Election Museum to celebrate Indian democracy

  • A. Mariyam Alavi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 18, 2016 23:47 IST
The museum was inaugurated by Nasim Zaidi, the Chief Election Commissioner of India, in New Delhi on Tuesday (Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times)

If history, democracy, and the electoral procedure float your boat, then the newly opened Election Museum might be what you have been waiting for.

With over 200 exhibits and nearly a hundred historical pictures that document the history of elections in India, the ‘Journey through Elections’ centre hopes to inform the younger generations about India’s democratic journey.

The museum, which will be open to groups of public on prior online booking, was conceptualized and set up by Chandra Bhushan Kumar, the Chief Electoral Officer of Delhi, and his team. “The idea is to excite and inspire the masses,” he said.

“We have such electoral legacy which can be celebrated and shared with younger generations. India has had universal adult franchise from our first election in 1952, unlike many other democracies in the world,” Kumar said.

“The indelible ink (used during elections) was first designed by the CSIR, and then given to the Mysore Paints and Varnish in 1962. It is now exported to many countries across the world,” the Delhi CEO said.

The museum was inaugurated by Nasim Zaidi, the Chief Election Commissioner of India, in New Delhi on Tuesday, and is located in the historical old St Stephen’s College building, which now serves as the office of the Chief Electoral Officer. Zaidi had high praises for the efforts made by Kumar and his team. “In coming times, I am sure it [the museum] will be filled with people,” he said.

Zaidi, and the other Election Commissioners, Achal Kumar Joti and Om Prakash Rawat, ended their visit to the new museum after the screening of a short film, ‘The great experiment,’ that documented India’s first historical election.

The museum has three sections, including a library, a section explaining the electoral procedure in India, and a corner dedicated to Gandhi’s history and his contribution to electoral democracy. They feature some rare historical artefacts and memorabilia like old ballot boxes, voters’ lists, and even the newer EVMs and VVPATs. “The pictures are from the archives of information and broadcast ministry. The written materials are all from the Election Commission of India’s archives,” said Kumar.

Kumar’s team worked closely with the National Gandhi museum and the Delhi archive for their collections, and are now looking to the public to come forward with any material that they think might be worth exhibiting in an election museum. “We are encouraging the common man to contribute as well,” he said.

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