Its Independence Day time. And also the time for my annual review of the year gone by for India. A tradition which has now gone into its 5th year. (Previous editions are here: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010).
The year gone by could be summed up in one word - Corruption. You heard the word everywhere. It was associated with every major and minor happening in the government, media, sports, wherever you like it. The scandals and scams kept rolling out. The Commonwealth Games, the 2G Spectrum case, the Nira Radia tapes. The CAG was in a hyper active mode, investigating one issue after the other. But with almost every report of theirs being leaked to the media before getting tabled in Parliament, some doubts regarding their motives also came into mind. Amidst all this there was a large anti-corruption stir being raised in the people, with Anna Hazare being at the fore-front of it all. However, even this movement was almost hijacked by the antics of certain jokers. The government tried to crush some of the movements but don't know if it worked. (Just an aside - Baba Ramdev's jump from the podium during the police lathicharge at his fast reminded me of Christiano Ronaldo's dives for a penalty more than anything else).
The Prime Minister seems more helpless then anything else. The opposition is useless. The President and Vice-President are unheard. I guess a total lack of leadership right now. Then there are politicians like Digvijay Singh, who has become a case of diarrhea of words. The various party spokespersons provide perfect examples of why "Freedom of Speech" can be taken away in some instances.
The Nira Radia tapes showed that the bringers of "news" can't be trusted any longer. The media has long since degenerated into a sensationalist "Breaking News" mode. Even trivial incidents are blown up. When the blasts took place in Mumbai, from the news channels it would have seemed that the entire city was under siege, whereas in reality most parts of it were quite calm. Another case in point, repeatedly showing the video of a family getting washed away during a flash flood without caring about the sentiments of the relatives. Then of course we have the "Match Ka Mujrim" type shows which bring in some failed international cricketers then speak about the performances of the current players as if they are criminals.
The sports front had some extra-ordinary highs and then deep lows. There are some major contenders for sporting highs. Saina Nehwal winning the Badminton gold to take India to the 2nd place in overall rankings in the Commonwealth Games, the 4X400m relay quartet winning the gold and the biggest of them all, the ODI World Cup victory. Don't think there would have been a bigger celebration than when Dhoni hit the winning six. Indian cricket was the top of the world. We were the Test No. 1, and ODI world champions. Since then the dream run has turned sour with an ordinary performance in West Indies and then getting hammered by England to lose the No. 1 test status. In other sports, we had the super athletics shows in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. The 4X400 women's relay final in the Commonwealth Games was one of the sporting highlights of the year. However, the star 4X400 relay quarter has been since involved in a big doping scandal. In tennis, the Indian Express is back together. And we are all set to host our first F1 race, with the likelihood of 2 Indian drivers racing.
Dabbang was awarded the national award for "Wholesome entertainer of the Year". I guess that sums up the state of the entertainment industry. The item songs ruled the roost with Munni & Sheela top of the charts.
So this is how much I can recall of the current Indian state. There are bad things going on. But the awareness against them is increasing. And the public wants to act. Its good to see some hope.