We know what you read last year. In fact, we know what a billion readers (yes, with some overlap of return visitors) read last year. But does what people read on one of India’s largest websites give a good indicator of the mood of the nation? Well, that is for you to decide.
There are no prizes for guessing what our top political story was. That was indeed the live blog on the general election results that brought Prime Minister Narendra Modi back with a thumping majority in Parliament. Just months after, the BJP government announced its plans to revoke Article 370 and bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The live blog on this surprise announcement was the second most popular story.
There were other news events that created a lot of buzz, especially a full solar eclipse in July. The final NRC list in Assam too had people across the state figuring out how to check their names. For a pure news story, the murder of a government employee in Ludhiana found an unusually high number of readers, reaffirming that crime still sells. The video of a woman toll collector giving it back to a man who slapped her in Gurgaon also went viral. Our readers in Maximum City literally flooded the site as we gave real-time info on the rains in Mumbai.
The Indian Express has always been a destination for the most informed opinions, and that too from the voices that matter. This year, Tavleen Singh’s column on why it was wrong for the opposition parties to cast doubts on the about the nature of the Indian State was the most popular. Another piece by her soon after the election results, on how the idea of an India in which there are privileges and not rights is dead, was the second most-read. Our Srinagar reporter Adil Akhzer’s painful acount of how he got to know of his sister’s miscarriage during the Kashmir lockdown was widely read and shared.
War, starring Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff, was the movie that generated the most interest on the site. But the top-read entertainment story was the news of Navjot Sidhu being sacked from the Kapil Sharma show.
The India vs New Zealand ODI in January was the most popular match of the year, while the alleged controversy over the M S Dhoni runout in the World Cup semi-finals was the most read story. Nothing beats a mix of politics, showbiz and comedy.
Our Explained section has become a destination for readers across the world. A recall story on how the capture of Wing Commander Abhinandan brought back memories of what happened to Kambampati Nachiketa during the Kargil war went viral in every sense. Also, an explained on what the killing of militant Zakir Musa means for militancy in the Valley was an eye-opener for many.
On the softer side, people loved the story of the boy in Mizoram who tried to save his neighbour’s chick after he accidentally ran over it with his bicycle. People also seemed to be getting more conscious about their health, and our lifestyle section’s stories on managing diabetes and blood pressure were widely read.
It was a completely different story on Facebook, where generally non-controversial stuff seems to go viral. Our most popular post of the year was as recent on Bollywood star joining the anti-CAA protests in Mumbai.
The top video was one in which Indian cricket fans were seen trolling businessman Vijay Mallya outside the Oval in London.
The most popular photo was of Prime Minister Narendra Modi meditating in a cave in Kedarnath.
Our top tweets were a mix.
An elderly couple in Tamil Nadu fought off two armed robbers by hurling slippers, chairs, buckets at the duo even though the men were wielding machetes. The robbers had no other option but to run away. pic.twitter.com/w1YxcGUepc
TRS MLA Koneru Konappa’s brother assaults woman forest officer at a village in Telangana. Forest Range Officer C Anita went to Sarasala village in Sirpur Mandal to take part in a plantation drive. pic.twitter.com/jE5GitgZRj
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) June 30, 2019
“A few policemen surrounded us outside and asked us to come out. They said they wouldn’t hit us…”
Caught on video: Cops assaulting women at #CAA protests.
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) December 16, 2019
The garbage, along with the bodies of some of the 300 people who have died over the years on Everest’s slopes, are buried under the snow during winter, but become visible when the snow melts in summer.https://t.co/bMO26MA8MI
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) June 5, 2019
The top-read stories are not always the best of what indianexpress.com has to offer. But in 2019, we finally saw how the best stories were getting read more than the years before. Yes, trending topics and info stories do work like before, but somewhere the readers have started separating the grain from the chaff — and there is a lot of chaff on the Internet.
In 2020, we will offer more of our best journalism packaged for you to read wherever you are. Here’s to a great new year and a billion more new stories.
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