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  Asia-Pacific
India: Adieu 2010, Welcome 2011
By Tanveer Jafri
Contributing Writer
The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum in Agra, India. The greatest Mughal architecture was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The ultimately beautiful building stands as a symbol of eternal love. Its architectural style combines elements from Persia, Islam, and India. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

Like every year, we said goodbye to 2010 and welcomed 2011 with new hopes and ambitions. Gone year left behind lots of sweet and sour events and memories- political, economic, national and international. Though last year was of great significance for the entire world, it was special for India in many aspects. Apart from positive happenings and creative wonders, 2010 also witnessed many corruption scams and scandals.

For instance, India for the first time hosted the Commonwealth Games (CWG), a global sports event. This boosted the image of India on international platform. At the same time, the CWG made India ashamed due to corruption involved in construction of games infrastructure and management of the games. While our sportspersons won over hundred medals, the sacking of and investigation against many top ranking officials of Organising Committee proved that all was not well in the games. Similarly, India made huge strides- both positive and negative- in the sectors of Communication and Information Technology. 2G Telecom Spectrum scam is estimated to have cost about $ 39 billion to the state exchequer. The man behind the scam, Telecom Minister of India, A. Raja, had to resign.

In Mumbai, the scam involved a multi-storey building- Adarsh Society, the flats of which meant to be allotted to the wives of the martyrs in Kargil War, were instead grabbed by the Ministers, powerful politicians and some big Army officers. Consequently, Ashok Chavan had to resign from the prestigious post of the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. In Bihar, by voting back Nitish Kumar to power, the people vindicated the politics of development, against the petty politics of caste and religion. Year 2010 also put a question mark on the role of the fourth estate of Indian democracy- the media. While media exposed the businessmen, politicians and professionals involved in the business of paid news, at the same time, the leaked tapes of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia also exposed the media’s active role as broker between the government and the corporate world.

Despite the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) investigating into the 2G spectrum scam, the opposition led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) remained stuck to the demand of constitution of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to go into the matter. This demand was so strong that the opposition didn’t let the Parliament function for an entire session, which again led to a loss of millions of rupees of public money. Famous award-winning writer and activist Arundhati Roy landed into the centre of a controversy when, in a seminar in New Delhi, also attended by Kashmiri separatist leader, Sayeed Ali Shah Geelani, she allegedly supported the demand for “Azaadi” (freedom) of Kashmir and said that Kashmir was never a part of India. Under the pressure of jingoist forces, the Delhi Police charged both Roy and Geelani with sedition.

Year 2010 will also be remembered for the Naxal violence and Operation Green Hunt initiated to combat Naxalism. By blowing a bus and derailing a train, Maoists conveyed that they don’t hesitate in killing innocents. Hundreds of security personnel were also killed in Naxal violence. In run up to the end, a Chhattisgarh Court gave such a verdict that will have its black shadow even on 2011. Life sentence was pronounced to famous social worker, thinker and physician Dr. Binayak Sen. Sen is considered as a communist thinker. He works among poor and deprived and thus very well understands their problems. Life sentence to Sen took entire nation by storm. While some are supporting the sentence given to Sen, many pro-poor activists and organizations have closed ranks behind Sen against the court verdict.

Kashmir is always in news for one reason or the other; however year 2010 will be remembered for unfortunate episode of stone-pelting. Entire Kashmir valley witnessed violence for over two months. Stones were pelted on the security forces in a planned way. More than hundred people lost their lives in this cycle of violence. Amidst strengthening of the voices of separatism in Kashmir, Central government setup a three-member committee headed by famous journalist Dilip Padgaonkar to listen to the complaints and aspirations of the people and submit its report to the government.

In the series of Court verdicts, the most controversial and important one remained the verdict of Allahabad High Court regarding the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute. Some people believe that the court gave this verdict so as to maintain harmony between the Hindus and the Muslims. Babri Masjid supporters are of the view that by allotting them just 1/3rd of the land, the Court did injustice to them. On the other hand, fundamentalist Hindutva organizations are stuck to their demand of full possession of land. Even though at the time of judgement, it seemed that this sensitive and poisonous issue will breakdown after the verdict, but the stubbornness on both sides doesn’t want it to die down.

India very well followed its ancient tradition of Atithi Devo Bhava in 2010. All P-5 leaders of UN Security Council- Cameron, Obama, Sarkozy, Jiabao and Medvedev paid state visits to India last year. Their visits proved that India is a power to reckon with. Either it is trade, business, investment or market, India is among the frontrunners of the world now.

Notwithstanding the above progresses and achievements, the gap between Bharat and India still persists. We should hope that 2011 will reduce this disparity not only in India but across the world, and will become a landmark year for peace, harmony and global brotherhood.



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Other Articles by Tanveer Jafri
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Mr.Tanveer Jafri, who serves as contributing writer for The Seoul Times, is a noted columnist in India. He writes on a variety of issues including world peace, anti-terrorism, and national & international politics for numerous news dailies and portals in India. As a devoted social activist he is member of Haryana Sahitya Academy & Haryana Urdu Academy.

 

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