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A rewind to 2016 through a monthly news calendar

2017 has arrived and we are looking forward to how the new year will unfold. Right now many of you might be focused on just one or two issues, but a whole new year has the potential of taking you through a roller coaster ride of developments.

Just take a look how 2016 began and ended:

January:

The year started with Kejriwal’s Odd-Even scheme and regardless of all the denting and painting this scheme received from the media, some fundamental flaws of this scheme were exposed; like too many exemptions being provided, the public transport of Delhi not fully equipped to cater to higher demand, private cars not being the main source of pollution, and others, but the fact remains that an effort however flawed or ineffective was made in order to curb pollution.

Just around the same time, communal riots rocked Malda in West Bengal and most of the mainstream media, both due to tyranny of distance and the fact that the Hindu community was the victim, reacted with silence, denial and spin.

The Adarsh Liberal fever came back on Twitter. An anonymous twitter handle had coined the now legendary term ‘Adarsh Liberal’ which perfectly described the hypocrisy and the double standards of the self-declared liberal of India. Unfortunately, the handle remained dormant for the rest of the year. Will it make a comeback in 2017?

Next was the Rohith Vemula controversy where the opposition and the media started playing the caste card. Rohith’s suicide note itself was more an indictment of those Adarsh Liberals who were claiming to speak on his behalf.

February

JNU came into the national attention after some of its loony-leftist students proceeded to chant anti-India slogans and glorify terrorists like Afzal Guru and Yakub Menon. After national outrage and backlash against these students, Adarsh Liberals swung into action and lamented about the lack of free speech and the treatment meted out to ‘innocent’ students, but soon their hypocrisy was called out. This statement might sum up the liberals:

Indian liberals want free speech only for themselves. It’s a monopoly that they hanker for. JNU epitomizes this monopoly

In the aftermath, members of the armed forces who also get their degrees from JNU launched a Degree Wapsi campaign, and yes Kejriwal shared a fake Pakistan Zindabad video in order to target ABVP.

March

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and his world cultural festival found itself on the wrong side of the environmental activists, which culminated in him being at the receiving end of a smear campaign. Also in a case of a media outlet buckling under pressure, Marathi paper Loksatta was forced to apologize for its editorial critical of soon to become Saint Teresa.

April

A situation similart to that of JNU developed in NIT Srinagar after many students of NIT Srinagar celebrated India’s loss in the T-20 cricket world cup semi-final. Later things worsened after anti-India and pro-India students clashed in the college ground. Also the administration appeared like siding with the anti-India students and almost all non-local students were asked to vacate hostels. The issue further escalated after students were assaulted by the police and reportedly given death threats.

Away from J&K, in Delhi, Kejriwal lashed out at Ola and Uber, plus the second phase of the odd even scheme hinted at a scam.

And in the end of the month it looked like Rajdeep Sardesai had finally lost it after he proceeded to send obscene abuses to those who questioned him and his style of journalism.

May

Trupti Desai, who was championing the cause of women not allowed to enter religious institutions and was once hailed as a champion of the equality after she stormed into the inner section of the Shani Shingnapur temple, fell out of favour with the Adarsh Liberals after she declared her intent to enter the Haji Ali.

The month also saw the Right Wing women finally speaking up for themselves because abuses and attack they receive on social media is always ignored by the mainstream media.

And yeah a stand up comedian made his supposedly funny snapchat video about Sachin Tendulkar and Lata Mangeshkar.

June

AAP leader and former colleague of rape accused Tarun Tepal, Ashish Khetan went ballistic after news reports exposed questionable practices of the AAP government. Reportedly what irked him even more was the fact that his unofficial supporters cum journalists Hartosh Singh Bal and Rana Aayub too shared the story.

RBI governor Raghuram Rajan announced his intention of not seeking a second term. Trying to match ‘And they hanged Yakub’ headline by The Indian Express, Times of India referred to Lashkar terrorists as “rebels” on the front page.

July

Twitter started its dangerous trend of suspending handles mostly with right-wing ideologies when parody ‘Junta Ka Reporter’ handle was suspended. Modi Government went for a cabinet reshuffle and Smriti Irani was shifted from the HRD to Textile ministry which resulted in numerous sexist attacks on her by the Media and a section of Social Media.

The same Junta Ka Reporter, whose handle was suspended by twitter, published a satirical post titled ‘UNESCO declares Islam as the most peaceful religion of the world’. People mistook it as real and it went viral. UNESCO itself had to clarify that they hadn’t made any such declaration.

Barkha Dutt who had portrayed Burhan Wani as the son of a poor headmaster lashed out at Arnab after his veiled criticism of her. She later desperately tried to garner support for her cause, but it wasn’t very forthcoming.

August

The parliament passed the historic GST bill which, if things go right, would redefine Indian taxation from 1st April ’17. What is it, why is it so important, here’s a compilation of everything that you need to know about the GST.

America was gearing up for polls and in the Indian context it looked like a fight between Kejriwal and Sonia Gandhi.

Olympics concluded and gave out mixed feelings but we could have won a lot more medals had we allowed our journalists to compete. Plus on a even lighter note, here are some gemstones of The Ashutosh from the time when he was still a journalist.

September

September was really dominated by the AAP. It looked like the lucky streak AAP had enjoyed since its inception was coming to an end. With the party imploding thanks to sting operation of their Punjab Chief, sex-scandals, charges of exploitation of women, disgruntled party-men quitting the party, things certainly looked uncertain. If this wasn’t enough, the flaws in Kejriwal’s governance were out in the open after the deadly Chickenguniya outbreak in the capital. To be fair Kejriwal’s government wasn’t only at fault and other agencies mostly under the LG too failed to establish a synergy between the Delhi government in working for the people.

Apart from this controversy erupted over Reliance using PM’s photo in its advertisement, the NHRC probe concluded the mass exodus of Hindu’s from UP’s Kairana was a reality (though Adarsh Liberals still deny it) and NDTV grbbed headlines after it petitioned the NGT to put a stop to the Sagarmala project. We grabbed headlines after we ensured NDTV dismissed its petition.

And India carried out the famous Surgical strike in Pakistani territory wherein it obliterated terror bases near the LOC thereby completely rattling the Pakistani establishment. A lot was talked about Modi and Doval’s doctrine of offensive defense.

October

As the discourse over surgical strike still raged, Kejriwal surprised everyone by almost mimicking Pakistan’s stand on the issue by asking for proof of the surgical strikes. This resulted in him becoming really popular across the border with #PakStandsWithKejriwal becoming a top trend.

At the same time the debate over Uniform Civil Code too was raging with one side vying for equality and the other giving out the ‘reforms must come from within argument‘.

With the sentiments against Pakistan not lowering, many started objecting against having Pakistani actors in Bollywood flicks. It resulted in ADHM’s release getting into trouble as it contained a Pakistani actor.

Amidst all, Cyrus Mistry was unceremoniously ousted from the Tata Group chairmanship  and their battle continues till date. Najeeb Ahmed controversy and encounter of SIMI terrorists getting killed in an encounter were other highlights.

November pre-demonetization:

Outrage gripped twitter after many handles who lightly mocked AAP were getting suspended from Twitter. Arnab announced his descision to quit Times Now. Silence gripped the whole nation and we speculated as to what he might do next. And we were proven right after out of the 5 speculations we made, the one about him coming out with the new channel became true. Though we also had put out all possibilities except that of him moving to the Himalayas and creating avalanches due to his booming voices. NDTV India managed to get a token one day ban supposedly for giving out security locations while reporting on the Pathankot attack. While all were speculating, we managed to find the exact reason why this ban was imposed.

November post-demonetization:

Modi did a ‘surgical strike’ on higher denominations by holding them void from midnight of November 9th. People started queuing up in banks to either exchange or deposit the now defunct notes. Opposition members caught a whiff and started their politics. Rahul Gandhi visited a bank, Kejriwal vehemently opposed the move. Those opposed to the move stooped down to rumor mongering on multiple occasions. Some people started politicizing over some unfortunate deaths.

Kejriwal looked like spearheading the attack against demonetization by first heckling a BBC journalist and then spreading an image of a dead robber as a man killed due to demonetization.

In other news Sardesai interviewed ‘Tigress’ Sonia, our columnist spread awareness about how to go cashless and Supreme Court made national anthem compulsory in cinema halls.

December

A hackers’ group calling itself Legion announced its arrival. It hacked Rahul Gandhi and Congress’ twitter handle, website and claimed that they would leak incriminating e-mails of the party. It then hacked Vijay Mallya’s account and released his property details. And in what made him popular with a section of twitter, the group then hacked NDTV journalists Barkha’s and Ravish’s account and proceeded to leak some mails.

The new army chief was named disregarding the norm of seniority and people dragged in his religion, Kiren Rijiju was accused of a scam and Congress leaders came to his defence. Saif and Kareena named their kid after a bloodthirsty 13th century barbarian and people had varied takes on the matter.

Mamata Banerjee started her theatrics after starting to imagine conspiracies being hatched by the government to kill her. But she dept denying riots in Dhulagarh.

 

And the year ended with an address to the nation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, though there were no surgical strikes this time!

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Hemant Bijapurkar
Contributor at OpIndia.com, Wish to write a great trilogy someday!

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