The former Chief Election Commissioner, S Y Quraishi recently launched his book An Undocumented Wonder: The making of the Great Indian Election, at the Capital’s India International Centre. As a stellar panel comprising the likes of journalist and documentary filmmaker Paranjoy Guhathakurta, noted academic Pushpesh Pant and Seema Chishti, another journalist engaged in an enlightening discussion, the general elections of India started making some sense to us!
The panelists said an election in our country is a challenge known and understood only by the babus (bureaucrats) or the Election Commission. Intriguingly, ours is a country that encompasses the voter population of more than all the 54 countries of Africa in addition to the countries of America. Uttar Pradesh alone has enough population to form a middle-order European nation by itself! We are all aware of the vastness of our landmass, the myriad language and the religious practices. India has the lengthiest constitution and it also is, proudly, the largest democracy.
The great Indian election has generated global interest and wonder, mainly on account of its uninterrupted success in the face of obvious challenges of demography, geography and mind boggling diversities. How are these elections conducted? What were the challenges faced by the Election Commission of India? How did it overcome these challenges? What are the ideals and principles that drive the people involved in completing this mammoth task? What are we doing about the involvement of newer technology, like Internet and biometric machines?
An Undocumented Wonder: The making of the Great Indian Election answers these and many more questions about what has been termed as the ‘great dance of democracy’. The book attempts to serve and satisfy the reader’s genuine curiosity through a first-person account of recent electoral history and the challenges encountered. Along with highly informative and exciting inside stories of Indian elections, the author shares his experiences and knowledge from the time when he served as the CEC of India. Quraishi has been one of the most sought after experts on what it takes for a democracy the size of India to hold free and fair elections of such unparalleled scale. Let’s say he has tried to answer all the varied questions put forward to him in various interviews and discussions!
If only this well-written book had been released before the 2014 elections instead of making its appearance at the end of the polls in May 2014, it would have made a world of difference, more particularly to the lakhs of people who were reportedly unable to vote in Pune, Nagpur and Mumbai.
Book: An Undocumented Wonder: The Making of the Great Indian Election Author: SY Quraishi
Publisher: Rainlight Rupa Price: Rs 795