22 October, 2020

Slogans Zindabad: The Changing Poll Rhetoric In Making Of Modern India

Nehruvian clarion calls, socialist barbs, Indira’s promises, Anna’s vows, Janata’s stings, Rajiv’s fall and Modi’s jibes...the story of Indian politics can be read through its demotic slogans

Slogans Zindabad: The Changing Poll Rhetoric In Making Of Modern India

This ancient land of festivals sublime and gaudy, awash in colour and passion, had conceived its greatest celebration merely seven decades ago. In scale, scope and the sheer stakes involved, elections are our largest festival. One based on universal adult franchise, in which every Indian adult participates on an equal basis irrespective of caste, education, ideology, language, religion and wealth. The first general elections in 1952 included a ten-fold increase in the number of voters. The Election Commission of India met the challenge of ensuring a right for people to exercise their franchise by spreading the polling over 68 phases, from October 1951 to February 1952.

The sense of empowerment that this gave to people is reflected in the election posters of Daljit Singh, the Congress candidate for Safdarjung constituency in Delhi, in 1952, when he contested for a seat in the Delhi assembly. “The will of the people shall be the law of the state,” he ass­erted. Noor Uddin Ahmed, Congress candidate for Chawri Bazaar in the same election, highlighted the other...



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