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India and the World - A Flashback of the Year 2008
By Florine Roche

Mangalore
December 31, 2008 
 

Another year come to an end and as we say goodbye to the year that was a recollection of the events of the past one year makes one wonder whether the 2008 will go down in the annals of history for reasons more than one.  It was a year which witnessed terrorist attack of the worst kind on Indian soil and which saw the global economic upheaval that has found echoes in several countries including India.

As far as the national events are concerned it was year in which India witnessed one of its worst catastrophes in the form of Mumbai terror attacks last month.  But the attack has united Mumbaikars and Indians like never before which only signifies that nothing can trample the spirits of Indians.   


UNITED AGAINST TERROR AND VIOLENCE
 
The siege of India’s financial capital Mumbai by terrorists from across the border, will no doubt top the top events of 2008 as far as India is concerned.  The memories of this most ghastly and chilling act will be etched in the public psyche for years to come.  But true to the resilience Mumbai is known for, the citizens have bounced back with vengeance foiling the sinister designs of those who wanted to spread disharmony, hatred and violence.  This was evident from the fact that the country witnessed bomb blasts of different magnitudes in places like Jaipur, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Malegaon, Assam etc.  However it is heartening to know that there was no widespread communal violence except in Assam, after each of the bomb attacks or the recent Mumbai siege.   

Islamic fanaticism, Hindu bigotry and religious intolerance marked the calendar year 2008.  A stunning development in the year has been the unearthing of the growth of “Hindu Terrorism”, a fact which has been acknowledged belatedly much to the discomfort of those who are not willing to accept this truth. 

The year also saw mass communal violence against Christians in Orissa resulting in torching of religious places, orphanages, hospitals and violence of the worst kind on Christian missionaries.  The communal carnage continued unabated and spread to Karnataka and other neighboring states.  Mangalore had to bear the brunt of the disgruntled fanatics who attacked Christian places of worship forcing the Christians to take to streets in protest.  The events that unfolded following this have united the Christian community to a great extent.  For the first time Mangalore experienced violence between Hindus and Christians. It was a bitter lesson and let us wish good sense prevail and people respect other religions and live in harmony.  


THE INFLATIONARY PINCH & N-DEAL

The year began with inflation which touched double digit in the middle of the year for the first time in many years.  The burgeoning Indian middle class felt the pinch for the first time as a result of the unprecedented inflationary trends. The lower middle class lived a life of penury unable to adjust to the soaring prices of essential commodities.  Inflation also dominated the assembly elections of Karnataka.  The Karnataka assembly elections marked the triumph of BJP paving the way to form the first BJP government in the South. 

Surprisingly the inflation was down before the five states went for assembly polls. The results of the assembly elections in the 5 northern states surprised many as polling in some states was held at the backdrop of the Mumbai terror attacks.  The results gave the beleaguered Congress Party the much needed victory in three of the five states and for the BJP Rajasthan proved to be its Achilles ’ Heel.   The results were a pointer to the fact that voters could not be swayed only by parties or ideologies and those local and developmental issues was the cornerstone of winning elections as is proved by the invincible Sheila Dixit who won Delhi three times consecutively. 

The signing of the much touted Indo-US Civilian Nuclear Deal in October was no doubt another high point of the calendar year 2008.  The four left parties withdrew their support to the Congress led UPA Government in July on the nuclear issue and the Congress was forced to seek the support of Samajwadi supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav. The gullible public witnessed the shocking scenario of waving cash bundles in parliament during the trust vote.   Nuclear deal had another scalp in the form of expulsion of another stalwart of the Left Somnath Chatterjee from the party.  The year also marked the expulsion Congress leader Margaret Alva, a close confidant of Sonia Gandhi. Margaret Alva paid a heavy price for speaking the truth. 

The year end has brought cheers to the BJP in Karnataka which has won a decisive victory in the by-elections winning 5 of the eight seats at stake.  The J & K election results have reiterated people’s faith in the democratic process despite doubts of its efficacy looming large.

 


Assembly Election in Karnataka



BJP Comes to Power in the State



Bomb Blast



Church Attacks in the State



Haveri Firing


SPORT TO CHEER

Sports brought laurels to India and cheers to Indians 2008.  Just as Indians were trying to come to terms of India’s failure to qualify for Beijing Olympics India’s golden boy Abhinav Bindra eclipsed all the bitter memories when he became India’s first Olympic individual gold medalist.  Young Indian boxer Vijender Singh and wrestler Sushil Kumar won bronze medals at Olympics to cheer up India’s spirits. 

Chess wizard Vishwanathan Anand once again proved his prowess defending his World Chess Champion defeating his Russian rival Vladimir Kramnik.  With injury prone Sania  Mirza taking a backseat the country saw the rise of another racked wielding youngster Shuttler Saina Nehwal who became the first Indian to win the junior world title and also had an impressive run at the Olympics.  India’s doubles heroes Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi played together at Olympics forgetting their differences (!) without success.  

For a cricket crazy country like India there was everything to cheer about in 2008.  It was IPL & ICL mania that gripped the cricket lovers and in Mahendra Singh Dhoni emerging as the hero leading India to a win in a tri-series in Augstralia, a crushing 2-0 win against a formidable Australia at home in test and annihilating England in the recently concluded test and one day series. The cheer leaders of IPL provided enough fuel to the cricket mania and fodder to the media. Little master Sachin Tendulkar became the leading run-scorer in tests when overtook Brian Lara’s record this year.  Indian cricket legends like Dada Saurav Ganguli and Anil Kumble bid goodbye to international cricket.  The visit of football legend Diego Maradona to Kolkotta last week is said to give a boost to football in the country. 


THE RISE OF OBAMA AND THE GLOBAL MELTDOWN

When in comes to international events nothing comes closer to the impressive rise of African-American President Barack Obama.  The vast global economic meltdown plunging the US into recession that began with the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September comes a close second.  The US recession resulting in collapse of Wall Street giants is considered to be the worst economic crisis since the great depression of 1930.  US recession has ravaged economies the world over and India too is feeling the heat of the recession. 

Oil prices touched a high of $150 a barrel in July before crashing to a low of $33 this month. 

China successfully hosted the Beijing Olympics for the first time and reaped rich benefits emerging at the top of the medals table.  Beijing Olympics saw the emergence of swimming sensation Michael Phelps and Jamaican speedster Ussain Bolt. 

Chineese earthquake in May this year killed over 70,000 people and rendered millions homeless.  Russia and Georgia five day war in August this year created some tense moments creating further trouble in US-Russia relations.  

Sheik Hasina won a landslide victory in Bangladesh giving a crushing blow to those who were fanning the fundamentalist forces. 

The Iraqui journo Muntader al-Zaidi who threw his shoes at American President George Bush has become a hero overnight manifesting the anger Iraquis nurture against the American leader. 

Hillary Rodham Clinton did not win the US Presidential elections but she came closer to within any other woman in US history winning a major party presidential nominee.  Her determined campaign and never-say-die spirit inspired millions of women all over the globe. 

Let us hope the New Year brings with it hope, happiness, peace, prosperity and above all triumph of humanity against all odds.


Happy New Year 2009

Florine Roche - Archives:

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Comments on this article
Lydia Lobo, KadriSunday, January 04, 2009
Dear Florine, Its a pride to read the articles flowing off you one after the other. The later part of 2008 was rather terrifying with Church attacks, Mumbai attacks and to cap it all the recession. I somehow wanted the year to end. Nevertheless, the trend of get-together of old classmates is too tempting. You may remember me by my name and may get my contact through Daiji office. Is there a chance we (the members of Infant Jesus) start communication ? Why not you ignite the flame and pass-on to me/others any information you may get/have ? Lydia
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Praveen Pinto, MangaloreSaturday, January 03, 2009
Yes! 2008 shall be forever etched in the history of canara catholics.The second state sponsored attack on our community.The first time was well planned in an era without mobile communication. The Sultan chose the day of Ash Wednesday to capture our unsuspecting ancestors gathered to celebrate mass at different churches across canara.This time a Party chose a sunday to unleash its evil designs at different places of worship simultaneously.Both the times our community was caught Unawares. They say it took a years planning to ute 26/11 at mumbai.So when is the next attack going to be???
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A.D'Cunha Shenoy, MangaluruFriday, January 02, 2009
Indeed a year of ups and downs. Achievements and anticipation in a country now entangled in a threat of terrorism which can cripple a country like ours as it is immensely difficult to control terror infiltrators coming from outside the country and indeed a great potential for inborn within the country itself. While our relationships get closer and deeper with US, UK and Israel and the west we are indeed a greater target for extremists who are ideologically opposed to these countries. Our politicians must protect our country. My question is CAN THEY?
Comment on this message     

Max & Jessie Rasquinha, Mangalore/Houston, TxThursday, January 01, 2009
Dear Florine, Wonderful coverage on a wide variety of subjects relating to politics, religion, economics, environment and much more. What a timely message at a time when we are ready to embrance the New Year. Thank you for your intellectual insight, and may you continue to share many more of your viewpoints and visions in the future. You are an asset to Daijiworld. Qudha Afeiz.
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