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Illustration by Soham Sen | ThePrint Team
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The year 2018 can’t end soon enough.

Here is a quick overview of the memories 2018 is leaving behind.

Name game

The year 2018 was the year of renaming.

Government schemes and policies have often been renamed in the past – Nirmal Bharat became Swachh Bharat, NREGA became MGNREGA, financial inclusion became Jan Dhan Yojana.

But this year, the renaming game was taken to a whole new level. It started with the renaming of railway stations and airports. Then Allahabad became Prayagraj and Faizabad became Ayodhya — in both these cases it was argued that the ‘original’ name of the places was actually being restored. But it didn’t stop there. The chief minister of Uttar Pradesh went all the way to Hyderabad for election campaigning and promised to rename that city if the BJP wins, and then he did the same with Karimnagar. The logic was that more Hindu names meant more Hindu votes. The renaming craze went all the way to the Andamans, where it was proposed that three islands be renamed — Havelock Island to Swaraj Dweep, Neil Island to Shaheed Dweep and Ross Island to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Island.


Also read: How Nehru and Yogi Adityanath differed on naming cities — from Chandigarh to Prayagraj


Tall order for statues

The year 2018 was the year of statues.

More than Rs 3,000 crore was spent on a statue with a passable design – the Statue of Unity. The statue, now the world’s tallest, was advertised as a grand achievement, so much so that it prompted a proposal to build another ‘tallest’ statue of the world in Uttar Pradesh — that of Lord Ram. And then, not to be outdone so easily, the chairman of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial in Maharashtra actually called for increasing the height of the Shivaji statue just to be a wee bit taller than Ram – before setting aside Rs 3,700 crore for the project. These statues came in a particularly bad year – Maharashtra has the highest debt in the country and was being forced to borrow money to repair bridges.

This year, statue politics literally reached new heights.


Also read: Even if Statue of Unity becomes as famous as Taj Mahal, we may need 120 years to break even


Crisis in top office

Almost every major institution of our democracy saw some sort of crisis in 2018.

For the first time in history, four Supreme Court justices came in front of the media to address a press conference. There were strong allegations hurled at then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and the Indian government was blamed for interfering in judicial matters. Meanwhile, in the CBI, the head of the organisation and second-in-command were directly locking horns with each other. Once again, it was alleged that politics was influencing decisions in the top investigating body of our country. The RBI was the third big crisis. Yet again, the Narendra Modi government was extending its tentacles, trying to remote control the institution, which is believed to have been the reason behind former RBI governor Urijit Patel’s resignation. The assault on the independence of educational institutions like JNU and BHU continued.

The many crimes of primetime

The year 2018 was also the year of TV news’ downfall.

Carrying on from the tradition set in 2017 when bounties were announced and swords were wielded during TV primetime debates, spokespersons came to blows in 2018. The average news debate made you wonder if Ram Mandir was the biggest issue facing India this year. As the hunt for TRPs drove the quality of news television down, India’s rank in the press freedom index slumped. TV news channels became propaganda machines and journalists continued to be attacked online and offline.

A few news channels even went to the extent of large-scale fear mongering, talking about “Islamisation of India” and how Hindus must “wake up” to counter their existential threat.


Also read: The journey of BJP’s Sambit Patra from a trained surgeon to a nasty TV star


Hate brigade

The year 2018 was the year of intolerance.

An analysis of hate crimes over the years show that this was the worst year for communalism in over a decade. This was the year when religious nonsense on television was normalised. You could see the hate being spewed openly from BJP loudmouths on the TV — Sambit Patra‘s “Kathmullahji“,  “Sacche Hindu ho to batao” or “will rename a mosque after a Vishnu temple” phrases stand out.

Rapes and murders were painted in Hindu-Muslim colours, where some people took utmost care to segregate and highlight the religion of the accused and the victim. Politicians rallied on behalf of rape-accused men. Mob lynching became the word of the year, with people being killed over fake WhatsApp messages.

But don’t you dare complain. Anyone who spoke up against this was subjected to a wave of trolls and an even worse form of intolerance. Actor Naseeruddin Shah was the latest victim of this intolerance wave, and was told to go to Pakistan and labelled a traitor.

2018 can’t end soon enough.

The author is an activist and YouTuber.

For ThePrint's smart analysis of how the rest of the media is doing its job, no holds barred, go to PluggedIn.


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24 Comments Share Your Views

24 COMMENTS

  1. Only one question why name changing of Britishers by successive Khongress Govts has not evoked any reaction….. Why everything is associated and aggrieved with only erasing of Mughal history which has done more harm to the Indic society at large…..

  2. The only way this could be tackled is to end the government funded media policy there should be independent media funded from we people like we pay the taxes. Like CNN and BBC they aren’t government funded and show the real issues

  3. My nominee for Man of the Year would be CM Bisht, who has come to symbolise the New India. Just yesterday, another policemen has, been stoned to death, at the venue of a high security event. Too late now to undo the decision to appoint him CM. However, after the general election – what he will do to the party’s prospects is something to lie back and enjoy – he will have to be replaced.

  4. Only hate speech by Dhruv Rathi, what is your hell concern with renaming the schemes.only naming n announcing yojanas is not mere job of Government but to convert into reality. If Prayaag Raaj is getting back it’s glorious name , what is hurting you ?? Plz start rethinking over these issues.

  5. This Dhruv Rathi rant is as usual and Print is as discarded as any other media who only give platform to the likes of Rathi or Gurmeher Kaur.
    Government policies- better democratisation than the entire history of independent India. Atleast now our people are better empowered. Even recent Congress win will be decided by their performance.
    There is real perception change-from BIMARU to aspiring district. It may be small but necessary to bring dignity. So thanks to Modi. Nothanks to Rathi.
    On statue and renaming atleast we got break from 70 years of Nehru-Gandhi naming spree. Much better.
    Now this Rathi must have gone to travel abroad, why can’t we build statues for others who can’t afford. Statue of unity numbers on domestic tourist are very good.
    You can’t blame institutional crisis on Modi. They were never functional in good sense for ordinary Indians. Give us a break if you want to convince that Modi is destroying our institutions.
    There is issue of fake news but it always was. Just we find internet, whatsapp like medium aggravating this issue. You will blame but you will further attack if government says break encryption and give us sources. Though the deaths are disturbing but don’t be too smart to cry Modi and Modi.

  6. Why brother you always spread false news on present Indian government. Why don’t you tell the developments that took place in the country. If you are true to your heart discuss about wrong doings of UPA and it’s corruption.

  7. 2018 WILL Come to an end But do not expect anything to change. Next year will be worse with elections around the corner. The poison will only seep deeper . Time Indians woke up to the realisation that what they need is a decent well meaning elected government and not the liars and corrupt.

  8. The article was very true and had covered major issues why India lack in progress and how the mindset of the people had became so cheap all because of the fungus TV channels and TV shows and the Hindu Muslim jumlas.
    Good and Great job #DhruvRathee

  9. Every year as per share of its own ups and downs. Your article seems to be a rushed up affair and it looks like you were just given 250 words to complete.

  10. I didn’t see you and your ilk raise any objections when half the country was named after Nehru, Indira and Rajiv Gandhi. There is even a Sonia vihar in Delhi!! The renaming of the schemes is to give them a complete and vigorous relaunch and unlike the UPA also implement them affectively. India is now coming back to its true values and honoring those who made a genuine contribution to its development.

    PS – I could never understand why anyone would name their son Stalin

  11. The Print, seriously is a great news website without any leanings but when they invite biased and ill opinionated columnists like Dhruv Rathee, it is their credibility that suffers. Great editors and columnists from top Indian newspapers and media outlets it has, but what the heck this guy is doing here?

  12. Actually there was NOT a voice raised when multiple institutions were named ‘Indira…’, ‘Rajiv…’. Is there any archive to prove that media protested when this was being done?

  13. Fanatics & Bigots hold sway – yet with the politicians being historically by & large byeproducts of large scale high value corruption, one really does not know what to vote for – an honest Prime Minister leading the Bigotry Brigade, or a Rabble Army waiting to fill empty pockets at the nation’s cost ….

  14. What about the media coverage of incidents with headlines such as “dalit murdered”, “dalit girl raped”, “dalit boy commits suicide” etc? Why murder, rape and suicides of other caste people is not mentioned similarly? Is it not biased coverage?

  15. There is large number of gober intellectuals who believe that The Jumala man will deliver great job for this country. Only to see this country 50 years back.

  16. 2019 is election year so it may reach a new low. The most frightening is saffronisation of education system. When our prestigious institutions are forced to do research on gou mutra and gober science anyone can guess in which direction we are heading.

  17. It’s a shame that You people call yourself journalists or columnists or activists
    You are so biased
    All these things have always been happening
    Name changing, statue building, lynching etc
    Where were you
    Please introspect , give us NEWS , genuine unbiased opinions NOT RANTING,before public starts hating you all

  18. This Dhruv Rathee is a big moron. He always give one sided news which is nothing but spreading negativity about MODI govt. Yes there are some decisions which are not taken wisely but not all. you need to show both side. Mr Rathee never talks about his so called papa Kejriwal because he is a die hard fan of Kejriwal and never utter anything about him on his videos… GROW up Rathee

  19. Hate Crime: Where is Data about it just mere perception. You made a whole video on a perception report of Reuters where India was placed as a most dangerous country for women by just 500+ opinionators for a 1billion+ population country. But you purposefully deny the Mocking of Hindu Gods in Bollywood even after shown many pieces of evidence from movies. You claim Hinduphobia in Bollywood is mere cherry picking and mere perception. Who is Right you or they? while you yourself declared URI, THACKREY AND ACCIDENTAL PRIME MINSTER Hindutva propaganda.
    Renaming: The names of the city were changed by Mughals purposefully and renaming them to original names is just small job of reclaiming the continuos indic civilizational narrative which was severely threatened by British and Mughals with destruction of temples and Libraries and raping of women.

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