As the curtains for the year 2008 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect at the events and happenings that has shaped India and the rest of the world. The mental baggage that one carries in the year 2008 is certainly a forgettable one. The problem with the forgettable ones is you just can't do that - forget, that is :-). Just try and see whether you can forget the terrorist attacks of WTC, London bombings, Mumbai train blasts, Taj Mahal hotel up in flames, Tsunami or for that matter the film Azhagiya Tamil Magan (No pun intended). There have been a few positives in the year 2008 but a lot of other events have over shadowed the positives and have cast a gloomy shadow and threatening to grow at fiendish levels. No prizes for guessing the negatives. It’s the financial crisis and terrorism.
The problem is that these negatives have left a deep scar in our face and we need to probably nurse these wounds for years to come. And mind you the year is not over yet. There are few hours left :-)
Certainly, the year 2008 was a watershed (for wrong reasons ofcourse) in the history of World financial markets in general and Indian markets in particular.
A crisis much talked about after the Great Depression. The old saying that "It’s difficult to go up the ladder but it’s easy to fall down." seems to be applicable to stock market as well. At the end of the year 2007, markets were at their phenomenal best and sensex was giving nearly 40% returns in a no time. Come year 2008, we started hearing a few words repeatedly - Words like slump, recession, slowdown, bubble. It was a Boom to Gloom story. And still we have not recovered from it yet. The fundamental reason- Greed. Greed has over powered everything. Robbed us of our sanity to think. Clouded our judgment. The greed of a few people has resulted in the entire financial fiasco the entire world is reeling over. India has not been spared either. Despite all the talk of India decoupling from the American Economy, the fact remains that India, like the rest of European and Asian countries is linked to the American Economy. And bore the brunt of the financial onslaught as well. FII withdrew most of the money which they had invested. (Close to $12billion)
However closer to home, our banks did not face a big impact thanks to the strict banking regulations and lesser exposure to American & European Markets. A big thank you must be said to Mr. Y.V.Reddy for saving us from otherwise what would have been a fall into a deep abyss. (Click Here) When the whole world was made accessible to easy money, Mr. Reddy took care to check on the unregulated money with his stringent regulations. Private sector banks which were criticizing the actions later had to agree with these decisions. Hats off to you sir.
Pink slips, something unheard of in our country became a reality. Consolidation started taking place in various sectors on the face of slowdown in the economy. Adding to all these woes were oil price and inflation although both of them have cooled down a bit now. Overall this was a forgettable for the financial markets.
Even though Financial crisis continued to take the limelight, towards the end of the year Terrorism took center-stage thanks to the attacks in Mumbai (India's 9/11). This year has been one of the bloodiest years in the Indian History. Unprecedented levels of terrorist attacks have taken place in a single year. With an inept people at the helm handling the affairs, things like security for common men was too much in the asking. America and Britain needed only one instance to introduce draconian laws and intense surveillance systems. India had done away with the POTA but did not consider having an adequate substitute in place of that. Much has been said about the terrorist attacks and what is now needed is only action in the form of stringent laws and more sustained and organized effort to tackle terrorism.
Even though India remains a secular democracy, our secularism has come under some strain. These have been indicated by the violence in Orissa and the emergence of so called “Hindu Terrorism”. These people are trying to divide the nation on communal lines. India needs to overcome the ramifications to focus on development on the social as well as economic front.
On the Sporting Front:
It was a good year for the Sports. Starting from Euro 2008 till the SA-AUSTRALIA Test series, it was thoroughly enjoyable. Spain the perennial under achievers finally achieved something. Not to mention the Epic Wimbledon final between Nadal and Federer was a treat to watch. But the biggest sporting extravaganza on earth happened this year. The Olympics And China showed the world how grand and extravagant an Olympics can be conducted (With all the Human Rights Violation). After a long time India got a gold medal in Olympics and we have waited 108 years to achieve an individual medal. Kudos to Abhinav Bindra. Phelps achieved something unimaginable. One can only look in awe at the swimming genius. India is at their arguably best peak in cricket under the thoughtful and aggressive leadership of M S Dhoni. Elsewhere Australia is losing their grip on the world cricket.
As the year is drawing to a close, One hopes that this New Year brings cheers to everyone and hope. Wish every one a Very Happy New Year.