2020 was a quite a horrible year primarily because of COVID-19. In this year lives and livelihoods both got shattered. The entire world suffered. Some suffered more than others. India and US suffered more because of COVID-19 and also because of incompetent handling of the pandemic. Thus for them 2020 was a good year. Since overall 2020 was one of the worst years in history, 2021 can be expected to be better. COVID-19 vaccination process has begun and life is likely to revert to normal by mid- 2021. Let us analyze 2020 with a view to get an idea of what 2021 would be like.
Bad Things in 2020: World
· COVID-19 caused havoc and made the year arguably one of the worst in the history of the world. It caused deaths and economies were badly affected.
· China acted as a big bully and made the world realize that it needs to be controlled.
· COVID-19 needed the world to cooperate to fight the pandemic. However, the humanity was happy playing blame-games rather than cooperate. It definitely showed Trump and Xi to be totally unworthy world leaders.
Good Things in 2020: World
· Work from Home. The world realized that in a large number of fields of work, the concept of ‘work from home’ makes better economic sense than working from one place.
· No More Trump. Trump was defeated in US elections. Biden is definitely expected to be better. Anyone would be expected to be better for the US and the world. The world needs the leadership of US. It is expected that democracies will strengthen, the democratic world will unite to fight autocratic tendencies which rose in 2020 and there will be once again progress on saving the environment.
· The year began with anti-CAA protests. These were not supported by the weak and scared opposition parties because they were too scared to be seen standing in support of the Muslims. The pandemic broke the movement.
· Riots were engineered in Delhi. The truth of these will never come out.
· The year also ended with the farmers’ protest. The government, ably supported by the ‘Godi media’, tried all the dirty tricks to break/ split the protest. The dirty tricks did not work. The protest is still going on. The acceptance of some demands is a sham and the main demands of repealing the 3 acts and legalization of the MSP very much remain.
· The anti-CAA protests as also the farmers’ protests have been led by the people and not by the opposition parties.
· The harsh lockdown, imposed without planning, as was the case with demonetization, ruined India’s economy and brought our GDP to minus 24 and raised the already record unemployment immensely.
· The images of mass migration of labourers from urban centers to their rural homes in poor states of Bihar, UP, Orissa, MP, and Jharkhand can never be erased from our minds. These images failed to move our heartless government as well as judiciary and even large portions of our population.
· China captured part of Indian Territory in Ladakh and we lost 20 soldiers. Thanks to the throttling of information Indians may never know as to the details of what exactly happened in Ladakh.
· Opportunist Government. Our opportunist government used the pandemic for several benefits like:
o Breaking the anti-CAA protests.
o Making money through the master stroke PM CARES fund.
o Helping Ambani and Adani increase their wealth greatly and thus increase BJP’s potential wealth as well.
o Falsely projecting Muslims as spreaders of Corona and effecting further divisions in the Indian society to meet BJP’s political ends.
· Poor Coordination to Fight COVID. The spirit of collective federalism was conspicuous more by its absence than presence. States were fighting their own battles and the fight against COVID was more of a political game of one-upmanship with the centre taking sides in accordance with politics.
· Education became online. This was okay for the rich and middle classes but adversely affected the poor children.
· Supreme Court. The Supreme Court lowered its already degraded image by inaction and taking up cases like the contempt proceedings against Prashant Bhushan and Kunal Kamra.
· ‘Shilanyas’ of Ram temple was done. It was a day of great rejoicing for communal Hindus and a sad day for Indian Muslims. For the majority it was relief in that an issue had come to some end.
Interesting Events: India
· Centre vs Shiv Sena. The Central government was/is desperate to control Maharashtra, primarily because there is too much of money there. It used and continues to use dirty tricks in its battle against the Shiv Sena government. The usual tools of Hindu-Muslim politics, ED, IT raids were used. Arnab and Kangana became the foot soldiers of this battle. The suicide of a Bihari actor became a big tool in this battle. The Bihar Police, the Supreme Court, CBI and the government’s old friend Asthana (remember the CBI tussle) as head of NCB, all got involved in the melee. Indians loved this trash case and it also helped the government divert attention away from the suffering migrant labourers. For me the humorous part of this entire episode came when a person asked me a question on quora as to who is the girl the entire India is after? I hope our readers know the answer?
· “Act of God!”. The central government decided to go back on its promise to pay the states’ shares of GST. Our FM blamed God for it. I was reminded of Maradona’s famous ‘hand of God’ goal.
· No FIR on JNU Assailants. Over 100 people attacked JNU and not even one FIR got registered against anyone.
No Winter Session of Parliament. COVID-19 was considered adequate reason for cancelling the winter session of the Parliament after numerous rallies in Bihar, Bengal, Hyderabad, elections in Bihar, Kashmir and Hyderabad, conduct of IIT and NEET exams during COVID-19. Good logic-yes-who likes to answer uncomfortable questions and media attention on mis-governance?
· Ramdev & Corona. Yoga guru, political activist and businessman Ramdev launched his medicine by which he falsely claimed could cure COVID-19. By this he discredited medical and business ethics as also Ayurveda. I am sure he would have made good money by this.
· Too Much Democracy. The NITI Ayog CEO felt that there was too much democracy in India.
· Love Jihad Laws. To ensure that people do not forget the primacy of Hindu-Muslim agenda for the BJP, the BJP ruled states enacted ‘love jihad’ laws to harass Muslim men. UP was at the forefront of this targeting of Muslims.
· PM Addresses AMU. The PM in his address to the AMU talked about “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas” Now please don’t ask me where is the humour?
Sad Things: India
· The state of health of a large number of children fell lower than in the past.
· The unemployment situation remained very bad.
· The state of democracy got worse.
· The state of NPAs of banks has not improved much. The lending in Mudra loans may cause NPAs to rise.
Good Things: India
· Elections in Kashmir. DDC elections were held in J&K. There was a decent percentage of voting in the Kashmir Valley. It gives hope of normalization of the situation in Kashmir.
· Elections in Bihar. Despite the pandemic elections could be conducted and contested well in Bihar. The blaming of EVMs was all trash. The elections did not aggravate the pandemic.
· Induction of Rafales. Five Rafale fighter jets got inducted into the Indian Air Force. It was not such a big event as promoted by the ‘Godi media’ but a good thing definitely.
· CDS. India created the post of the CDS. This was a good step. Gen Rawat, a government stooge, was appointed CDS was sad. This is good step in the long term perspective.
· Export of Akash. The government approved plan to export Akash missile system. This will help India improve influence as well as earn valuable foreign exchange.
2020 For No Frills Academy and Me
· No Frills Academy students continued to progress and expectedly our results were good. It was heartening to note the appreciable performance of our girls. The hard copy of our book, “The Practical Guide to Become an Officer” was published and well received and hopefully benefited the readers. The major reasons for our success probably were that our students maintained their energy and routine during COVID times and consequently had greater confidence.
· Personally for me it was a good year in that I survived a near death experience and realized as to how my wife, son and friends with the help of medical staff saved me.
In comparison with 2020, 2021 has to be better. Since Trump was so bad, Biden would be better. Hopefully he would be able to provide better leadership to the free world and control the troublesome China. US-Iran relations will improve and it will benefit India. Indians can expect a better trade deal also better policy as regards Indians working in the US.
Indian economy reached a rock bottom under an incompetent government. The situation has started improving because of the opening up from the lockdown. It will improve slowly because hardly any stimulus package was provided to counter the ill-effects of the lockdown. Poverty will rise, inequalities will rise and politicians will become richer.
In Bengal Mamata would probably lose to BJP and we shall witness a transfer of power from one bad government to another. A possibility of all the opposition coming together to keep BJP out is possible in Bengal. It may not change the fate of Bengalis in any great manner.
People will have to lead their own movements against the government because the opposition is unlikely to gain credibility to do so. There will not be any collective federalism visible in India in the foreseeable future. Police will be increasingly politicized.
The judiciary, media, Ambani and Adani have been jolted well by Prashant Bhushan, Kunal Kamra and the protesting farmers. These are, however, inadequate to effect any solid changes in the present functioning of the system.
2021 generates hopes of being a little better than 2020.
No Frills Academy will continue to progress steadily with the support and ideas of our students. We believe in Kaizen rather than revolutionary changes. Happy 2021!