The year began with the Indian waking up from the shock of a young woman brutally raped and murdered in the heart of the country- The Capital City of Delhi. Delhi was infamously tagged as the Rape Capital of the world, cementing India’s position among the ranks of other women-unfriendly countries. But for the first time in a long time, the tortured Indian wasn’t ready to lie low. People had had enough and evidence was soon to follow. The sheer number of people who took to the streets in protest was not just heartening, it was alarming. Gandhiji’s silent fight had turned into Bhagat’s Singh’s uprising. The crusade ended with capital punishment for the four who unflinchingly did not just succumb to their baser instincts but also showed the world that perhaps humans are not as far away from barbarians as we thought. The struggle is far from over, but off to a great start.
On the international front, the Indian was once again the center of attention- but for a different reason. Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, the story of a young Indian boy lost at sea and his struggle to survive, showed the world that India was a more than Danny Boyle’s version of shanty homes and slums.
But what took years of work to build was destroyed in a matter of minutes- Section 377 of The Indian Penal Code declared homosexuality punishable under law. So now the Indian wasn’t just unsafe on the streets, he was also being watched in his bedroom.
The socially shamed Indian was about to be hit on his pocket too. The Indian rupee’s fall against the dollar did not only send the finance department of every company in limbo but also made every Indian count pennies. On the domestic front too, inflation continues to plague the Indian who is now stretching his wallet even for necessities.
The Indian also witnessed one of the most horrific natural calamities in Uttrakhand with hundreds losing their lives (and livelihoods) and even more suffering irreparable loss. But instead of being swept aside as a victim, the Indian emerged a Hero. Right from the soldier to the civilian, the Indian did what no one expected of him- placed others before him. Hundreds of local inhabitants came to the rescue of the grief stricken and several of them saved others from perishing, some losing their own lives in the process.
Beaten down on the social and financial aspects, the trying times weren’t quite so over. The Indian is still grappling with the idea of secularism, while communities continue to clash on religious grounds. The Muzzafarnagar riots shook Uttar Pradesh and the entire country to its core. Several people lost their lives in the name of communal loyalty. Divided by religion, united by religion.
The Indian has cherished cricket as a religion that transcends boundaries. The year saw India’s greatest cricket legend
– Sachin Tendulkar bid adieu to the sport for good. The entire nation came together to celebrate the life of one of the most celebrated Indians.
Another innate power that the Indian summoned in 2013 was that of unity.
Aam Aadmi Party’s victory in Delhi State Elections did not just testify that even today, the Indian is the master of his own destiny but also insinuated that ruling India is no one’s birth right- India was freed in 1947 and the Indian intends to keep it that way.
This year, especially these past few months, have proved that the Indian is no more a passive old man sitting in the corner, observing as things happen to him. He’s confident, alert, compassionate and angry.
Image courtesy: espncricinfo.com, Pallab Deb and Gurman Bhatia for DU Beat