In photos | 12 moments from 2020 India won't forget
While millions, including Santa Claus, embraced the new normal of masks and sanitisers, some things didn't change in the country even in this year of the pandemic. Here's looking back on the 2020 calendar through images
JANUARY: Towards the end of the month, India recorded its first case of covid-19 in a woman from Kerala, who was studying in Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the outbreak. It led to an exodus back home of Keralites from Wuhan, most of them medical students, and an increased monitoring of cases in the southern state.
FEBRUARY: Alongside covid-19, another virus was spreading its wings all over India: that of communal hatred. February saw the termination of the Shaheen Bagh protests against unequal citizenship laws and an eruption of violence in Delhi, one of the worst riots to shake up the city in recent memory.
MARCH: By the third month of the year, covid-19 was a painful reality in our daily lives. The Central government put the entire country under one of the strictest lockdowns in the world on a short notice. People were urged to stay home and beat vessels to express their appreciation for the essential workers.
APRIL: The English poet TS Eliot called April the cruellest month. And sure did it bring scenes of horrific suffering from across the country, as millions of migrant labourers began to walk back home from the cities they worked in, which were now locked down. With little money and having to traverse vast distances under excruciating weather conditions, hundred perished or were severely injured.
MAY: Summer brought in another devastation in the form of Cyclone Amphan, which caused widespread damage along the eastern coast, especially in West Bengal and Bangladesh.
JUNE: As the year hit its halfway mark, more bad news poured in. Actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death by suicide led to an outpouring of public sympathy, people came out on the streets to protest against the tragic circumstances of the star's passing. It was followed by intense media coverage of those allegedly suspected by the police, including Singh's bereaved live-in partner Rhea Chakraborty and actor Deepika Padukone.
JULY: As the number of people infected by covid-19 touched 1 million in India, efforts to test and screen increased around the country.
AUGUST: Even as the number of covid cases continued to surge, it was business as usual for some. The foundation stone of the projected Ram temple was laid under the aegis of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ayodhya, accompanied by an elaborate 'bhoomi puja', at the formerly disputed site of Babri Masjid.
SEPTEMBER: On 14 September, a Dalit woman was gang-raped by four upper-caste men in the Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh. After fighting for her life for two weeks, she died in Delhi, and was cremated by the police without seeking the consent of her family. The police denied this allegation, but public protests broke out all over India.
OCTOBER: The number of infections wasn't falling but the economy was ailing worse than ever. So, October saw a gradual unlocking of the country, as people ventured out embracing the 'new normal' of masks and hand sanitisers.
NOVEMBER: As the country began to open up, so did cinemas in some states by following stringent safety protocols, such has having workers in full PPE sanitising every nook and cranny before a show.
DECEMBER: In spite of the air being thick with death and disease, Santa still did come this year, wearing mask and gloves, bearing the gift of hand sanitiser. 'Bye, bye, 2020.
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Zahraa Sayed Ahmed produces a syrup from Damascena (Damask) roses, at her house in the village of Qsarnaba. (Photo by JOSEPH EID / AFP)
Zahraa Sayed Ahmed produces jam from Damascena (Damask) roses, at her house in the village of Qsarnaba. (Photo by JOSEPH EID / AFP)
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This picture shows Damascena (Damask) roses that are used for essential oils, sweets and cosmetics, in the village of Qsarnaba in Lebanon. The oil derived from the famed Damask rose --- named after the ancient city of Damascus located just across the mountain range separating Lebanon and Syria -- is a staple of in cuisines of the Middle East and perfumers around the world. (Photo by JOSEPH EID / AFP)
Dried Damascena (Damask) rosebuds are used to make herbal tea, at a house in Byblos in Lebanon. (Photo by JOSEPH EID / AFP)
Workers drop their bundles of Damascena (Damask) at a warehouse where they are paid based on their harvest, in the village of Qsarnaba in Lebanon. (Photo by JOSEPH EID / AFP) (AFP)
Zahraa Sayed Ahmed carries Damascena (Damask) rosebuds to produce rose water, syrup, tea and jam, at her house in the village of Qsarnaba. (Photo by JOSEPH EID / AFP)
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In photos | 12 moments from 2020 India won't forget