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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Year of Revolution, lack of leadership, sad exits and world cup....

Citizen journalist Gautam Naik reviews 2011 an year gone by...

2011 was a very strange year. It started with lot of promise with markets buoyant. Indian economy was shining as compared to Europe, US and things were finally looking promising as it was felt that world has recovered after 2007 great recession. Worldwide things remained same; curious, cautious and no solution was found for Europe crisis. The things did not turn out as bad as it were projected in the US market. Thanks to that, IT story still has another day to survive. Also new technologies like cloud and some interesting innovations in Mobile space have driven many corporate IT spending. Real estate industry as usual chose to hold on the rates but had to offer discounts and thus correction was applied. But real danger to Indian economy arisen in form of non action by the govt. UPA1 did well in 2008 to shield India from crisis. But UPA2 as bungling it is on other fronts have been so static that investors lost confidence by last few quarters of 2011, resulting in fall of rupee, flight of capital outside and many such effects. Inflation which was out of control by start of year at least has some respite by the end thanks to good monsoon and some real corrections.

The reason for govt failure to act can be attributed to gamut of corruption scandals that rocked UPA2 and public revulsion in form of Anna movement, froze some key decisions in economy. FDI in retails was again bungled. Govt acted very late to control Free fall of rupee. By then it could do nothing as real reason was flight of capital outside India as confidence levels were brought down.

The real involvement of media (which is controlled by vested interest and money making)and electronic social media (which is totally democratic and free till Mr sibal intervenes), in Anna campaign in April and August was really a matter of study for future public movements. There was leadership vacuum as no strong political will was displayed in incumbents and team anna filled that vacuum projecting Gandhian Anna. Anna and his team were severely criticised by establishment but one cannot deny the effect it has on corrupt polity. Arm chair crictics have a lot of food for thought. But role played by Dr subramaniam swamy in exposing 2G scam is exemplary how judiciary is inadequate to trap main culprits who are still at large. Corruption is the main issue which has to be tackled and we need mechanism. Though Lokpal may not solve everything but it can be a good start. All critics of Anna ignore this fact.

BJP as opposition failed, congress is in crisis, there was room for regional players and there were regional heroes like Nitish Kumar, much vilified Modi playing development, mamtadi ousting 36 years of Marxist rule, Mayawati talking on crown prince and so on.

In Maharashtra, DF govt led by Prithviraj chouhan has nothing to display except infightings between NCP and Congress. With municipal elections in 2012, BJP sena has joined hands with RPI athawale faction though there is lot of infighting and they need some serious action to challenge cunning tactics by both congresses. MNS is growing strong with some distinct mass appeal and can play key role as party pooper for opposition.

For Pune city, we had good rains ensuring water supply. But planning and implementation lacks for managing crisis as we had faced in 2009. DP was approved and so was metro amidst chaos. Elections due next year have caused lot of activities and sops for aam punekar. Road situation has not improved with more vehicles. Accident incidents have gone up.PMPML falters. Ganpati immersion had lot of controversy though festival had some mellowed and useful trends. Noise pollution in Diwali reduced. We still have seen no winter in 2011. Sawai was great and so was support to Anna in Pune. World cup celebrations were amazing. Biodiversity issue was also controversial. We saw load shedding for few days before Diwali. Crime rate has increased as a matter of concern and organized crime has settled in Pune. Domestic violence and cyber crime has increased making pune more unsafe. We saw lot of politics involved in Police posting...

Wordlwide, we have seen revolutions in Africa and middle east. This year is thus called year of revolution. The lack of leadership or tyranny of leaders resulted in their fall with democratic social media role played its part. Europe also lacks strong leaders to resolve financial crisis in southern European countries. The richer and stable northern European economies have refused to bail out laggards. We saw riots in UK which surprised us all. US also has seen weak leadership in Obama to push forth finance stimulus to revive economy and reduce un employment. Also its bungling in Iraq, AFpak are monumental. Only saving face has been hunting of Osama bin laden. Japan has worst crisis in form of tsumani and nuclear tragedy but they have shown typical Japanese discipline and resolve. Africa needs good leaders to solve basic issues and conflicts. South East Asia also suffers from world slowdown and natural disasters. China story has cracked with internal fault lines visible but we don’t get real picture at all with govt censorship. Pak has gone one year closer to anarchy with Imran seen as only saviour but India hatred still continues. Kashmir has calmer year with bumper tourism summer. Interlocuters failed but there is a revived hope to resolve the unrest. Terrorism has again shocked us in Mumbai and Delhi blasts and as usual investigators had no clue and our resolve to fight terrorism still remains hazy. We cannot act against afzal or kasab. Our investigators fumbled, our intelligence had no clues. After comparative lull in 2009/10 (except Varanasi and GB blast), we have again seen new face of terror. Though we claimed to solve some cases but vigilance remains an issue and everything is at mercy of fate. Though fight against naxalism has some break throughs.

This was also year of sad exits by stalwarts in film, music, sports, technology. Pt Bhimsen Joshi, Pt Sultan khan, Jajgit singh, Bhupen Hazarika, Tiger Pataudi, Devanand, Shammi Kapoor, Srininvas Khale, Steve Jobs, dennis Ritchie and list goes on.. This was real loss for all move,art lovers and tech followers.

Indian cinema dealt some unusual topics and challenged the establishment with films like Delhi Belly, Rockstar, Dirty Picture. Also there was a tourism brochure film like Zindagi milegi na dobara. First half of 2011 was commercial disaster due to world cup, IPL, exams, but second half saw many movies do well.

Marathi theatre had new life with big names back to stage and some old plays revived. Music scene saw many youngsters taking centre stage. Indian English literature saw many new comers.

International sports saw revival of Federer, great year for djoikovic, Spanish teams doing good in club level, Indians did well in Golf, shooting, boxing, archery and lot to look forward to in London 2012. Indian tennis saw end of Indian express. Saina Nehwal has now to conquer next level which is top most. Politics though continued in sports in India esp hockey. Next year will have London Olympics and euro soccer for which draws are interesting.

Finally this year was year for worldcup, Indian team did what was waited for 28 years. After slow start against minnows and a tie against England and loss against SAfs, team did well in matches that matter. Yuraj, dhoni, gambhir, sachin, zak, raina, everyone playing crucial parts including much maligned munaf and nehra. Capatin cool played crucial role in all matches by captaincy, wicket keeping and an innings in final and that final six. Role played by Kirsten as coach and his support team also must be thanked. The scenes all over India esp at wankhede when all team was crying and lifting the man who waited most for it: the little master were amazing. Administrators faltered by some inane scheduling and IPL resulting in injuries ahead of important England tour. This lost us world no1 status which we had carried since dec 6th 2009. Also many tongues wagged that india is champion in Indian condition while ignoring fights we had in SA and Aus in past. But real defining moment will be in aus after year end. That will really define mettle of the team.

What about 2012? But there is gloom all around especially in Indian polity and economy. There are threats that 2012 will be worse than 2011 on that front. But then there is always hope that things can turn around as they did negatively in 2011. And i definitely don’t believe in dooms day prediction that world will come to an end in Dec 2012, notwithstanding natural calamities and global warming effects we have seen till now. We will still be partying on 31st Dec 2012. Have a great year end and happy New Year.

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