The beauty of democracy in our country is that it keeps reinventing itself with many domestic political shocks and continuous movements against corruption. Despite many political issues in news this year, glamour never took a backseat and fight against graft and politics became the most sought after topics throughout the year as activist Arvind Kejriwal emerged as top newsmaker this year by turning himself into a full-fledged politician and launching a political party ‘Aam Aadmi Party’ Indian sportsmen also made India proud by winning six medals for the country.
Among other newsmaker of the year were Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, cricketer and Rajya Sabha MP Sachin Tendulkar, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Cricketer Yuvraj Singh, Bollywood actor Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor, Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray and Indian medalist at London Olympics (Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal, Sushil Kumar, Gagan Narang, Vijay Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt).
Here’s a look at the people who made headlines, good and bad, in 2012.
1. Arvind Kejriwal
Activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal is proving to be an astute leader. He has hijacked the plank central to the Congress’s electoral strategy by naming his fledgling party after the aam aadmi. In other words, the anti-graft activist has sought to give the aam aadmi – whom the ruling dispensation professes to serve — a party of his own. That at least is the promise.
2. Narendra Modi
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi faces elections this week that are expected to secure him a platform to become a future national leader. Modi, whose links to some of the country's worst riots make him a hate-figure for many Muslims and secularists, has been chief minister of Gujarat since 2001.
In a staggered vote starting December 13 and concluding on December 17, he will look to secure his third election victory, running on a platform of fast economic growth, clean governance and rural development.
3. Sachin Tendulkar
"I am not god, I am Sachin Tendulkar" - said the iconic Indian cricketer who watched in dejection as his 100th international century, which he described as the "toughest" of his career, was overshadowed by the team's shock loss to Bangladesh in an Asia Cup match in Mirpur.
The master blaster has not scored a century in Test cricket for almost two years. There are so many other stats which will reveal that his poor form is not restricted to one series or a few months. And, he is the man himself in denial. Experts are suggesting him to hang his boot now.
4. Akhilesh Yadav
Akhilesh Yadav, with his fresh looks, promised a change after taking oath as the youngest chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. As he repeated his promise ahead of assembly elections and the people went bonkers over it as they were starving for change. However, the sad story of the new UP CM Akhilesh Yadav didn't end as the crime graph went up in comparison with the reports in the previous Mayawati government. His council of ministers is loaded with his uncles and his father’s close buddies. They have seen him grow up from a cute infant to a young boy — now the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. And they have juicy tales to flaunt their relationship with the bachcha.
5. Manmohan Singh
An hour of daily early morning walk on the treadmill is Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recipe to stay in shape. For the rest of the day — till he wraps up his work around 10.30-11 pm — Singh’s routine primarily revolves around shaping up the economy to make it run on the fast track once again. The Prime Minister has proved, many times, that he is not a weak PM, as the BJP blamed him in the past. The confident PM now says his government is "committed'' to accelerate economic growth and warned against "ignorant, outdated ideologies".
6. Yuvraj Singh
'The real fighter', netizens used the term for cricketer Yuvraj Singh who successfully combated cancer and returned to field with blessing of the countrymen. He says his new life is inspired by former American racing cyclist and cancer survivor, Lance Armstrong.
7. Aamir Khan
The Bollywood actor spoke about issues like water, old-age, untouchability, alcohol abuse, toxic food, domestic violence, persons with disabilities, intolerance to love, every life is precious, big fat indian wedding, child sexual abuse and female foeticide in his TV show 'Satyamev Jayate', the show that was up in the TRP chart on Sundays.
In his last and the thirteenth episode, Aamir Khan threw light on the relentless work many socal workers are doing for the betterment of the community and the country, without any returns.
Superstar Aamir Khan says that his hugely popular television series Satyamev Jayate has taken him closer to the reality of life in India. "The show has brought me in touch with reality and taught me so much in the last two years that it can never be measured in money," he said during a TV show.
8. Kareena Kapoor
Bollywood star couple Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor tied the knot in a quiet affair after a five-year courtship. Saif, 42, son of late Nawab of Pataudi and former Indian cricket captain Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and actress Sharmila Tagore, sealed his relationship with Kareena, 32, at his residence in suburban Bandra through a registered marriage. Back-to-back hit movies and the marriage place the Bollywood actor among the top newsmaker of the year 2012.
9. Bal Thackeray
One measure of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray’s political significance was his sheer longevity. Even though his career straddled four decades, his influence showed no signs of ebbing during his lifetime.
Consider this: when Thackeray first sprang to prominence, Lal Bahadur Shastri had just died, K Kamaraj ran the Congress party and Maharashtra was controlled by SK Patil and VP Naik. Though many of these politicians are long-forgotten, Thackeray continued to be the uncrowned king of Mumbai (he changed the city’s name from Bombay) till the very end. More than 20 lakh people joined his his cremation in Mumbai, a massive show of mass support one cannot forget easily.
10. India's six medalist at London Oympics were also the top newsmakers in the year 2012.
a) Mary Kom
India's wonder girl MC Mary Kom had to settle for the bronze as she went down fighting in her 51 kg semifinal bout to Britain's Nicola Adams at the Olympics in London. Later, Mary Kom apologised for winning bronze and not a gold medal for India. "My whole country was hoping for me to win a gold medal, and I am sorry I have not come back with that," said Kom, who had to move up a weight category to fight in London.
b) Saina Nehwal
Badminton player and Olympic bronze medal winner Saina Nehwal, 22, says that winning a medal for the country has given her great satisfaction and that she is not interested in any image makeovers. “I am still the same Saina. It is great satisfaction to win a medal. I went for the gold but lost in semis, I will never forget the defeat which happened under pressure,” she says.
c) Sushil Kumar
The Indian Olympic story just fell short of going golden on the final day of the London Games. Sushil Kumar fought valiantly, but was far too dehydrated to prevail against his much swifter Japanese opponent Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu. He still ended up earning India its second silver of these Games. And, he became the first Indian to win two individual Olympic medals. Perhaps the most heart-wrenching bit was just how inconsolable the 29-year-old was after the loss.
d) Gagan Narang
For far too long Gagan Narang's ability had been blurred in the shadow lines, which separate potential from greatness. He was the perpetual almost man. Like, he almost qualified for the 10m air rifle final at Beijing too. He placed ninth, eight make the grade. Then, in 2010, he was just behind the leaders going into the World Championship final before settling for eventual third. He did win gold at the Delhi Commonwealth Games but somehow, it seemed it was not enough, given his ability and that raw hunger when he spoke of the Olympics. At London 2012, it seemed he had had enough.
e) Vijay Kumar
Unheralded armyman Vijay Kumar provided the silver lining for India at the Olympics, clinching second place in the 25m rapid-fire event to lift the nation's spirits. The 26-year-old Commonwealth Games champion, who comes from Himachal Pradesh and is an ex-armyman’s son, held his nerves in the six-man final and was assured of the silver before shooting his final round.
f) Yogeshwar Dutt
Bruised but still having the burning desire to win a medal. This sums up the performance of Yogeshwar Dutt, who, despite a badly swollen eye, fought three repechage bouts to win an Olympic bronze. The medal in the 60kg category firmly tucked in his pocket, the Sonepat-born-grappler was the happiest man. And it was not just because he had won the medal; it was also because he was able to fulfill his late father's wish.