27 Dec 2014 | 11:54 PM
With the bulldozing fury of an iconoclast, Modi dramatically altered the Indian political landscape, flattening in the process the Grand Old Party and adding to our lexicon phrases such as Tsu-Namo and India Modi-fied[ + read story ]
Modi! Modi! Modi! Rarely is an Indian Prime Minister accorded such a rapturous reception by audiences wherever he speaks, whether at the numerous political rallies or gatherings at Madison Square Garden in New York or the Allphones Arena in Sydney. Seldom does a single individual make such an impact that an entire year is defined by what he says, does or wants, as Narendra Modi did in 2014.
So if The Tribune has declared 2014 as the Year of Modi, it is not because of his oratorical skills (his opponents, in fact, accuse him of spending most of his time speechifying). Or for the rock-star persona that he has acquired in the past year. It is because Modi, with the bulldozing fury of an iconoclast, dramatically altered the Indian political landscape, flattening in the process the Grand Old Party and adding to our lexicon phrases such as Tsu-Namo and India Modi-fied. In doing so, he achieved Mission Impossible: Winning a clear majority for the BJP in the General Election and forming the first government in 25 years that doesn’t have to depend on coalition partners.
In a country as vast and vibrant as India, it may not be wise to take a monochromatic view of developments that shaped us in 2014. There was terror constantly lurking, both within and without, that dominated the discourse. In the past month, we were witness to three such dastardly acts: In Uri, suicide bombers stormed into an Army camp and mowed down 11 soldiers and policemen; in Peshawar, AK-47 toting Islamic militants barged into an Army School and let loose a murderous fusillade that killed 150 persons, mostly students; Sydney saw a lone wolf hold hostage customers at a café, killing two of them before being gunned down by the security forces. In Syria and Iraq, a new form of Islamic extremism took root with brutal consequences.
The year saw crime and culpability apart from shame and scandal. The nation was shocked and rocked again when in Delhi a young working woman was raped by a taxi driver whom she had hired to take her home at night. In the region, self-styled godmen made news for the wrong reasons. In Haryana, one of them defied court orders for his arrest, forcing the police to engage in a pitched battle with his supporters to nab him. Another, who was charged with castrating some of his followers, unabashedly acted in a film that portrayed him in a divine light. The followers of a guru in Punjab refused to cremate his body after his death claiming that he would soon ‘return’ from his astral journey.
The year had many bright spots too. Indian space scientists took a stellar leap when a craft they built and launched successfully orbited Mars, earning them the distinction of being the first to get it right the first time. In Jammu and Kashmir, voters preferred the ballot over the bullet by turning out in record numbers in the recent Assembly elections. Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 to lift the football World Cup. And Rohit Sharma smashed 264 runs in an ODI to notch up a record.
If there were cheers, there were tears too, in plenty. Srinagar was inundated with unprecedented floods that turned the tourist paradise into a watery hell. In Himachal, 24 engineering students from Hyderabad, on an educational tour, were drowned when the water levels rose while they were frolicking in the Beas. A fire aboard the submarine INS Sindhuratna resulted in the death of two Navy personnel and triggered the resignation of Admiral DK Joshi — the first such on moral grounds. Internationally, the tragic shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines flight by Ukrainian rebels saw 298 passengers perish.
Yet, for India, 2014 truly belonged to Modi, who chalked out a masterly election campaign, complete with 3-D effects, to wow audiences across the country with his development mantra. Fed up of the indecisive and effete Congress-led UPA II, voters put their faith in Modi to bring about a decisive government that would deliver on its promises. Modi began well by inviting the region’s leaders, including Pakistan’s Prime Minister, for his swearing-in ceremony and then announced a slew of programmes, including ‘Make in India’ and ‘Swachh Bharat’ that fired the imagination of the public and sent stock markets soaring. Luck helped too with world petroleum prices dropping, pushing down inflation in India to near zero and shoring up the flagging economy.
The Opposition though felt that Modi was just a showman with little to show and mocked that the “achche din” he promised had yet to materialise. It didn’t help Modi one bit when the saffron brigade shifted the focus to issues such as conversion and love jihad. Yet, by the year-end, Modi seemed to be on an extended honeymoon with voters in Haryana, Maharashtra and now Jharkhand endorsing his brand of politics. It put the BJP in the driver’s seat in these states, unlike in J&K where the party made impressive gains but fell far short of a majority. In 2014, the Modi juggernaut seemed unstoppable. The New Year beckons!
BJP26 Dec 2014 | 8:19 PM
The BJP rode to a huge victory on the charismatic personality of its star leader
congress25 Dec 2014 | 3:56 PM
The mighty ship steered by the Congress was hit by a series of corruption charges and sunk like the Titanic
third front26 Dec 2014 | 7:31 PM
Regional satraps tried to regroup, but found it difficult to get over their inherent differences
punjab26 Dec 2014 | 8:24 PM
AAP makes its political debut as the SAD fails to deliver, while the Congress suffers due to infighting
haryana25 Dec 2014 | 7:28 PM
Khattar is the new face of a resurgent BJP in Haryana
HIMACHAL pradesh25 Dec 2014 | 4:24 PM
IThe Congress continues to run a stable government, though the Modi wave created some ripples
uttarakhand25 Dec 2014 | 7:06 PM
Harish Rawat checked red tapism and promoted good governance
jammu & kashmir26 Dec 2014 | 6:09 PM
In a year of upheavals, historic turnout symbolises people’s faith in democracy
DELHI25 Dec 2014 | 4:30 PM
Delhi saw much drama and turmoil, as the rudderless state saw a rise in crime against women and minorities
DEFENCE27 Dec 2014 | 8:30 PM
The year exposed defence (mis)management, besides a series of negatives
security25 Dec 2014 | 4:40 PM
From attacks in Kashmir to the Maoist and Naxalite insurgency, the country remained vulnerable from within
world26 Dec 2014 | 7:53 PM
Some glimer's of hope came in an otherwise dark year
disasters28 Dec 2014 | 1:01 PM
The nation saw tragedies that shook its spirit; lessons need to be learnt
Scandals26 Dec 2014 | 9:16 PM
As godmen and scamsters face serious accusations, the law finally brings them to the book
ECONOMY26 Dec 2014 | 8:07 PM
With the new government in the saddle, the economy is trotting out of the woods of despair
science & Tech25 Dec 2014 | 5:09 PM
Indian scientists soared to new heights with Mars mission, while smartphone prices fell to a new low
SPORT27 Dec 2014 | 8:43 PM
The success and thrill of sport was overshadowed by death, sorrow and scams this year
gender26 Dec 2014 | 8:15 PM
Several cases involving violence against women proved that law alone can’t bring about change
books25 Dec 2014 | 7:51 PM
The literary world saw a deluge of political books, many of which had inconvenient truths
Cinema26 Dec 2014 | 9:34 PM
Originality was a casualty as good-old masala servings continued to fill the Hindi cinema’s platter
NEWSMAKERS25 Dec 2014 | 7:55 PM
Some celebrities sizzled on the red carpet, some off it to keep the glamour world abuzz