A year wrapped: the wins and wonders

In the past 12 months, citizens from Tamil Nadu have made it to the global spotlight. As the curtains drop on 2023, CE presents a time capsule featuring people who created a buzz
For representational purposes
For representational purposes

Sengol sceptre
In August 1947, with India entering an era of liberation, the Saivite Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam handed over a Sengol sceptre to then-prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. This marked the country’s Independence and the transfer of power from the British. Over time, this golden artefact was forgotten in an Allahabad museum. In May 2023, it was installed as a ‘national symbol of the Amrit Kaal’ at the new Parliament building. The makers of the sceptre, city-based Vummidi Bangaru Jewellers  made it to the news. Meanwhile, activists, and political parties questioned the ruling government’s intentions to install the sceptre.

Checkmate moment
A departure from the usual squabbling sibling relationship, city-based Ramesh Babu Pragganandhaa, and Vaishali Ramesh Babu became the first sibling pair in history to become Chess Grandmasters. In December, 22-year-old Vaishali crossed the 2500 Federation Internationale des Echecs (FIDE) ratings to add the title to her name, becoming the third female Grandmaster from India. Her 18-year-old brother, Praggnanandhaa, earned the title, becoming the youngest Grandmaster of India in 2018. The siblings have participated and won together in competitions such as double bronze in the 2022 Olympiad and double Silver in the Asian Games, in 2023. 

Tale of two Leos
On October 19, theatres across Tamil Nadu were spilling with cinema buffs, hoping to be wowed by Lokesh Kanagaraj’s new Vijay-starrer ‘Leo’. The October 20 premiere of Martin Scorsese’s ‘Killers of The Flower Moon’, starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Lily Gladstone, was postponed to October 27. This Tamil language film crossed the `600 crore mark at the box office, overtaking ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’, and putting Vijay on the world map.

Lens of liberation
After almost two years of walking around with his camera and capturing the lives of people, Jaisingh Nageswaran from Madurai had a year of accomplishments in 2023. Jaisingh was able to showcase his photos to a global audience — Musée du Quai Branly Jacques Chirac Photography award (2023), KHOJ: Curatorial Intensive South Asia Fellowship (2023) and The Grand Prix winner: KYOTOGRAPHIE Photography Festival at Kyoto, Japan (2023). Documenting lives of marginalised communities, exploring themes of gender, caste discrimination, and issues of rural life, he hopes to keep telling stories through his lens. '

Visionary in virology
Since the lockdown period, the name  Dr Gagandeep Kang has been creating a buzz in the media. This microbiologist and researcher from Christian Medical College, Vellore is on advisory boards including the WHO. In 2023, she became the director of global health and joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington. After creating history as the inaugural Indian woman elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2019, she achieved another milestone by becoming an international member of the US National Academy of Medicine (NAM) this year.

(Compiled by Archita Raghu, Diya Maria George and Sonu M Kothari) 

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