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2022 – The year of hope, despair or gloom

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Unlike western concept that time has a beginning, Hinduism believes time is cyclical. The present is the future we looked forward to in the past while soon becoming the past. The orchestra of life goes on with the maestro captivating the audience who eagerly awaits the grand finale only to welcome the new beginning.

As we reach the countdown for 2022 to end and step in 2023 let’s pause and refresh our memory. This year has been notably different in welcoming the end rather than exceptional individual achievements, Geo-political developments, economical headwinds or natural calamities. Never before has the entire human race across the 195 recognized countries across the globe eagerly awaited to see a new dawn where normalcy has been restored. WHO declares in September that end is finally in sight for COVID 19 which was declared an international emergency in 2020 and has claimed more than six million people.

Geo-political events did have its fair share of headlines. Future historians may refer 2022 as a hinge in the history, marking the end of one era and the beginning of another. Major war returned to Europe –Russia invading Ukraine in the name of demilitarization and denazification, with the attendant threats of nuclear strikes, and the door closed firmly shut on the U.S. policy of strategic engagement with China. NATO and its allies played the well-rehearsed role behind the curtains while the faceoff between Putin and Zelinsky left millions homeless.

The ongoing war may be geographically localized but the repercussions is being felt far and wide redefining the importance of food and energy security, cascading effects of inflation, change in strategic interest(s) and bilateral relations. The world is surely transiting from Uncle Sam’s unipolar order to bipolar if not multipolar order. The new world order may see the green buck sharing its dominance with currency of emerging powers.

UK once the epicenter of global power had three prime ministers in just two months and also lost the world’s longest reigning monarch. Rishi Saunak getting elected as the first British Prime minister of color may be a feather in the cap of democracy, but he faces a daunting task to tackle inflation hovering around 15% with BREXIT being a distant success and return to EU not in the cards.

Winds of change has also been sweeping across Latin America with left centered politics securing their foothold over right centered, with Mexico having seen the first change in 2018 with election of Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador. Argentina, Peru. Bolivia, Honduras and Brazil followed and whether the recent trend can be called a second pink tide may well be debated. However all need to deliver in the difficult times of rising inflation, unemployment considering the impeachment of Peruvian president Castillo after he tried to invoke emergency rule.

2022 has been eventful for Asia in several regard. Pakistan has been affected with political, economic and climate crisis. Imran Khan followed his predecessors in not being able to complete the full term in April, with IMF bailing out once again in August to avoid an immediate collapse.  The triple whammy came from the monsoon floods in August, displacing more than a million people while one third of the country remained submerged.

Middle East came to the limelight for both the right and wrong reasons. Countrywide protest for women liberty started in Iran with death of Mahsa Amini, a twenty-two-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman in police custody and its ripple effects felt in the recently hosted FWC22. Qatar proved the entire world wrong by staging the greatest sporting event in a never before seen scale. As a fitting tribute to the organizers and fans in general the aging legend with the emerging maverick presented the grand finale which can be called to be the best till date.

On the economic forefront, the great power competition between China and the United States is fully underway. With changing relations, push by western powers to shift production hubs, energy crisis fueled by Ukraine war, disruption of supply chain-particularly in technology intensive chip production in Taiwan, inflation going north, historical high in rate hikes by the FED, NASDAQ taking a beating with big three loosing considerable value. Debt market appears to be safe haven but in the changing world order if dollar comes under threat charts may go the wrong way. The meteoric rise of crypto suffered a hard landing after Binance backed out of acquiring the cash-strapped cryptocurrency exchange FTX, founder and former FTX CEO Sam Bankman Fried resigned from his post, and FTX filed for bankruptcy.

The sporting world ended with probably the most entertaining world cup while ending the decade long debate on G.O.A.T. The year started with Australian authorities denying permission to Novak Djokovic to participate in Australian open with similar denial by US. However Novak came back to win the Wimbledon. Nadal won the Australian and French open to reach his 22nd Grand Slam title, a record which may stay for some time. Among all the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine, their para-Olympic team finished second to the host China with an impressive tally of 29 medals.

March was special to CR7 scoring his 806th goal leaving behind Josef Bican as FIFA’s leading scorer. Miracle happened in March when Christian Eriksen rejoined Denmark’s national team versus Netherlands in Amsterdam, Nine months after collapsing on the pitch as his heart stopped. September marked the retirement of legend Roger Federar hitting the court for the last time against his decade long rival and friend Rafal Nadal. Both Serena Williams and Federar marked the end of an incredible era.

19 year old Carlos Alcaraz of Spain won the US open to become youngest ATP No 1. England defeated Pakistan to become the T20 champions but fell short of a repeat of 1966 by their football team. India finishes off 2nd in the ICC rankings while Australia remains at the top.

Coming back to India there has been an equal share of good and bad news. We lost eminent personalities like Lata Mangeshkar, Bappi Lahiri, KK from the world of music.  India overtook UK in becoming the 5th largest with untimely demise of the big bull, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. Draupadi Murmu becomes the 15th President of India and first tribal woman to hold the position. With a net worth of $135.4 billion, industrialist Gautam Adani surpassed Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to grab the third spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people.  

India assumed the G-20 presidency for the next year on December 1, 2022. India played a dominant role in CWG 2022 winning 22 gold medals, 16 Silver, and 23 Bronze medals. The 75th year of independence was made special by our maiden win of the Thomas Cup.

From war to layoffs to meltdowns to famous deaths to incredible achievements the year 2022 lays the foundation for 2023. It is time to say good bye only to embrace the future.

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