19 June, 2021

Let There Be Franchise For All

The 1951 election was a landmark in history, with the electoral roll becoming a marker of citizenship. This book is a homage to the gargantuan achievement.

Let There Be Franchise For All

“An electoral roll on the basis of universal franchise prepared and maintained as accurately and as up-to-date as possible, was the plinth upon which the institutions of electoral demo­cracy would rest.” Thus writes Ornit Shani, capturing the very ess­ence of Indian democracy and the reason why she undertakes the task of exploring the “greatest experiment in democratic human history”.

How India became Democratic is a never-told-before story of the first general elections in India and the administrative efforts that went behind it. Shani has put in tremendous research—the archival materials that form the bedrock of this narrative were literally excavated by her from the basement of the Election Commission of India. Building on this rich material, the book is a vivid and fascinating tale of how the first voter list was drawn by far-sighted bureaucrats even before Election Commission of India was born and even before the 552 princely states were integrated into the newly-formed country.

On attaining...

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