2011 saw populace across the world, including India, rise in protest against misgovernance and corruption, shaking governments and toppling regimes.
A perspective of personalities and events that shaped the year

The fog of change
By Raj Chengappa Editor-in-Chief
n all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order, Carl Jung observed. There wasn’t much of a cosmos when 2011 dawned. There was a certain order in the universe but it was neither harmonious nor whole. There was the hangover of a debilitating worldwide economic recession, unfinished wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, an unstable North Korea flexing its nuclear muscle, a wobbling Pakistan and in India, the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) had begun fraying at the edges.

See the pages as they were printed

People power to the fore
By Kamlendra Kanwar
The year saw erosion in the credibility of the government, ineffectiveness of Parliament and the rise of civil society spearheaded by Team Anna. Hazare’s stock rose when after his fast, the Central Government appeared to buckle under

When hospital killed
devastating fire tore through the seven-storey AMRI hospital in south Kolkata before dawn, killing 91. Most of those killed were patients who were asleep when the blaze started.

Shadow on Karmapa
The Una Police filed a chargesheet against the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorjee under Section 120-B of the IPC. He is considered the third most important Tibetan religious head after the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama.

Shaken & Stirred
By Anita Katyal
While the UPA government began strongly enough, it was soon bogged down by scams, scandals and leadership deficit that made it look helpless and directionless towards the yearend
The Congress president Sonia Gandhi delineated a four-point anti-corruption plan for implementation by the Centre at last December’s AICC plenary session, party cadres had hoped that the fog of scandals and scams, which had engulfed the UPA government, would lift in the new year. But the subsequent months proved to be even more trying for the already beleaguered ruling coalition, as it was unable to convince the public, at large, about its resolve to tackle corruption. And as 2011 draws to a close, there can be no denying that the Congress-led UPA government looks as helpless and directionless as it did at the beginning of the year.

At sixes and sevens
The Law Ministry failed to defend the government policies effectively in the SC
By V. Eshwar Anand
It was not a happy year for the Union Law Ministry. It has been at sixes and sevens, drawing flak from the Supreme Court, in one case or the other. The peremptory replacement of Dr M. Veerappa Moily with Salman Khurshid as the new Law Minister in July in a mini-Cabinet reshuffle was the high point of the year. Dr Moily’s exit came in the wake of Solicitor-General of India Gopal Subramanium’s resignation following the Law Ministry’s decision to appoint a private counsel to appear for the Government of India before the Supreme Court over the telecom scandal without taking him (Subramanium) into confidence.

Band of ladies
By Uttam Sengupta
The power women — the Madam, Behenji, Didi and Amma — called the shots in their respective spheres of influence
All four of them are feisty women, each heading a political party in power. Three are chief ministers while the fourth could have been the Prime Minister but opted out. While one of them loves to flaunt her diamonds, another has a bizarre dress sense, hiding her ample girth beneath a cape. Only one of them can be said to be elegant while another has made a virtue of crumpled cotton and hawai chappals. Figuratively, all of them wear pants. They are ruthless and autocratic. Three spinsters and a widow.

Faith, caste, progeny
By Raveen Thukral
In Punjab Parkash Singh Badal harnessed faith to prolong his reign, in Haryana caste cast a shadow, and in Himachal a son rose
With the real action — the 2G and the CWG scams, the agitations of Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev, the arrest of ministers and corporate honchos, the rise of Didi and Amma and the fall of the Left and the DMK and the frequent stalling of the Parliament — happening elsewhere, this region, comprising Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, literally struggled to be in the headlines of national dailies in 2011.

Return of a war horse
By S. M. A. Kazmi & Rajeev Khanna
The General returns to Uttarakhand after Pokhriyal is forced to put in his papers
The year has left mixed memories in the young hill state. It witnessed its worst communal riots in Rudrapur, and Swami Ramdev and his Patanjali Yogpeeth suffered a setback after the iconic yoga guru tried to escape in the garb of a woman from the Ramlila Ground in Delhi, where his supporters were dispersed by the police. Heavy rainfall and landslides caused considerable hardship for the second successive year but relief, repairs, restoration and construction left much to be desired.

Excuse me while I kiss the sky
By Syed Ali Ahmed
By far the most important development in the nation’s capital was the opening of the Airport Metro, known as the Sky Train, even as the state government went ahead with the New Delhi centenary celebrations

Dividends of peace
By Ehsan Fazili & Jupinderjit Singh
After a long time, J&K was largely peaceful, enabling the state to claim a booming tourist season
Khushamdeed. Welcome to Jammu and Kashmir. The year was marked by a record number of tourists visiting the Valley and a record number of pilgrims turning up to have a darshan of the shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi. After three consecutive years of turmoil (Amarnath row, Shopian rape and killing, stone pelting), the year was largely peaceful, enabling the government to hold as many as 350 cricket matches in the Valley for the Kashmir Premier League and hold panchayat elections in the entire state after 33 years.

The gloom boom
By Sanjeev Sharma
Business confidence dipped and the government was caught in a “damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t” bind
It's a sense of deja vu as 2011 is closing at a low for India Inc like 2010 did. Many say that business confidence at the end of 2011 is even lower than it was during the upheaval of the Lehman crisis of 2008. It is ironical that the year was a washout for India Inc, just when India completed 20 years of economic reforms. Industry complained of a policy paralysis in the government, hit by multiple scams and agitations and pre-occupied with fire fighting.

Hope on hold
Slow growth rates and policy glitches soured the economic scenario
By Nirmal Sandhu
The year 2011 saw India’s growth wilt. From the initial projection of 9 per cent the GDP growth fell to 6.9 per cent in the second quarter, which is close to the decade’s low of 6.5 per cent achieved in 2008-09 following the global meltdown.

Love thy Neighbour
By Ashok Tuteja
Thanks to some deft moves, New Delhi’s ties with neighbouring countries improved, while there were hardly any gains in relations with major powers
No one wants a big neighbour. If wishes were horses, many countries would have changed either their own location or that of their neighbour. In a sensitive region like South Asia, this analogy becomes more pertinent, largely because of the predominant position India occupies. Due to their own sense of insecurity, most South Asian countries regard India as a regional bully, out to finish them.

Pakistan on the boil
By Hasan Zaidi
Crippling floods for the second year running, a sputtering economy, high inflation and rising unemployment and a devastating breakdown in relations with the United States defined the year for Pakistan
Saying that 2011 was a difficult year for Pakistan might actually win some sort of prize for understatement. This was a year that began with the cold-blooded assassination by a religious fanatic (and member of the security detail) of the governor of the country’s most populous province and ended with speculation rife that the powerful military was once again plotting to send an elected civilian government packing.

General trouble
By Syed Nooruzzaman
Loss of face for Pak army, and NATO drone attacks kept Af-Pak simmering
The Pakistan army’s role found frequent mention in the midst of speculation over the fate of President Asif Ali Zardari after he flew to Dubai recently all of a sudden, ostensibly for medical reasons. Most reports indicated that the army was about to take over the administration. Some other reports had it that Zardari was under pressure to relinquish power because of his unhappy relationship with his army chief. Whatever the truth, one thing is clear: under the prevailing circumstances, the army cannot afford to stage another coup to dislodge the elected government in Islamabad.

Spring of discontent
By Shyam Bhatia
The tragic self-immolation by street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi set off the trend of civil unrest that started in Tunisia but soon spread to other Arab countries also ruled by unrepresentative and authoritarian regimes
The Arab Spring started in Tunisia, but its future course, including wider regional repercussions, could well be determined by what happens more than 1,000 miles to the East in Syria. Syria is one of three Arab countries, along with Egypt and Iraq, that makes up what is known as the ‘beating heart’ of the Arab world. All three countries are in political turmoil. Iraq is still trying to find its feet after years of misrule under Saddam Hussein, Egypt is seeking new directions after the downfall of Hosni Mubarak.

An Avoidable war within
By Dinesh Kumar
All was not well on the Indian defence scene as questions were raised on the leadership and integrity of some individuals and their decisions, besides anomalies in recruitment and other scandals
The year will be remembered for its negatives and controversies. This is unfortunate considering that the Indian armed forces, the world’s fourth largest military, is an important instrument of state power and is viewed to be central to India’s attempt to seek greater power accommodation of its rise as both a regional and an economic power.

The world in your hand
By Roopinder Singh
Computing became more than mainstream, it became personal. Mobile internet access became an agent of change that connected people far beyond their geographic limitations
Computers are truly devices held in millions of hands worldwide. They connect the world like never before, and make it a global village. The world of technology lost its icon in 2011, but Steve Jobs left his mark for all to see. The computer came into our hands through smartphones and tablets this year. We had operating systems that competed with each other, hardware that out-specked its competition and even new applications that re-invented the old and gave it a twist. Such was the pace of new offerings that there was an embarrassment of riches that left consumers happy, though bemused.

(Not) fit to print
By Vandana Shukla
The liberal use of profanities and cuss words in many films topped the charts. Interestingly, these were mouthed more by the women characters, which surprisingly found a tacit approval
The cuss quotient of the urban society grew exponentially by ‘c**s’ and ‘g**s’. Expletives could never have received such cultural acceptance in the middle-class urban India, had it not been for a few cult movies released this year, whose sole claim to fame was a liberal use of the profane. And, for a change, these were uttered by pretty damsels in Hindi.

Walking tough
By Nonika Singh
Despite the controversial Slutwalk, the gender scene remained a grey area
Street was the new stage not only for the Anna Hazare team but also for feminists of varying hues, shapes and sizes. So as the off-the-cuff remark of Canadian police officer: "Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised," sparked off a series of protests worldwide in what came to be known as SlutWalks, India, too, picked up a cue.

The Roar of success
By Jaideep Ghosh
From World Cup to Formula One, the sports scene remained full of excitement because of events that made the country stand up and cheer. A few hits, many misses and much infighting also marked the year in Indian sports
The Indian sports calendar for 2011 will largely be remembered for two dates — April 2 and December 8. The first was when India won the World Cup in Mumbai, completing an era of domination. The second was when Virender Sehwag scored 219 to carve out the highest-ever individual score in One-Day Internationals, something which raised him to an unparalleled pedestal in the sport.

books and beyond                                                                                                                                 
Desi, with a ‘phoren’ touch
By Roopinder Singh
Books, conventional as well as electronic, took us to worlds beyond our individual immediate. Readers took to memoirs as well as fiction, even as they sought perspectives, both Indian and Western, to understand life and people
The story of the man who contributed the most towards moving us from words printed on paper to those on electronic screens became a runaway bestseller of 2011. Steve Jobs gave us the devices that changed our reading habits, and here he was, being celebrated not only in his preferred media, but also in the traditional pulp book format. Reports of the ‘death of the book’ have been greatly exaggerated. Readership expanded, and both traditional publishers and e-book publishers gained.

The Entertainers
Sunny side up
Sunny Leone, the Indo-Canadian adult film actress, emerged as India’s most-Googled celebrity, beating Katrina Kaif, Kareena Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Mahesh Bhatt, who had met Sunny inside the house of Bigg Boss Season 5, offered her a role in Jism 2. He chose her over Mallika Sherawat and Bipasha Basu.

Edited by: Roopinder Singh, Aruti Nayar, Renu Manish Sinha, Geetu Vaid and Seema Sachdeva
Design & layout: Ashwani Narang, Gaurav Sood, Sanjeev Kumar and Vishal Prashar
Photo coordination: Manjit Singh
Photos: The Tribune and agencies