ByÂ Vidushi Singla:
Soon after South Africa gained independence from apartheid, Nelson Mandela remarked:Â “We recall the joy and excitement of a nation that had found itself, the collective belief that we had stepped out of our restrictive past and the expectant air of walking into a brighter future.”
Several years later and less than a month since his death, his words echo the sentiments of the Indian scenario today. If 2013 were to be described in one phrase, then that phrase would be ‘a call for change’. Be it politics, social activism or cinema; all the key shapers of a country’s destiny underwent a radical change. Even though 2013 proved to be a year that more often than not made headlines for the wrong reasons– the floods ravaging Uttarakhand, the loss of lives due to dengue, the Supreme Court criminalizing homosexuality and the Centre rejecting CBI’s demand for autonomy; yet what is laudable is that all these acted as stimuli to voice the pent up frustration that consequently led to ‘a call for change’. It’s this change that has given India, moments of pride in 2013-
1. The Rise of the Common Man
This year saw people taking on to the streets to speak up not just for themselves but for others too. Be it the unprecedented turn out for elections in Delhi, people of varied sexualities coming together to protest for the rights of homosexuals, or the increasing number of rape cases being reported; this year witnessed the rage of the common man being productively harnessed to strengthen the spirit of democracy. With rape cases being followed up against stalwarts like Tarun Tejpal and A.K. Ganguly, it was made clear that not even the mighty and powerful are above the laws of the land.
2. The Changing Dynamics of Politics
The political scene in India underwent a revolutionary change that could trace its ancestry only in the Jayaprakash Movement of 1970s. The rise of the Aam Aadmi Party came as a welcome change in an otherwise accountability starved nation. It came to represent a form of governance that was people-oriented. Even though its endurance in Indian politics is still dubious, yet what is of relevance to us are the macro issues that it brought to light, that of accountability and transparency. The success of AAP has shaken the complacency of the existing parties as has become evident through Congress’s frantic efforts to reinvent its image post the realization of the anti-incumbent wave in the country.
3. Indian research makes its presence felt on the world map
The Indian Space Research Organisation gave India ample reasons in 2013 to be proud of its ace institution. As India launched its maiden mission to Mars on 5th December, there flew high with the spacecraft Mangalyaan, the hopes and aspirations of millions of Indians to be one among the few select nations in the world involved in interplanetary missions.
Another heartening news came from the HAL quarters in Bangalore as India’s very own Light Combat Aircraft; Tejas received the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC), thus proving India’s mettle in the field of aeronautics. This state-of-the-art aircraft designed for the Indian Air Force will replace the Russian made Mig-21.
4. The splendour of Sachin
The world took a bow as India’s cricketing legend, Sachin Tendulkar decided to call it a day. From Chris Gayle to Roger Federer, from Michael Carrick to Virender Sehwag, everyone reminisced about the career of his iconic brilliance. His unparalleled records attest to his unmatched prowess. Brian Lara deemed Tendulkar to be synonymous to cricket when he said “if you mention the word boxing, you have to mention Muhammad Ali. When you talk of basketball, you have to mention Michael Jordan. When you speak about cricket, I’d speak of Tendulkar.
5. The Dead End for Convicted politicians:
In what was hailed as a landmark verdict to cleanse polity, the Supreme Court announced that a person who is in police custody will not be allowed to contest elections to legislative bodies. This initiative of the SC found an extension in the cancellation of the Lok Sabha membership of Lalu Prasad, the two-time Chief Minister of Bihar. Later, he was sentenced to a five year term in prison for the fodder scam. These measures have reinforced the belief of people in the judiciary of the world’s largest democracy.
6. (Infra) Structural Advances:
In what is being seen as a welcome step to promote women’s security, the first ever Mahila bank, Bhartiya Mahila Bank was inaugurated in Mumbai on November 19. There are already eight other branches of the bank that have been set up all across the country.
Another infrastructural reform was seen in the field of connectivity. India’s first ever private-funded metro rail system was opened to the public on November 14. The rapid metro connects National Highway-8 and the existing Sikanderpur metro station on the Yellow Line of the Delhi Metro.
7. Revolution in Reel
From the sci-fi thriller, Krish3 to the all commercial, Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani; from the biopic, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag to the sexually explicit, Grand Masti; from the critically acclaimed Special 26 to the slapstick comedy, Chennai Express; the variety of genres that did well on the box office kept multiplying in numbers. The success of these films proved to be a testament to the wider acceptability of the Indian audience. Bollywood is witnessing a radical transformation, wherein there are no rigid distinctions between art and commercial cinema. There no longer exist prototypes of blockbusters. You have to be able to entertain in order to sustain.
A similar trend was observed in music. If the success of the album of Aashiqui2 prompts you to think that Indian audiences are reverting to melodies then, think again. From the melodious strains of Aashiqui2 to the cacophonic Badtameez Dil and Lungi Dance, a wide variety of songs ruled the roost this year.
8. Fashioning new trends
Besides earning recognition as an international pop singer, Priyanka Chopra became the face for Guess, world’s leading brand in fashion. So also, Indian fashionista, Sonam Kapoor became the first Indian to feature in the esteemed global magazine, The Business of Fashion. To add to this list of Indian beauties being acknowledged internationally, Srishti Rana, the second runner-up at the Miss India pageant this year, won the title of Miss Asia Pacific World 2013.
So, as we are on the threshold of 2014, here’s hoping that the achievements next year would far outnumber the ones that made us proud this year. We need more. Many, many more.