”, the Government of India’s Helpline for Handloom Weavers, went live today. The helpline was launched by the Union Textiles Minister.


  • Justice JS Khehar sworn in as 44th Chief Justice of India
  • David Reid Syiemlieh appointed as UPSC chairman.(A History scholar with special works on N-E Indian history (e.g.-Tirot Singh)


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