The year 2011 in India has seen a mixed bag of events from the good, to the bad and to the ugly. There have been a few firsts that India has experienced. Some of the events managed to put the whole nation on a nail biting spree. I am taking this opportunity to look back into a little exciting, a little disappointing, a little enraging and a little satisfying and on a an average a reasonable year and highlight some of the notable events.
April 2nd: India wins the much awaited Cricket World Cup. This cup has been long due since the great little master Sachin Tendulkar first debuted. It has been more of a tribute to this living legend than an achievement for India. A nail biting event.
April 5th: Anna Hazare's anti corruption campaign has been a revolution. It has brought the people of all ages and races and religions under one umbrella. This was the classic case of unity in diversity. It has also revolutionized the way in which the social networking technology has been used. This campaign was like a torch which threw light in the way the Social Media could be used for uniting the people from distant lands to help them fight in unity against the social evil of corruption.
August 2nd: The recent discovery of the treasure in the Padmanabha Swamy temple in Kerala has dropped the jaws of the nation in awe. The treasure found in the temple is estimated to be Rs. 320 billion, that is about US $ 6 Billion in gold, coins and other jewelry. Along with the other monumental assets the total worth is about Rs. 1.2 trillion, approximately US $ 22 billion. If their antique value is considered as well, then the total worth of the treasure could be about US $ 220 billion. Welcome to the richest temple in the world.
October 30th: India went international once again with the F1 Race coming to India. India has managed to grab the attention of the rest of the world with its indigenous race track in Noida. This was a proud event and is something India can boast about for years to come.
November 29th: Virendra Sehwag breaks the record of Sachin Tendulkar 200 runs in ODI's with his magnificent 219. This record is as much a proud event for the nation as it is to Sehwag himself. This record is unlikely to be beaten by anyone in the generations to come.
And then, there are not so proud moments:-
July 13th: The three co-ordinated bombings in Mumbai which left 26 killed and over a 100 injured.
September 19th: Earthquake in Sikkim left 111 dead
October 30th: The 7 billionth baby in India. Not much to cherish about as we are already in the population crisis path.
December 12th: Hospital fire in West Bengal kills 91. This event caught the nation’s attention about the safety measures adopted by the Hospitals. This event has brought the authorities from their deep slumber to inspect the fire safety arrangements in private and public hospitals.
The year also witnessed the deaths of notable personalities in India:-
January 24th: Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, a legendary vocalist and a connoisseur of Hindustani classical music passed away.
February 24th: Ananth Pai (Uncle Pai) passed away. His Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle comics will however live on. He will be always remembered. Amar Chitra Katha and the Tinkle comics has been a favorite past time reading when I was a kid. My generation of people would fondly remember Uncle Pai for keeping us in touch with the books through these stories. I still buy Tinkle when I am making a train or a bus journey. He will be greatly missed.
April 24th: Spiritual guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba passed away. He had millions of followers in India and abroad. And has been a messiah to the people of Puttaparthi where he built hospitals and educational Universities which served the needy free of cost.
June 9th: The “Picasso of India”, M.F. Hussain breathed his last. A Padma Shree, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awarded, was one of the earliest painters to gain international attention. His paintings commanded huge prices in international auctions.
August 14th: The yesteryear Casanova of Indian Cinema, Shammi Kapoor passed away on this day. Nicknamed as "Elvis Presley of India" for his resemblance to the original, he had revolutionized the dance in the Indian Cinemas. He is known to have broken the traditional barriers of acting in his days which made him hugely popular. His trademark Yahoo scream will stay in the minds of his fans for the rest of their lives.
September 22nd: A legendary cricketer who overcame an impaired eye to become a visionary and pioneering captain of the Indian cricket team, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi passed away on this day. Known as "Tiger", this Nawab of Pataudi, England educated, with such flair and acumen inspired the generation of cricketers.
October 10th: Ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh passed away on this day. The "Ghazal King" with tracks such as Woh kagaz ki Kashti and Meri zindagi kisi aur ki hai, made this genre of music not only available and understandable to all, but also enjoyable.
November 5th: Another legendary singer from Assam, Bhupen Hazarika went to the heavenly abode on this day. He was the greatest cultural ambassador of Assam. He brought the North Eastern part of India even more closely with his music and singing.
December 4th: The full of life and an eternal optimist Dev Anand, considered a true legend of the Indian Cinema passed away on this day. A greatest showman, who outlived many of his contemporaries, was also known for his kindness and generosity.
While the nation was mourning the departing of the notable personalities who have influenced and touched the lives of so many of its people in every which way, the nation was also mourning the darker events that unearthed during the 2011.
The 2G Spectrum scam: This scam of about Rs. 176,000 Crore (about US $ 39 billion) startled the country and brought to light the high corruption in the bureaucracy.
ISRO Spectrum Scam: While the country was reeling under the 2G spectrum scam, another bigger scam was unearthed. This time the scam was worth Rs. 2 Lakh Crores (about US $ 44 billion)
Both the scams were related to the allocation of the Spectrum bands to the private telecom players.
Adarsh Housing Scam: The misuse of property meant for war veterans and war widows by the politicians in the prime location of South Mumbai has proved that there is no dignity left among the politicians. They proved themselves as scavengers pouncing on anything and everything that looks like a money meal.
Hopefully, the year 2012 will be a year in which the evil head of corruption will be crushed every time it tries to raise itself. Hopefully, the New Year brings much growth and development. Hopefully, as a nation we touch new heights, gather new successes. Hopefully, we stand out and tall in every which way, which would, makes us a proud nation. Amen!