From proud moments to dramatic protests and from horrific mishaps to empowerment, 2018 was pretty eventful. We compile a list of the most important incidents which rocked our country, for good and bad!
Sure, 2018 was a year for landmark verdicts.
The derogatory Muslim practice of Triple Talaq was banned. In August 2018, a 5 judge bench of Supreme Court declared Triple Talaq as ‘illegal’ and ‘unconstitutional’. A practice which allowed Muslim men to divorce their wives by simply uttering the words ‘Talaq’ thrice. So, sure this was a major win for millions of Muslim women who faced the threat of being divorced.
Section 377 which criminalised homosexuality and gay sex was scrapped off and declared unconstitutional. The then Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra who delivered the verdict on September was hailed as a hero. “I am who I am. So take me as I am. No one can escape from their individuality,” said Misra.
Just a few days later came another historic verdict. Sabarimala Temple in Kerala opened gates for the first time for women of all age. Considering equality and gender bias as a priority, the SC in September favoured entry of women in the temple irrespective of the age. The temple initially banned the entry of women in the menstrual age group of 10-50 years. The court also stated that banning entry of women based on the irrational notion of polluting the shrine is ‘unacceptable’.
Talking about gender equality, India’s #MeToo movement bought that too the spotlight. Exactly after a year after this wave had hit the US (October 2017), it movement was well and truly here. Not only scores of women openly admitting being sexually assaulted, for the first time they were publically naming the assaulters, bringing them to shame. Actor Nana Patekar, comedian Utsav Chakraborty, author Chetan Bhagat, politician MJ Akbar, film director Vikas Bahl, singer Kailash Kher…. and the list goes on and on. This much-needed resolution brought with itself a great impact. Men from top most positions were resigning, companies were shutting down, videos featuring them were being taken down and most importantly it’s reshaping the societal attitudes towards women.
The very first day and month of the year were marked by violent protests, heated arguments, and civil unrest. The first day of 2018 saw clashes between the 2 rival communities – Dalits and Marathas – in Bhima Koregaon near Pune. As 10 lakhs of Dalits gathered to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Koregaon (1818) in which Mahars (a Dalit community) defeated Peshwas, the upper castes. This event was opposed by the right-wing outfits including Akhil Bhartiya Brahman Mahasabha, who termed it as anti-national and casteist. A tensed situation unveiled when the right wing groups interrupted the event by throwing rocks at the gathering and even indulged in stone pelting. And soon riots broke out between the duos. These violent crashes snowballed to the other parts of the state including Mumbai, Ahmednagar, and Pune with the Dalits rights groups calling for ‘bandh’, damaging public property and blocking roads. During the probe by the Pune police, a number of activists with alleged involvement were arrested.
While the Dalits were angry in Maharashtra, the Rajput community (Karni Sena) too were fuming over the release of the Bollywood movie, Padmavati. Without really watching the whole film, the Sena was of the opinion that the movie distorted historical facts about Queen Padmavati and portrayed her in a bad light. The film sets were vandalised, the movie director Sanjay Leela Bhansali was assaulted and Deepika Padukone (playing Queen Padmavati in the film) received threats from the agitators that they’ll chop her nose off. What was even worse is when a BJP leader from Haryana offered Rs. 10 crore for beheading Padukone. Amidst all the controversy, the film was released after a month’s delay with a set of changes from the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification).
The incident that shook the entire nation in 2018 was the gruesome Kathua rape case. An 8-year-old was brutally and repeatedly raped and drugged, before being strangled to death in Kathua district of J&K. Of the 8 individuals who have been arrested, 4 were policemen. The 60-year-old Sanji Ram, who is said to be the mastermind of this horrific act, involved his son and nephew too, who were juvenile. As per reports, she was forced to live longer, so that one of the accused could rape for the last time. After which, the accused hit her twice with a stone ‘in order make sure’ she is dead. All of this was done to dislodge and scare off a group of Bakherwal Muslim nomad, a Sunni-Muslim from Jammu. This incident sparked nation-wide outrage and attracted global attention.
All in all, 2018 like most of the years was a bittersweet one. Well, as 2019 sets in, we have a big decision to make – Who will be the new Prime Minister? #2019LoksabhaElections. Stay tuned with us as we break down the alliances, candidates, and breakups leading to the elections.