It is just a few more hours before we wrap up 2017. As we bid goodbye to the moments of 2017 that meant most to us, here is a look at the biggest headlines of the year. Some of them made us smile, some kindled fear, while others made us beam with pride. Then there were also those administrative reforms that made us flip through the morning newspaper in curiosity to gauge how the government affects our lives.
There were also the headlines of political victories and failures that tested our ideological biases, and of course there was always news from entertainment, sports and technology front that got a bit more hype than required.
Om Puri dead: Veteran actor Om Puri passed away on January 6 after a massive heart attack at the age of 66. His death was mourned by his fans and colleagues alike.
Merger of Railway Budget with Union Budget: In a historic reform, the Railway Budget was merged with the Union Budget. The government insisted that a merger will bring focus on a multi-modal approach for development. While it was decided that the the railway minister will no longer present the budget, the process for preparing the budget will remain the same.
ISRO launches 104 satellites: On February 15, ISRO’s PSLV-C37 injected 104 satellites from seven different countries into the orbit. The rocket was carrying almost three times the record number of satellites launched in a single mission.
Kangana Ranaut and nepotism: In an act that was widely appreciated and criticised for its bluntness, actress Kangana Ranaut accused director Karan Johar of nepotism in his show, Koffee with Karan. Ranaut’s feisty, unapologetic attitude had created ripples in the industry. Johar had come out strongly against her later stating that he was “done with Kangana playing the victim card.”
Elections in UP and four other states: Elections in Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Punjab, Manipur and Uttarakhand was followed with much gusto by every politics lover in the country. BJP’s victory in UP was considered its biggest win in any state, while Congress winning an absolute majority in Punjab was also celebrated. Yogi Adityanath of the BJP being declared Chief Minister of UP went on to make some of the biggest headlines of 2017
Vinod Khanna dead: On April 27, veteran actor and producer Vinod Khanna passed away after battling bladder cancer. His death evoked strong emotional response from the film and political fraternity where too he had made some mark.
Bahubali makes a grand release: The release of Bahubali 2 in April 2017 had seen one of the largest film openings in India in the year. The film made huge profits both in India and abroad. It was the first Indian film of the year to cross Rs 1500 crore in profit and it was listed as the second highest earning film of the year after Dangal. However, Bahubali’s popularity lay in the kind of passionate support it received from audience all over the world.
GST launched: In yet another historic move by the government of India, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was launched on July 1. The GST had been on the shelf for over 20 years and its launch has been referred to by many as the most complex and ambitions tax reform attempted by any government. Charting out a single tax regime for the country, the GST had grabbed eyeballs from almost everyone to make sense of how the reform would affect their lives directly.
Ram Nath Kovind becomes president: Former Bihar governor, Ram Nath Kovind was elected the 14th president of the country on July 20. His election was noted as a significant move in Dalit empowerment. Kovind is the second Dalit president of the country, and his work for the upliftment of SCs and STs had been much lauded.
Nitish Kumar quits and becomes CM again: Grabbing attention of every politics lover in the country, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had resigned from his post on July 26. His resignation had followed a CBI FIR against RJD leader and Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav on corruption charges. ““When I felt that I cannot work with my principles in this government, I separated myself,” he said. A day later though, Kumar took oath as Chief Minister yet again after he garnered support from the BJP.
Gujarat flood: Between July 1 and July 31, about 213 people lost their lives as a consequence of severe flooding that followed heavy rains. The government had responded to the floods with large scale relief operations. The Navy, Air Force, Army, beside teams of National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and state police had to be roped in to carry out the relief operations.
Doklam standoff: In what was perhaps the biggest international dispute involving India in 2017, the country was locked in a military standoff with China in an Doklam, which is an area situated between Tibet, Bhutan and Sikkim. The confrontation between forces of the two countries took place after China attempted to extend a road from Yadong further southward on the Doklam plateau. While India does not claim ownership over the Doklam plateau, it supports Bhutan’s claim over the territory, which led to the conflict. The stand-off which lasted for about three months, finally came to an end on August 28 when both the countries mutually agreed to disengage.
Triple talaq verdict: Considered to be one of the biggest victories of Muslim women in independent India, the Supreme Court in August declared the Islamic practice of instant triple talaq to be invalid. It was further criminalised in December. The fight against instant triple talaq had been on for decades, but gained public prominence when Shayara Bano approached the court in 2016 to declare void the talaq-i-biddat pronounced by her husband.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim conviction: On August 25, widespread riots erupted in several parts of north India in the aftermath of the conviction of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the religious leader of Dera Sacha Sauda. He had been convicted of rape, following which riots first erupted in Panchkula and soon spread to parts of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi. As many as 36 were killed in the clashes and several others were injured.
Privacy verdict: In another landmark verdict passed by the Supreme Court, it held right to privacy to be an “intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution.” The verdict overruled the apex court’s previous judgments in two cases where it had held that right to privacy was not protected by Constitution.
Gorakhpur hospital tragedy: At least 60 children died in the Baba Raghav Das Medical College due to shortage of oxygen supply. Allegedly the incident was caused due to gross negligence on the part of the hospital authorities who had not paid off pending bills to the oxygen supplier company.
Ryan school murder: A class two student, Pradhyuman Thakur was found murdered with his throat slit inside one of the washrooms of Ryan International School in Gurugram, Haryana. The incident had been received by massive outrage among all and had triggered protests by parents outside the school campus. Investigation into the murder had first found school bus conductor, Ashok Kumar guilty. However, the story was complicated further with the alleged involvement of a class eleven student in the incident. Meanwhile, negligence of the school authorities was called out at every stage of the investigation.
BHU protests: End of September, the campus of Benaras Hindu University had flared up in protest against the victim shaming of a student who was allegedly harassed by three men inside the campus. The outrage exhibited by the students against the authorities was soon followed by police-student clashes. The incident once again raised questions regarding moral policing within Indian campuses and the right for students to protests against injustices on the part of authorities.
Gauri Lankesh murder: The murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh on September 5 was a chilling reminder to the country on the limits to freedom of speech here. She was killed by three men who fired bullets at her in her home in Bengaluru. She was given a state funeral with a gun salute. Investigation of the murder is still in process.
Elphinstone station stampede: A stampede broke out at the Prabhadevi railway station (formerly known as Elphinstone station) in Mumbai. At least 22 died and over 39 were injured in the incident.
Rohingya crisis: The influx of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar reached crisis situation with the government refusing to house more incomers, pointing to their alleged terrorist links. The clamp down upon Rohingyas in Myanmar came garnered international attention, with the Burmese government being questioned incessantly.
Ashish Nehra retires: On October 21, cricketer Ashish Nehra retired from the game. “It’s always good to retire when people are asking ‘Why’ rather than ‘Why Not?’ I always wanted to retire on a high. Can’t get bigger than playing in Delhi and retiring there. It is a way forward and there is no bigger tournament coming,” he had said a little over a fortnight ago. Nehra decided to retire in entirety, not even sticking around for the IPLs as many players do.
iPhone X launched: The launch of iPhone X on November 3, was perhaps the biggest piece of technology related news of the year. The device marked iPhone’s tenth anniversary.
Paradise papers: Two days before the first anniversary of demonetisation and around 18 months after Pananama papers were released, the largest ever leak of financial data was announced. The cache of 13.4 million documents called ‘Paradise Papers’ were investigated by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) working in partnership with 96 news organisations.In India, these papers were investigated by the Indian Express, who came out with their findings with a series that was published the next forty days.
Manushi chillar wins Miss World: Bringing back the Miss World crown to India, 17 years after Priyanka Chopra won it, Manushi Chillar made headlines for being pride of Haryana.
Shashi Kapoor dead: The death of actor Shashi Kapoor on December 4 was yet another major loss to the film industry this year.
Rohit Sharma’s third double century: On December 14, Rohit Sharma became the first cricketer to have scored three double centuries in ODIs. It was also the 100th time India went past the 300-run mark in ODI history, the first team to achieve the feat.
Virushka: The wedding of cricketer Virat Kohli and actress Anushka Sharma on December 11 was a much awaited piece of news for netizens particularly. News of their wedding, honeymoon and reception amassed public excitement of a whole new level.
Rahul Gandhi becomes Congress president: The face of Congress party for the past several years, Rahul Gandhi assumed the office of party president of December 16. News of his elevation to the role came soon after his reformed public image had been making the rounds. Gandhi’s election to the office of president was also right before the crucial Gujarat elections.
Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections: The year was wrapped up by the election results in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, both ot the states going to the BJP. The elections in Gujarat were particularly crucial for the ruling party and they also came as a surprise for everyone when Congress showed a significant improvement in the the votes they managed to acquire in the state.