Jan 1, 2010
Public memory they say, is short and here is an effort to recall the major events of the year 2009 as we are bidding goodbye for the past year to make way for the New Year. Each New Year brings with it truck load of hopes as the fecund mind always aspires for ideal situations, though it turns out to be a mixed bag of both good and bad.
As regard the global scenario the world stepped into the year 2009 carrying with it the fears of the global meltdown looming large and at the end of the year the ghost still lurks around though it is felt that India has successfully withstood the challenge (as of now) when every other country believed to have melted under its heat.
The year 2009 also had begun with Barak Obama sworn in as the first African-American President of America and the euphoria seems to have died down within a year. Hamid Karzai won another term as President of troubled Afghanistan and Pakistan continues to be in a state of anarchy following a series of bomb blasts. In between there was the unexpected death of pop icon Michael Jackson, the taming of the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka that ended 26 years of ethnic conflict, Slumdog Millionnaire bringing Oscars to India, the tale of sexual escapades of Tiger Woods and of course our own one and only 86 year old N D Tiwari being forced to resign under the cloud of a sex scandal following a sting operation, the Swine flue scare and finally the much hyped Copenhagen Climate Change Summit that made much more noise and polluted the environment than doing anything concrete to improve the environment, were some of the events that marked the year 2009.
As for India, a resurgent Congress led alliance UPA gave a drubbing to the opposition parties in the general elections held in April-May 2009. Defying analyst’s expectations of an hung assembly Congress sprang a surprise winning 206 seats on its own out of 543 Lok Sabha seats, which put an end to the political aspirations of some state satraps waiting to be king makers. A stable government at the centre was the best gift Indian electorate could give itself. Election of Meira Kumar as the first woman speaker of Lok Sabha was another landmark achievement as far as empowering women is concerned.
The untimely death of Andhra Chief Minister Y Rajsehekara Reddy was another political shock. The mishandling of Telengana issue by the centre has plunged Andhra Pradesh in turmoil and is sure to open a Pandora’s Box with more demands of statehood from other aspirants. The Reddy brothers and the Shobhayamana episode almost toppled the BSY-led BJP government in Karnataka. Renukacharaya becoming a minister in BSY’s cabinet is just an instance of what greed for power can lead to and the compromise formula BJP has arrived at. A tainted Shibu Soren is once again the king maker in Jharkand State with BJP going out of its way to support his government. In Assam the arrest of ULFA Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and his senior comrades was a major breakthrough achieved by the government. L K Advani stepped down as leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha and Nitin Gadkari took over as the new President of BJP.
As far as Mangalore is concerned it was turbulent year to begin with though there was a marked improvement as the year passed by. The year began with a bang with the pub attach with moral police stooping too low much against Indian culture to hit and molest women in public. The event brought ignominy to Mangalore as national and international media covered the event. The entire episode projected Mangalore in bad light as a intolerant and backward society ruled by the hooligans, where individual freedom is at stake, a society where women are molested in public etc,. It was this pub attack that led to the nationwide now infamous ‘pink chaddi campaign” initiated by a Delhi based woman journalist another first of its kind, in protest against this violence against women. The moral police had never expected such flak for their violent attack which has sullied the image of Mangalore beyond redemption.
Being a coastal belt Mangaloreans lived under the fear of the ghost of 26/11 Mumbai attack as the terrorists had come to Mumbai by sea route. The incidents of extortion by underworld elements in the city indeed had created panic among leading businessmen in the city. But the police have succeeded in controlling the underworld activities. In March 2009 with the arrest of Rasheed Malbari, close aide of underworld don Chota Shakeel, the D K police took the underworld bull by its horn crippling its wings to a great extent. The cold blooded murder of Malbari’s advocate Naushad Kashimji brought flak to the police force as the accusing finger was directed towards them. The arrest of the culprits has absolved the police from the needle of suspicion. The year also saw the arrest of serial killer Mohan Kumar, brining to light chilling account innocent women killed by him.
Global economic meltdown affects Bollywood
Low budget film Slumdog Millionaire won eight academy awards and with that India made its presence felt in the global music field by winning the Oscars. “Avatar” the year end release from Hollywood has smashed all records of box office collections in USA and in India too the movie is going to be a big grosser.
But Bollywood is still sulking feeling the effect of global meltdown with hardly handful movies declared as moderate hits. It looks as though it needed the “3 Idiots” to bring cheers to the industry which was badly in need of a hit to ride on to the New Year. Chocolate boy Ranbhir Kapoor has emerged as the new poster boy of Bollywood with the moderate hits of 3 movies starring him as the hero. Shilpa Shetty finally tied knot with Raj Kundra while Kareena and Saif Ali Khan continue to fill the gossip mills.
The Kannada film industry had a jolt with the untimely death of “Saahasa Simha” Vishnuvardhan. Singer, composer and music director C Ashwath’s death was another big loss. Goldern Star Ganesh failed to impress the audience with his home production “Maleyali Jotheyali”.
The sports fraternity was stunned by the revelation of the sexual escapades of the wealthiest athlete golfer Tiger Woods. The entire saga has put his personal life into shambles and he is forced to give up golf temporarily in a bid to repair the damage to his personal life. It is believed that his off-the-court antics have cost the shareholders of companynies losses up to $ 12 billion.
Roger Federer won a record 15th grand slam when he won the Wimbledon title to overcome the jinx and win the highest number of individual grand slam titles. Kim Clijsters rewrote history when she won the US Open in her first come back bid after giving birth to her child. Saina Nehwal of India has kept the pennants of India flying high with her achievements in badminton.
Little master Sachin Tendulkar completed 20 eventful years of international cricket and is still raring to go. Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasurya also joined this league recently, a rare achievement for any sportsperson. But Indian cricket glory suffered a set back with the scandal involving Wickets at Firoz Shah Kotla Stadium at Delhi, resulting in it being banned from holding international matches up to 2012. This controversy has besmirched the cricketing image of India beyond redemption.
England won the Ashes 2009, its first win at Lords in 75 years, considered to be the home of cricket, an achievement which will go down in the annals of cricketing history of England.
It is time we forget the past and look forward to the future with hope and anticipation as we step into the New Year. With the economic crisis showing some signs of recovery people have pinned their hope for the year 2010. The price rise of food items is a major worry for the common man as food items are going beyond their reach. It is expected that 2010 will bring some stability in the prices of essential commodities.
Let us hope the New Year is going to be a happy and peppy one for all of us.
Wish you all happy year 2010.