The Person (Thing) of the Year 2023 award goes to…

Pawan Luthra reflects on the most significant moments of 2023 with Indian Link’s unofficial end of the year award ceremony.

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It has dominated headlines almost daily, forced us all to adjust our lifestyles, and been a global phenomenon. There is not a country in the world that is not fighting it. At social gatherings, we shake our heads and say it out loud: Inflation.

At the end of a tumultuous year, Indian Link picks Inflation as the issue that has most affected us. No, it was not a politician, sports star or influencer who dominated our lives in 2023. Even Macquarie Dictionary’s choice for word of the year, ‘Cozzie livs’ (for cost of living), is a reference to this vexing issue.

In other accolades, we have the Traveller of the Year 2023 award – going to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who visited 18 countries (including the US three times and India twice). Mr Albanese had three close and meaningful interactions with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Two of these were in bilateral visits to each other’s countries – which will be remembered as much for the boost to relations as for the stunning visuals of floral showers, golden chariots and a couple of packed stadiums. The third was during the G20 hosted by India.  

Closer to home here in Australia, the most anticipated event of the year went on to break many hearts. The referendum for a First Nations Voice to Parliament divided the community and was exploited well by Peter Dutton and the team leading the No campaign. A bipartisan opportunity to show strength in our collective community’s goodwill was not to be. While Dutton may have won the battle, time will tell if he has lost the war for leading the country at the next federal election in 2025. The Spoiler of the Year 2023 award has to go to Peter Dutton.

And this brings us to leading Australia in sport. Walt Whitman’s 1865 poem ‘O Captain! My Captain!’ extolled the virtues of assassinated US President Abraham Lincoln. In a happier mode, the captain who led 10 men in green and gold, Pat Cummins, captured our hearts and minds. In a hugely successful year, he brought home three trophies: the Ashes, the ICC World Test Championship, and most recently, the ICC Cricket World Cup. Pat Cummins is our Sports Hero of the Year.

Our Trend of the Year 2023 goes to the corporate take-up of the Hindu Festival of Lights, Diwali. The small-scale celebrations of decades ago grew from local community halls to melas (fairs) in stadiums, then began to include the mainstream on city streets and central sites. Now, they’ve extended to the board rooms. Major banks such as ANZ and Westpac, government organisations such as Transport NSW and Sydney Water, and many schools and universities have all taken to lighting their own lamps at Diwali. It helps bring a bit of lustre in these dark times as we reflect on the triumph of humanity and truth over darker forces.

Scientific Achievement of the Year 2023 award will have to go to India’s moon mission Chandrayaan-3. On August 23, India became the fourth nation ever to land a spacecraft on the moon (following Russia, USA and China), and notably, the first ever to touch its South Pole. That it did so with the smallest ever budget is also cause for admiration: the Indian Space Research Organisation launched the project in 2020 with just US$75 million and reached fruition successfully. Such was the pride in this achievement that the Ganesh Festival, which came only weeks after, was replete with Chandrayaan mentions in the worship and decorations, even here in Australia. 

We now look to the next festive season to bask in the warmth of Christmas. Heading into 2024, on behalf of all at Indian Link, I wish you happiness and health, peace and harmony.

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Pawan Luthra
Pawan Luthra
Pawan is the publisher of Indian Link and is one of Indian Link's founders. He writes the Editorial section.

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