2012: Year of survival (JUSTABOUT!)
By Raj Chengappa editor-in-chief
N eschatology, the theological science concerned with the final events in the history of mankind, 2012 had long since been marked in Mayan mythological calendars as the planet’s expiration date. Even the day of the Apocalypse was given: 21 December, 2012. Many had whipped themselves into a frenzy in anticipation of the "four last things": death, judgment, heaven and hell.

Rise of the Regional Satraps
The year saw regional parties as well as leaders assume a larger role and acquire a greater say at the Centre. Be it in Punjab, Himachal, West Bengal or Andhra Pradesh, regional bosses may decide the contours of the political landscape in future
K V Prasad
VER the past three decades India has seen a rapid rise of strong regional parties and satraps who not only control the destiny of the denizens of their respective areas of influence but also seek to control the direction of nation policies, processes and politics.

See the pages as they were printed

President Pranab Da
K V Prasad
T is not often that a serving Union Minister moves from the corridors of power on the North Block and Parliament House up the Raisina Hill to become the President of India. Four immediate predecessors of Pranab Mukherjee came from different backgrounds, with three being elevated from the gubernatorial posts.

The Grand Old Party: Shaken and Stirred
It was not party time for the Congress as it had to defend a UPA besieged by scams. Pushed against the wall, it finally made an effort to get its act together and the victory in the Himachal Assembly elections was a morale booster
Anita Katyal
Shortly after the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh election results were declared, jubilant Congress leaders exulted over their victory in the hill state, declaring triumphantly, "You can never underestimate our party. It has the ability and the capacity to fight back when it is down and out."

The Nation’s Dark Knights of Dishonour
Records of public impropriety were shattered by the new Rs 1.86 lakh crore Coalgate scam which eclipsed the 2G scam
Aditi Tandon
HE year 2012 will go down in history as a scam-ridden year that saw several corruption scandals rock the country. Past records of public impropriety were shattered as the national auditor estimated Rs 1.86 lakh crore losses to the nation due to non-transparent allocation of coal mines by the government to private beneficiaries who never cared to even mine the ore.

Here comes the Aam Aadmi
Arvind Kejriwal has the knack of simplifying complex issues and has managed to project the problems that affect the common man. He has succeeded in harnessing the angst of the youth
Vibha Sharma
HE new-age politician Arvind Kejriwal is armed with an ability to make that all-important connect with the aam aadmi (a pre-requisite for any leader), he may not be your regular conventional orator but his rhetoric manages to hold attention. In just about a year and a half he managed to transcend from being an aam aadmi to a khaas aadmi.

THE STATES                                                                                                                                                             
The Badals: Good History, Bad Politics
From the euphoria following a thumping record victory to the flak drawn by the gradual erosion of law and order with the murder of an ASI in broad daylight, it was a rollercoaster year for the SAD-BJP combine in Punjab
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Every year leaves behind a definite past replete with sweet and sour memories. This year, political history was made in the state when, bucking the anti-incumbency factor, the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine stormed back to power in March this year registering a straight second win in the Assembly elections.

The Old Man of the Hills Makes a Royal Return
Virbhadra Singh campaigned to bring the Congress to power in Himachal Pradesh, helped, of course, by the infighting in the BJP
Rakesh Lohumi
T was a politically eventful year marked by tumultuous developments in the two mainstream parties, culminating in the exit of the BJP and return of the Congress to power in the state with the indomitable Virbhadra Singh taking over as Chief Minister for a record sixth time.

A State of Law and Disorder
What with the industrial violence at Manesar and a rising number of rape cases being reported, the image of Haryana took a beating
Naveen S Garewal
Haryana went through a roller coaster ride during 2012. From major announcements of developmental and educational projects to fall in the law and order situation and upheaval on the political front, Haryana had its share of everything. But what has struck in public memory is the frequent reports of rapes and crime against women like the abetment of suicide of air hostess Geetika Sharma by the then Haryana Minister of State for Home, Gopal Krishan Kanda.

The Winds of Change
The people of J&K can look forward due to the internal progress that they have made this year
Arun Joshi
There is a light at the end of the tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir. That the state has come out of the shadows of gun and dark days of the past 22 years, is an old story. The stars of this highly sensitive state may not be as bright as Chief Minister Omar Abdullah would like the 12 million people, scattered all across this hyper sensitive state, to believe.

Tackling Neighbours and their Hoods
India devoted much of its energy to mending fences with China and Pakistan without much return
Ashok Tuteja
ven as India devoted much of its energy to improving ties with China and Pakistan in 2012, wrinkles appeared in the time-tested relationship with Russia over a host of issues. India was virtually caught off guard in the neighbourhood as the Mohammed Nasheed regime was dislodged in the Maldives and then the new government terminated the Male airport development project awarded to Indian infrastructure major GMR amid growing Chinese influence in the archipelago.

In Afghanistan, No End in Sight to the Misery
The US-led multinational forces have realised that the extremists cannot be handled effectively with military might alone
Syed Nooruzzaman
HE world has done all it could to eliminate the Taliban but without success. The US-led multinational forces have used all the tactics they could think of to make the Taliban irrelevant in the Af-Pak region, but at the end of it all they have indirectly accepted that the extremists cannot be handled effectively with military might alone.

DEFENCE & DEVELOPMENT                                                                                                                                      
Armed Forces: Trials, Turmoil & Torpor
Serious deficiencies in the capabilities of its military-industrial complex and the Defence Research and Development Organisation remain a major hurdle in India's efforts to become a power to reckon with
Dinesh Kumar
T was a year when lots happened but little changed. Most issues and incidents that occurred through the year were either on predictable lines or a repeat of India’s contemporary defence history. There were less acquisitions of defence equipment and more delays, most notably that of the aircraft carrier from Russia.

UPA Deals its Smart Card, But Will it Work?
The Aadhar scheme could prove to be a make-or-break gamble for the UPA
Kuljit Bains
OR the UPA, running a government that anchors its philosophy on the Aam Aadmi, launch of the Aadhar-based subsidy disbursal will undoubtedly stand out as the prime initiative of 2012 in social welfare, even as most of its other flagship schemes came under intense criticism or required deep review.

ECoNOMY & BUSINESS                                                                                                                                            
Breaking the Coalition Logjam, Finally
The FDI triumph in Parliament was a reprieve for the UPA II in a year marked by inertia, political slugfest and disruptions in the House. It was policy paralysis in the first half to reforms rush in the second half
Nirmal Sandhu
T was a year that saw India's economic growth plunge to a decade low of 5.3 per cent, pushed by high inflation, tight monetary policy, two bad budgets, a deficient monsoon, debt troubles in Europe and an anaemic recovery in the US. Though each of these factors contributed to the slowdown, government inertia and political slugfest stand out.

Searching for the Silver Lining Amid Gloom
Spooked by new scams, allegations of crony capitalism and slow decision making, India had a listless year
Sanjeev Sharma
HE world did not end in 2012 as the Mayans had supposedly predicted but apocalypse or not, the global economy went through a tortuous period of pain and adjustment. India too, had an anaemic year of progress with GDP growth rate plummeting to around 5.5 per cent levels and estimates are that this financial year will be the slowest pace of growth in a decade.

The Grit, the Glory and the Ignominy
For Indian sports, it was the best of times and the worst of times. If our sportspersons brought us a record haul of medals, the Olympic Association brought disgrace over irregularities in its elections
Rohit Mahajan & MS Unnikrishnan
ndia’s unprecedented six-medal haul in the London Olympics, the retirement of some old guards from cricket and the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC’s) suspension of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), and the issues related to the implementation of the contentious Sports Code of the Government dominated the Indian sports scene in the year gone by.

No Country for Women
The inconceivable depravity of each crime committed through the year against women across rural-urban, rich-poor, educated-illiterate divide shocked the nation
Vandana Shukla
HE entire discourse on gender issues remained confined to rising numbers and brutalisation of sexual crimes against women this year. This, unfortunately, resulted in the intensification of moral surveillance over their lives. The year began on a sad note for Indian women. In June, a Thomas Reuters Foundation survey found India to be the most dangerous place for women to live in.

Art’s Here, But Where’s the Gallery?
Two major events changed the way art is viewed by lovers and buyers
Vandana Shukla
HIS year, two major art fairs changed the way art is viewed by connoisseurs and commoners. One, by its success, and the other, by its absence, despite a highly publicised launch. The year began with the much-hyped success of the Fourth edition of India Art Fair.

Reading in the e-Book Age
It was a year with many good books, and with the introduction of Kindle store in India, a number of Indians started reading e-books
Roopinder Singh
HAT do you say about the year in which the blockbuster, the world over, including in India, was an erotic book which left critics’ search for literary merit largely unfulfilled? You may hope for a better one down the list, only to find out that the other bestsellers that followed were part of the same trilogy.

FASHION & SCI-TECH                                                                                                                                               
Less of Spice, More of Substance
Experimentation and novelty became the ingredients of fashion that was garnished well with traditional works and regional imprints. It was a peaceful year for the fashion industry, minus any rows, which was why it could focus on its core area — fashion
Ashima Batish
HAT a controversy-deprived year it had been for the Indian fashion industry! Minus any wardrobe malfunctions, model-fashion designer tussles, or a showdown between fashion and Bollywood representatives, 2012 was more or less peaceful; with only fashion doing all the talking. The Indian fashion industry had a year to itself which was less on spice, more on substance!

Discovering the God Particle & Cloud Computing
Great scientific discoveries, progressively better gadgets, there were some celebrations and a few grouses
Roopinder Singh
HAT a year that was! Scientists found something that had been in existence for 13 billion years! Still they were not absolutely sure, just a 99.9997 certain that they had created and observed the Higgs Boson at the CERN supercollider. Yes, it created a great deal of excitement in the world, not in the least because it had been named the God particle.

When Small Became Beautiful Again
The divide between big-budget films and offbeat entertainers grew wider than ever before as a slew of small budget and unconventional films went down well with the audience and redefined the parameters of commercial success
Saibal Chatterjee
N Bollywood, what stood out in 2012 was the frenetic scramble among the A-list stars to break into the Rs 100-crore club. By the end of the year, the five reigning male stars — Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar and Hrithik Roshan — had at least one release each that crossed the three-figure mark in terms of boxoffice collection. What a year!

Close Encounters
From the Saifeena wedding to Sherlyn Chopra making it to the cover of Playboy, paparazzi had much to write about
Nonika Singh
H! the beautiful people. Wherever we go, whatever we do, they dominate our lives like no one else does. They make news in life and in death, in sickness and in health, in the best of their designer attires. No prizes for guessing that the woman who hogged the media limelight was no less than royalty. Caught off guard while vacationing at a private château in France, Kate Middleton’s nude sunbathing cost her dear and earned her some embarrassing moments.

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