India: The Biggest Election

Dodging man-eating tigers and lumbering elephants, runaway ponga carts and revved-up Rolls-Royces, 125 million Indians go to the polls this week in the world's biggest free election. The voters range from maharajahs to harijans (untouchables), speak 845 different languages and dialects, come from seven different racial strains, including fair-skinned Punjabis in the north and ebony-colored Tamils in the south. Some 75% of them are illiterate; they will mark their ballots with government-issue rubber stamps. Democracy is still a new experience for them, and many think that the ballot box is a place of worship to be daubed with vermilion...

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