1. Jhaadu ka Jaadu
Though their leanings towards the left worries me but have to give it to Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party for their splendid debut in the Indian politics. They represent (or at least claim to) represent the voice and concerns of the ‘aam aadmi’ who wants to see a clean and non-corrupt system of governance. Aam Aadmi Party has clearly emerged as a credible alternative to the two major national parties in Delhi. I am no astrologer but their future looks bright and they will surely make the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 more interesting!
2. I am Malala
The beautiful dark-eyed Pashtun girl Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban for voicing her opinion on girl’s education wowed all of us when she addressed the United Nations. It was a moment of pride for Pakistan who has of late been in news for all the wrong reasons. More power to her because our neighbour needs many more such girls who can save Pakistan from becoming a banana republic.
3. Farewell, Master
As they say cricket is religion in India and Sachin Tendulkar is the God for millions of Indians. The master blaster decided to call it quits after a splendid career of many years. Every Indian was glued to the television as he played his last test match. Many of us (including me) might not be a fan of the sport, but whatever little we have seen is because of Sachin. In fact I used to stop watching the match as he got out. Many of us couldn’t hold back our tears as Sachin gave an emotional speech at Wankhade.
4. Year of Judgements
While the judiciary set an example by giving death sentence to the men who brutally raped the girl from Delhi; it let down the homosexual community when it upheld the law that criminalized homosexuality. In fact the judgement was a letdown for all the Indians who stand for liberty. Had the court decriminalized homosexuality, it would have been a milestone in India’s history.
There were many other talked about judgements too. Like the one which sent Sanjay Dutt & Lalu Prasad Yadav to jail or the one which accused the Talwar’s of killing their own daughter Aarushi. And last but not the least which gave Narendra Modi a clean chit in the Gujarat riots case.
India’s maiden spacecraft to Mars was launched this year under the ‘Mars Mission’ project. There was a lot of cynicism about India’s ability to pull it off or whether India should spend on these projects. However, all the naysayers went quiet as the ‘Managalyaan’ successfully cruised towards the Mars. A moment of pride for all Indians.
6. Maid in America
The year also saw the arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade and the alleged mistreatment by the U.S. officials as she was accused of flouting the U.S. norms by underpaying the maid (who was also an Indian) and not having proper documents. India reacted strongly to the arrest while U.S. said that they were just following the law. Interestingly, in this whole debate nobody really seemed to believe the maid. Class bias?
7. Namo Namah
Apart from the Aam Aadmi Party making news, there was one more person who was all over making headlines – Narendra Modi. Love him or hate him but surely cannot ignore him. Narendra Modi’s anointment as the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate was an important moment in the Indian politics. Fighting all the odds and internal politics within his party, Narendra Modi rose to the top and is now leading the party into the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. If we go by the number of people who attended his rallies this year, the mood of the nation seems to be in his favor and we might just see him as our next Prime Minister!
8. Nature’s Wrath
One of the worst natural calamity that hit India this year was the floods in Uttarakhand which left thousand displaced and hundreds dead. The famous pilgrimage site for Hindus; the Kedarnath temple was also affected to a large extent. It will take almost 2 years for the hill town to get back on its knees.
While the floods saw poor disaster management by the state; another incident saw excellent management by the state governments. The cyclone ‘Phialin’ hit the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh & Odisha this year and brought back memories of Tsunami. However, because of the excellent management; the evacuation was done on time and there wasn’t much loss of life.
9. Muzzafarnagar Riots
Another blot on India as riots broke out in the Muzzafarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh. Like always, the politicians instead of calming the people , instigated them. A large number of people from a community left their homes fearing death and are living in tents. Last I read, over 30 children have died in the camps due to severe cold. Cry India, Cry!
10. Year of Good Byes
2013 will also be remembered as the year that took away many legends from us. Shamshad Begum, Manna Dey , Reshma (Music), Rituparno Ghosh (Director), Jiah Khan, Pran, Paul Walker, Farooque Sheikh (Actors) and Nelson Mandela. May their soul rest in peace!
11. The Lunch Box
The year also saw this gem of a film – The Lunchbox. If we will look back at the history of Indian cinema then this shall be seen as one of the finest films made in the country.
12. RIP Tehelka
The editor Tarun Tejpal was accused of sexual assault by a journalist working in the same organization. What followed was the management’s disappointing response, leaked e-mails, resignation of its ‘holier than thou’ Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury and eventually arrest of Tarun Tejpal. A magazine that has always taken a high moral stand failed itself when it came to standing by one of it’s employees. Read Open Letter to Shoma
13. Hanged Till Death
Afzal Guru, the accused in the Parliament attack was finally executed as the President (rightly) rejected his mercy plea. A heated debate followed the execution with many calling the trial unfair and as expected it saw protests in the valley. My only complaint with the police was that in times of internet & mobiles, they chose postal service to communicate the news of his execution to the family. Of course, they never wanted the family to know in order to avoid repercussions. Sad!
P.S. – The ‘moments’ are not ranked. So there is no Number 1 or Number 2. Just 13 moments from 2013! And on that note Happy 2014 !!