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Features


Indelible ink - indelible mark of democracy!

Indelible ink - indelible mark of democracy!

By Mohan Lal Verma

Shimla, Apr 6 (UNI) India is busy in celebrating the festival of democracy!

The process of General Election for the 17th Lok Sabha is on and will conclude with the results on 23rd May this year.

One thing that is very important in this festival of democracy is the indelible ink!

This ink was discovered by the Mysore dynasty and it came to use in the elections -- first in India and then in several other countries!

For obvious reasons, the Election Commission of India should be thankful to the Mysore dynasty for this discovery!

There is an interesting fact that this unique ink was made in India and reportedly manufactured by the Mysore Dynasty for the first time.

The Royal dynasty reportedly had order to discover and use the indelible inks for royal stamps and writing the documents, which could not be tampered.

The introduction of indelible ink or voter’s ink used in all elections in the country, can be traced to Mysore Lac and Paints Limited set up by the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom.

Launched by Maharaja of Mysore Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar in 1937 for manufacturing paints and other related products, the firm became a public sector company in 1947.

Mysore Paints and Varnish Limited (MPVL), a government of Karnataka undertaking, is the sole manufacturer of indelible ink, for all state-run elections in the country.

In 1962, it was selected to manufacture indelible ink, which was first used in the third general elections in India. The process is a closely guarded secret and is based on a chemical formula devised by the National Physical Laboratory of India.

The world largest democracy would cast vote for house of people on April 11 would go blue with the indelible ink and state and district administrations are working over time to encourage first time voters to come out in large number to use EVM, linked with VVPAT for the first time in the state by launching the driver 'Go-Blue'.

Voter's ink is applied on the index finger of voters as a line from the top end of the nail to the bottom of the first joint of left fore finger the use of the with effect from February 1, 2006. Earlier, it was applied on the joint of nail and skin.

The ink leaves an indelible mark on the finger, which cannot be erased for around 15 days. It plays an important role in conducting fair and impartial elections by ensuring that voters exercise their franchise only once.

It helps the ECI to avoid fraudulent, multiple voting and malpractice in the large country link India its great challenge to hold free and fair election and complete process of election by eliminating fake voting as the impression of Indelible Ink could not be easily removed, with the help of Chemical, Detergents or oil.

Reference handbook of General Elections 2009 released by Press Information Bureau said the indelible ink is not an ordinary ink. Once applied on the finger, it dries up within 60 seconds of its application.

According to Wikipedia, the indelible ink is supplied in vials having volumes of 5 ml, 7.5 ml, 20 ml, 50 ml and 80 ml. A 5ml vial can be used for about 300 voters.

In 2009 General Election, around two million vials of 10 ml size were supplied as about 2.88 lakh vials were alone consumed in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

The manufacturing process is patented by the MPVL and its process was kept secret for being abused moreover electoral strain typically contains Silver Nitrate, which stains the skin on exposure of Ultraviolet (UV) light, leaving a mark that is impossible to wash off an dis only removed as external skin cells are replaced. The concentration of Silver Nitrate varies from seven per cent to 25 per cent.

It is estimated that around 450 million people have had this ink applied on their fingers over a period of 45 years.

Apart from supplying indelible ink for Indian elections, MPVL has been exporting the ink to 28 countries across the world since 1976. Turkey, South Africa, Nigeria, Nepal, Ghana, Papua-New Guinea, Burkina Faso, Canada, Tago, Sierra Leone, Malaysia and Cambodia, among others.

The company has also started manufacturing marker pens having this ink, for easy usage. It has also been used in elections held in Afghanistan.

Usually, the Indelible Ink is in violet colour, however, the South American country Suriname used Orange Colour Ink in the Legislative Elections, 2005.

In the time of selfie, first time voter after pressing the EVM buttons feels a moment of proud with mark of finger while clicking the button of their smart phone, must be aware of such interesting facts about the with Indelible Ink as the moment go down in their memory line for the sake of healthy democratic electoral system in the country.

UNI ML SNU 1708

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