India has always been controversy’s favourite child, and the recent years have only proved that a tad bit more…. blame it on who you want, the fact remains that the country has freed itself from certain chains that needed to be snapped…. and some that still await aftermath. The year 2019 has been, well, ‘happening’ to say the least…. witnessed some of the most earth-shattering, path-breaking, unexpected jerks….. and some welcome changes. The year saw several events that could be termed ‘turning points’ in India’s modern history.… a year of lessons, restraint, and all that jazz….. Here’s a peek into what went by….
The Extravaganza That Was Lok Sabha Elections 2019
The 2019 general election was one of the biggest polling exercise in the world! The hype that this election created, was even being lauded across the 7 seas! The 7-phase extravaganza started on April 11 and ended on May 19. The counting of votes took place on May 23. Over 10.35 lakh polling stations were established and about 17.4 lakh Verifiable Voter Paper Audit Trail machines. Not to mention free meals, goats, camels……. the lesser said the better….
As three states in the Hindi land, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, had polled in favour of the Congress, the potential allies of a Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) became hyperactive…. that was that… and the people made their choice… Mahgathbandhan drowned in the Modi tsunami!
The BJP won 303 seats in the newly constituted 17th Lok Sabha, and the NDA got 353 seats. With this massive majority, Narendra Modi won his second term in office.
Pulwama… & Balakot… Avenged!
In an event that would shake the nation and trigger an action by the Indian government across the border in Pakistani territory, 40 soldiers were killed in the Pulwama district of Jammu & Kashmir on February 14, when a military convoy of the Indian Army was attacked by terrorists allegedly backed by Pakistan.
On February 26, India launched pre-dawn airstrikes in Pakistan’s Balakot, destroying a terror camp and eliminating several terror operatives. In retaliation, Pakistan sent across the border its F-16 fighter jets, one of which was shot down.
In this operation, an Indian fighter pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, was captured by Pakistani forces and released after several rounds of negotiations in a victory of Indian diplomacy.
Chandrayaan 2, That Made India Proud
Chandrayaan 2, India’s second lunar mission, was launched on July 22. It was scheduled to be launched on July 15, but it was aborted 56 minutes before lift-off due to a technical snag. The mission was successful, but it could not land its lander (Vikram) on the moon. Vikram carried the rover (Pragyan), which was expected to carry out various experiments on the moon’s surface.
On September 7, during the last minutes of descent, the communication link with Vikram snapped when it was about 2.1 km from the surface of the moon. The visuals of the moment, widely shared on social media, showed PM Modi hugging and patting Mr Sivan as he broke down at the ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru. After 3 days, the ISRO confirmed the sighting of Vikram through images beamed by the Orbiter. Even after 14 days ( 1 lunar day), communications could not be re-established. On December 3, NASA confirmed that its satellite had found the debris of Vikram lander.
Article 370…. Dusted!
August 2019 the government abolished Article 370, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir. With this, Article 35A was also abolished. The Indian Constitution is now fully implemented in Jammu and Kashmir. Along with this, the center divided Jammu and Kashmir and created two new union territories, namely Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
November 9, 2019, the Supreme Court ruled on the hundreds of years old Ayodhya case. The court handed over 2.77 acres of land to Ramlala Virajman, dismissing the pleas of the other parties. At the same time, the court ordered that the government should build a trust in three months, while the Ayodhya should give five acres of land for the mosque to the Muslim side.
No Talaq Talaq Talaq
The triple talaq bill took the form of law as soon as the President signed it on August 1, 2019. Now three divorces have become illegal in India. The new legislation makes the practice of instant divorce through ‘triple talaq’ among Muslims a punishable offence with 3-year imprisonment was challenged in the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court on Friday.
A conviction of three divorces provides for a sentence of three years. In addition, the aggrieved woman may demand alimony. The bill was passed by Lok Sabha on 25 July and Rajya Sabha on 30 July.
The Act That Rocked The Nation- Citizenship Amendment Act
After the signing of President Ram Nath Kovind on 12 December 2019, the Citizenship Amendment Bill took the shape of the law. The Bill, now an Act, proposes to grant Indian citizenship to Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh and Christian minorities who took refuge in India after facing persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. There is a continuous phase of protests across the country due to the absence of Muslims in this law. Which also has the support of many big parties. More than 20 people have died in these demonstrations so far. Many have questioned the intent behind the choice of only three Muslim-majority neighbouring countries, as well as leaving out of the Muslim community from the list of those that could seek Indian citizenship.
The requirement of having lived in the country for at least 11 years before getting to apply for India’s citizenship has been relaxed, any immigrant from the communities mentioned above could apply if they came to India on December 31, 2014, or earlier.
Koffee with Karan (Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul)
The year started on a wrong foot for Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul. The two flamboyant Indian cricketers’ were invited on a popular chat show hosted by Bollywood director and producer Karan Johar – Koffee with Karan. Hardik made some misogynistic and sexist comments and was heard boasting “When I lost my virginity, I came home and said, ‘Main karke aya hai aaj (I had sex today)’. At a party my parents asked me ‘acha tera wala (women) kaun sa hai [who is your interest here?] so I said yeh, yeh, yeh (pointing out women)’ and they were like ‘waah proud of you beta’.” While KL WENT on to talk about how he once partied till 5 am on the eve of an international game.
It was especially this part of the show that didn’t go down well with the team and the cricket administrators.
Hardik Pandya lost his endorsement deal with Gillette after the Koffee with Karan controversy. Pandya and KL Rahul were suspended and have been ordered to return home from Australia.
MS Dhoni insignia incident
During India’s opening World Cup game against South Africa in Southampton, Dhoni’s keeping gloves had a dagger logo embossed, which looked more like an Army insignia, which came under the scanner. Dhoni is an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Parachute Regiment of the Territorial Army and dagger is part of their emblem.
Taking a firm stand on the case, the ICC on June 7 denied Dhoni’s permission to wear the dagger insignia on his wicket-keeping gloves during the World Cup despite BCCI’s assertion that it was not a military symbol.
The Controversial ICC World Cup Final
It was a controversy that may still hurt New Zealand. They could have won this year’s world cup but due to the boundary count in the super over, England was declared as the winners of the ICC World Cup 2019. Earlier the overthrow runs were given by Kumar Dharmasena. It should have been just 5 runs but the two umpires gave 1 extra run which took the match to the super over. Again, it was a nail-biting super over which was tied. But England was declared as the winners because they scored more boundaries. It was a heartbreaking result for New Zealand that deserved to lift the 2019 world cup trophy.
Are you over it? Difficult to say….. Maybe more expressions…. Move to a new decade, a new year with ‘Josh’, but with ‘hosh’!