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Belief in the Ballot - 101 Human Stories from Indian Elections

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Item Code: NAK244
Publisher: Publication Division, Ministry Of Information And Broadcasting
Language: English
Edition: 2016
ISBN: 9788123020891
Pages: 248 (Throughout Color Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 9.5 inch X 6.5 inch
Weight 610 gm
Fully insured
Fully insured
Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
23 years in business
23 years in business
Book Description


Conducting elections in India is a mammoth exercise e, a the numbers involved, of the election functionaries and the electors put together, during any general election are mind-boggling. Difficult terrains, different socio-political situations, law and order problem , voter's apathy or lack of awareness, and many other such issues, are tackled by election officials at the grassroots level, with the help and assistance .of the local community. The whole process of the conduct of an election is rolled out with collective will power, and humongous efforts. The entire exercise is conducted in such a timely and smooth manner, that the culminating point of casting a vote at a Polling Station is perceived to be an exceptionally easy task to be accomplished by simply pressing a button.

Elections are all about people; about their choices, their dreams and aspirations.

The road to democracy in India is paved with stories of millions of people who work behind the scenes and whose determination, grit and bravery have been instrumental in overcoming multiple challenges for ensuring smooth, free and fair conduct of elections. It is my pleasure to note that an effort to recognize their immense contribution has been made by documenting their stories in short narratives; these are human stories, as we prefer to call them, of the faceless, nameless and unsung heroes of the Indian elections. It is heartening to note that the Chief Electoral Officers of almost all the states have contributed to the first volume of these stories. The Publications Division, Mini try of Information and Broadcasting deserve compliments for publishing this first volume in record time.

Documenting the efforts of the election officials and voters of this country is not only a social obligation but also a sincere attempt to profile real actors and participants in Indian democracy. This collection of human interest stories would go a long way in inspiring and motivating many more sentinels of Indian democracy. It would also motivate election functionaries to carry on their task of conduct of elections with renewed zest and dedication. I wish this volume all success and dedicate it to the unknown heroes who dedicatedly work behind the scenes for the Indian elections to resoundingly succeed.



The Elections in India are testament to the vibrancy of the world's largest democracy. They are a true representation of the spirit of "We, the People", as enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution. The belief in the ballot is the driving force behind the success of this mammoth exercise and it includes the officials, functionaries, but most importantly the common people who brave all odds to exercise their voting right and celebrate democracy.

When we talk of elections in India, we talk in terms of millions. For example the 2014 General Elections to the Indian Parliament saw 83.4 million registered voters; 55.4 million voted at 0.94 million Polling Stations with the aid of 6.7 million election personnel (including police personnel). It does not end there. During a General election, while one part of the country may be reeling under temperatures up to 45 degrees Celsius, another would be covered with snow, and yet another part would be lashed with incessant rains. Polling Station locations could be inaccessible, either deep inside a forest, or accessible only by foot or even boats, or at heights above 12,000 feet. This is a country where the geographical, social, cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity is huge; the immensity and the complexity of organising and conducting elections can be mind-boggling. Despite these challenges, elections have been conducted effectively and smoothly.

When the whole exercise is so enormous, for an outsider it may be difficult to conceive how it works like clockwork. There is a dedicated set of human resources behind the conduct of smooth, free and fair elections and obviously it would be impossible to know each one of them. These people, the election functionaries are in a league of their own; these are people, who take pride in this national work; who innovate and find solutions; who go beyond the call of duty to uphold the rich traditions of democracy and democratic elections. These are people who make personal sacrifices, to the extent of their lives in the call of duty; or people who stand and serve; these are the nameless, faceless and unsung heroes of the Indian elections. These unsung heroes are out there in the field, braving severe weather conditions and extremist activities, toiling day and night to ensure, even with limited availability of resources, that the millions of voters have a pleasant voting experience and political parties and candidates have a level playing field and the principles of the Indian Constitution are upheld in every way. We, as observers, might look at elections as a process in auto mode; that post announcement of polls, everything just falls into place and things begin to happen as per schedule. But the truth is that nothing would have worked but for the hard work and focussed energies of our election personnel.

With deep respect and acknowledgement for them, this compilation has attempted to give a glimpse into a part of their lives during elections - lives of pooling personnel, of Returning Officers, of office staff, of security personnel, etc. We cover diverse stories here ranging from personal experience narrations, attack on our teams by Left Wing Extremists, to how entire communities of voters were motivated to register and vote.

Then there are the voters, the youth, the CSOs, the media, the government departments, the women, etc. whose enthusiasm for electoral participation is so immense that it ends up being infectious; almost to epidemic levels! These are our partners. Several thousands, perhaps lakhs of them have supported us in their own small or big way by either casting their votes despite accentuating circumstances; or coming up with a creative way of generating awareness among voters; or helping us disseminate education and information among voters; or simply breaking the long and entrenched, orthodox views on voting rights for women and other excluded communities.

These stories are sourced from the states and each story has a different author - some mentioned by name, but there are some stories where the author has preferred not to reveal her/his name. Nothing new about the latter. In government we are taught to remain behind the scenes. Let someone else take the credit. We are fine with that as long as the work at hand gets done. At this juncture I would like to put a disclaimer: these stories do not represent the entire gamut of lives of the election personnel or the entire set of innovative solutions found for voter education and other activities for conducting a poll. This is just a representative sample. And these are short narratives, just enough to maintain your undivided attention.

Through this anthology, we present to the reader stories of grit, of sacrifice, of comedy, of hope, of creativity, of enthusiasm, and the diversity of experiences that cumulatively bring the picture of the story of elections in India.




  From the North  
1 If We cannot Fly, We will Walk 2
2 Making his Vote Count 4
3 Smart Advice 6
4 Smiles have the Best Reach 8
5 We call him B.D. 10
6 A Small Idea makes it Big 12
7 A True Soldier of Democracy 14
8 Voting with Gusto 16
9 A Family Tradition 18
10 Wooing Bundeli Way 20
11 Sex Workers Vote 22
12 Messengers with Magic 24
13 One Vote, One Choice 26
14 An Express Way 28
15 Different Strength 30
16 A Moment of Pride 32
17 You Have No Right to Criticise Unless ... 36
18 Lessons to the Oldest 38
19 The Homeless Heroes 40
20 Just a Call, to Sort out All 42
21 To Bhutan, with Love 44
22 A Chain for Freedom 46
23 Great Imprints 48
24 Vote ki Patti 50
25 Map and Pyramid Power 52
26 Grant Me a Wish! 54
  from the NORTH-EAST  
27 Voters Who Vote without Tenitory 60
28 "Hitler" caught by "Kennedy" 62
29 No party for these Polling Parties 64
30 All about an Accident 66
31 Nagaland Nuggets 68
32 Encounters of Elephantine Kind 72
33 A Scare that Ends Well 74
34 I Will Choose My Leader 76
35 Dolo's Deal 78
36 A Father's Devotion 80
37 Commitment away from all Supervision 82
38 Two in One 85
39 A Dauntless Front 86
40 Our wee little Bit of Nation-Building 88
41 Straw saves the Day and the Polls 90
42 A Reputation to Live up to! 92
43 A Lady Cop comes to the Rescue 94
  From the West  
44 The Diarsas and the Madhukars 98
45 The Man in a Baby Cart 102
46 Pledge on Salt 104
47 Polling Station for a Single Voter 108
48 The Bamboo People 110
49 Age No Bar 112
50 The Shortest Female Voter 114
51 To Hospital, with Inked Finger 116
52 Illiterate but Learned 118
53 In My Times 120
54 Voting against all Odds 122
55 Just Voted, Just Married 123
56 An All Women Affair 124
57 Duty Bound 126
58 It's a Holy Day 128
59 Postcards from the Unknown 130
60 An Icon's Initiative 132
61 Satipatis of the Dang 134
  From Central India  
62 A Note to Self 138
63 Ethical Performance 140
64 Vote is Mightier than the Sting 142
65 Mera Vote, Mera Gaurav 144
66 In the Driver's Seat 148
67 A Few Good Men 152
68 A Bride's Choice 153
  from the EAST  
69 "Chal BhagYahan Se Warna ... " 156
70 A Scholar Speaks 160
71 Sentinel's Story 162
72 Democracy Wins In Purulia 166
73 Villagers Question 168
74 The Face of SVEEP 170
75 Conjoined Sisters 172
76 One BLO and two Generations 174
77 Manned by Women 176
78 A Destitute Girls' Home 178
79 Cycling to complete the Circle 180
80 The A to Z of Elections 182
81 Why Anup Singha Votes 184
82 Carpenter's Commitment 186
83 Rashmi and Abdul Chacha 188
84 Kaka Gopali Ensures Voting 190
85 Patna Guitar Circle 192
86 Nidhi gives Voting a Voice 193
  from the SOUTH  
87 Empowering Many Suganya 196
88 What doe an EVM look like? 198
89 I Vote with my Mouth 200
90 Making Hay while the Sun Shines 202
91 The Pillar and the Foundation 204
92 Going Strong at 102 205
93 The Comedy of Wearer 206
94 Steadfast ex-Serviceman 207
95 Salute to Her! 208
96 Campaign V A T AN 210
  and SOME MORE ...  
97 Frankly Speaking ... 214
98 Giving Spirits a Face 218
99 A Legal Legend 220
100 Humour from the Archives 224
101 Through a Young Prism 227


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