Greetings for the New Year! (fingers crossed)
With high expectations and a fractal of uncertainty, we take a leap forward to bid farewell to this unpropitious leap year. Making us hostages to the most ruthless curse of Nature, ‘2020’ will be remembered as ‘the year of tragedies’, at least for humans. For most of us, this year might be summed up as the most despised holiday that began on a random Friday in the month of March and is still going on. For others, the articulation of ‘2020’ might serve as the most eidetic memory of when they mastered cooking, cleaning or coding. A year when all of us resorted to vicarious means of enjoyment or the occasional frisson that Netflix had to offer.
The wildfires in Australia at the beginning of the year was prescient of what was to come. As Spring ensued, the novel Coronavirus that had originated in China engulfed the whole world in its monstrous, deadly clutches. An uneventful year that stole from us our precious college days, from the sportsmen a chance to bring laurels to their country at the Tokyo Olympics. Many notable gems left for their heavenly abode including budding talents like Sushant Singh Rajput, veterans like Rishi Kapoor and artists like Irfan Khan. The great football legend Diego Maradona also left us this year. A series of tragedies hailed upon the Bollywood industry bringing the eclipsed drug cases to the limelight.
Awakening from the vivid dreams of joyous days and opening our eyes to the bitter-sweet reality, our lives went through an unimaginable drastic phase. The whole nation put up a display of unprecedented cooperation when the government announced a complete lockdown. The missing craziness of the cities, the empty streets and malls, the lively movie theaters vacant, the ever-busy platforms missing the hustle of everyday life, it seemed as if the wheel of life had taken a pause. We cried at the plight of the migrant workers, applauded the bravery of frontline warriors and prayed for the scientific community to develop the vaccine. We were anguished at the martyrdom of twenty of our brave men at the L.A.C. We celebrated and welcomed the Rafale fighter jets to strengthen our I.A.F. What motivated people in such crucial times was the desire to live a normal life, for the hard times to end, prayers for the wellness of the loved ones, support for the legends working tirelessly to save the lives of common people and a jubilant sense of togetherness to fight against the odds in hope for a ray of bright sunshine after the violent storm.
While humans were held captive, nature was healing. News headlines highlighted the positive impact of lockdown on nature. As the air quality improved the snow-laden mountain peaks offered a spectacular view in villages of Punjab, Haryana and Uttarakhand. The return of the Ganga dolphins, peacocks on the streets of Mumbai and penguins roaming around freely in a zoo in America, the Animal and Plant kingdom prospered in these desperate times.
The year 2020 witnessed one of the dramatic global stock market crashes in financial history decimating the economy. India witnessed a contraction of 23.9% in GDP during the April-June quarter which scaled up to a contraction of 7.9% in July-September promising scopes for further improvement. A huge catastrophe engulfed the city of Beirut when a massive blast took place at the port and wreaked extensive damage to lives and property. New Farmer’s Bill introduced by the government spurred up insecurity for the farmers all over India leading to widespread protests in the neighboring states of Delhi regarding the same.
The world always assumes that google will be there, from Gmail and YouTube to online storage search and smart homes that we generally take for granted. Thousands of videos are uploaded, millions of searches and an enormous amount of emails are sent. In terms of connection google controls about a third of the surface internet but on 14th Dec. 2020 Google experienced a multi-service outage. The crash became one of the biggest social media trends. Many questions like how could one of the largest companies suddenly go dark? Or was this a hack? In total outage lasted for 1 hour but had already caused a lot of chaos.
Humanity experienced a novel stir in human values with the Black Lives Matter protests in the Western world. Black Lives Matter, an international movement signifying condemnation of the unjust killings of Black people by police and their demand that society value the lives and humanity of Black people as much as it values the lives and humanity of white people. In 2020, the movement again came to the limelight, when George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was pronounced dead after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for several minutes. Another facet of human values was put to test in the Baba Ka Dhaba scandal in the National Capital. Surprisingly this gained much attention from the meme-makers.
National education policy has come a long way and will bring a formidable change to existing policy in schools and higher education. The new NEP pitches for “5+3+3+4” format of education and coding will be made compulsory right from standard 6. The new NEP focuses on a practical based approach and provides a broad direction to make it easier for people to make flexible choices for their careers.
Amid the pandemic, BIT Sindri witnessed the inauguration of the Software Technology Parks of India(Sindri) whose construction started in 2016 with a budget of Rs 18 crore on 3 acres of land. This park will be beneficial for all the researchers and give opportunities to all the students of ISM and BIT Sindri to work on live projects and also help them seek internships.
The Twitter account of PM Narendra Modi which has 2.5 million followers was hacked where tweets asked for donations to National Relief Fund for COVID 19 via cryptocurrency. The incident comes after several Twitter accounts of prominent personalities were hacked in July.
Despite all the obstacles, it failed to restrain ISRO Scientists to do their duty and take the nation to successful heights. ISRO launched a total of 3 spacecraft in the year 2020.
In 2020 we also witnessed Digital Strike as the government banned 59 Chinese apps such as TikTok, CamScanner, etc, and later 43 more apps including PUBG as there were many complaints from various sources about apps that were “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users data in an authorized manner”.
That was a quick recollection of the events that occurred in a rather uneventful(or maybe very eventful) year. But let not the gloom of 2020 overshadow the promises that 2021 has in store for us. Let us extend a warm welcome to this new year and pray that it brings with itself peace, security and relief.
For last year’s words belong to last year’s language.
And next year’s words await another voice.
– T.S Eliot
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2021!!