An Aam Aadmi government in Delhi, fall from the grace of several high and mighty, the passing away of Nelson Mandela, big losses in the world of culture and showbiz and the glorious farewell to Sachin Tendulkarby cricket aficionados, 2013 was a year to remember. TWF correspondent Supriyo Hazra looks back at the major events . IBNS | 2 years ago

India and Neighbours

Tremors across borders:

The relationship between India and Pakistan once again touched its low point this year in the very first month of 2013 as an Indian soldier was beheaded by the Pakistani army. Pakistan has, however, denied its soldiers killed or beheaded any Indian soldiers. The relation between the two countries soured after the killing of five Indian soldiers in an ambush by Pakistani troopers along the LoC in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Aug 6. Moreover, the ceasefire violations by the troopers from Pakistan had increased in 2013, throwing the peace process between the two nations out of gear. Amid the cloud of tensions, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif met in New York.

Battle over Sarabjit:

After languishing several years in a Pakistan jail and repeated requests by his family in India to return him to his homeland, Sarabjit Singh was attacked by two other inmates Rizwan and Amir- both death row prisoners- at the Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore on April 26. He received serious head injuries and was on ventilator, till he succumbed in a Lahore's Jinnah Hospital. Pakistan said Sarabjit had died of a cardiac arrest at around 1-30 am Pakistan time. Sarabjit has been languishing in Pakistani jail for over 20 years after a Pakistani anti-terrorist court awarded him the death sentence in 1991.He had been convicted of involvement in a string of bombings in Punjab in 1990. Days after an attack on Sarabjit a similar incident occurred in India, when Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah Ranjay succumbed to injuries from an attack in a Jammu jail.

Indo-China equation:

Asian giants and suspecting neighbours India and China in October signed agreement on border defence along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Beijing. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang on Wednesday morning and inked the agreement.
Singh was in China on a three-day visit. Ahead of the visit, the relationship between the two countries got a jolt as Chinese troops entered the Indian territory in the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector in eastern Ladakh. Media reports said the Chinese troops (PLA or People's Liberation Army) also pitched tent inside Indian territory more than a week ago.

India-Sri Lanka row:

A war of words both within and outside the territory began with southern parties urging the Prime Minister to skip the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka in November over the human rights violations of ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka. After debates, counter arguments and series of letters by leaders from the southern parties, Manmohan Singh skipped the meeting and it was attended by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid. Amid protests over India's decision to participate in the CHOGM, the Tamil Nadu Assembly had passed a resolution demanding India to completely boycott the summit. Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa moved a resolution during the special session of the assembly. DMK upremo M Karunanidhi had asked Singh to boycott the CHOGM to register protest over the alleged war crimes against Tamils in Sri Lanka.

India-USA spar over diplomat

The year ended on a bitter note for good friends India and the US as they engaged in a war of words over the ill-treatment meted to Indian diplomat in New York, Devyani Khobragade.

Devyani Khobragade, who was arrested for alleged visa fraud in USA over her domestic help, was handcuffed in public view and was strip-searched at a police station in New York. She was also allegedly kept in a lockup with common criminals and drug addicts. The U.S. Department of State has said Devyani Khobragade does not enjoy any diplomatic immunity from the US laws. India on Dec 17 started hitting back at the United States over the maltreatment of its diplomat Devyani Khobragade by taking a clutch of measures against the US diplomats and their families in India with some moves as symbolic as removing barricades outside US embassy in New Delhi.US diplomats and their families were asked to surrender their identity cards and their airport passes were being withdrawn. India has asked the US officials here to submit salary details of their staffers and domestic helps they employed here besides seeking tax details of teachers from USA working in India. India is stopping all import clearances for the American embassy. Barricades outside the US embassy in Delhi were removed.


Stringent anti-rape law:

2012-2013 witnessed massive protests over the fatal Delhi bus gang-rape which shocked and shook the nation and forced the government to set up a special committee to constitute stricter laws against sexual violence. Flaying the law enforcers and calling for police reforms, the Justice Verma Committee tasked by the government to suggest stringent laws against sexual violence submitted its "path-breaking" recommendations on Jan 23 to the Home Ministry, calling for enhancement of punishment to life sentence for the crime while stopping short of awarding death penalty.The three-member committee headed by the eminent former Chief Justice of India J S Verma, who tragically died after his seminal work on framing the anti-sexual assault charter, submitted its report to the government a month after it was formed following a national outrage over the brutal gang-rape of a 23-year-old medical student on a Delhi bus on December 16, 2012 and her subsequent death from the grievous injuries. Former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court Justice Leila Seth, and former Solicitor General of India Gopal Subramanian, were the other two members of the committee. The government early this year introduced the anti-rape law ordinance based on some of the recommendations of Justice Verma panel.


A journalist's free fall from fame:

Not even a year has passed since the country singed over the Delhi gangrape incident and continuing incidents of sexual violence that two incidents against women shocked everyone owing the statures of the men allegedly involved. Former Tehelka Editor-in-Chief Tarun Tejpal was arrested this year in a sexual assault case. Tejpal allegedly sexually assaulted a woman journalist of his organisation in an elevator of Grand Hyatt Goa during the Think festival of Tehelka where ironically the participants were debating on issues like rape. The action of Tejpal is considered as rape under the new definition of the anti-rape law in India.

In another incident, a Law intern had alleged that she was sexually harassed by retired Supreme Court judge Justice AK Ganguly. In a statement posted on Journal of Indian Law and Society, the girl narrated how she was harassed by the former SC judge, a charge denied by Justice Ganguly so far though a Supreme Court appointed panel prima facie found him guilty of sexual misconduct. Justice Ganguly has written to Chief Justice of India (CJI) P Sathasivam on the issue. According to reports, Justice Ganguly has complained that his side of the story is not being heard. He also protested against Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Indira Jaising making public the statement of the law intern.

Judicial Activism

Supreme Court the supremo:

India's apex court passed several crucial verdicts which kept it on headlines and triggered debates and discussions across the nation.

Caged parrot remark: The Supreme Court this year examined the CBI's nine-page affidavit that specifies the alterations made by former Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and others to the agency's report on the coal block allocations scam and observed that the probe agency has become a 'caged parrot' and it is speaking in its 'master's voice'.
The CBI admitted that the Supreme Court's observation while hearing the coal scam that the premier probe agency is a 'caged parrot' of the government is true. "Whatever the Supreme Court says is correct," CBI director Ranjit Sinha told media when questioned about the observation of the apex court.

Blow to LGBT community:

In a huge setback to the gay rights movement in India, the Supreme Court this year set aside a landmark pro-LGBT judgement of Delhi High Court in 2009, by ruling that homosexuality would continue to remain illegal in the country and would not be constitutionally invalid till a law was framed in Parliament. Four and half years after the landmark judgement by the Delhi High Court, the Supreme Court bench of Justices GS Singhvi and SJ Mukhopadhaya said it will remain a criminal offence and passed the ball to the legislature holding that it was up to them to make changes in the laws. Liberal Indians, rights groups, LGBT community and health workers fighting to reduce the scourge of HIV/AIDS called the verdict "regressive".

Limiting the lal battis:

In December this year, the Supreme Court ruled that only constitutional authorities can use lal battis or red beacons atop their cars as VIPs. The ruling means Constitutional authorities like the President, Prime Minister, cabinet ministers, governors, the Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court judges and the heads of both houses of Parliament would be allowed to use the red beacons only.

Political downturns, AAP rise and scams:

DMK pulls out

The already choked United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre received more blows in 2013 as Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) withdrew its support from it. The DMK, which was the third largest ally in the UPA after the Congress and Trinamool Congress, had six members in the Union Cabinet. UPA was propped up by outside support by the Samajwadi Party of Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP of Mayawati.

Pawan, Ashwini get booted:

Corruption charges continued to haunt the ruling UPA government with two ministers- former Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and ex-Law Minister Ashwani Kumar- facing the heat this year. Bansal's nephew has been arrested for accepting a 90 lakh bribe in exchange for a top job on the Railways Board while Ashwani Kumar was in the dock for allegedly interfering with a CBI report into the coal scam.

A chopper of corruption:

In another story of shame, the AgustaWestland chopper deal hit the government and its credibility once again. AgustaWestland had been accused of bribery charges in the Rs. 4000-crore VVIP chopper deal with Indian defence department. The company had denied all charges of paying kickbacks. AgustaWestland is the Anglo-Italian helicopter company owned by Italy's Finmeccanica. Besides bribing Indian officials for a 12-helicopter deal, Finmeccanica discussed kickbacks for a larger deal with a serving Brigadier in the Indian Army, an inquiry by Italian prosecutors had said. The report by the investigators had said that an alleged middleman for helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland was seen touching the feet of former Air Force chief SP Tyagi. The scandal involved kickbacks worth up to Rs 360 crores for the deal that was worth about Rs 4,000 crores and allegedly took place during the tenure of Tyagi who headed the air force from 2004 to 2007. Tyagi had denied the allegations and had said that he met one of the alleged AgustaWestland middlemen just once contrary to the charges of "six or seven" meetings. The middleman Ralph Haschke "confessed" that he met Tyagi six or seven times and once greeted him by touching his feet as a sign of respect, the Italian prosecutors had said. Tyagi's family members were also linked to the scam but his brother vehemently denied it. Italian police had arrested Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of state-controlled Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica Giuseppe Orsi in Rome for alleged bribes paid in order to secure the deal.

UPA touches 'high':

With the Lok Sabha elections 2014 knocking on the doors, the UPA government launched the $22 billion National Food Security scheme to give cheap food to hundreds of millions of people. The National Food Security Ordinance is an initiative for ensuring food and nutritional security to the people. It gives the right to the people to receive adequate quantity of foodgrains at affordable prices.

Tale of Telangana:

India's ruling Congress party in July this year approved a move to carve out the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh, giving in to a five-decade-long demand from supporters in a major decision ahead of 2014 elections.Officially urging the government to take constitutional steps that will see the state's formation, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) passed a resolution on the same.The Telangana region, which merged with Andhra Pradesh in 1956 against the wishes of many local residents, comprises 10 districts - Adilabad, Hyderabad, Khammam, Karimnagar, Mahbubnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Rangareddy, and Warangal.The GoM (Group of Ministers) earlier had submitted its draft on bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and creation of Telangana as the 29th state of India.The draft Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill-2013 was tabled in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Dec 16 amid clashes between Telangana and Seemandhara legislators.

AAP rise and battleground 2014:

The battle for winning the Parliament reached its final round in 2013 with both the BJP and the Congres fielding its best candidates to impress the 'Aam Aadmi' which was in a greater way influenced by the IIT man Arvind Kejriwal, the newly elected Delhi CM.

NaMo magic continues: Ending all speculations and signalling the end of Advani era, India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on expected lines named Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the party in September. Since then Modi had been addressing rally after rally across India with massive turnouts.

Rahul is the right candidate: The contest between Modi and Rahul Gandhi is fast catching up the Indian political sphere and it received another impetus when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in September this year said he would be happy to work under the leadership of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and finds him as an ideal choice as the Prime Minister. On the last day of the year the speculation mill was running hot with news that Singh might step down in favour of Rahul Gandhi. A press conference has been scheduled in early January where Rahul Gandhi might be named the PM candidate. But all this is speculation now.

Aam Aadmi's CM: The year ended with the emergence of another strong contender, who might emerge as a stronger force and perhaps a kingmaker in 2014. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) architect Arvind Kejriwal is shaping up a new political alternative for the country. Creating history and scripting a new political discourse for India mired by graft and show of pomp by leaders, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal took oath as the seventh and youngest chief minister of Delhi in the open Ramlila Maidan on Dec 28, promising a common people's government in true sense and pledging to root out corruption. The entire team of Kejriwal came to take oath by taking a metro train shunning all trappings of VIP culture in India. In his swearing-in speech, 45-year-old Arvind Kejriwal said it is the people of Delhi who will run the government in the national capital now on. Arvind Kejriwal himself retains Power, Home, Finance, Planning and Vigilance ministries. Fifteen days after the Delhi assembly election results were declared, the AAP on Dec 23 said it will form the government with the support of the Congress party in the national capital after they took the opinion of people by an SMS poll. The just-over-a-year-old party led by Kejriwal emerged as the second biggest outfit with 28 seats, falling only a few seats short of the right wing BJP and allies who managed 32 seats. The BJP is four short of a majority in the 70-member Delhi assembly. Congress managed only 8 seats and was left with no option but to support AAP.


Fire destroys INS Sindhurakshak

At least 18 crewmen on board INS Sindhurakshak died as the diesel-powered Indian Navy submarine sank after an explosion a day ahead of the country's 67th Independence Day on Aug 14.

In a major setback to the Navy's ambitious modernization drive, the fully armed INS Sindhurakshak, returned by Russia earlier this year after a major refit at an estimated cost of $80 million exploded in a Mumbai dock. India's defence minister A.K. Antony described the explosion as the "greatest tragedy in recent time", as media reports said the disaster was the worst one in over three decades. The submarine was fully loaded with missiles and torpedoes when the explosion led to a massive fire on board INS Sindhurakshak at the Naval dockyard in Mumbai.

Mid-day horror:

At least 25 children died in July and several others were hospitalized after consuming their mid-day meals at a school in Bihar, raising questions over the quality of food served to children in public schools as a part of a government scheme.

Nature's fury hits India:

In July this year, the hilly state of Uttarakhand was severely destroyed by massive floods as it washed away homes and ravaged the state this year, considered as one of the fearsome deluge to hit India in several year. Official figures said nearly 6000 were missing a month after flash floods ravaged large parts of Uttarakhand. It can be said they were presumed dead.

India saves itself from Phailin:

India averted a major calamity as Cyclone Phailin, said to be the biggest storm to hit the country in more than a decade, lashed Odisha and Andhra Pradesh in October. Around 8.73 lakh people were evacuated from 99 blocks spread over 12 districts in the two states.

Crime and Punishment

Afzal Guru hanged:

A year after 26/11 attack convict Ajmal Kasab was prosecuted, Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru was hanged in Delhi's Tihar Jail on February 9. The execution took place at 8 am and he was buried soon after at the jail, where he had been lodged for nearly eight years. Guru's execution was initially scheduled for Oct 20, 2006. But it was stayed after Guru's wife filed a mercy petition with the President. In December 2001, nine people were killed when five terrorists drove into the Parliament complex and opened fire. All the terrorists were shot dead.Guru was arrested shortly after the attack and accused of planning it.

David Headley gets 35 years:

Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley, who admitted to helping plot the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed more than 160 people, was sentenced to 35 years in prison by a U.S. court this year.

Puple Patch

India' journey to Mars:

Indian launched its maiden Mission to Mars from Sriharikota in southern state of Andhra Pradesh in November. The spacecraft, which is named Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), had a lift off at 2:38 pm from Sriharikota.The Mars Mission was announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last year itself and if the mission is successful India would take a giant leap forward in space programme and perhaps beat China to reaching the Red Planet first.The PSLV carrying 'Mangalyaan' blasted off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota with an orbiter craft designed to orbit Mars in an elliptical orbit, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said. The design and realisation of a Mars orbiter has been developed with a capability to survive and perform Earth bound manoeuvres in a cruise phase of 300 days with Mars orbit insertion / capture, and on-orbit phase around Mars.The mission has also been framed to explore surface features of Mars, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere by indigenous scientific instruments.

Global Newsmakers

Vatican elect new Pope:

Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church in March and came to be known as Pope Francis. The 76-year-old Pope Francis, who stepped into the shoes of Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned in February, is also the first non-European pontiff in about 1,300 years, who was elected by the cardinals on the second day of the conclave to elect a new pope in March. His called the people's pope owing to his simplicity.

A man named Edward:

Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) contractor Edward Snowden sparked a storm and hit the US hard after he leaked details of extensive communications surveillance on U.S. and foreign citizens by America's National Security Agency (NSA).Russia granted temporary asylum to Snowden.

Egypt witnesses another uprising:

Protests again roiled Egypt, as after days of protests, the Egyptian Army on July 3 ousted the country's first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi just after one year in office. He was taken into military custody the same night. The head of country's Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mansour, was sworn in as interim president on July 4. Demonstrators across the nation had accused Morsi of failing to tackle the economic and security problem since being elected.

Bombings in Russian city

Two deadly bomb attacks killed at least 31 people in December in Russian city of Volgograd. On Dec 29, about 17 people were killed and many injured in a deadly suicide attack by a female bomber in a Russian train station in Volgograd. The female suicide bomber blew herself up at the entrance hall of the station. Then at least 14 people were killed and 28 injured in a second deadly bomb attack in less than 24 hours in Volgograd on Dec 30. According to reports, a powerful blast rocked a trolleybus around 8:10 a.m. during the morning rush hours. This is the third such strike in the city where in October another female suicide bomber had killed six people in a bus. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a tightening of security throughout the country after the attacks.

Bollywood Newsmakers

Sanjay Dutt: Shocking his fans and nearly putting an end to his successful career, Bollywood actor and 1993 Mumbai serial blast case convict Sanjay Dutt returned to jail this year. The Supreme Court in July this year had rejected Dutt's curative petition on his punishment. He had to surrender after the Supreme Court ruled out any extension of surrender time to him in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case. On May 10, giving a blow to Dutt, the Supreme Court rejected his plea that sought review of its March 21 decision where he was convicted. The Supreme Court on Mar 21 announced its verdict on Dutt for illegal arms possession during the Mumbai bombings that had killed 257 people in 1993 in the nation's financial hub. He is currently out of jail on a 30-day parole granted on grounds of his wife Maanyata's illness though media spotted his wife making a style statement in a film screening. In his professional world too Sanjay met failure as all his three films released this year namely Policegiri, Zila Ghaziabad and Zanjeer did not perform well at the box office.

Shah Rukh Khan: Shah Rukh Khan proved once again that he is still the badshah of Bollywood as his Chennai Express rocked new records at the box office by becoming the fastest film to enter the 100 crore club in just 4 days since its release. Rohit Shetty's typical masala entertainer is already the highest-grossing Bollywood film of 2013 at present, with Aamir Khan's Dhoom 3 competing hard to touch the numero uno position . His Indian Premier League (IPL) team Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) failed in the popular T20 league and lost its crown to Mumbai Indians.

Deepika Padukone: The crown of being the 'Miss 2013' in Bollywood galaxy surely went to the lanky beauty as she produced more hit movies than any other leading ladies in the industry this year. Far ahead of Katrina or Priyanka, Deepika positioned herself in the numero uno position this year. While the year commenced with her multi-starrer 'Race 2', which was the first one to enter the worldwide Bollywood's 100 crore club in 2013, she continued her dominance in the box office with multiple hits like 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani ,'Chennai Express'and 'Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela'. All the films were declared super hits at the India box office. In fact, her Chennai Express and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani ranked among the highest-grossing Bollywood films of all time. Deepika's performance in all these movies garnered appreciations from both critics and her fans.

Aamir Khan: Cine goers kept waiting till December for 'Mr. Perfect' to set the silver screen on fire with his 'Dhoom 3' as he turned to a 'bad man' for the movie. Released in regular 2D and Imax format, 'Dhoom 3' is the third installment of the popular Dhoom series. Coupled with Abhishek Bachchan, Uday Chopra, Katrina Kaif, Aamir kept his promises of producing one super hit for his fans every year.

Jiah Khan: Bollywood actress Jiah Khan committed suicide on June 3 while whether reports also circulated that she could have been murdered. Bollywood actors Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab's son Suraj Pancholi was arrested in connection with Khan's suicide. He was later granted bail. Suraj was reportedly in a relationship with Jiah and was the last person to speak to the late actress over the phone before she committed suicide. Khan was heartbroken because of her boyfriend's "womanizing" character, a note found three days after her death has revealed. The note reportedly mentions that Khan was "deeply hurt" at having to abort her baby with Suraj.

The Lunchbox: This Ritesh Batra directed film is one love story that is quite offbeat and overshadowed several big releases of Bollywood with its simple appeal. In The Lunchbox the protagonists are a widower (Irrfan Khan) and a housewife (Nimrat Kaur) who got connected by the rare mistake of the very famous 'dabbawalas' of Mumbai city. The dabba with the delicious food she had prepared for her husband gets delivered to another person, triggering a love story of different kind.

Deaths: The year also lost some of the legends of Indian cinema. India's most loved villain Pran, who was also conferred the Dada Saheb Phalke this year, died while singer Manna Dey also passed away. And from the Tollywood industry came a big shocker in the death of filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh at quite a young age. Indian singing legend Shamshad Begum, whose melodious voice had enchanted music lovers for decades, passed away at her residence in Mumbai in April from age related ailments. She was 94.

However, the year ended in the most tragic note with the sudden death of Bollywood actor Farooq Sheikh who was known for his films during the 1970s and 1980s, including those light hearted entertainers directed by filmmakers like Hrishikeh Mukherjee and Sai Paranjape.

Sports: Year of glory and shame


Indian cricket passed through rough weathers once again in 2012 with spot fixing scams hitting it hard and even engulfing names of star cricketer like S Sreesanth into it. Yet, the emergence of a confident bunch of young cricketers, who have showed their never-say-die attitude in their performances so far, brings hopes to millions of people in the cricket worshipping nation that the legacy will be carried forward.

Indian Premier League: The sixth edition of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) was won by Mumbai Indians as they beat Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the final to lift the trophy.

Champions League T20: Mumbai Indians continued its dominance in the T20 format and clinched the Champions League T20 trophy by beating Rajasthan Royals in the final.

Cricketing shame: A year when Indian cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar retired from cricket and the new Indian youngstars worked hard to step into the void left by the seniors, the Indian cricket also faced a big setback as spot fixing tainted the image of the country, where cricket is considered more as a religion than a mere game. The lid was blown off the IPL scam after S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan - were arrested along with 11 bookies from Mumbai on May 16 for their role in spot-fixing in the ongoing tournament. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has found four Rajasthan Royals (RR) players guilty of spot-fixing during IPL 6. The board also banned former Test pacer S. Sreesanth and Ankit Chavan for life from playing any representative cricket, or in any way being associated with the activities of the BCCI or its affiliates. The Mumbai Police earlier in September chargesheeted former Chennai Super Kings (CSK) team principal Gurunath Meiyappan for allegedly betting and cheating during the IPL. The Mumbai Police had said they found no evidence of spot-fixing against Meiyappan. The police also named actor Vindoo Dara Singh and 15 bookies from Pakistan in the chargesheet.

Sachin Tendulkar: The magician named Sachin Tendulkar whose wand had created tricks on the cricket field, helping millions of Indians forget their daily troubles and united the country for 24 years, retired from cricket this year, ending a career which touched innumerable glorious moments, shattered records and served the country like a soldier fighting for his nation every time he stepped into the cricket field. He retired from the game after playing the two-match home series against West Indies. The Indian government decided to confer the Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award, to Sachin.

Rahul Dravid, who lead Rajasthan Royals in IPL and Champions League (T20), announced this year's editions of the cash rich tournament were his last. He captained the side at a time when spot fixing scam hit his team during the IPL. Under his leadership, the team also qualified to the CL T20 final where Mumbai Indians beat the side.

Other sports

In the football arena, India did not had much glory to add this year apart from getting the hosting rights of the prestigious 2017 Under-17 FIFA World Cup.

India Tennis star Leander Paes added one more feather to his crown by winning the men's doubles event in US Open.

India's badminton star Saina Nehwal had a forgettable 2013 with her sloppy performance in the year. The iconic Olympic medallion did not win a single title and even slipped in the eight position in the international ranking. India, however, saw the emergence of another star PV Sindhu in the international arena as she impressed with her form and performance this year. Performing brilliantly, Sindhu became the first Indian to clinch a bronze in the women's singles at the World Badminton Championships in Guangzhou.

Not stopping there, the Arjuna awardee continued to impress the sporting arena by winning the Malaysia Grand Prix and Macau Open Grand Prix. In the men's section, Parupalli Kashyap broke into the top-10 rankings. Another talent K Srikanth stormed his presence in the international arena by winning the Thailand Open Grand Prix.

Indian badminton also touched another new high point when it launched the IPL-style franchise based Indian Badminton League (IBL) where young Indians got the chance to compete with the best players of the world. Led by Saina Nehwal the Hyderabad Hotshots beat Awadhe Warriors in the finals to lift the inaugural title.

India's chess icon Viswanathan Anand lost his World Champion title after he was defeated by Norwegian GM Magnus Carlsen by 6.5-3.5. Carlsen became the new world chess champion by beating the legend.

In July 2013, Shiva Thapa became the youngest Indian to win a gold at the Asian Confederation Boxing Championship at Amman, Jordan. He had convincingly defeated Obada Al-Kasbeh of Jordan in the final of the bantamweight (56kg) category.

Rest In Peace:

Nelson Mandela no more:

Nelson Mandela: Former South African President , anti-apartheid icon and Nobel Peace laureate Nelson Mandela passed away at the age of 95 on December 5.

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead," said Nelson Mandela who lived his own life exactly making difference to the world. Nelson Mandela, who was born Rolihlahla Mandela into the Madiba clan in Mvezo, Transkei, on July 18, 1918 was a living embodiment of all that he espoused and said. The present world perhaps had not seen a bigger icon of democracy and fighter against racism as Mandela. An extraordinary life, Mandela indeed changed the destiny of his people armed with just one weapon- Non-violence, the Gandhian way, after his initial ideas of violent means to achieve freedom for his people. And it was but befitting for India thus to honour him with Bharat Ratna as one of the only two non-Indians to have received this award. He had visited India as the first country after he was released from prison in 1990.

(Posted on 01-01-2014)