INDIA: Of Sacred Cows and Squint-Eyed Uncles

In teeming India, everything happens in superlatives, including elections. Next week some 270 million people, the largest free electorate in the world, will be eligible to vote as the nation chooses a new, 515-seat Lok Sabha, or lower house of Parliament. The voting will continue for ten days, and in one state alone (Kerala), 60,000 people will be needed to count ballots.

Confronting the voters will be the most crucial choice since India won independence 23 years ago. On one side is Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, 53, imperious daughter of the late Jawaharlal...

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