The year that made us gasp

Published: December 31, 2010 - 15:27 Updated: December 31, 2010 - 15:28

2010 Was a very disturbing year as far as I'm concerned. A lot of nasty scams were exposed and, not so oddly enough, none of the corrupt politicians implicated in the scams are behind bars yet. A lot of masks slipped as well and a handful of bureaucrats, judges, defence personnel and journalists have given their professions a very bad name indeed. It is with a heavy heart that I give out annual awards to anyone at all. But the show must go on, so here goes:

Machiavelli of the year
The biggest surprise of 2010 was that Congress President Sonia Gandhi has not been running the country after all - good heavens, it was a PR person called Niira Radia all along! Ms Radia is one tough lady who helps heavy-duty industrialists maximise their profits by carefully handpicking the right ministers for the right portfolios, among other cool, high-powered things. Too busy to look after pets from the animal world that have to be fed, bathed, cuddled and exercised, this large-hearted lady allegedly adopted star journalists instead and lovingly fed them little sound bytes along with feeding their big fat egos. Sometimes she gave them dictations, too, presumably just to make them practise their spellings. Now then, we mustn't be cynical about everything.

The sulkiest person of the year
NDTV diva Barkha Dutt was one of the many journalists Niira Radia spoke to about this, that and the other - I'm surprised she left out the weather altogether. The jury is still out on whether Barkha was a very naughty girl or not and if she should be banished to bed without supper. Personally, I do not believe that there's sufficient proof of Barkha's guilt. I'm willing to give her the benefit of doubt - hey, maybe she's just shockingly naive. However, in a special NDTV debate where she was questioned by her peers about her conversations in the Radia tapes, she came across as childish, petulant, foolish and needlessly vicious. If she has a reason to be ashamed of, it's for throwing tantrums while the cameras were rolling. Till she regains her customary dignity on the small screen, she should hide her face and change her name. I think Burkha Dutt has a nice ring to it.

Dancer of the year
US First Lady Michelle Obama gets this for spontaneously getting to her feet and dancing with schoolchildren in Mumbai. Okay, so I'm assuming she joined the dance because she was bored with sitting through dance performance after dance performance after dance performance, but even so she came across as a good sport and a great dancer, and everyone loved her for it!

Hero of the year
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. He has helped countries really understand each other like never before. We have finally got the truth that's hidden behind firm handshakes and sincere smiles, hooray! I firmly believe that 2010 was the year of Assange!

The most repressive country of the year
Nope, I'm not giving it to China this year despite the fact that they threw hissy fits about the Nobel peace prize being awarded to Liu Xiaobo and not so gently arm-twisted countries to stop them from attending the award ceremony. It goes to the US of A for trying every trick in the book to squash WikiLeaks and craftily using political persuasion to keep Julian Assange in jail.  This from the leader of the free world, tsk. At least China is not a hypocrite!

The chair of the year
Forget the fact that very few of us had even heard of 2010 Nobel peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo. Truth be told, most of us can't even pronounce his name - we mumble it if we must say it aloud. The important thing is, the Nobel prize giving think-tank must be warmly congratulated for putting the spotlight on a small insignificant person trying to do a big significant thing. In faux biblical speak, Xiaobo gave up his freedom in an attempt to set people free. My weak heart almost burst when Xiaobo's award was placed on his empty chair at the prize-giving ceremony. This was the most inspiring moment for me in 2010. I hope 2011 will bring many more goosebumpy moments like this.   

This story is from print issue of HardNews