25XT01A.qxd 12/22/2011 7:14 PM Page 1 c m y b The Tribune 2011 THE YEAR OF UPRISINGS SUNDAY 25 DECEMBER 2011 YEAREND SPECIAL IN EGYPT POPULAR REVOLT OUSTED HOSNI MUBARAK IN LIBYA MUAMMAR GADDAFI WAS HUNTED AND SHOT IN INDIA CIVIL SOCIETY TOOK ON CORRUPTION IN THE US PEOPLE ROSE AGAINST WALL STREET 2011 saw populace across the world, including India, rise in protest against misgovernance and corruption, shaking governments and toppling regimes. A perspective of personalities and events that shaped the year THE FOG OF CHANGE By Raj Chengappa Editor-in-Chief I N all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order, Carl Jung observed. There wasn’t much of a cosmos when 2011 dawned. There was a certain order in the universe but it was neither harmonious nor whole. There was the hangover of a debilitating worldwide economic recession, unfinished wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, an unstable North Korea flexing its nuclear muscle, a wobbling Pakistan and in India, the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) had begun fraying at the edges. It was an incendiary mix alright but few would have predicted that it would explode in 2011 and result in the tumult that came in its wake. The tyrants that ruled much of the Middle East certainly did not as they began the year secure in the belief that God was in heaven and all was well in their little worlds they had brutally shaped around them. It required only a tiny spark in Tunisia caused by a vegetable seller, Mohamed Bouazizi immolating himself in protest in the dying days of 2010, to ignite an unprecedented democratic rebellion that spread with astonishing rapidity across much of the Middle East. By the spring of 2011, uprisings had begun to topple many despots that bestrode the Arab stage for decades. While the year saw scientists come close to overthrowing Einstein’s theory of relativity by demonstrating that neutrinos travel faster than the speed of light, it was the Arab square that proved that there were no constants. The fire in Tunisia spread to Yemen where riots broke out over unemployment and food shortages. By then the Tunisian President, the smooth-talking Zine el Abidine Ben Ali had to flee his country in disgrace. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to step down, ending 33 years of his despotic rule. Technology did help fan the flames in Egypt resulting in Cairo’s Tahrir Square becoming the symbol of the ‘Facebook’ revolution that deleted Hosni Mubarak. Muammar Gaddafi, who had ruled Libya with an iron fist for over 40 years, was hunted by his countrymen and shot dead in a sewer like a desert rat, an ignominious end to the region’s longest serving ruler. As the contagion spread, the royal rulers of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Jordan felt the searing heat as did Syria. Many of them were forced to make concessions that they had denied their people for decades. Saudi Arabia gave women the right to vote and to hold public office but stopped short of allowing them licences to drive cars. By year-end, the 2011 uprisings had changed the face of Middle East for good. A new order was emerging but the fog of change cast a shroud over what final shape it would take. That fog had descended on the rest of the world too in 2011. In the US, President Barack Obama reached the nadir of his popularity after failing to lift his nation out of a recession that even saw an ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement break out. In Russia, Vladimir Putin was warned that he couldn’t take his people for granted. Europe struggled to control financial chaos triggered by the Greek default crisis that threatened to unravel the European Union. Back home, India was also in the throes of a major upheaval. Edmund Burke wrote that “a populace never rebels from passion for attack, but for impatience of suffering.” That impatience was most evident when Anna Hazare, a septuagenarian social activist, recreating the imagery of a Gandhian uprising, occupied Delhi’s Ram Lila grounds to wage an epic battle against venality in governance. Public anger in India fortunately did not exhibit what the surprise Tamil hit song called kolaveri (murderous rage) as in the Middle East. But caught with its hand in the ‘2G’ till, the mighty UPA government underestimated the angst over corruption and went down on its knees to placate ‘civil society’. Asked to define a rebel, Albert Camus cryptically said: “It’s a person who says no.” In 2011, populace across the world, including India, came out in vast numbers to empathically say not just “no” but “no more” — that enough was enough. They were not satisfied by creating little rebellions that Thomas Jefferson believed were a ‘good thing now and then’ for ‘the sound health of government.’ In an instant world, the public wanted instant change – here and now – however chaotic the result. There was no normal. Change then was the constant. It is for these reasons that the editors of The Tribune decided to term 2011 as the year of uprisings. I N S I D E >> NATION People power to the fore Mamata called the shots in their respective spheres of influence P5 ECONOMY General trouble scene was full of excitement Hope on hold Loss of face of the Pak army and drone attacks kept AF-Pak simmering P10 SOCIETY Spring of discontent (Not) fit to print The campaign against corruption, scandals brought a whiff of fresh air to democracy P2 STATES Shadow on Karmapa Punjab in poll mode, caste trouble in Haryana and son rise in Himachal The gloom boom Return of a war horse The HP Police filed a chargesheet against the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorjee P3 Shaken & stirred The UPA government was bogged down by scams, scandals and leadership deficit At sixes and sevens The Law Ministry failed to defend government policies effectively in the SC P4 Band of ladies Sonia, Mayawati, Jayalalithaa and Slow growth rate and policy glitches soured the economic scenario Faith, caste, progeny The General returns to Uttarakhand as Pokhriyal is forced to resign P13 Unrest in Tunisia spread to Arab nations P11 The liberal use of profanities and cuss words in many films topped the charts DEFENCE/SCITECH Walking tough DIPLOMACY An avoidable war within Love thy neighbour All was not well on the Indian defence scene Despite the controversial Slutwalk, the gender scene remained a grey area P14 Ties with neighbours improved but there were hardly any gains with major powers P9 The world in your hand BOOKS & BEYOND Business confidence dipped this year P6 Excuse me while I kiss the sky The Airport Metro started, while New Delhi celebrated its centenary Dividends of peace Peace in J&K enabled the state to have a booming tourist season P7 P8 WORLD Pakistan on the boil The nation saw floods, bad economy and a breakdown in ties with the US c m y b Computing became mainstream with Aakash P12 SPORTS The roar of success From World Cup to Formula One, the sports Desi, with a 'phoren' touch Readers took to memoirs as well as fiction The entertainers Sunny Leone emerged as India's most Googled celebrity P15
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