By Raj Chengappa Editor-in-Chief
is the rust of our souls that corrodes through all her best resolves, Owen
Felltham, the English writer, perceptively observed. For the UPA Government, it was a combination of negligence and stasis that saw the growth story of India corrode and crumble in 2013. An economy that had averaged 8 per cent growth plunged to below 5 per cent, the lowest in a decade. Inflation ripped a hole in our pockets so wide that even the very bright Raghuram
Rajan, who was asked to head the Reserve Bank of India, couldn’t sew it up in a hurry. As the world gave
Aam aadmi plays party pooper
The BJP cashed in on an anti-Congress wave in the North but it was AAP that made the big splash
there appears to be an uncanny coincidence with the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre and the month of December. In its first year in office in 2004, a tidal
wave shook the shores of Southern India and in its last year in office, a political tsunami struck in
tjhe North, with an epicentre in Delhi, sending shockwaves across the country.
Uncommon success: Arvind Kejriwal, convener of the Aam Aadmi Party, upset the applecart of the established political parties with his remarkable victory in Delhi
Modi’s success mantra
A space lift and cyber drag
India successfully sent a mission to Mars even as people realised that nothing is private in cyber space
launched a successful bid to enter the exclusive Mars club, even as it commissioned a small submarine-based nuclear reactor, as well as a large one to provide electrical power.
Mission Mars: Mangalyaan, India's low-cost Mars orbiter, blasted off in November. It left Earth's orbit and is on its way to the Red Planet. India is now seen as a major budget player in the global space race
Nature’s fury, Man’s follies
Uttarakhand, effective management of Cyclone Phailin was a lesson in handling a calamity
disasters, especially natural, will take mankind by surprise every year, but two of them in 2013 were particularly educative in terms of both prevention and management. The floods in Uttarakhand demonstrated what could be the recipe for a perfect disaster, while the response to Cyclone Phailin that hit Odisha and Andhra Pradesh contrasted in showing how to handle a calamity ideally.
Wrath of the gods: A submerged statue of Lord Shiva stands amid the flood waters of the Ganga at Rishikesh in
Bhaag Punjab bhaag
The state struggled to break free from the 3 Ds of dynasty, drugs & debt and move to
Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal brought all the bigwigs of Indian industry to Mohali in the first week of December to charm them into investing in Punjab. How much investment actually comes out of it remains to be seen. Despite the staging of a successful World Kabaddi Cup, the state grappled with numerous scams. A shocker was the extent to which the state is infested by big drug lords, a cause of worry, especially for the parents of growing children. Hundreds of kilograms of smack and other intoxicants were seized.
Drug lord: The arrest of dismissed Punjab DSP Jagdish Bhola was the tip of a massive drug scam
Hooda rallys around, race tough
In Haryana, the Chautalas landed in jail while the ruling Congress leaders fought among themselves
Naveen S Garewal
Haryana would enter its election year at the dawn of the New Year but it would not be without the shadow cast by events of 2013. The impact on the General Election of all hectic political activity and ‘rallying’ is anyone’s guess.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda addresses a massively attended Shakti rally at Gohana to show that he is firmly in the saddle
In Himachal, the reign of acrimony
It was high drama and low politics as the ruling Congress bowled a googly at the BJP over scams
THE year saw several decisions of the Dhumal government reversed and inquiries initiated into its acts of commission and omission. The return of Virbhadra Singh as Chief Minister also brought a turnaround in the fortunes of his wife Pratibha Singh and son Vikramaditya, while vigilance inquiries into alleged phone tapping, shady land deals and the murky affairs of Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) pushed the Leader of Opposition P. K.Dhumal and his cricketer son, Anurag Thakur, MP, into a tight corner.
Pratibha Singh in a procession to mark her victory by an impressive margin in the Mandi Lok Sabha bypoll (Left) Row Royal: Virbhadra vs Dhumal (R top) and Land loss: Yoga guru Ramdev was not welcome in Himachal Pradesh
Omar: In a state of twitter
The relative peace was shattered by firings on the LoC, militant strikes and a spate of graft charges
the National Conference-Congress coalition government is set to complete five years in office on January 5, 2014, but the life of the state Legislative Assembly in Jammu and Kashmir is six years. A senior National Conference minister aptly remarked: “There is no government, it is election time.” Such is the cynicism within the government, despite the fact that the Assembly elections are over an year away and it is not curtains down yet for the NC-Congress coalition.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah faced many challenges in the year that went by
uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna faced the toughest task of his life this year in June as his state faced the unprecedented natural disaster caused by massive floods that killed more than 5,000 people and devastated a large part of the state. It was a test of his administrative capabilities and political acumen to rescue the stranded people and then to provide succour to the affected population. He seems to have floundered on both counts.
Uttarakhand CM Vijay Kumar Bahuguna faced flak because of the administration’s delayed response in relief management. The enormity of the disaster left the state government reeling
Obama: The sheen wore off quickly
Snowden and the healthcare law are the crosses President Obama may have to carry in his second term
Ashish Kumar Sen
barack Obama began the year on a high note. Fresh off a convincing victory in a re-election battle that pitted him against Republican challenger Mitt Romney, he started his second term as most two-term presidents do, focused on shaping his legacy.
Cold WAR: US President Barack Obama (L) with Russian President Vladimir Putin. President Obama lost ground internationally over the exposure of large-scale electronic surveillance by the US, exposed by Edward Snowden, while President Putin stood tall with his deft handling of the Syrian chemical weapons’ crisis
Indian power and prejudice
Indians abroad continued to be subjected to racial prejudice and physical attacks
two recent events in quick succession this year on either side of the Atlantic Ocean came as news for concern back home in India. It revealed just how much the Indian diaspora continues to be a subject of racial prejudice and physical attacks in some of the world's advanced democracies.
A slice of India: Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper (C) poses with performers during Baisakhi celebrations in Ottawa
Adrift at sea, lost on land
After much dithering , the UPA Government finally took stock of the country’s defence preparedness
last year, the then Army Chief, General VK Singh, had talked of
"critical operational hollowness" in our defence capability.
But the steps taken recently are only seen as belated
"patch-work" and a lot remains to be done to counter-balance
the twin threats from China and Pakistan. After much delay, the
government has cleared the raising of a new mountain
"strike" corps along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with
China. But, this has come at least 10 years too late; elements of the
strike corps were a part of the Army's Perspective Plan prepared in
2000. What is worse is that it could take at least six to eight years
for the mountain strike corps to be fully operational.
Neighbours and their hoods
2013 was a year India would like to forget as its relations with
most neighbours remained tense
relations with its neighbours occupy a central place in the
country's foreign policy. New Delhi is quite clear that a peaceful
periphery will enable India to focus on the essential task of its
development. However, 2013 was a year
India would like to forget as far as relations with neighbours are
concerned, particularly with key countries like China and Pakistan.
Rise of prices, fall of currency
Cost of essential food items, interest rates, markets — the government
failed to control anything
government went in a
self-destructive mode. Failing to contain prices and corruption,
fast-track project clearances and even lift the mining ban, the UPA
focused on winning elections by passing laws on food security and land
acquisition, and raised wages under the rural job guarantee scheme.
In the long dark tunnel, a bright spark
Companies, in firefighting mode, are battling stretched balancesheets
and eroding profitability
has overtaken economics
and with the General Election less than six months away, business is
in a wait-and-watch mode. Initially, the wait was
for the economy to revive, investment scenario to improve and
consumers to start spending again. When recovery remained
subdued, the wait was for 2014 to arrive. In the beginning of the
year, 2013 was expected to herald a sharp recovery in the economy.
However, given the manifold problems — from inflation, high current
account deficit, high fiscal deficit and low investments, the economy
is taking its time to revive.
Sex, lies and the dirty picture
With corrosion of the ethical framework, there was a crumbling of the mould of victimhood
was a year when the moral edifice that held time-tested values aloft
— be it in institutionalised religion, media or the judiciary —-
crumbled. Sexual harassment at the workplace and the new rape law were
bang in the centre of the national discourse and dominated both the
collective conscience and consciousness. A carryover of the tipping
point last December post-Nirbhaya rape case.
Never before in human history was such a perfect recipe for self-promotion devised
Self-LOVE, self-assertion, self-praise and self-aggrandisement were turned shamelessly enchanting by selfie in 2013. Turning the ‘me, my myself’generation a bit more selfie-sh. Narcissism, the good-old 10-letter word fails to contain its connotations. The high-brow, propah manners be damned, selfies of pretty bottoms, of dog legs on holiday, of the cakes you’ve baked, of the dress or the glasses you need an opinion about… are flooding the virtual universe. After an overdose of smileys and emoticons, the verbally challenged generation has found one more device to express itself, going overboard with visuals of the self!
god said goodbye
2013 had its share of the good, the bad and the ugly but Sachin’s
adieu dwarfed everything else
little big man, after living his life within the hallowed "22
yards" for 24 years, finally bid adieu. So huge was the occasion,
as was evident from the overwhelming interest that his farewell series
against West Indies generated, a difficult-to-sell contest otherwise,
that 2013 will always be remembered as the year when India's
most-loved sporting icon retired. The fact that the Bharat Ratna, the
highest award of the land, was conferred on him within minutes of his
leaving the field for the last time, shows the kind of influence he
has had on his countrymen.
Of splits, blips and ‘twerks’
Celebrities continued to entertain us throughout the year with their antics
way, how we love to see
the rise and fall of the rich and famous, the stars and the celebs,
and as is their wont, they never fail to disappoint. This year was no
exception. The one star who literally fell while rising was Jennifer
Lawrence. Out to receive the Oscar for her performance in Silver
Linings Playbook, she tripped and created a stir. Later, she not
only recovered from her fall but also dismissed her Oscar trophy with
words, "I don’t know where I have put it away."
Now the word is also flat
Indian authors, including expatriates, made their mark in many ways, with Jhumpa Lahiri on top
authors had a special
place in the minds of readers this year. The world celebrated the
Nobel Prize going to Canada’s Alice Munro, whose works suddenly
became familiar to Indian readers. Then, there was the woman who took
a man’s name and did quite well, until Robert Galbraith was revealed
to be J.K. Rowling. Thereafter, her book, The Cuckoo’s Calling, did
Much dhoom over nothing
Bollywood delivered little in cinematic quality with the effort being on
hitting the 100-cr mark
teasers of the last major Bollywood release of 2013, Dhoom 3,
raised hopes that the year would end on a high. Yes, it was that kind
of the year — moviegoers were left clutching at straws. It wasn’t as if the
past 12 months were low on action but the mainstream Mumbai movie
industry, despite the bang from its buck, delivered very little by way
of real cinematic quality.
The uber cool of 2013
A look at those who grabbed much news space and attention
we say goodbye to the year that saw much action, and even more
reaction, here’s a peek-a-boo at the movers and shakers of the year,
who rocked as well as grabbed eyeballs.