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IBNS: India reached the moon in 2023 by riding on its Chandrayaan programme and even surpassed China to become the world’s most populous nation during the year. Outside India, the world witnessed conflicts surging from Ukraine-Russia to the border of Israel when Hamas members crossed the Gaza Strip and launched an attack on the neighbouring nation, triggering a war that is devastating Gaza. The year will once again go down in history as one when several stunning events unfolded reshaping the future. Supriyo Hazra picks twenty mega events which made headlines.
Palestine’s Hamas group made a surprise move when its members crossed over from the Gaza Strip and launched a sudden attack on Israel on October 7. The conflict has so far left over 19,000 people dead. The conflict has raised severe humanitarian crises in Gaza which include food, water, shortages and even the collapse of the healthcare system.
Children look at their destroyed homes in Rafah city, in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo courtesy: UNICEF / Eyad El Baba
Hamas released over 100 hostages, out of the 240 people captured, during the temporary truce reached between the two warring sides. Israel freed several Palestinians who were held in Israeli prisons during the period. The international community has been seeking an immediate ceasefire in the region. However, there seems to be no end to the conflict with the Israeli military continuing to take action in Gaza and even PM Benjamin Netanyahu recently saying that the war may take more than ‘several months’.
Earthquake jolts Turkey
Turkey and Syria were hit by two major earthquakes measuring 7.8 and 7.5 on the Richter Scale on February 6, leaving 55,000 people dead and scores of others injured.
A devastating earthquake hit Turkey. Photo Courtesy: UNOCHA/Matteo Minasi
This was one of the strongest quakes experienced by Turkey in the past 80 years.
Russia-Ukraine horror continues
The situation in Ukraine remains fragile even after 22 months of war against Russia which started in 2022. The war kept on oscillating with Ukraine’s counteroffensive in June helping to reclaim territory in the east. Currently, the fighting is mostly centred around Donbas region. With the war reaching the second winter session, the two nationals are currently locked in a gruelling trench warfare.
Lyman, a frontline city in eastern Ukraine. Photo Photo Courtesy: UNICEF/Aleksey Filippov
Russia has spiked drone attacks on Ukraine’s urban centres in recent times. With the war dragging on, millions remain displaced.
OceanGate’s Titan submersible implodes while hunting for Titanic
The world waited with patience with the hope of witnessing a miracle after a submersible named Titan, which was carrying five people, disappeared in international waters in the North Atlantic Ocean near the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.
OceanGate’s Titan submersible implodes which leaves five passengers dead. Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/ShareAlike 4.0 International
Communication with the carrier was lost just 1 hour and 45 minutes after it dived under the ocean to reach the wreckage. After searching for four days, the US Coastal Guard confirmed all five passengers died after the carrier was subject to ‘catastrophic implosion’ during the course of its voyage. The wreckage was recovered on the seafloor.
British billionaire Hamish Harding, 58, and Pakistani-born businessman Shahzada Dawood, 48, with his 19-year-old son Suleman, who are both British citizens, French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, and Stockton Rush, founder, and CEO of OceanGate Expeditions were the tourists who dared to be a part of the expedition but met their fatal fate at the end.
Elon Musk’s Twitter becomes X
Billionaire Elon Musk completed buying popular micro-blogging site Twitter in 2022 for $44 billion. This year he finally changed the name and logo of the platform to ‘X’.
Elon Musk rebrands Twitter as X. Photo Courtesy: Elon Musk X page
Musk also ceased to use the iconic blue bird logo which was part of Twitter’s legacy since its inception.
Wildfires ravage Hawaii
Dry conditions, strong winds and human activity fuelled the wildfires which erupted in Maui and Hawaii on August 8 and 9 and ravaged the picturesque islands, pushing people across the globe to prey for the locals who suffered the wrath of nature.
A firefighter battles a wildfire. Photo Courtesy: Unsplash/Fabian Jones
Lahaina town was badly hit by wildfires as business establishments, homes and landmark cultural sites were damaged by it. At least 100 people died as islanders struggled to douse the flames which raged for days. Experts have warned similar incidents might be repeated if actions to combat climate change are not taken immediately.
King Charles III coronated
A new chapter in the history of Britain was written when Charles, who was the longest-serving Prince of Wales in the history of the country, was crowned as the king of the United Kingdom at Westminster Abbey on May 6, 2023.
King Charles III coronated. Photo Courtesy: OGL 3/Wikimedia Commons / coronation.gov.uk
He ascended to the throne months after his mother and Queen Elizabeth II died in September 2022 following her record-breaking 70-year-reign.
Kim Jong Un meets Russian President Vladimir Putin
Away from the way in Ukraine, Russia hosted a special guest in September when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited the country to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin. The visit signalled a deepening relationship between the two nations. As per an Al Jazeera report, Putin said Russia would help North Korea launch satellites, while Kim said Moscow had his full backing in its “sacred fight” with the West.
Kim Jong Un meets Vladimir Putin during Russia visit. Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
The details of the meeting remained murkier but media reports claimed the two leaders discussed potential arms deals, joint military exercises, and Russian help for North Korea’s satellite program.
Military coup disrupts Sudan
Peace in Sudan remained a distant dream since the overthrowing of former military officer and head of state Omar al-Bashir. The country nosedived into civil war in April.
A residential building in Khartoum is damaged after being hit by a missile. Photo Courtesy: Mohammed Shamseddin
A violent power struggle erupted between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on April 15, resulting in the killing of 9,000 people. Military coups persisted across Africa with Gabon and Niger experiencing political upheaval in 2023.
India’s landmark G20 Summit
2023 remained a landmark year for India when the country hosted the two-day G20 Summit in New Delhi in September. The showpiece event was attended by global leaders of member nations and guest countries. The grand event, held at the ‘Bharat Mandappam’ at the ITPO Convention Centre, Pragati Maidan, was themed “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” or “One Earth One Family One Future.”
India hosted G20 Summit in New Delhi. Photo Courtesy: PIB
One major aim achieved by the Summit was the inclusion of the African Union (AU) as a permanent member of the G20. The grouping also adopted the New Delhi Leaders Summit Declaration during the two-day event.
Opposition block forges INDIA alliance to take on Modi
As 2024 arrives, India is gearing up to elect a new Lok Sabha. Keeping the general polls in mind, the opposition parties joined hands to form the INDIA bloc, aiming to fight against the ruling and mighty Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA.
Opposition leaders form INDIA bloc ahead of Lok Sabha Elections in 2024. Photo Courtesy: UNI
The opposition leaders also passed a resolution about it during a meeting in Mumbai on September 1. Now it is time to see how INDIA challenges the incumbent government during the polls next year.
India-Canada relationship touches lowest point over Khalistan
Relations between India and Canada have become tense following accusations by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said Indian agents were involved in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Khalistani terrorist, on Canadian territory earlier this year.
Nijjar was shot dead outside a Gurdwara in Surrey, Canada, on June 18.
India and Canada’s relationship touched a new low over PM Justin Trudeau’s claims about a Khalistani leader’s killing. Photo Courtesy: PIB
India, however, rejected the claims and called the allegations as ‘absurd and motivated’. Both nations have expelled diplomats following Trudeau’s comments on Nijjar’s killings.
Trapped workers rescued from Uttarkashi tunnel
Multiple agencies and a team of 12 rat-hole miners orchestrated a miraculous rescue operation to pull out 41 workers who were trapped inside Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand for 17 days.
Workers trapped inside Uttarkashi tunnel rescued after 17 days. Photo Courtesy: PIB
The labourers got stuck in the Uttarkashi tunnel following a landslide on November 12, the day when India was celebrating the festival of lights- Diwali. The nation cheered aloud and the days of anxiety ceased when the workers were pulled out from the tunnel on November 28.
India tops China as world’s most populous nation
India ended China’s tag of being the world’s most populous nation on April 20 when the United Nations released the data on the day.
India surpassed to become the world’s most populous nation in April 2023. Photo Photo Courtesy: IBNS File
As per information released by the UN World Population Dashboard, India recorded 142.86 crore people, compared to China’s 142.57 crore population.
Indian wrestling receives blow over WFI episode and sexual harassment allegations
There was a dark phase in Indian sports amid all the shining moments in 2023 when top Olympics medal-winning wrestlers started protesting against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). They alleged that former WFI chief Brijbhushan Sharan Singh had a history of sexually harassing and molesting female wrestlers. From protesters being jailed to water cannons used against them, the wrestlers were pitted against the government. The Supreme Court’s intervention finally forced the Delhi Police to open a case into the incident, eventually leading to the suspension of Singh.
Wrestlers protesting in New Delhi. Photo Courtesy: UNI
At the fag end of the year, the wrestlers once again were left startled when Brijbhushan Sharan Singh’s close aide Sanjay Singh was elected as the chief of the Indian wrestling body. Sanjay Singh won 40 out of 47 votes in a sweeping victory over Anita Sheoran, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist who was backed by top wrestlers after she had taken to the streets earlier over sexual harassment allegations against Brij Bhushan. Sanjay Singh has earlier served as the vice-president of the Uttar Pradesh wrestling body. He was part of the WFI’s last executive council and its joint secretary since 2019. With wrestlers protesting again, the newly elected WFI was suspended, raising the possibility of another round of elections.The Centre’s intervention has prompted the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to form a temporary panel to oversee WFI affairs.This also means that it will also be responsible for organising international events and sporting competitions.
India rewrites records in Asiad
Away from cricket, India shone as a bright spot in the Chinese city of Hangzhou where the athletes clinched a record 107 medals, leaving a cricket-crazy nation to rejoice in the grand achievement. The inspiring Indian contingent finished the event with 28 medals. India’s previous highest medal haul in the major sporting event was 70. It was achieved during the Jakarta event in 2018. India finished the medals tally in fourth position just behind powerhouse nations like China, Japan and South Korea
India put up a strong show at the Asian Games this year. Photo Courtesy: SAI Media X page
From Shooting to Hockey, it rained medals for India and expected names like Neeraj Chopra and Parul Chaudhary did not fail to leave the promise of bringing home the much-priced gold medal.
Neeraj Chopra keeps shattering records
India’s poster boy Neeraj Chopra has been in the news ever since he won the Olympic gold medal in 2021 in Men’s Javelin throw and 2023 remained another red-letter year of his life when he successfully defended his Asian Games gold. But the year’s highlight point was when the Haryana lad became the first Indian world champion in track & field to clinch the world title.
Neeraj Chopra dominated the Asian Games with his strong performance. Photo Courtesy: UNI
He added the laurel to his name with an 88m-plus throw at the World Athletics Championships in August in Budapest, Hungary. Besides, he also won the iconic Diamond League title and topped the men’s javelin rankings in the world in May. Fans will be eagerly waiting now whether Chopra could repeat a similar performance in the Paris Olympics in 2024.
Rohit Sharma and his team faltered in World Cup final despite a positive show in the tournament
Despite a heartbreaking defeat, Indian cricket touched some landmark moments in the tournament where the cricket world witnessed the passionate captaincy of Rohit Sharma who also shined with the willow and provided a strong start to the country in all the games. He was leading the country for the first time in the 50-over cricket event and showed his brilliance as the skipper all through the tournament where his team defeated top teams to reach the final. He also scored 597 runs with the willow in the World Cup 2023.
Rohit Sharma and his Indian team faltered in the World Cup final against old rival Australia after a dominant performance in the rest of the tournament. Photo Courtesy: UNI
Mohammed Shami remained yet another bright spot in the World Cup campaign as he single handedly changed the course of several games with his near-perfect bowling and finished as the tournament’s highest wicket-taker with 24 wickets in his name.
Virat Kohli kept improving his performance with every passing year and in 2023 he rewarded himself with the evergreen gift of breaking the record which was once set by Indian icon Sachin Tendulkar in his glorious career.
Shah Rukh Khan returns as Box Office king after four-year-hiatus
Shah Rukh Khan set the Box Office on fire with two mega releases after a break of several years-Pathaan and then Jawan. Both films shattered records and recreated the magic in the hearts of the audience that was missing during Khan’s four-year sabbatical.
Shah Rukh Khan’s fans celebrating the release of his third movie Dunki in 2023 at a cinema hall in Kolkata. Photo Courtesy: Avishek Mitra/IBNS
Away from his iconic romantic hero image, Khan experimented as an action star in both the movies and ‘kayanat’ ensured he could successfully flow along the tide of success with a bang. He redefined action in his way just like he had once taught India how to romance and love. No, he did not stop at that. His third movie of the year Dunki hit the big screen in December. Directed by Raj Kumar Hirani, the film, though not critically acclaimed, is already attracting the attention of his fans.
News of the Year: India lands on the Moon
Indian scientists stepped into the paradigm of glory and wrote a golden chapter in the history of the nation which will be studied and will inspire to generations in future when on August 23 the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO)’s third lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft, landed on the South Pole of the Moon.
ISRO shares an important visual of the rover rolling down onto the Moon’s surface as it exited the lander.. Photo Courtesy: ISRO X Video grab
With the nation witnessing the moment on TV with fast-beating hearts, scientists cheered aloud and PM Narendra Modi waved the tricolour when the spacecraft reached the South Pole of the lunar surface, marking a remarkable feat which no other nation has achieved so far. India also became the fourth nation to successfully soft land on the moon. Interestingly, the South Pole remains an unchartered territory which scientists believe could hold vital reserves of frozen water and precious elements.