Was 2011 an interesting year? Ah! Everyone would have individual choices, for sure. Still, it would be interesting to look back at the events that were headlines to Greater Voice. And at the outset, let us begin with the picture below that really stands out –
Well, on a serious note India danced to the tunes of an ex-army man-turned anti-graft activist Anna Hazare who launched a super crusade against corruption in this giant South Asian nation while like-minded protesters overthrew entrenched autocracies around the world and also slammed excesses in the financial industry giving the slogan – Occupy Wall Street. And as dictators fell, the ‘PROTESTER’ was adjudged the PERSON OF THE YEAR by TIME magazine.
This 2011 only, the United States caught and killed its most wanted man Osama bin Laden while a devastating earthquake and tsunami thrashed Japan in our Far East. Sikkim in India’s east was also hit by a devastating quake. In Africa, a new country – South Sudan – was born while the European Union teetered on the verge of collapse. North Korea’s Kim Jong-il’s death also hogged headlines towards the end. Muammar Gaddafi, who ruled Libya with an iron fist for over 40 years, was killed.
Americans also remembered 9/11, ten years later even as serial blasts struck India’s financial capital Mumbai, less than three years after the 26/11 terror attacks. Blasts also rocked Indian capital Delhi’s High Court. In a WORST, over 90 patients in Kolkata’s well known AMRI hospital were killed along with three staffs in a fire.
On the tech side, smartphones ruled the gadgets even as Apple’s Steve Jobs passed away. Entertainment world too saw many a deaths – Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Anant Pai, Dev Anand, Jagjit Singh, Bhupen Hazarika, M.F.Hussain, Gautam Rajadhyaksha, Sultan Khan, Mario Miranda, Shammi Kapoor and Elizabeth Taylor. Godman Sai Baba and cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi also died this very year.
2011 will have special prominence in the hearts of millions of cricket lovers in India, as the country became World Champions after 28 long years. The Indian Grand Prix, the 17th race of the Formula one season was also big news. The year will also be remembered as the ‘year of Djokovic’ as Novak Djokovic, world No.1 male tennis player won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open Title.
In world’s super market Bollywood, if Amitabh Bachchan broke fresh ground in news dissemination announcing his daughter-in-law Aishwarya’s pregnancy on Twitter, Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao’s IVF- surrogacy for the birth of their newborn son, Azad, turned out to be the year’s best-kept secret. Also, some hyper-taboo words like ‘Chammak Challo’ (in Ra One), ‘Fantasy’ (Dirty Picture) & ‘DK Bose’ (Delhi Belly) got wide acceptance.
Hollywood however remained busy with celebrity break-ups as rioting and looting spread across London with hooded youths setting buildings and cars ablaze; though the entire world also watched live Britain’s Prince William marrying his college sweetheart Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey.
In 2011 only, Nargis, a girl born in India’s Uttar Pradesh, was welcomed as the world’s seven billionth baby — an honour she shared with a girl child born in the Philippines and a boy in Russia. What a mark! And lo, this very year the last convoy of US soldiers pulled out of Iraq, ending nearly nine years of war that cost almost 4,500 American and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives, and left a country grappling with political uncertainty.
And please do not forget the 2G Spectrum scam that ruled the roost as this scandal even eclipsed 2010 Commonwealth Games fraud that continued into the year and also put the Swiss Bank deposits and Bellary mines scandal to shame. Most importantly, the 34-year-old regime of the Left front finally crumbled to a feisty Mamata Banerjee, making her the first woman chief minister of India’s West Bengal state when her party won the elections in 2011. Down south in India, after two consecutive defeats in the Tamil Nadu elections, Jayalalithaa made a spectacular comeback winning 199 of the state’s 234 assembly seats.
Well, Greater Voice expects that 2012 could prove even wilder ride than 2011 as it watches two persons carefully –
 Ai Weiwei — The man who worked on one of China’s most prominent symbols of modernity, the Olympic Birds Nest Stadium, and who himself became a symbol this year. After standing up to the Chinese government repeatedly online and with his art, the dissident Ai Weiwei was thrown in jail in April. Later charged with tax evasion, he was eventually released on bail in June with strict orders not to speak out. But he continues to inspire people to take a stand against the government and its human rights record.
 Aung San Suu Kyi — After years of wilting under house arrest, the 66-year-old democracy icon is again ascendent, this time as a broker between the West and a new wave of army-backed leaders trumpeting reforms. While her full transition into politics remains to be seen, Aung San Suu Kyi has already succeeded in prompting the US to reconsider its Burma policy.
And Greater Voice will also await the fate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange this 2012. Happy New Year.