So it’s that time of the year again when the jingle of X-Mas rings the air and an all-encompassing feeling of merriment and rejoice seems to touch most hearts as they prepare to usher in the New Year. As we stand at the brink of bidding adieu to another year, it calls for a bit of retrospection of the events…moments, small or big, in your personal lives or even those that happened in a far-off place, some that touched the lives of thousands and some that brought joy and the ones that brought tears to our eyes. Whatever be the reason, it wouldn’t be inapt for me to say that 2011 has been the ‘Year of Re-awakening’, whether it was the Indian Anti-Corruption Struggle under the aegis of the eminent social-activist Kisan Baburao Hazare, popularly known as Anna Hazare, or the Libyan Revolution, or the Arab Spring; there were glimpses of a common thread that bounded people from the sub-continent to the Middle East, as they sought to decimate age-old notions and malpractices and usher in an era of development and a stable society.
For the better part of 2011, the Anna Hazare-led Indian Anti-Corruption movement dogged much of the media limelight. The eminent social-activist took to fasting, true to the Gandhian Philosophy of Satyagraha, in an ambit to crush the might of the evil called ‘corruption’ whose virulent veins had percolated deep into Indian society and has hampered the nation’s progress into a developed nation. 64 years on, after independence and we’re still languishing in the shallows of penury and unemployment. The movement brought together distinguished personalities like Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal. The demand for an anti-corruption bill dubbed as the ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’ was the show-piece of the movement. After much hue and cry, the Government has gave in to the demand, albeit partially. It would be premature to predict the success of the Bill at this point of time; what remains to be seen is how it unfolds in the coming calendar year.
The year also saw the deaths of some eminent personalities-M.F.Hussain (9th June), Bhupen Hazarika (5th Novemeber), Mamoni Raisom Goswami (29th November), Jagjit Singh (10th October) and Dev Anand(3rd December). It was a great loss for the Indian Art, Literature and the Film fraternity.
India had its own share of misfortunes when the AMRI Hospital in Kolkata was caught in a fire incident on 9th December. The fire spread fast from the basement of the hospital, engulfing one ward after the other and trapping hundreds of people. 89 patients including three hospital staffers had lost their life in the incident.
The economic crisis in Europe coupled with the Standard & Poor’s down gradation of U.S.’s AAA credit-rating by America hit Indian stock markets hard and the world markets went into a tizzy with the dread of an economic recession looming large. The International monetary institutions, notably the IMF, the central banks of USA and the Eurozone countries have tried to revive the economy but with no significant changes in sight, the world economy is entering a lean patch. The Indian rupee has suffered most of the brunt with the rupee slumping to 52.23/dollar [as on 11th Dec, 2011]. The Indian markets have been the worst performer among the Asian economies.
The withdrawal of subsidy on petrol prices has further accentuated the holes in the common man’s wallet, having to deal with the already inflated prices of basic necessities and goods.
The year 2011 started with a bang for Indian cricket fans. For the second time in 28 years, the Cricket WC was held in the subcontinent. Hosted by the 4 major cricketing nations in Asia-India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the event turned out to be a major success with thrilling encounters and close finishes-the perfect ingredients for a Cricket lover. And to top it all, India went on to win the WC! It was one of the glorious moments in the annals of the Indian Cricket.
In October, Vijay Mallya, the liquor baron and the Team Principal of the F1 team, Force India, finally saw his dream come true when India hosted the first edition of Formula 1 Indian Grand Prix. The Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, near Delhi, developed by the JayPee Sports International at an estimated price of $250 mn was the venue for the event. It was a feast for the eyes of all F1 lovers! Sebastian Vettel won the inaugural edition of the Indian Grand Prix,who seems well on course to win the Driver’s Championship for the current season. Many well-known celebrities turned up for the event including Rowan Atkinson of Mr. Bean fame and Lady Gaga who did a private after-race show.
The year saw the breaking of a new dawn in Libya. The popular uprising against the government of Gaddafi began in January 2011 as non-violent protests, mirroring other revolts in the Arab Spring. Within weeks, violence broke out in clashes between police and protesters. In February, the National Transitional Council (NTC) was formed in an effort to consolidate efforts for change in the rule of Libya. Gaddafi forces lost control of several cities in eastern Libya, and a number of officials resigned or defected from his government. In March, Gaddafi forces launched a counteroffensive, and regained many of the cities that had been lost to opposition forces. In mid-March, tanks of Gaddafi forces rolled into the main remaining bastion of the opposition forces, Benghazi. At the same time, aircraft of the French Air Force entered Libyan airspace under the mandate of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, to prevent any attacks on the city. A multinational coalition launched a large scale air-based military intervention to disable the Gaddafi government’s military capabilities and enforce the UN Security Council resolution. By the end of March, command of the coalition operations had been assumed by NATO under Operation Unified Protector.
The following months were characterized by a stalemate on the ground, as opposition fighters were unable to retake cities in western Libya. The stalemate was broken in August as opposition forces advanced on the cities surrounding Tripoli. By the end of August, opposition fighters had captured Tripoli, with little resistance from Gaddafi forces. The opposition then launched a series of campaigns against the last pockets of resistance by Gaddafi loyalists, and in October, Gaddafi and several other leading figures in his government were captured and killed in Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte.
Japan faced worst-crisis situation with a meltdown at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011.The plant comprises six separate boiling water reactors originally designed by General Electric (GE), and maintained by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). The Fukushima disaster is the largest nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Although there were no evident deaths, the earthquake and tsunami caused 28,000 deaths and many material damages.
On a concluding note if the Mayan calendar is anything to go by, then 2012 will probably be the ‘Year of Armageddon’. Well, on a personal note, I don’t give much credence to the fact, but at the same time, I haven’t been blessed with powers of a seer! So the best we can do is live life to its fullest! Let this year be the year where you achieve everything you want, everything you could. While that may be a tad difficult to achieve, considering our unrealistic wishes at times, one thing can be done at a minimum amount of expense i.e. “Smile” and not just in the ubiquitous FB updates or the random tweets, or in that silly message reply to your beau (trust me people do that often when they don’t get a hang of what to say).
“Roll like in ROFLOL”! ~That’s my slogan for 2012. What’s yours?
P.S. Happy New Year and Merry Christmas! 😛
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