As 2021 comes to an end, here’s a recap of 10 of our most popular stories this year.

Collage of Tejasvi Surya, Puneeth Rajkumar, Meenakshi Sundareshwar
Features TNM Wrap 2021 Friday, December 24, 2021 - 18:24

It has been a difficult year for many of us – the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns, vaccine inequity, the new normal… Economies continue to struggle, and The News Minute has felt the pinch too. However, we have worked hard to bring you stories and perspectives on all things south India, including politics, trends, health, entertainment and investigations. As 2021 comes to an end, here’s a recap of some of our most popular stories this year.

A father-daughter duo from Andhra Pradesh who moved the nation

Remember the photo of a male police officer saluting his female colleague which went viral? Well, turns out it was a father-daughter duo, Circle Inspector Y Shyam Sundar and Yendluru Jessy Prasanthi, who was then posted as the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) of Guntur district. In a moment that warmed hearts, the father saluted his daughter in Tirupati. Revisit Paul Oomen’s story, where he also spoke to Jessy, here.

Threatened, killed for love – the heartbreaking story of Arbaaz Aftab

TNM reported a series of stories on communal hate this year. One story that resonated most with our readers is that of Arbaaz, a 23-year-old man in Karnataka’s Belagavi, who was allegedly killed by Hindu vigilantes for being in a consensual relationship with a Hindu woman. His dismembered body was found on a railway track on September 28, and evidence that was discovered made his family believe it was premeditated murder. Read Prajwal Bhat’s story which pieces together the evidence, and has interviews with the family, here.

Drishyam 2 and what it got right

The Mohanlal-starrer Drishyam duology are classic thrillers, made even more special because for a change, a sequel of a film, made years later, did not disappoint. Jeethu Joseph’s sequel went a step ahead in fact and changed what its predecessor had gotten wrong about sexual violence. With the thrills, chills, twists and turns, and better messaging, Sowmya Rajendran’s analysis of Drishyam 2 hits the nail on the head on what it gets right about sexual violence. Read it here.

A dog, a leopard, and a nail-biting video

A stray dog in Karnataka’s Bilinele village found itself in a living nightmare – trapped in a toilet with just a commode separating it from a leopard, for at least seven hours. In February, there were videos that went viral, people who gathered to catch a glimpse of the scene, and police and Forest Department officials trying to tranquilise and capture the leopard. Want to know what happened? Read Prajwal Bhat’s story, complete with videos, here.

The PAN-Aadhaar linking conundrum

In March, India once again extended the deadline to link PAN Card and Aadhaar – a contentious issue with implications pertaining to privacy and surveillance. Data, governance and internet researcher Srinivas Kodali isn’t for it and doesn’t want to link the two if he can help it. Read his take on why he thinks this is a problematic requirement here.

Police apathy left Bengaluru woman to deal with goons

This harrowing case was reported by Soumya Chatterjee in April, when a woman’s frantic messages, to seek help against goons allegedly sent at the behest of her father, were shared on social media. The Bengaluru resident and her mother found themselves scared and helpless when calls to the police were of little help even as 15-20 goons attempted to break into their Banaswadi residence. Read the report here.

Vaccines, shortage, and second doses

With the threat of Omicron looming, there is a growing demand in India for booster vaccine shots, at least for those who are most vulnerable. But remember when we were all trying to find CoWIN slots to get vaccinated, and there were dedicated groups on instant messaging apps announcing when slots opened? Yeah, that was just months ago. Many of us were wondering what would happen if we missed the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or were delayed in getting it due to a host of reasons – getting COVID-19 in between shots, shortage of vaccines, etc. In this story from April, Cris asked doctors what would happen in these situations.

Tejasvi Surya’s ‘Islamophobic’ raid and its fallouts

TNM editor-in-chief Dhanya Rajendran spoke to 16 young Muslim men whose lives took a turn for the worst after BJP MP Tejasvi Surya’s ‘raid’ pertaining to an alleged bed-booking scam at a COVID-19 War Room in Bengaluru. The raid, conveniently, singled out the 16 Muslims out of the 205 people working there. In this extensive story from July, the men speak about what the fallouts of the ‘raid’ have been, what they lost, and what the future holds for them. Read their accounts here.

Puneeth Rajkumar’s death, the questions around fitness and heart attacks

Actor Puneeth Rajkumar’s death on October 29 was possibly one of the most shocking deaths of 2021. He was just 46, fit, and had just finished a workout at the gym when the fatal heart attack caused him to breathe his last. In the aftermath, there were many questions about exercising and heart attacks – a link about which Aditi Kumar asked doctors. Read what they had to say here.

The atrocities of Meenakshi Sundareshwar

Vivek Soni’s Meenakshi Sundareshwar that released on Netflix in November was the talk of the town… but for all the wrong reasons here in the south. Oversimplifying Tamil culture, butchering pronunciations, and celebrating a bad Thalaivar film (Darbar) over so many good ones – none of this is new for Bollywood, but it is getting increasingly stale. We had Bharathy Singaravel write a  blow-by-blow account of what she experienced as a Tamilian watching the film. To be entertained by her agony, click here.

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