Sunday, January 4, 2009

Top 10 - Historical Events in 2008 (India)

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1. Mumbai Terror Attacks - 26/11
Although the year 2008 witnessed many terror attacks in the country, the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks shook the nation and led to a massive outrage. 10 terrorists backed by Pakistan's Lashkar-e-Toiba, attacked CST, Nariman House, Hotel Trident Oberoi and Hotel Taj in Mumbai. They held the city to ransom for 60 hours. The ATS, NSG, Marine Commandos and other policemen fought hard to flush out the terrorists and save Mumbai. It took longer, as the terrorists had kept over 300 people as hostages. In total, 183 people were killed and over 300 were injured. At least 18 brave policmen and NSG commandso became martyr in the attack. They included former ATS chief Hemant Karkare and NSG Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan. The security personnel killed 9 terrorists, while one terrorist, Ajmal Amir Kasab, a resident of Faridkot, Pakistan, was caught alive. India stepped up diplmatic pressure on Pakistan and gained support from the globa community aftermath Mumbai terror attacks. At least 23 foreigners were killed in the terror attacks in Mumbai.The 26/11 (November 26) terror attacks in Mumbai, witnessed an unprecedented public outrage. The public anger was at its peak and the politicians had to bear the brunt. Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Maharashtra CM Vilasrao Deshmukh and Dy. CM RR Patil had to resign. P Chidambaram became the new Home Minister of the counrty, while Ashok Chavan took over as the Maharashtra CM. Jayant Patil became the Dy. CM of Maharashtra.War-of words continue unabated between Indian and Pakistani officials and leaders, while the world community has thrown its weight behind India. The US is vociferously putting pressure on Pakistan to act or perish. The UNSC also acted on India's request by banning LeT's political wing, Jamaat-ud-Dawa and four LeT operatives.

2. Stock Market Crash in India
The year 2008 brought bad luck for the investors, as the global meltdown took its toll on Indian stock market. The BSE Sensex, which had touched 22k mark, fell down over the past few months to trade below 9k and then recovered in December to touch 10k mark again. The government and RBI had a tough time in dealing with the situation. Thousands of crores of money were pumped in to boost the market. The RBI took several measures like cutting the repo rate, reverse repo rate and CRR. Investors lost crores of rupees and went bankrupt. There were reports of many suicide cases, where people could not take the pain and ended their lives.

3. Rs. 1 lakh Tata Nano - People's Car launched
One of the India's largest car makers, Tata Motors had brought revolution in the car industry, by launching the Tata Nano - People's Car. The Rs. 1 lakh Tata Nano is all set to fulfill the dreams of millions who could not afford to buy a car because of high prices. The Tata Nano was scheduled to hit the market in October 2008. However, it could not because of constant opposition from Trinamool Chief Mamata Banerjee in Singur.The Tatas later moved the Nano project out of Singur, West Bengal and embraced Narendra Modi's Gujarat. The Tata Nano may be available in the market in early 2009.

4. The Great IPL Auction in India
India, where cricket is worshipped as a religion and cricketers as gods, witnessed the biggest IPL extravaganza this year. The Indian Premier League (IPL) was at its best and provided the real entertainment of T20 cricket to the viewers. Cricketers were sold to the teams like commodities, but nobody had any complaint or regret. It was fun, money and excitement.
The tournament was a big hit in the country also brought more
money and exposure to both Indian and foreign cricketers. Rajasthan Royals, led by Shane Warne beat Chennai Super Kings, led by Ms Dhoni in the final to win the crown. There were 8 teams in the fray.

5. Indian Hockey Team fails to qualify for Olympics
In the wee hours of March 10, 2008, Indian hockey that had a glorious past to cherish, failed to survive the doomsday and died an unnatural death. For the first time since 1928, India failed to secure an Olympic berth, when they went down tamely to Great Britain in the Olympic Hockey qualifier final.

6. UPA's Trust Vote and Cash-for-Vote Scam
After the Left Front withdrew support to the UPA government over the Indo-US Nuclear deal, the UPA sought trust vote on the floor of Lok Sabha. Amid high drama, new alignments of political forces and cash-for-votes scandal, the UPA managed to score a point over the opposition and won the trust vote by an unexpected margin. The country did not want another mid-term elections and the industry hailed Dr. Manmohan Singh government's victory.

7. Raj Thackery and MNS hold Maharashtra to ransom
Raj Thackery and his Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) drew flak for their divisive politics and tirade against North Indians including superstar Amitabh Bachchan. Raj Thackeray and his party turned against the Biharis and UP residents. Raj's call of "Marathi Manoos" polarized a sizeable number of Marathi people, who came out in his support.
Be it killing of Rahul Raj in a BEST bus or beating of North Indian railway aspirants or attack on taxi drivers,
Raj Thackeray remained in news throughout the year and held Mumbai to ransom. He was arrested twice, spent days in jail and then got bail. There was a heavy backlash in Bihar and UP against Raj Thackeray. Raj fell silent only after the Mumbai terror attacks. The 26/11 shifted the focus from Raj Thackeray to Pakistan.

8. Abhinav Bindra, Sushil Kumar and Vijender win Olympic Medals
Abhinav Bindra won the first-ever individual gold medal for the country in Olympic Games. He won the gold medal at Beijing Olympics in the 10m Air Rifle event. Sushil Kumar won a bronze medal in 66kg Freestyle Wrestling, while Vijender Kumar won a bronze medal in the 75kg Middleweight category boxing. For the first time in Olympic history, India returned with three individual medals.

9. Chandrayaan I - India's first-ever Lunar Mission
On October 22, 2008, India made history by sending its first-ever lunar mission to moon. As the Chandrayaan I took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, India became the sixth country in the world to send a space mission to moon. Later, the Chandrayaan MIP landed on the surface of the moon with Indian tri-colour painted on its four sides. The Chandrayaan MIP also sent pictures of the moon's surface.

10. India, US sign Nuclear Deal
India and the USA signed the historic 123 Agreement in Washington. The US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and India's External Affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee signed the agreement. With this the operationalisation of the Indo-US nuclear deal formally began.
The Indo-US nuclear deal ended India's nuclear isolation. The main goal of the Indo-US nuclear deal is to enhance civil nuclear cooperation and trade between India and the US.

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