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Meet 84-yr-old Jairani who hasn’t missed a vote since 1951

delhi Updated: May 08, 2009 00:25 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta
Moushumi Das Gupta
Hindustan Times
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Meet 84-yr-old Jairani who hasn’t missed a vote since 1951

Jairani Puri, 84, heaved a sigh of relief after casting her vote in Chandni Chowk. She had reasons too. The frail octogenarian, who can’t stand straight because of a weak back, has not missed a single Parliamentary election since 1951.

On Thursday, Puri came in a rickshaw and had to be carried in a chair by polling
agents to the booth located in a narrow lane in Churiwalan Gali in Chandni Chowk. But the ordeal did not dampen her spirit.

“I think voting is a privilege that democracy gives to a citizen and one should feel proud to exercise it. I was 26 years old when I voted for the first time. I still remember voting for Subhadra Joshi, a freedom fighter, who was representing the Congress. She won. Since 1951, I have not missed voting even once,” she said.

But Puri feels things have changed now. “The sense of involvement and patriotism is missing. The present generation is different. It thinks differently. Even the candidates are not like what they used to be.”

An economics graduate from Indraprastha College, Puri came to live in Churiwalan Gali after her marriage in 1946. “Those were different times. The country had just got its freedom. There was this sense of national pride in all of us when we went out to vote. Almost all candidates who were in the fray at that time were involved in the freedom struggle,” she said.

Puri still remembers the time she had gone to Red Fort on the midnight of August 14 to hear Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru announce freedom. “My whole family had gone to hear Nehruji. It was a feeling I can’t describe in words,” she said.