The year 2022 is marked with several political events, birth anniversaries, big film premieres and much more. While some important anniversaries include Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years as the reigning monarch and the Queen Mother of Thailand turning 90, the year marks milestone anniversaries for films such as The Godfather and Titanic.
Meanwhile, for nations such as India, which will complete 75 years of Independence, and Kuala Lumpur, which will commemorate the city’s official formation 50 years ago, 2022 has more reasons to celebrate.
Anniversaries to mark in 2022: A look at some of the most important events
17 January: 100th birth anniversary of Betty White
The legendary American actress was born on 17 January 1922 in Oak Park, Illinois, US. White is considered a trailblazer in the world of entertainment.
As early as 1952, White co-founded her own production company while creating benchmarks as a comedy performer with television shows such as Life with Elizabeth (1952-1955) and Date with the Angels (1957-1958).
Two of her best-known works are The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1973-1977) and The Golden Girls (1985-1992). In 2010, she hosted Saturday Night Live following public demand. She was 88.
A winner of multiple Emmy awards, White also won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t) in 2012. White has continued appearing in shows and movies throughout the 2010s, including Hot in Cleveland (2010-2015), Young & Hungry (2017) and as the voice of toy tiger Bitey White in Toy Story 4 (2019).
23 January: 125th birth anniversary of Netaji
Subhas Chandra Bose, popularly known by his honorific Netaji (‘Respected Leader’, in English), is widely hailed in India as one of the greatest freedom fighters of the country.
Bose was born into a Bengali family in Cuttack, Orissa Division of Bengal Province in British India (now just Odisha in India) on 23 January 1897. He passed the civil service examination in England but returned to India to participate in the freedom struggle in the early 1920s.
In the initial years, he joined the Indian National Congress and supported Mahatma Gandhi. He rose through the ranks in the party and became its president in 1938. However, a disagreement with Gandhi forced him to resign, and he founded the Forward Bloc.
In 1941, while placed under house arrest by the British rulers, Bose made a daring escape at night. He reached Peshawar and then went all the way to Kabul, from where he travelled first to Moscow and eventually reached Berlin. In 1943, he arrived in Tokyo and assumed control of the Indian Independence Movement in East Asia from Rash Behari Bose and reorganised the Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National Army), comprising Indian soldiers who had been made prisoners of war by the Japanese.
The Azad Hind Fauj achieved major successes during World War II as it marched towards India to free the country from British rule.
But the defeat of Japan and Germany in World War II came as a blow to the Azad Hind Fauj. Bose himself is believed to have been killed in an air crash over Taihoku, Formosa (now Taipei, Taiwan), on 18 August 1945.
In 2021, the Indian government announced that Netaji’s birthday will be recognised as Parakram Diwas (Day of Courage).
1 February: 50th anniversary of the declaration of Kuala Lumpur as the first city in Malaysia
A host of programmes has been lined up, as the Malaysian capital gears up to celebrate its golden jubilee on 1 February 2022.
“Among the programmes to be held are a Kuala Lumpur Writing Competition, Kuala Lumpur Drum (Gendang) and Dance Festival, Karnival Ohhh Kuala Lumpur, Festival Nostalgia Kuala Lumpur-KL Dulu and Jom Makan Festival,” said Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim to the media earlier in October 2021. A virtual Citizen’s Day (Hari Rakyat) interaction programme is also part of the plan.
Kuala Lumpur was originally founded in 1857 by Raja Abdullah, a member of the Selangor royal family. It was first populated by a group of Chinese miners who settled near what is now Ampang. For the next 100 years, especially during British rule, the city continued progressing from a small settlement to a major centre of trade and commerce.
Following the country’s independence in 1957, Kuala Lumpur became the state capital of the Federation of Malaya. Eventually, Kuala Lumpur gained its city status in 1972 with a mayor by a royal charter granted by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia. Two years later, it became a Federal Territory.
6 February: 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II as the British monarch
The platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign is certainly among the major anniversaries of 2022 to look forward to. The 95-year-old Queen will become the first British monarch to complete 70 years on the throne, to which she acceded on 6 February 1952.
Several public events and community activities have been planned for the occasion. These include The Queen’s Birthday Parade (Trooping the Colour) on the first day of the extended bank holiday from 2 to 5 June. Beacons marking jubilee celebrations will be lit throughout the UK and, according to a Royal Family announcement, in capital cities of Commonwealth countries for the first time to mark the Platinum Jubilee celebration of the Queen.
Part of the celebrations is a Platinum Party — a live concert from Buckingham Palace, featuring some of the world’s biggest entertainers. The event will be staged and broadcast by the BBC.
14 March: 50th anniversary of the premiere of The Godfather
When it comes to films depicting mob bosses or gangsters, The Godfather is truly the most iconic film. Starring Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone, the ageing patriarch of the Corleone family in New York, The Godfather is loved for memorable performances, dialogues, story, direction, music, cinematography and action.
Based on Mario Puzo’s 1969 novel, director Francis Ford Coppola gives the story its soul by vividly depicting the dangerous world of mafia families with a degree of solemn sympathy towards its members.
The Godfather is counted among the world’s best films ever made, with critics showering praises on it for years since its New York premiere on 14 March 1972. The film won three Oscars — Best Picture, Best Actor (for Brando) and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (for Puzo and Coppola). It was nominated in eight other categories.
Other than Brando, the cast includes Al Pacino as Michael, Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen, James Caan as Sonny and Diane Keaton as Kay Adams.
20 May: 90th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s solo flight
Aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart created history as the first woman and the second person since Charles Lindbergh to fly solo nonstop across the Atlantic on 20 May 1932.
Piloting a Lockheed Vega, Earhart flew from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, Canada for Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Some 15 hours later, on 21 May, she landed safely at the destination.
She flew another nonstop solo flight the same year, this time across the continental US from Los Angeles, California, to Newark, New Jersey, in around 19 hours on 24-25 August.
After setting numerous records in a short span, Earhart attempted a circumnavigation of the world with co-pilot Frederick J. Noonan in 1937. Unfortunately, their plane disappeared near Howland Island in the South Pacific on 2 July, and they have since been presumed dead.
25 May: 45th anniversary of Star Wars
George Lucas’s Star Wars (now known as Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope) was released on 25 May 1977 and transformed the way sci-fi films are made. Made on a budget of less than USD 10 million, the film garnered USD 500 million during its initial run.
The story of a Jedi knight mentored by a Jedi grandmaster to take on a ruthless galactic empire stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness, Peter Cushing, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, and David Prowse in key roles that have since been immortalised.
The film won seven Academy Awards and countless other honours and led to two direct sequels. Since then, the Star Wars franchise has spawned nine more films, serving as prequels, sequels and spin-offs to the original trilogy. It has been backed by television serials both live-action and animated besides comic books, novels and video games.
21 June and 9 January: 40th birthdays of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, is the older of the two children of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana. He was born on 21 June 1982. His wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, was born on 9 January the same year.
The Duke and the Duchess married in a much-publicised event in 2011. They have three children — Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Both the Duke and the Duchess are known for their charitable works and patronages of several trusts and humanitarian causes.
1 July: 25th anniversary of the Handover of Hong Kong
Britain handed over control of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China on 1 July 1997, following the end of a 99-year lease period. Hong Kong had become British territory after China lost the Opium War in 1842. Years later, in 1898, the UK had acquired on lease other islands in the vicinity.
According to the terms of the handover, negotiations for which began in 1982, China agreed on the “one country, two systems” idea under which Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region. Thus, Hong Kong SAR could retain autonomy in everything, except defence and foreign affairs, for 50 years starting in 1997. The year 2047 onwards, China is not bound to grant autonomy to Hong Kong.
But the concept has come under severe stress in the region in two decades.
During British rule, Hong Kong developed a democratic political system, which is the polar opposite of the authoritarian one-party Communist rule practised in China since 1949. In the 25 years since becoming part of China, proponents of democracy are of the view that Hong Kong’s freedom is under threat from Beijing. Major protests erupted in 2019 against Beijing’s interference in the SAR’s political freedom, which led to even more restrictions imposed on the people by a pro-Beijing government in Hong Kong.
12 August: 90th birthday of Queen Sirikit, The Queen Mother of Thailand
Queen Sirikit, the Queen Mother of Thailand, turns 90 on 12 August 2022. Her birthday is widely celebrated in Thailand as Mother’s Day.
Born to His Highness Prince Chandaburi Suranath and Mom Luang Bua Kitiyakara, the Queen Mother was educated in Thailand, France, Denmark and England.
She met King Bhumibol Adulyadej in Paris. The two were engaged in Lausanne on 19 July 1949 and married on 28 April 1950 at the Pathumwan Palace in Bangkok. They have three daughters and one son — the reigning King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
The Queen was active in humanitarian works for years. She worked for refugees from Cambodia and Myanmar through the Thai Red Cross and was also on hand to help following the devastating tsunami in 2004.
Following the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and the accession of their son to the throne, Queen Sirikit became Queen Mother.
15 August: 75 years of India’s independence
After over a century of struggle, India gained freedom from British rule on 15 August 1947.
In the last 75 years, India has strengthened itself as the world’s largest democracy. Its economic growth has been tremendous, especially since the economic liberalisation in the early 1990s. Today, India is a major power in all spheres, from cultural to technological.
Known and appreciated for its diversity, India symbolises the harmonious coexistence of beings with nature as much as it underlines the indomitable spirit of pluralism in all walks of life.
The Indian government recognises 1947 as the first year of independence, which is why the nation celebrated the 75th anniversary of India’s freedom in 2021. Nevertheless, the completion of 75 years makes it one of the most important historical anniversaries of 2022.
31 August: 25th death anniversary of Princess Diana
Princess Diana was travelling in a Mercedes-Benz with her then-boyfriend Emad “Dodi” Fayed on the night of 31 August 1997, when the car crashed into a pillar inside a tunnel along the Seine River at the Pont de l’Alma bridge. The car was travelling at a high speed, with the paparazzi chasing the vehicle.
While Fayed and the car’s driver, Henri Paul, died on the spot, Diana was taken to Paris’ Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital with serious injuries. Doctors’ attempts to save her were in vain, and she was pronounced dead by the ensuing morning.
Trevor Rees-Jones, Diana’s bodyguard, was the only survivor of the tragedy. Paul was later found to have a blood-alcohol level three times over the limit set by French laws. In 2008, a jury concluded an inquest, which ruled that Diana’s death was because of “unlawful killing” by Henri Paul and the paparazzi.
Her funeral, held on 6 September 1997, was watched by 2.5 million people around the world. Singer Elton John performed a version of his 1973 song “Candle in the Wind” during the funeral held at London’s Westminster Abbey.
5 September: 25th death anniversary of Mother Teresa
Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Ottoman Empire (now the capital of North Macedonia), on 26 August 1910, Mother Teresa was hailed universally as one of the greatest personalities of the 20th century. A beacon of hope to the dying and destitute among the poor in India, she breathed her last in Calcutta (now Kolkata) on 5 September 1997.
She founded the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, a group of women tending to the poor and deprived in India, in 1950. Many such missionaries are now present across the world and continue to provide relief and care to those neglected by society, including people affected by leprosy, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
For her inspiring service to humanity, Mother Teresa was honoured with some of the highest awards in the world. In 1979, she was honoured with the Nobel Prize for Peace for her “constructive efforts to do away with hunger and poverty, and to ensure for mankind safer and better world community in which to develop.”
Following year, the Indian government conferred upon her the Bharat Ratna — the country’s highest civilian honour.
In 2003, Mother Teresa was beatified by the Holy See. Thirteen years later, Pope Francis I canonised her, which led to her being known as Saint Teresa of Calcutta. The canonisation was attended by tens of thousands of pilgrims at St Peter’s Square in the Vatican City.
5 September: 50th anniversary of Munich Olympics massacre
Eight members of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September launched a deadly terror attack at the Olympic Village in Munich, West Germany, on 5 September 1972. They entered the area where the Israeli Olympic team was housed and, following a brief struggle, killed two athletes and took nine others hostage.
The group then demanded the release of 200 Palestinians from Israeli prisons as well as the release of Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof of the Red Army Faction, a Far Left terrorist organisation, from German imprisonment. Their demands included a safe passage to the Middle East via an airplane.
But everything went catastrophically wrong when the German police tried to prevent the terrorists from escaping. A lack of preparedness made worse by botched coordination and the darkness of the night led to the deaths of all hostages in a gunbattle between the police and terrorists. When the dust settled, one cop and five terrorists were dead. Three of the remaining Black September members were captured.
Responding with an iron hand, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir authorised Operation Wrath of God, a special operation carried out by Mossad to eliminate every member of Black September who was involved in any manner with the Munich massacre. On the other hand, the mishandling of the incident led Germany to create the Grenzschutzgruppe 9, better known as GSG 9 — one of the world’s best counter-terror forces.
18 October: 100th anniversary of the founding of BBC
The BBC was founded as the British Broadcasting Company on 18 October 1922 in London, England. The same year, on 14 November, the BBC started daily broadcasting from 2LO, Guglielmo Marconi’s London studio.
In 1927, a Royal Charter established the BBC as the British Broadcasting Corporation. It enjoyed a monopoly in television in Britain till 1954 and in radio till 1972.
The BBC has been among the world’s most reputed services in news, radio and television programming. Among its famous shows are Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, MasterChef, Top Gear, Sherlock and Mr. Bean.
The BBC is especially known for covering significant events centred on the royal family, including the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in the 1950s and Prince Charles’ wedding to Lady Diana Spencer (later Princess Diana) in 1981.
It enjoys complete independence in its operations even though it is answerable to the Parliament. Operations are overseen by the BBC Trust, the members of whom are appointed by the British monarch.
28 October: 50th anniversary of Airbus A300 first flight
For one hour and 23 minutes on 28 October 1972, an Airbus A300B flew from Toulouse, France, marking a significant first flight for not just the company but also commercial aviation.
A300 was the first airliner built by Airbus, which was formed only two years ago as a consortium of aircraft makers in France and Germany to take on American dominance in aviation. The A300 programme was officially launched at the 1969 Paris Airshow. Two years before the first flight, Airbus had secured its first order of six A300s from Air France.
The A300, which was fitted with GE CF6-50A engines, was the world’s first wide-body twin-aisle commercial aircraft. The Airbus A300 was also the first passenger aircraft to use composites in the body. It has since become one of the most successful airliner families with variants of the A300 in operation with major airliners around the world.
4 November: 100th anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb
The discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun is known as one of the greatest finds of the 20th century.
After years of quest in the sands of Egypt, British Egyptologist Howard Carter made a final attempt to find the mysterious tomb of the Egyptian boy king. Funded by Lord Carnarvon, Carter’s mission eventually yielded success on 4 November 1922 when his team found the tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
Hidden from the world for 3,000 years, the tomb contained riches beyond anyone’s imagination. “As my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold — everywhere the glint of gold,” wrote Carter.
The mummy of Tutankhamun would be recovered a few weeks later. It was the first royal Egyptian mummy found untouched since burial.
The discovery continues to mesmerise people because of the mystery around the Egyptian Pharaoh and the possibility of more chambers hidden within the tomb.
27 November: 80th birth anniversary of Jimi Hendrix
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognises Jimi Hendrix as “the most gifted instrumentalist of all time”.
Hendrix had a career lasting only four years. However, he redefined how electric guitar is played in that short period, despite not knowing to read or write music. Born on 27 November 1942, Hendrix showed interest in music at an early age.
His father, James “Al” Hendrix, encouraged young Hendrix to pursue his interest. After briefly serving in the United States Army as a paratrooper, Hendrix entered the world of music with small gigs. His career took off when he arrived in England in 1966.
Here, Hendrix produced his first masterpiece, “Hey Joe”, as part of the group The Jimi Hendrix Experience. This was followed by “Purple Haze” and “The Wind Cries Mary” among other hits.
In 1967, he became a worldwide sensation for his performance at the Monterey International Pop Festival. Pressures of performance led to the disbanding of the group in 1969, but Hendrix was in a league of his own already.
Following the performance at Woodstock Music & Art Fair, he re-formed The Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1970. However, he passed away on 18 September the same year.
30 December: 100 years of establishment of Soviet Union
Officially known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.), the Soviet Union was formed on 30 December 1922 by four constituents of the Russian Empire founded after the 1917 Revolution. These were the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, the Transcaucasian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and the and Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Over the next few years, other SSRs, including Turkmen, Uzbek and Tadzhik, joined the USSR — the largest country in the world throughout its existence. Its greatest extent was from 1946 to its fall in 1991.
11 December: 100th birth anniversary of Dilip Kumar
Born Mohammed Yusuf Khan in Qissa Khwani Bazaar, Peshawar, British India (now Pakistan), on 11 December 1922, Dilip Kumar, as he was better known, was one of the greatest actors in Indian cinematic history.
His career began with Jwar Bhata in 1944 and continued for six decades. The films that Dilip Kumar starred in were both critically and commercially successful and are thus considered classics today. These include Andaz (1949), Aan (1952), Devdas (1955), Naya Daur (1957), Mughal-e–Azam (1960), Ganga Jamuna (1961), Ram Aur Shyam (1967), Kranti (1981), Karma (1986), and Saudagar (1991).
For his unparalleled contribution to cinema, Kumar was honoured with two of India’s highest civilian honours — the Padma Bhushan in 1991 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2015. He was also honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the nation’s highest cinematic honour, in 1994. He is also the only Indian conferred with the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, one of the highest decorations in Pakistan.
Kumar passed away at 98 on 7 July 2021 in Mumbai, India.
19 December: 25th anniversary of the release of Titanic
Titanic, a James Cameron directorial masterpiece, hit theatres on 19 December 1997. Twenty-five years later, it is still counted among the greatest films of all time.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, both of whom became international superstars with the film, Titanic is essentially a tragic tale of romance between two people separated by social class. On a larger scale, the story is based on the real-life tragedy that befell RMS Titanic on its maiden voyage on 15 April 1912.
Following its release, Titanic received several accolades. The honours included 11 Academy Awards, which helped Titanic equal the record set by Ben Hur (1959) as the winner of most Oscars by a film. Titanic is currently the third-highest-grossing film of all time, having earned over USD 2.2 billion since its release.
1922: 100th anniversary of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses in novel form
Irish writer James Joyce’s Ulysses is universally hailed as one of the finest works in literature. The book appeared in a serialised form in the American magazine Little Review from 1918 to 1920.
The text was considered obscene at the time; thus, its publication in novel form hit rough weather. Eventually, in 1922, Sylvia Beach, owner of Shakespeare and Company bookshop in Paris, published Ulysses in book form. Interestingly, the year was also Joyce’s 40th birthday.
Joyce was inspired to base the novel on Homer’s epic poem, Odyssey. In fact, Ulysses is the Latin name of Odysseus, and the story of the protagonist of Ulysses, Leopold Bloom, mirrors the adventures of Homer’s hero. The entire story of Ulysses is set on one day — 16 June 1904.
(Main image: © 1972 Paramount Pictures/IMDb; Featured image: The Royal Family/@RoyalFamily/Twitter)