India saw its many ups and downs in 2017; demonetization was on people’s minds till March and a couple more months. Peace was restored in Kashmir, but communal clashes and numerous heinous crimes committed by cow vigilantes reigned in 2017.

India started the year with a victory by successfully launching 104 satellites in a single mission on 15th February. ISRO’s PSLV – C37 consisting of two nano-satellites of India, INS -1A and INS -1B, and nano-satellites of other countries i.e. Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, and United States of America from SDSC SHAR Sriharikota. The 101 international satellites were launched as a part of the commercial arrangements between Antrix Corp. Ltd, the commercial arm of ISRO and international customers. ISRO set a world record by launching 104 satellites in one go.

On July 1, India woke up to one of the biggest reforms after Independence. GST came with a baggage of confusion, uncertainty, and critique. All small and medium-sized businesses have to register with the government and now every business has to make cash memos and bills. The months that followed the reform saw inflation in certain sectors and lower quarterly GDP. Critics are divided on its long-term results, but for now, the loopholes and glitches in the technology have been dealt with and the process is smoother.

The same month, India’s 14th President, Ram Nath Kovind was elected with a majority of 65%  and M. Venkaiah Naidu was elected as the 13th Vice-President of India on 5th August.

Soon after, India’s most contentious issue which persists to date, the triple talaq bill started gaining heat across the debating circles in India. Supreme Court made historic decisions on the right to privacy and triple talaq. The 9-judges bench ruled in favor of the right to privacy and declared it as a fundamental right. Indian citizens were awarded the basic liberty of taking decisions of their lives, which was a much-awaited right for the LGBT+ community. Legalising same-sex marriages in India still has a long way to go but India is beginning to tread on that path.

In the case of Shayara Bano VS Union of India and Ors, the court banned the custom of triple talaq. Thousands of women in our country have suffered because of this practice and our neighboring countries banned the practice ages ago. On one hand, the court’s decision is still questioned by women’s rights’ organisations, and on the other hand, the Muslim community contends that they are not bound to follow the law because religion and the constitution are two separate entities.

The Supreme Court criminalised sex with a minor girl, whether in wedlock or out of it, but the Kerala High Court did not rule in favor of Hadiya, who had a consented marriage with a Muslim.

In what can be termed as a dark mark in the journalistic history, Gauri Lankesh’s cold-blooded assassination sparked outrage and people from various walks of life questioned the freedom of media under the present government. It was a blow to the very spirit of journalism but the media woke up to a renewed fire of protecting its freedom as an homage to Gauri’s death.

The year ended for North India on a bitter note with pollution levels rising across all the northern states. The pollution levels had reached disgraceful levels last October and it is high time the government and we take strict action towards it.


Feature Image Credits: Newslaundry

Prachi Mehra

[email protected]


2017 has come to a close and as we welcome 2018. On this occasion let us look at some facts, figures, and statistics regarding  India’s performance in the past year and think about what could have been done to raise India’s position on the ladder.

While India’s economic growth rate has attracted attention across the world, its recent slowdown has raised the eyebrows of analysts and economists. Despite growth in the business and investment sectors, India continues to grapple with the long-drawn and basic problems of hunger, poverty, corruption, climate change, and poor levels of human capital. The credit rating company, Moody’s Investors Services, upgraded India’s investment ranking from the lowest to one notch up. In the ‘ease-of-doing-business’ rankings, India witnessed a 30-spot rise from 130 to 100. Some analysts have called these improvements long overdue while others have credited  Prime Minister Modi’s concerted action on the structural front in the economy for these recent developments. Due to various reforms in the audit and banking sector and the introduction of the  Goods and Services Tax (GST), bill the economy is undergoing various upturns which are expected to lead to a stronger and well-integrated economy. Modi’s initiatives, like Startup India, Digital India, MakeinIndia etc., are also credited for India’s better performance in foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows and innovation and competitiveness indices overall. There still persist the overwhelming problems of red-tapism, infrastructural bottlenecks, overregulation, and implementation issues for which immediate reforms must be undertaken by the government. On the other hand, what these business rankings overshadowed were India’s downslide in gender equality, hunger, press freedom, and inequality reports.

India slipped 21 places in the Global Gender Gap ranking for 2017. The Global Hunger Index ranked India 100 out of the 119 countries listed, behind North Korea, Bangladesh, and Iraq but ahead of Pakistan. A paper by Thomas Piketty and Lucas Chancel titled Indian Income Inequality 1922-2014 — From British Raj to Billionaire Raj? pointed out the widening income disparities which endanger social stability. These reports did not invite many hues and cry from the analysts as they show India’s status on fairness, equity, and empowerment rather than the ease of doing business which shows direct consequences for India’s growth and material welfare. Without a healthy, better-fed, and egalitarian society, such strides in development are of little consequence. The real development comes with the enhanced capabilities of the human capital, as pointed out by Amartya Sen. India has set ambitious targets for itself while ratifying the Paris Climate Deal and is taking several measures to ensure increased use of renewable energy. However, it is failing miserably on the front of reducing emission targets and needs to address sustainable development challenges with immediate effort.

Women’s contribution to economic development cannot be neglected. Other South Asian nations like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka perform better than India in areas of health, human development, and gender equality. India can learn from its own in-house examples of Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu; traditionally poor and caste-based societies – on how to develop human capital and assure equity by ensuring universal education and improved social security systems to make sure that the fruits of economic growth trickle down to the last man and woman. Instead of debating over whether a movie should be released or not or why a national leader went to watch a movie after defeat in elections, or whether Christmas should be celebrated or not in some schools, we need to talk about why India has not fared well in 2017 and how we can make  2018 a fairer and more equitable year.

The rankings given below are for referential purposes, sourced from Byju’s.

Index  Published by India’s rank  What it measures
World Investment Report 2017 UNCTAD 9 FDI inflow into the country
Global Competitiveness Index 2017 World Economic Forum 40 Assesses the competitiveness landscape of an economy
Global Innovation Index 2017 Cornell University, INSEAD and World Intellectual Property Organization 60 Innovation performance
Corruption Perception Index 2016 Transparency International 79 Corruption (Rank 1 is the least corrupt)
Global Hunger Index 2016 International Food Policy Research Institute 97 Measures a country’s hunger situation
Global Human Capital Report 2017 World Economic Forum 103 Measures how a country develops its human capital
Sustainable Development Goal Index 2017 Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Bertelsmann Stiftung 116 Assesses the performance of countries towards achieving the sustainable development goals
Ease of Doing Business Index 2017 World Bank 130 Ease of doing business
World Press Freedom Index 2017 Reporters Without Borders 136 Press freedom (Rank 1 is the freest press)
Climate Change Performance Index 2017 Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe 20 Measure of a country’s efforts in combating climate change
Human Development Index 2016 United Nations Development Programme 131 Measure of human development



Feature Image Credits: IndiaSpend

Oorja Tapan
[email protected]

2017 has been a roller-coaster year in all spheres — sports, entertainment, politics, culture, and just about every industry that currently exists. We bring you the 17 most memorable moments and highlights of the year 2017 for you to officially call it a year and rewind through the news-makers in the pop culture world.
1. The year when Pahlaj Nihalani was ousted: Lipstick Under My Burkha is one of the many movies that faced unnecessary wrath from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) this year. Jab Harry Met Sejal is another movie that frustratingly faced issues with respect to only one scene. Soon after, Pahlaj Nihalani was sacked from his position as the Chief by the Central Board.
2. The year when Ed Sheeran and Luis Fonzi dominated all music charts: Despacito and Shape of You are two of the most popular songs of 2017 that grabbed the top spots in Billboard’s top 100 songs, after breaking records by staying for the maximum number of weeks in many music charts. Not surprisingly, Despacito is currently the most watched video on YouTube with 4.5 billion views.
3. The year of Memes: From cringe-pop videos grabbing national headlines in India to memes gaining traction worldwide, 2017 was definitely a year for memes to go mainstream. Omprakash Mishra’s Aunty ki Ghanti took the internet by a storm and Facebook pages like “Wholesome Memes” dominated everyone’s timelines.
4. The year with Thirteen Reasons Why and the buzz surrounding it: Produced by Selena Gomez, this Netflix thriller gained widespread popularity overnight and became a sleeper hit. It sparked a conversation about mental health issues and despite facing flak for romanticising suicide, it helped people acknowledge that depression is as real as any other illness.
5. The year of fidget spinners: Initially marketed to help individuals with anxiety and ADHD, this tiny toy became the most talked-about item in the entirety of the year. Interestingly, it became so popular that there is an entire section of instructional videos devoted to fidget spinners on YouTube.
6. The year that saw zero white male nominations in Grammys: The Grammy awards are known for being embroiled in controversies around racism, because of which it is incredible that for the first time in nearly two decades, the Grammy Awards did not include any white men in its Album of the Year category.
7. The year that saw the continuation of feuds: During many points over the course of the year, the discussion in the film industry was sadly about Kangna Ranaut and Hrithik Roshan’s long-time feud. Continuing since 2016, this feud still drags with no conclusion to be found.
8. The year of the Oscars goof-up: In a chaotic climax moment, La La Land was mistakenly declared as the winner of the Best Picture category award at the Oscars. Moonlight was the deserving winner, and the mistake regarding this was corrected immediately.
9. The year when Wonder Women became the ultimate heroine: Released on 15th May,  Wonder Women become the highest-grossing film ever made by a female director by racking up $821 million at the global box office. This Gal Gadot starrer is accredited with sparking discussions about the representation of female power in popular cinema.
10. The year when love won over hate: One Love Manchester benefit concert organised by Ariana Grande in the aftermath of a suicide bombing carried out during the concert on 22nd May was a beautiful show of love and solidarity. The concert was attended by more than 50,000 people and saw the lineup artists like Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Coldplay, Pharrell Williams, and Usher. The proceedings from the concert went to those affected by the bombing that killed 22 people and wounded more than 100.
11. The year when power was held accountable: In 2017 many men and women spoke up about sexual harassment against the powerful figures in Hollywood. In October 2017, The New York Times published the testimonies of more than a dozen women who accused Weinstein of sexually harassing, assaulting, or raping them. Soon many other women in the film industry reported similar experiences with Weinstein. Actor Kevin Spacey was also accused of sexual misconduct by many boys, including actor Anthony Rapp. Both Weinstein and Spacey suffered the loss of deals and associations after these accusations surfaced.
12. The year when survivors spoke up: #MeToo became a viral hashtag used by victims of sexual misconduct of voicing their experiences. Actress Alyssa Milano popularized the hashtag to as part of an awareness campaign in order to reveal the magnitude of sexual harassment. The hashtag has trended in at least 85 countries including India. Originally the phrase “Me Too” was started by activist Tarana Burke in 2006 on MySpace social network.
13. The year of #BlackRoyal: Suits star Meghan Markle and Prince Harry of Wales got engaged on 27th November and soon announced the Royal wedding that is scheduled for 19th May. While the world was gushing over the ideal couple (Megan is a beauty with brains and Harry is the most loved royal), a section showed displeasure over the choice of new Duchess of Sussex. Markel was targeted for her age, race, and her past marriage. However, the negative slurs were countered online with the hashtag #BlackRoyal.  On 8th November the British royal family’s communications secretary released an official statement defending Market form the “wave of abuse and harassment”.
14. The year when women marched: The beginning of 2017 saw the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. The Women’s March was held on January 21, 2017, to advocate women’s rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, queer rights, and workers’ rights. Held immediately after the inauguration of Donald Trump, the protests were aimed against the Trump administration’s regressive stand on multiple issues.

15. The year when a fictitious queen caused real havoc: Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ambitious period drama, Padmavati has been marred in controversy even before its trailer was launched. The film’s set has been torched, the director got beaten up, and cast and the crew threatened. The film was scheduled to be released on 1st December but hasn’t received the clearance from Censor Board yet.

16. The year when “Virushka” got married: The much love power couple of Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli finally got married Italy on 11th December. The wedding was a dreamlike sequence and a close-knit affair. The pictures and minute details of the wedding dominated the news and social media ever since the first pictures were made public.

17. The year when the world found out “Kattappa ne bahubali ko kyu mara”: Baahubali 2: The Conclusion,  became the first ever Indian film to gross over 10 billion, that too in just ten days. It stands as the second highest grossing film in India. Facebook in its “2017 Year in Review” listing ranked Baahubali 2: The Conclusion as the most-discussed topic by Indian Facebook users.

Feature Image Credits: Spoiler TV
Niharika Dabral
Vijeata Balani

In a surprising move, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has decided to shift its entrance examination for all courses including MPhil/ PhD courses for the year 2018-19 to December 2017. Usually, JNU Entrance Examination (JNUEE) happens in May. However this year, the entrance exam will take place on 27 December to 30 December.

For the past two years, JNU was considering shifting its entrance exams for all courses to December from the usual May-June session. The proposal to hold all future entrances in December was put forward at a meeting of the Academic Council (AC) in April 2015, which was thereafter approved in a Standing Committee meeting on June 15, 2015. The reasons given for such a shift were related to logistical issues, where the AC pointed out that JNU doesn’t come as an option at the right time and normally when the JNU admission procedure begins, all other university admissions close. Also n the case of BA admissions, they felt it was better to hold the entrance before the Class XII pre-board exams in January. Although teachers unanimously supported the move in the AC meeting, the four JNU students’ union office bearers opposed it back then.

The move finally comes two years after the AC and Standing Committee approved the proposal. It was put to hold because of reasons accorded to feasibility. The Vice Chancellor said that the university was trying to fill all vacancies available with faculties in MPhil and PhD courses in December. A committee has been formed to find modalities to conduct the exam. The prospectus for 2018-19 has been uploaded on the website, as well as the link for online admissions, opened from 10:00 AM today and will stay open till 13 Oct 2017 at 11.59 p.m.

The University will hold examinations for admission to various programmes of study (MPhil/PhD, MPhil/PhD through JRF, PhD., PhD through JRF, MTech., MPH. , PGDE, MA., MSc., MCA., BA(Hons.) in Foreign languages and Part time courses, MSc (Biotechnology) and allied, MSc (Agri) (Biotechnology)/M.V.Sc., and MTech. Biotechnology programmes )from 27 Dec-30 Dec 2017 in 53 centres across India and in Kathmandu (Nepal).

For full details, applicants can visit the JNU website www.jnu.ac.in  or visit the admissions site.

Image Credits: JNU Website

Oorja Tapan

[email protected]

It’s done. Another year passed us by. Another semester we very consciously did nothing. But as they say, ‘What’s done is done.’ As we stroll down the last month of the year, it’s the last attempt to make this year somewhat memorable (seriously 2016, you sucked). This December, we present you with 17 things to do before 2017; here’s endeavouring to end this year with a bang!

Have the obligatory post-exam gathering

Say a very happy Goodbye to those photocopies and companions which conveniently grace your bed, for the days of examination suffering are memories of the past. Kick in the New Year festivities with throwing/attending a No-More-Studying party/sleepover, regardless of if you’ve earned it or not!

Revel in the pleasures of Winter

Part of your exam woes revolved around the inability to study in the chilly weather, for the comfort of the blanket and the sweet sleep hovering our eyes made it difficult to finish through the mountain of syllabus. Now, you can leave the guilt behind and cozy up in the blanket with a good book and coffee ALL day long!

Learn something new

While you’re busy relaxing, sleeping, and doing nothing throughout the day, consider occupying an hour or two with a new hobby to indulge your spirits in. It can be anything, from learning how to play a music instrument, baking cakes and muffins to tap dancing, the world is your oyster!

Reach out to that old, childhood friend

It’s safe to assume that throughout the course of our not-so-long life, there will be the existence of a friend who you’re not in touch with anymore, but probably would like to be. Contact him/her, make plans to meet, because it’s now or never!

Spend a day boycotting all sources of technology

It sounds like an impossible task. Tearing up from our phones and laptops for one day might require a significant portion of your will-power, but now’s the time to do it. Set aside these gizmos for a fun day in the sun; go out for a picnic with your friends, or go monument exploring. See the wonders of nature and revel!

Family day!

When was the last time you had a family-exclusive outing or a chance at familial bonding? We’re guessing it’s been long. Amidst the chaos of our lives, the year-end is a wonderful time to relax with the folks. Also, plan to take an elaborate family portrait to grace the wall, it can be a delightful memory!

Make a pre-New Year resolution and complete it

No, this is not a 365 days’ full-on resolution which we expect you to adhere to. Instead, resolve to achieve something before the end of this month/year, and see how far you go. Like Chandler’s resolution of not making fun of anyone for a week or Rachel’s gossiping streak, are you up for it?

Do a Star Wars marathon

Ever since Disney’s announcement of releasing a new Star Wars movie every year for as long as it can, every December is like an early Christmas gift. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story shall be gracing theatres near you on December 16, so preparations are in order. Watch all the seven (it feels weird to not say six!) Star Wars episodes so that the Jedi in you can properly assimilate the wonders of the Star Wars universe. (Start with Episode 4, if you’re new!)

Classic Movies Marathon Day

While you’re immersed with the whole marathon mood, we have some more for you. Revisit the old classics and enjoy the familiarity and awesomeness they have to offer. From Casablanca, Dead Poets Society, Godfather to The Breakfast Club, Roman Holiday and many more, we’re talking about them all!

Write down your predictions for the next year

…you know, just for fun. One thing 2016 has taught us all: anything can happen (no need for hints.) So, capture your imaginations and visualise the many events of the year to come. Think vast, think vivid, and predict!

Do Secret Santa

We know Christmas is not a fully established holiday in our country, like Diwali or Holi. But, we can always borrow the most exciting part of the traditional holiday: Exchanging gifts! Induce more fun by doing Secret Santa, where person A gives something to person B, and person B to C, and so on. Ho-ho to that Christmas spirit!

Shopping for the next semester

We know you don’t want to think about January when the woes of college will once again begin to haunt you, but hey, do the necessary preparations. And by that we mean, go shopping and fill the spaces in your wardrobe!

Watch re-runs of Sherlock

Season 4 is coming, guys. Feel the urgency in these words. Re-acquaint your minds with the adventures of the brilliant detective and his sidekick (we love you Watson!) Because Moriarty is back to ask this question: Miss me?

Go Goa

Because all your previous plans have obviously not worked. This is the perfect time to execute this much-hyped travel plan. Make the obligatory Goa trip happen this December end, because a) you deserve it, and b) Sunburn!

Introspect on the year gone by

This was certainly a very eventful year. Some good, and A LOT of it bad. Need a reminder? Have a look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yv_rl3MYKA

2016 has left the whole world asking it to go away for the next year to come, and while you’re waiting for that to happen, reflect back on the things you learnt this year. (Don’t forget to freak about how time flies!)

Plan a New Year’s eve-eve party

Nobody celebrates December 31st; that’s pretty sad. Here’s an excuse to throw another party: rejoice for it’s New Year’s eve-eve! One more day of welcoming the year to come, sounds fun right?

Whine about going back to college

Between all that happiness, take some time to digest the fact that college re-opens soon. Whine and pout over this for a day or two, and then accept that life’s not fair. Good things can’t last forever, my friend.

Happy New Year!

It might be a tiny bit predictable that on a list talking about 17 things to do before 2017, one of the points is to celebrate New Year. Eat, dance, cry, get high, for the whole ideology of a new year being a new beginning is a consoling excuse for a majority of people, and we’re ready to accept it.

Folks here’s to a lousy Christmas and a crappy New Year!

Saumya Kalia

[email protected]