This Year in Geopolitics: 2021

With the year’s end inching closer, let’s take a look at where we strayed away from the ideals. In history’s lessons, it is often vital to analyse what went wrong and what could be made better.

Farmers Protest

There were large protests that broke out in different parts of the country after the Union Government passed three Farm Laws on 26th September 2020. The laws are: The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) bill, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill. The third is an amendment to the Essential Commodities Act 1955.

The law, taken together, aimed to increase the farmers’ income by removing the middlemen between them and the traders. But a large section of farmers felt that this would expose them to the vagaries of the open market, and they would be left on their own. The Minimum Support Price ensured that the farmers were protected from selling the produce in the market at a meagre cost. The protesters firmly believed that the law would allow private players to dictate prices and control farmers’ fate.

The mass movement came to an end partially after the Union Government verbally promised to repeal the laws. This fight is yet to see a complete end as they await a formal written statement. 

India farmers protests: Thousands swarm Delhi against deregulation rules -  CNN
Farmers in Protest (Source: CNN)

Sexism in CBSE Board Exams

With all the chaos going around in the world, it has been a tedious time for students, especially those who attempted their board examinations in the last two years. In times like these, one can’t help but expect a sensitized environment. At the other end of the stick, exists the CBSE 2021 English paper.

The paper housed an outrightly controversial composition that made the students and the potential readers question the era from which the composition was borrowed. It blatantly implied that teenagers today are rogue and “live in a world of their own” as there is a lack of paternal (not parental) authority at home. “Allowing” moms to take command over the household is the consequent result of the absence of a “husband” (here implied as controller) to fall back on. Teenagers disobeying elders is apparently due to the now-in “feminist revolt”. Women in today’s time even pursued separate careers, which seemed to have bothered the writers a little too much.

The composition felt like a significant step back as opposed to all the progress that we as a community are trying to make to achieve equity in the already very patriarchal system. The ministry has decided to award full marks to the students for the question in concern, but we are concerned about the ideologies and thoughts that question the very structure that we work to amend, which matters way more than marks. 

The CBSE English Board Exam & Sexism: Why Indian Education Has To Do Better  - Homegrown
CBSE Board Exams (Source: Homegrown)

Texas Abortion Law

2021 also saw the rise of a rather unconstitutional law, which garnered outcries all across the globe. The abortion law passed by the Texas Capitol was controversial, to say the least, and was followed by active lash outs all across social media (also known as the “I stand for this but can’t literally” podium) followed by a fierce legal battle. The law set out to ban abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy – a period before which many women are not even aware of their pregnancy. The exact meaning of the law implied a ban on abortions once there is the detection of cardiac activity in the foetus. 

One of the major reasons the law received humongous hate was its very formulation from a conservative approach and the fact that it did not outline any exceptions in case of rape or incest. Even on medical grounds, the law did not precisely indicate an exception and stated that it could be exempted only if the pregnancy critically endangered the mother’s life. The law immediately gathered protests worldwide as it blatantly targeted an individual’s will to exercise freedom of their body. Banners and posters advocating “My Body, My Choice” flooded Instagram and Twitter to let the world know how fundamentally flawed the law is. It attacked constitutional human rights and was seen as a personal threat to a woman’s liberty. 

However, the supreme court has so far not revoked the law, and the battle continues as the world awaits to see an end result that does not focus on regulating women’s bodies when already a lot of it is sold on social media. Well, because, after all, women’s bodies are more regulated than guns.

US Supreme Court says Texas abortion clinics can sue over law - BBC News
Protests in Streets (Source: BBC)

#FreeBritney Wins

Long time Britney fans began the #FreeBritney movement this year to vocalise the fact that the singer herself wants to be legally free of the conservatorship she had been in for the past 12 years. Jamie Spears, father of Britney Spears, piloted her conservatorship after Britney’s breakdown and consequential hospitalisation. The demand for Britney’s legal freedom steered from a justified point of view as her career never faltered after her return from rehab. 

The protest steered itself as she was denied control of her life despite her demand for the same. The singer made parts of her conservatorship documentation open to the public and expressed her support for standing up for her fans. The documents released to the people made the world question how it was right for another individual to control her life, even when the need for the “temporary” conservatorship could not be justified now.

After a long-drawn legal battle and being denied her right to be free from the fists of a rather unhealthy conservatorship several times – Britney Spears’s conservatorship was terminated on the 12th of November, 2021. 

It was a long battle for individual peace and freedom, and it makes us wonder how controlling people can get even if it is the world they’re reflecting onto. However, “the legendary Ms Britney Spears” fought her way out, and now, #Britney is #Free.

FreeBritney: Apa yang Sebenarnya Terjadi dengan Britney Spears? - USS Feed

Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan

Kabul fell into the Taliban’s hands after the U.S. government pulled out all its troops from Afghanistan after nearly 20 years. After the 9/11 incident, the U.S. wanted to deliver justice to Osama Bin Laden and degrade the terrorist threat operating from Afghanistan. Joe Biden, the current President of the United States of America, promised to withdraw the troops and end “America’s longest war”. On 15th August 2021, the Taliban took over Kabul and the presidential palace hours after President Ghani fled.

Six thousand U.S. troops were deployed to evacuate U.S. and allied personnel and secure Kabul’s international airport, where chaos erupted as thousands of Afghans attempted to flee. We saw in numerous news articles where Afghans tried to run from the country by holding on to the aircraft’s wheels. The tyranny of the Taliban on women, disbarring them from continuing education and putting a stop to their professional lives, all in the name of “upholding women’s rights under Islam”.

The country went into uncertainty as the economy collapsed. The widespread hunger and significant section of the population have crippled Afghanistan. The prices of food and other basic amenities went skyrocketing beyond the reach of the people to afford them. Various Social groups from countries around the world extended their helping hands to help Afghan life return to normalcy.

The Taliban government in Afghanistan now promises a forward society with more importance to education and women’s rights than they had advocated in the past, but what will happen is currently up to speculation.

This article was written by Shristi S


The official media house of NIT Trichy.

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