As 2013 draws to a close, it has been a busy year for India, but sadly the world's largest democracy has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
So, as the New Year approaches, here are five things on almost every Indian’s mind
Bollywood, the land of dreams, is used by most Indians to escape the rigors of everyday life.
It's movies, up to three hours long, allow the average man or woman to immerse themselves into a world of pure entertainment, where love and riches come to those who deserve them. Now if only real life was the same as reel life.
Rape and violence against women are a huge problem in India. According to reports, crimes against women have increased by 7.1 percent since 2010.
Indian society is at the crossroads of modernization and cultural restraints. More and more Indian women are being educated and breaking out of the subservient mold. However, they still face a safety threat as rape, the sex trade and human trafficking remain the bane of modern Indian society.
The media, however, has been vigilant and the women unwilling to back down. Society, for the better part, has supported the women in their plight and the legal system has favored the victims. Criminals are gettng convicted and laws being made. However, there is still an overall atmosphere of repressed rage as well as insecurity.
India’s Supreme Court has reversed a landmark judgment by the Delhi High Court which decriminalized homosexuality in the country.
In 2009, the Delhi High Court had overturned a colonial law (section 377 of the Indian Penal Code) that made gay sex an offense punishable by up to life imprisonment. However, the apex court overruled the verdict and reinforced the punishment for homosexual activity.
Though the new generation is more accepting and tolerant, old mindsets remain fixed in time. Culturally, Eunuchs, or Hijras as they are called locally are more acceptable as long as they are men who adopt womanly behavior or dress up and act like women. The fact that two people of the same gender can somehow have a sexual relationship instantly becomes unacceptable. It is a social stigma. Generally, India’s gay people lead double lives – it is the only way they can survive.
The recent ruling was a big setback for the LGBT community, which had been gaining acceptance by India's modern society.
Inflation in India has been an all time high in recent months. From domestic cooking gas to onions and other vegetables, prices have soared, leaving people at a loss and the economy in a precarious situation.
Inflation in India hit a seven-month high in September this year as food prices climbed, increasing the odds for yet another central bank interest rate hike even as the economy stumbled through its worst crisis since 1991.
Increase in food prices in India had risen to an annual 18.40 percent by midyear. By November prices of onions, a staple in an Indian diet and a main part of a poor man’s food, had risen to a point (about 280%), making it impossible for the average man to bring it to the table.
2014 is to be an important year for India. General elections will be held in May. The people of the large democracy are not happy with the way things are and plan to bring change. The December 8th poll in the State Elections has made that clear.
More than 700 million people will be heading to polling stations and their votes may help change things in India. . The fate of Congress and the vast number of votes given to the Aam Aadmi Party (The Common Man Party) in the recent State polls show that the Indians are ready for a change.
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