At its fag end, and shortly to herald 2015 to replace it, the year 2014 overall has been, not only an eventful but extremely tumultuous and disturbing period for the world over. Civil uprisings, a spurt in terrorist activities, trade sanctions, the vicious outbreak of Ebola virus and other such undesirable events that one wishes had never happened. A few flashes in the pan have mostly been from the science and technology field with the successful Mars Mission of India, the NASA spacecraft landing for the first time on a comet, the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change with its Fifth Assessment Report on Emissions, acknowledged and viewed by nations all over as a matter of great concern with consensus that this issue had to be acted upon immediately. And of course, the world of sports, with the conduct of the XXII Sochi Winter Olympics, the once in 4 years World Cup football championship in Brazil, the World Chess Championship gave the world something to cheer about amidst a bleak scenario.For India it was an upheaval of sorts.
Six world events that shook it.
Let us briefly view how the events unfolded and left their mark on the human psyche across the world.
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1) The year kickstarted with a vicious outbreak of the Ebola Virus in West Africa, infecting over 18000 people leaving more than 6000 people dead and fears that it could spread across the world when countries like US, India etc. reported stray but worrisome cases of Ebola.
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2) The pro-Russian unrest in Crimea in February and subsequent annexation of Crimea with Russia by President Putin but strongly revolted against by an outraged majority of the G8 nations, that first temporarily suspended Russia from G8, then a host of G8 nations and others imposing trade embargos or economic sanctions on Russia. The situation is still very much hot and alive.
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3) The mysterious disappearance of the Malaysian Airliner, Flight 370, a Boeing 777 that disappeared during its flight from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur when flying over the Gulf of Thailand. Though dozens of countries across the world, joined hands in a massive search operation by sea and from air, with widening searches that included the huge water mass of the Indian Ocean, the plane has not been found to this day. A puzzle just like the unsolved Bermuda triangle disappearances in the past that has left experts baffled.
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4) Close on the heels of this disappearing incident, the shooting down of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 by pro-Russian insurgents in Ukraine while it was passing over that land awakened the world with this rude shock. This led Australia to propose and others to unanimously support the passing of the UN Security Council Resolution 2166, which while accusing the insurgents with the triple offences of downing the aircraft, mistreating the bodies and hampering post-incident investigations. the resolution expressed support for efforts to establish a full, thorough and independent investigation into the incident in accordance with civil aviation guidelines. Russia initially opposed some of the wording and with slight text change, also supported the resolution.
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5) The world received a rude shock when a Sunni militant group called the ISIS ( Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) raised its head by launching an offensive through Northern Iraq, threatening to capture Baghdad and assume control. though initially foiled by governmental forces and later with the aid of US and many other countries opposed to such unlawful acts that could threaten world peace. Though the US launched an offensive two months later with other Arabic nations in Syria, one of the strong bases for this radical group, and contained the progress, the threat of ISIS looms large in the world with many countries in the world having their own youth influenced and drawn towards the ISIS propaganda and idea of a separate state.
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6) The release of the fifth part of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, showed to the world what could happen if deadly emissions did not get minimized or stopped soon. it warned of a severe, pervasive and irreversible damage from the global emissions of CO2 which could bring drastic changes and effects in the world environment. Taking this alarming report seriously most countries of the world have already started working and collaborating on meeting the challenge of drastic reduction in harmful emissions of all types that could affect the ozone layer.
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Miracle man Narendra Modi with his charismatic speeches and a body language that oozed confidence, asked for a chance to be allowed to lead the country and the people of India, obliged by giving him and his party a clear mandate and a purpose of leading the country forward. Becoming a force that none could reckon with, his pre-election whirlwind campaigns for his party, the BJP, and his post election pace will at least be remembered by posterity as the ‘Great Indian Awakening’.
In India the upheaval is even bigger.
A strong mandate given to the BJP, that allows some action, the Prime Minister Narendra Modiji, has in his mind, a clear vision, a resoluteness, a forceful agenda and with it a haste to get things done fast. No wonder India Inc. saw a turnaround in just six months from a nation filled with lethargy and hopelessness, into an enthusiastic and action-oriented one.
The positive take is:
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1) The world has with the jam packed audiences in venues on foreign shores sat up to take notice of a man who has given a new hope and vision of India. With advanced nations like US, Japan, Australia, China, Germany and many others encouraged and emboldened by his promises of measures, there is a whole lot of investment that promises to come to India in the near future.
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2) The Clean India or Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan for a clean India by 2019 to coincide with Mahatama Gandhi’s 150th Birth Anniversary, the Make In India slogan that calls for investment from foreign shores to set up industries in India, and a slew of measures like easy and hassle free procedures for setting up industries that would hardly take time, investment in infrastructure, and many other heartening actions have enthused the Indian audience as well.
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3) India’s successful launch of a space shuttle of mostly indigenous parts and made in India, accomplished the enviable entry into Mars’ orbit. A rare achievement and a tremendous morale booster for being the only one to successfully complete the mission in the first attempt.
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4) June 21st has been adopted by a UN resolution as World Yoga Day based on PM Modi’s mention about yoga and its importance in improving the quality of human life in his UN General Assembly speech.
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4) In Sports, India has done well in Cricket, Tennis, Badminton and Athletics in international events compared to earlier years in the recent past that has brought euphoria to the players and fans alike.
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There are hurdles and obstacles that the nation has still to face and what we all would like to see - peace and tranquility in the region, good relations with the international community as a whole, large scale employment for the youth, women’s issues addressed positively and determinedly, price rise contained and lowered and many other relevant issues may still be distant.
Yet 2014 has been a year of hope, the heralding of better things to come, a spark that will not be extinguished soon, and an embarking journey that would get us to see far better days ahead after the big lull.