Farewell 2017: That Was The Year That Was

Farewell 2017: That Was The Year That Was

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 31 Dec 2017

As we bid adieu to the eventful 2017 and welcome with new hope 2018, IBNS correspondent Supriyo Hazra  looks back to track some of the major events which made it to the headlines during the year 

International:

Rohingyas- Story of people with no nation: The international arena remained buzzing with the crisis that developed in Bangladesh and Myanmar over Rohingya people. The military crackdown on Rohingyas in Myanmar and their escape in huge number to Bangladesh boiled a new controversy across the globe. The entire episode also left the image of Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi bruised. Many felt the Nobel laureate did little to speak up against the persecution of these people who fled the nation in large numbers while some pointed out how she was helpless owing to the shadow of terror attacks that weakened her persuasive power to influence the military. The incident also started a conflict between Myanmar and Bangladesh.

The Asian nation has given shelter to lakhs of Rohingyas on their soil after they fled from Myanmar. However, Bangladesh has been continuously asking the neighbour to take back Rohingyas. Myanmar was noncommittal but they signed with Bangladesh in November an accord over terms for the return of Rohingya Muslims though the powerful army of Myanmar can still pose an obstruction.


America gets 45th President: 2017 witnessed America get its 45th and the most controversial President in Donald Trump, who had won the much-talked about election in 2016 by defeating Hilary Clinton. In this one year, few decisions of Trump has already set the tone for tense relationships with the press, Muslim nations and his own administrative officials. On Dec 6, Trump and his administration triggered a massive tension globally when they recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The move was rejected by the UN General Assembly on Dec 21. In another striking move, on June 1,  Donald Trump had announced that his nation will be withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord.

Emmanuel Macron: New French President stepped in, defeating far right challenger Marine Le Pen. Pragmatic centrist Emmanuel Macron became the youngest President of the nation.

North Korea: Kim Jong-un continues to tease world peace: The entire year witnessed US President Donald Trump slamming North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as the Asian nation continued to conduct several of its missile tests, teasing world peace and tranquillity and often threatening to trigger a war. Situation became far tensed when North Korea tested an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) that the nation said was capable of striking US mainland. The United Nations Security Council imposed strong new sanctions against the Asian nation after its November 29 launch of a  nuclear-capable weapon.

India’s Election Diary:

The political canvas of India was colourful in 2017 with many events decorating its paradigm. From Presidential poll to the passing of the baton of country’s oldest political party- Congress- to the hands of new president, the year witnessed several incidents which led the path towards shaping up the future of Indian politics in 2018.

India gets new President in Ram Nath Kovind: An era of Pranab Mukherjee as the President of the nation ended as Indian lawmakers elected Ram Nath Kovind as the new first citizen of the nation. The president election saw a battle between the ruling party backed candidate Kovind and opposition’s Meira Kumar. Kovind, however, had the last smile on his face as he defeated the former Lok Sabha Speaker in a much-talked about contest of the year. Kovind bagged 702,044 votes while Meira Kumar gained only 367,314 votes in the battle to make their place to the iconic Rashtrapati Bhavan. 

M Venkaiah Naidu starts his career as Vice President: BJP stalwart M Venkaiah Naidu finally hung his political boot as he contested in the Vice Presidential polls this year. Opposition candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi was defeated by Naidu as he secured a total of 516 votes in comparison to the former West Bengal Governor’s 244 votes in the vice presidential election.

Battle of ballots:

The power of Narendra Modi’s magic remained evident in India this year as well when it was strongly reflected in the Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and later Himachal Pradesh while it retained Gujarat for the sixth term. In UP, the BJP captured power by removing the ruling Samajwadi Party and Congress respectively.  The BJP won the Assembly Election in Uttar Pradesh with 312 of 403 seats in their favour while the formerly ruling  Samajwadi Party combine polled 54 seats, and the Bahujan Samaj Party clinched 19 seats. Yogi Adityanath took oath as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, removing Akhilesh Yadav from the hot seat. Similar records were seen in Uttarakhand where the BJP claimed 57 of the 70 seats. Trivendra Singh Rawat was chosen as the Chief Minister. In Goa, a tough battle coloured the political scenario in the Assembly polls where despite winning 17 of 40 seats in Goa, the Congress failed to make a move to form the government. This led to Congress MLAs shifting their allegiance to the BJP, which had won only 13 seats. Winning the majority in hand, the BJP formed government in the sea-kissed part of the country. Manipur witnessed another tough battle when  BJP emerged as the second largest party with 28 seats in the 60-member assembly against Congress which bagged 31 MLAs. However, failing to get the support of 31 MLAs, Congress failed and the BJP formed the government in the state. N Biren Singh was appointed as the Chief Minister of the state.In Himachal Pradesh, BJP returned to power by winning 44 seats in the 68 seat assembly. Jairam Thakur was elected as the CM while BJP’s original CM candidate and party veteran Prem Kumar Dhumal tasted defeat in the Assembly polls.

In Punjab, the Congress-led by Capt. Amarinder Singh provided oxygen to the age-old party by winning the much-awaited Assembly polls. The Congress, which has been fading from power in major states over the past several years, won 77 out of 117 seats. Captain Singh was sworn in as the Chief Minister.He won the Patiala seat with highest margin of 52,407 votes as he defeated his nearest rival Balbir Singh of the AAP.

Gujarat: Rahul Gandhi roars in Narendra Modi’s home turf: Despite a victory, Gujarat, the home turf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, witnessed a fall in the number of seats won by the BJP from last Assembly polls. Both Modi and Gandhi campaigned hard and tried to tear apart each other with oral barbs in every campaign they undertook. The battle of barbs was reflected in the poll results where  BJP managed to remain in power by winning 99 seats and the Congress won 77 seats. In the narrowly won victory for the incumbent  BJP, over 5.5 lakh voters in Gujarat voted for the NOTA option. Prime Minister Narendra Modi held rallies in 34 districts over a period of 15 days, and to a large extent, helped the party stay in power. BJP once again assigned the task of ruling the state to Vijay Rupani. While Rupani became the CM, Nitin Patel took oath as his deputy.

Congress gets a new leader in Rahul Gandhi: Ending all speculations, Rahul Gandhi finally took charge as the President of India’s oldest political party in December this year. The tough competition which Congress gave to the ruling BJP in Gujarat in the Assembly polls under his leadership surely gave Gandhi some amount of satisfaction and confidence at a time when they have been losing ground in one state after another across the nation.



India and Its Neighbours

Doklam standoff: The major point of contention between India and China was Doklam,  a disputed territory claimed by both Bhutan and China, where the Indian Army personnel had reached to stop China from building a road. China has accused India of trespassing into its territory and demanded withdrawal of troops leading to a prolonged standoff. After days of crisis and sailing on some rough seas, both India and China agreed to disengage border personnel at Doklam in Sikkim border.The military standoff  heightened tension at the Bhutan-India-China tri-junction in Doklam

While India and Bhutan said the land belonged to the tiny Himalayan kingdom and that the Indian troops were there at the request of Bhutan, China earlier warned that it will not accept any dialogue till Indian soldiers pull out from Doklam. Chinese troops even clashed with their Indian counterparts in Ladakh on Aug 16. Soldiers from both the countries received injuries as they were involved in stone pelting along the line of control in eastern Ladakh. Both the countries were seen to be involved in rhetoric related to the Doklam standoff. China threatened India with the possibility of a war as the former reminded the latter's defeat in the 1962 Indo-Sino war. India retaliated verbally saying the nation is no longer the same as in 1962.

Pakistan-India: Patch of conflicts continue: No, there were no improvements in the relationship between two conflicting neighbours and issues like cross-border terrorism, Hafeez  Saeed and Kulbhushan Yadav kept the two countries engaged.

Kulbhushan Yadav:  Kulbhushan Jadhav, the jailed Indian national in Pakistan kept the headlines buzzing even on the last few days of the year. Pakistan, which decalred Jadhav as an Indian spy, recently allowed Kulbhushan’s wife and mother to meet him during their visit to the country. The meeting, however, triggered more controversies than solution to leave both the nations trade charges..External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj  launched a  a blistering attack on Pakistan over the ill treatment of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife and mother, saying the  meeting of a mother with her son and  a wife with her husband was turned into a propaganda tool by Pakistan.Making a statement in the Rajya Sabha, Swaraj also accused Pakistan of betraying India as it put the family's security at risk despite assurances." It was nothing like a humanitarian gesture. Human rights of the family members were violated again and again and an environment of fear was created for them," the Minister said.

Both mother and wife were forced to change clothes and forced to wear salwar-kurta. Bindi, bangles and mangalsutras of both the women were removed before meeting Jadhav. "Both the married women were made to appear like widows," Swaraj added.

New Delhi maintains Jadhav is innocent, and it won an injunction from the international Court to delay his execution, arguing he was denied diplomatic assistance during his trial by a military court.

Hafiz Saeed: The year end also witnessed India and Pakistan once again locking themselves in a conflict this time over the appearance of Palestine ambassador on the same dais with Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed. Recently, Walid Abu Ali, Palestine ambassador to Pakistan, made a public appearance and shared stage with Saeed during a rally called by the latter in Rawanlpindi. India, earlier, lodged its displeasure to the Palestinian authorities over the developments. Amid fresh row, Palestine announced it has decided to recall its envoy from Pakistan.

Internal Conflict:

Darjeeling: Unrest hits queen of hills once again: After remaining peaceful for long time, protests, strikes and clashes returned to shatter the serenity and peace associated with the beautiful Himalayan region of Darjeeling in West Bengal. The Gorkhas or ethnic Nepalese revived demand for a separate Gorkhaland state in the hills, keeping tourists mostly away from the picturesque hill station. Triggering panic, the protest that initially started against the alleged imposition of Bengali language on the locals snowballed into an intense movement for statehood, forcing to widespread arson and vandalism, massive clashes, multiple casualties, political blame games and ending up with the pathetic scenario of longest-ever shutdown of 104 days in the region.  

Lok Sabha passes Triple Talaq Bill:

Starting a new era in India’s history, the Lok Sabha  on December 28 passed the Triple Talaq Bill while defeating all amendments to it.The Bill will now be tabled in Rajya Sabha. The Lok Sabha passed the Bill with rejection of a string of amendments moved by  Asaduddin Owaisi from the AIMIM and Bhartruhari Mahtab from the BJD. MPs from the RJD, AIMIM, BJD, AIADMK and All India Muslim League opposed the Bill.They even called it arbitrary in nature. However, the Bill will face the real test in Rajya Sabha where the BJP government lacks majority. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 criminalises instant triple talaq given orally and imposes a prison term of up to three years and fine on husbands who violate the law. It also seeks to provide alimony for the woman on whom instant triple talaq has been pronounced and grant her the custody of her children.In August, three of five judges of a Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court said the practice of saying “talaq” three times in one go – sometimes even over email and WhatsApp – violated women’s right to equality and was not integral to Islam.

India's promising economic Reform:

GST: The Big Economic Changer rolls out: After note ban in 2016, the BJP-led NDA government rolled out another major economic reform from its hat this year in the form of  Goods And Services Tax. The long awaited tax reform was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee during a special mid night session of the Parliament on July 1. The Congress boycotted it and said the tax reform was implemented in a hurry. With the initial aim of replacing a gamut taxes with one single tax, the Modi government brought the tax under five slabs– 0%, 5%, 12%, 18%, 28%.

Amid initial hiccups and not so positive response from businessmen, who were left mostly confused, and slowing down of  Indian economy, the GST council later decided to keep the highest 28% tax on on luxury and sinful items–177 items were shifted to the 18% bracket from the 28% slab.

Giving not so positive news to the government,  the GDP growth tanked to 5.7 per cent in the first quarter of financial 2017-2018. With  rate cuts and new measures, the government was able to revive the GDP growth as it improved later to stand at 6.3 per cent. November GST collection, however, witnessed a drop as it stood at Rs 80,808 crore in the moth n comparison to  Rs 83,364 crore in October.


Sports:

Virushka: The much-talked about wedding of cricket sensation Virat Kohli and actress Anushka Sharma finally became a reality this year. The couple got married in a private ceremony in Italy's Milan. Fans, who were eagerly waiting for the fairytale marriage, shared pictures and were busy wishing their favourite stars on social media on the special day. Twitter was abuzz with a new word ‘Virushka’ and yes the move ended a long speculation and wait over the marriage of the B-town beauty and Indian skipper.

Saina Nehwal: India’s Badminton rockstar: Saina Nehwal, considered as one of the best players to play the game for India, won gold at the Malaysia Masters Gran Prix badminton tournament. She defeated Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong. PV Sinhu, the other star Badminton player of India, won silver at the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Superseries

Women World Cup: India’s powerpuff girls: Mithali Raj and her girls won hearts across the nation and forced people to follow them after their spirited performance helped India end as runner’s up in the women’s World Cup campaign in July. India were beaten in the final at Lord’s by England.

Para Athletic: Golden players win hearts: Making people proud, India earned its highest ever tally of five medals at the World Para Athletics Championship held in London.

Vijender Singh: India’s strong man continues his punching success: Boxer Vijender Singh, often called the poster boy of India boxing, retained World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Asia Pacific Super middleweight title and gained the WBO Oriental title in August. Ending the year on a high note and promising to come back strong next year, Vijender went to defend both his titles against Ghana’s Ernest Azamu in December in Jaipur and won all rounds.

Hockey: Indian men,women make country proud: Both the Men’s and women’s hockey teams clinched the Asia Cup titles in October and November. India men defeated Malaysia (2-1) while women made the country proud by beating China 5-4 in a penalty shoot out.

FIFA U-17 World Cup: India scripts golden chapter in football history: India wrote a major chapter in its football history when they hosted the FIFA U-17 World Cup on its soil. Indian team participated in the event and even scored a goal. Though, the Men In Blue failed to win a match, they championed in winning millions of souls across the nation with their spirited performance at the global stage.

Chess: Making India end the year on a spirited note, Chess icon  Viswanathan Anand won the World Rapid Chess Championship.

And last but not the least: Indian men’s cricket team finished as runner’s up in the ICC Champions Trophy. They were defeated in the final by arch-rival Pakistan.

Showbiz 

2017 will be remembered as one major year when fans were left teary eyed with several of their favourite stars-Shashi Kapoor Vinod Khanna and Om Puri- passing away, leaving their legacy and works behind.

Shashi Kapoor: Ending a beautiful chapter in Bollywood history, the youngest son of Prithvi Raj Kapoor and a legendary Bollywood actor, Shashi Kapoor breathed his last on Dec 4. He died after prolonged illness.

Om Puri: One of the most loved and celebrated actors in India Om Puri, died on January 6, giving shock to fans on the first week of the new year. He was 66. A versatile genius, Om Puri had worked in Bollywood and several international films during his long and illustrious career.

Tom Alter: After putting up a strong fight against cancer, actor Tom Alter, called by many of his fans as Bollywood’s ‘Saheb’ passed away on September 29.

Vinod Khanna: Vinod Khanna, a genius actor, who was also known for his handsome physique, was defeated in his fight against cancer and on April 27 left his fans shocked and teary eyed at the age of 70.

Reema Lagoo: Known for playing the role of the perfect mother to several Bollywood superstars, including Shah Rukh Khan, Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan, Reema Lagoo died after suffering a cardiac arrest in May.

Star Power:

Akshay Kumar: In a year which might not be the best one for Bollywood, as far as Box Office success are concerned, Akshay Kumar kept his strong run intact. Infact, Akshay could now be called Mr. Dependable of Bollywood as all his movies emerged as top grosser. It all started in February with Jolly LLB 2 and continued with Naam Shabana and then Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. With a social message hidden under the funny story-line, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha touched hearts across India and Akshay Kumar once again proved that he is perhaps the best man these days to touch the true chords of patriotism in his own ways.

2018: Akshay will be seen in two major patriotic movies Padman and Gold in 2018. Away from Bollywood he will be appearing as the scary negative character in 2.0, opposite southern superstar Rajinikanth. With images and posters of the movie already touching hearts, release of all these movies are deeply awaited .

Deepika Padukone: Deepika had an eventful 2017 as her Hollywood debut movie xXx: Return of Xander Cage finally hit the silverscreen. Though receiving mixed reviews from critics, the movie emerged as a Box Office success. Deepika as Serena Unger touched hearts, specially her fans in India were left dazzled by their icon. Back in Bollywood, she shook her legs for an item song for Raabta movie.

However, the year ended on a sour note for her when protests by fringe groups forced makers of her big movie Padmavati by Sanjay Leela Bhansali  to postpone the initial December 1 release. The movie also features Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor in lead roles. The movie narrates story of Padmavati, a legendary Rajput queen. Deepika has played the role of Padmavati in the movie.

Priyanka Chopra:  Priyanka Chopra continued to remain India’s face in international movie arena for another year and 2017 will always remain special for the former Miss World as she made her Hollywood debut with Baywatch. Though, the movie bombed at the Box Office, but Priyanka impressed us all by playing the bad villain who shared the screen space with Hollywood superstar Dwayne Johnson in the movie. She also appeared in the new season of American TV series Quantico that brought her all the fame internationally. Yes, she was away from Bollywood but she is currently busy shooting her upcoming Hollywood projects which include A Kid Like Jake and Isn't It Romantic?.

Salman Khan:  The Bollywood rockstar slipped gifting another Eid hit this time as his Tubelight bomabed miserably at the ticket window. This was the first time in many years that Salman’s Eid release could not create much magic and passed away on a disappointing note. However, the year ends with a promise as Salman was back once again, romancing Katrina Kaif, in action-drama spy thriller Tiger Zinda Hai. In the small screen, Salman Khan once again hosted popular reality show Bigg Boss Season 11.

2018: His first look has already been unveiled by makers and Salman Khan, with the gun on his hands, will now appear for the first time in the Race series. Yes, Salman will be a part of the Race3 movie that is going to release next year during May.

Shah Rukh Khan: Shah Rukh Khan won the battle against Hrithik Roshan’s Kaabil as his Raees competed to rule the Box Office in January 2017. SRK started the year with a bang as Raees turned out as the first major hits of the year but his much awaited release later in the year, opposite Anushka Sharma and directed by Imtiaz Ali, Jab Harry Met Sejal crashed badly. SRK had also appeared in a cameo appearance in Salman Khan’s Tubelight.

2018: SRK is currently busy working in an untitled project with director Anand L Rai. His KKR will also be back next year on the field as it will attempt to capture the IPL for the third time.

Vidya Balan:  Vidya was back as an RJ in Tumhari Sulu.The  movie with its comic timings touched fans and left them brilliantly impressed.



Mr Consistent of the Year:

Rajkummar Rao: Breaking the typical benchmark set for being a Bollywood lead actor, Rajkummar Rao, with his simple common man look, delivered as the man who will rule fans hearts for the next few years. Trapped, Behen Hogi Teri, Newton, Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana and then Bose: Dead/Alive, Rajkummar showed his multi dimensional acting skills in all of them.He  took up the challenging role of portraying the character of  Subhas Chandra Bose for the webs series Bose: Dead/Alive and delivered winning all hearts. A genius in front of the camera, Rajkummar Rao will appear in several movies in 2018.

Controversy

Padmavati: Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and actress Deepika Padukone faced threats and release of their movie Padmavati was delayed following protests across several parts of the country by fringe groups. The movie was initially scheduled to release on December 1. However, protests hit the usual release date and the movie did not release on the first day of the month. The film, based on the life of Rajput queen Padmini, has run into trouble with Rajput groups alleging that it distorts history.

Meanwhile, the Censor Board for Film Certification (CBFC) has suggested to the makers of the movie Padmavati that certificate will be issued if 26 cuts to the film and a change in the title to 'Padmavati' are made. The CBFC suggested to change the name to Padmavat.According to reports, the board passed the film, which triggered a huge row across the country, with a UA certificate and some other modifications.The reports said the Examining Committee of  CBFC viewed the film on Dec 28 and altered its title from Padmavati to Padmavat.'Padmavat' is the name of an epic poem written in the middle ages by Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi. 

Farewell 2017: That Was The Year That Was

India Blooms News Service
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