A year of real highs and bitter lows

To realise the future, it is often necessary to look back a bit. Let us see what 2021 gave us: The highlights.

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By Chanakya

2021 Highlights
From the coronavirus pandemic to farmer protests, poll violence, Olympic gold, Afghanistan violence, Haiti earthquake, new variant of Covid (Omicorn, after Delta) found in South Africa, the year 2021 was filled with life-changing events. Here is a recap of some of the prominent events.

JANUARY
2 : Congress veteran Buta Singh passes away.

26 : Indian farmers’ violence. A tractor march meant to highlight farmers’ demands dissolved into anarchy on the streets of the national capital on Republic Day. Rampaging protesters broke through barriers, fought with police, overturned vehicles and delivered a national insult – hoisting a semi-religious flag from the ramparts of Red Fort, a privilege reserved for India’s tricolour. Protesters clashed with police in multiple places, leading to chaos in well known landmarks of Delhi and suburbs, leaving the farmers’ two-month peaceful movement in tatters.

FEBRUARY
7 : Uttarakhand flood. Disaster struck the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand in the form of a deluge and avalanche. As per the government reports submitted in Lok Sabha, the disaster killed 80 people, and 204 people are still missing.

9 : Actor-producer Rajiv Kapoor dies at 58.

14 : Ebola outbreak in Guinea.

24 : Narendra Modi Stadium. The Motera cricket stadium in Ahmedabad was renamed as Narendra Modi Stadium. It is the world’s largest cricket stadium with a seating capacity of 132,000.

27: Prison break in Haiti : At least 25 people died after hundreds of prisoners planned an escape from a Haiti prison. Nearly 200 prisoners succeeded.

MARCH
Bengal post-poll violence : Violence erupted after the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress returned to power for a third consecutive term. The vanquished opposition foisted unconfirmed allegations of alleged murders, rapes, and vandalism that seemingly happened across the state following the announcement of the results of the 2021 West Bengal Legislative Assembly election.

Bengal post-poll violence

15 : Deadliest day in Myanmar coup: The coup in Myanmar reached its deadliest day yet, as security forces killed at least 38 people during protests.

APRIL
23 : Deaths : 15 COVID-19 patients die as fire engulfs ICU of a hospital in Maharashtra’s Virar.

MAY
5 : Mamata Banerjee takes oath as chief minister of West Bengal for the third time.

Mamata Banerjee takes oath as chief minister of West Bengal for the third time.

14 : Tropical Cyclone Tauktae claimed the lives of 169 people, with at least 80 others injured. 10 died in Kerala, 8 in Karnataka, 3 in Goa, 18 in Maharashtra, 64 in Gujarat.

16 : Cyclone Amphan made landfall in West Bengal and Odisha. Up to 300,000 people in coastal areas were in immediate danger, at least 12 people died. Cyclone Amphan was a disaster bigger than Covid-19, said Mamata Banerjee.

Cyclone Amphan

Coronavirus Crisis in UP : Thousands of dead bodies are found floating or washing up the shore of the river Ganges. The corpses also include people that died due to Covid-19.

COVID-19 : India’s oxygen crisis: After a new coronavirus variant unleashed a brutal second wave of infections in India, hospitals in the country faced their worst nightmare with shortage of oxygen tanks and beds. Many hospitals in Delhi and around the country ran out of oxygen, with hundreds dying from a shortage of oxygen. However, the centre has claimed no deaths due to oxygen shortage were reported by states and UTs during the second COVID-19 wave.

JUNE
3 : Israel Forms New Government : Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year tenure as Israeli prime minister came to an end, as the country’s parliament approved a new coalition government led by right-wing nationalist Naftali Bennett.

18 : Milkha Singh dies : India’s ‘Flying Sikh’ dies from Covid at age of 91.

Milkha Singh

JULY
7 : Dilip Kumar, the legendary Indian actor dies at 98.

13 : Yashpal Sharma, hero of India’s maiden World Cup win, dies at 66.

21 : Raj Kundra Scandal:  Businessman Raj Kundra, husband of actor Shilpa Shetty, spent two months in jail after his arrest in a case related to alleged creation and distribution of pornographic films through apps.

Raj Kundra

24 : Pegasus spyware controversy : The phone numbers of over 40 Indian journalists were on a hacking list of an unidentified agency using Israeli spyware Pegasus. Those on the list of potential targets included journalists at Hindustan Times, The Hindu, The Wire, The Indian Express, News18, India Today, etc.

24 : Tokyo Olympics 2020 gets underway

AUGUST
Till August 8 : Tokyo Olympics 2020: India finished 48th on the medals tally in Tokyo, its highest ranking in over four decades. 1 gold, 2 silver, 4 bronze India produced it’s richest-ever medal haul and the finest performance of all time at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Niraj Chopra, Gold Medalist

6 : Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award renamed as Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award.

7 : Special day at the Games: Neeraj Chopra, the 23-year-old javelin thrower from Haryana, became only the second Indian to win an individual gold in the Olympics, the first in athletics. Mirabai Chanu won silver medal in weightlifting and India beat Germany, winning bronze after 41 years in Hockey.

15 : The Afghan Disaster: As US troops left, Taliban retook Afghanistan after 20 years. US President Joe Biden said he left Afghanistan to avoid bloodshed.

The Afghan Disaster

16 : Haiti Earthquake: Haiti was shaken to the roots as a 7.2 magnitude (Richter scale) earthquake hit Haiti, killing over 2,200.

21 : Former Uttar Pradesh CM Kalyan Singh passes away at age of 89.

24 : Start of Tokyo Paralympics

SEPTEMBER
Till September 5 : Paralympics. India finishes 24th by securing a total of 19 medals which includes 5 gold, 8 silver, and 6 bronze medals. The gold medallists were: Avani Lekhara in Women’s 10m Air Rifle Standing SH1, Pramod Bhagat in Men’s singles SL3 badminton, Krishna Nagar in Men’s singles SH6 badminton, Sumit Antil in Men’s Javelin Throw F64, and Manish Narwal in Mixed 50m Pistol SH1.

16 : Virat Kohli announces that he will be stepping down as captain of the IPL team RCB at the end of the season.

Virat Kohli

19 : Charanjit Singh Channi named Punjab chief minister, first Dalit CM of the state.

OCTOBER
3 : Actor Shah Rukh Khan’s 23-year-old son Aryan was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in the drugs-on-cruise case.

9 : Air India returns to Tata after 70 years: Tata Sons won Air India bid, the airline it founded nearly 90 years back – as the government accepted its winning bid of Rs 18,000 crore to acquire 100 per cent of the debt-laden state-run carrier.

21 : India breaches 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses administered mark.

24 : India crash to Pakistan as the T20 World Cup begins.

 28 : Aryan Khan was released on bail by the HC on October 28.

NOVEMBER
1 : The Supreme Court of India orders to constitute an independent panel to make a comprehensive probe into the Pegasus (spyware) snooping scandal.

19 : Narendra Modi government relents, decides to spike farm laws: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the repeal of three contentious farm laws, assuring farmer groups protesting against them for the past year that the legislative process for the repeal would be completed in the upcoming Winter Session of Parliament.

 Omicron variant in Europe earlier than thought: Even before the arrival of Omicron, European countries were witnessing a resurgence of the disease. The scary thing about this is that countries such as Austria and Germany are developed nations, with high rates of vaccination.

DECEMBER
1 : Barbados finally rejects the Queen, becomes a republic.

4 : Veteran journalist Vinod Dua dies at 67.

8 : Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat and 12 others are killed in a chopper crash near Coonoor, Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu.

13 : Actress-model Harnaaz Sandhu beat contestants from 80 countries to win the Miss Universe title.