Mumbai attacks: India on edge
2008 witnessed a series of coordinated terrorist attacks across India. On November 26, 10 terrorist strikes in Mumbai left over 180 people dead and over 300 injured. Some of the city's most prominent landmarks, the Taj hotel, the Trident-Oberoi hotel, and the CST station were targeted by terrorists. Only some months earlier, Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Guwahati were left reeling after serial blasts hit the cities leaving scores dead and several injured.
Obama scripts history
Barack Obama won, but the real victor was America. The planet's best-loved and often-reviled nation upheld the noble ideals of its founding by electing a mixed-race African-American as its 44th president, redeeming itself in the eyes of the world and its own people. On November 4, 2008, Obama, son of a Kenyan, rode on the American hunger for change and an ongoing demographic makeover to win a stirring election against the all-American war hero John McCain.
Global financial crisis
The financial crisis of 2008 was uncompromising in its destruction of reputations and unsparing in its treatment of investors, many of whom were blown on the rocks by the forces that ripped through markets. The meltdown sent shock waves across the world, with economy after economy gasping for breath. India too felt the impact; people here felt the pain of plunging stock markets. Rise in the number of job cuts will also continue to haunt people in 2009.
Indo-US nuke deal
It was a deal that almost brought about the collapse of Manmohan Singh and the UPA government after the Left decided to withdraw support. A bilateral agreement on nuclear cooperation between the US and India was signed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President George W. Bush in 2008. The Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement will address the country's energy needs by enabling it to access civil nuclear cooperation from the US and other countries.
Assembly elections 2008
Considered the semi-final to the 2009 General Elections, results in recent Assembly polls show Congress has an edge. The party can heave a sigh of relief that it has rediscovered its winning touch just ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. The party won Rajasthan from the BJP, survived Delhi to fetch a third consecutive term in office and also emerged victorious in Mizoram. The BJP, however, managed to retain Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Gold for a billion: Abhinav Bindra
2008 was truly a memorable year for Indian sport. Shooter Abhinav Bindra scripted history by winning India its first individual Olympic gold medal. Bindra totalled 700.5 points to win the men's 10m air rifle title on August 11. The gold wasn't, however, Abhinav's only achievement in Beijing. The Indian, who was out of action with a career-threatening spinal injury since 2006, actually proved that the country had the capability to produce champions in Olympic sports other than hockey.
Floods wreak havoc
Every once in a while, nature reminds humans that it is the boss. The Kosi river, which gathers water from some of the world's highest mountains, changed its course in 2008, going back to a course it had abandoned more than 300 years ago. Its fury struck Bihar with a vengeance leading to one of the worst floods in Indian history after a breach in its embankment in Nepal. Many lives were lost and the state witnessed one of the largest human evacuations in the world.
Chandrayaan: Mission Moon
India on Oct 22, 2008 rocketed into the big league of an exclusive lunar club with a precision launch of its moon mission, Chandrayaan-1. The majestic take-off and flight of the moon rocket was a magical moment that Indians, and in particular our space scientists, had been eagerly and anxiously waiting for. The moon mission marks a new chapter in the history of Indian space programme that takes a giant leap from 36,000 km of orbit around earth to 3,84,000 km away to orbit the moon.
Raj Thackeray vs North India
Raj Thackeray's rhetoric against people from North India started early 2008 and resulted in violence in different parts of Maharashtra through the year, even spreading to states like Bihar. Raj blamed north Indians in Maharashtra as the reason for a shortage of jobs for Maharashtrians. The MNS chief also attacked Amitabh Bachchan questioning his loyalty to Mumbai. The people of India must send a message to all politicians- Rise against regionalism and treat all as Indians.