India’s Indelible Ink: A Symbol of Democracy’s Integrity

New Delhi: In a tradition dating back to India’s independence, voters in the world’s largest democracy proudly display a unique mark of participation: indelible ink on their fingers. Crafted with precision at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in New Delhi, this ink, formulated by Dr. Nahar Singh, serves as a safeguard against double voting and impersonation.

Since its debut in the 1962 general elections, this ink, composed of silver nitrate and various dyes, has become synonymous with electoral integrity. Dr. Singh, the custodian of its formulation, emphasizes its secrecy, crucial for maintaining its effectiveness.

Mysore Paints and Varnish Limited (MPVL), entrusted with its production since 1962, ensures a steady supply to the Election Commission of India. For the 2024 elections alone, MPVL has provided ink worth ₹58 crore, symbolising its role in upholding the democratic process.

Mohammed Irfan, CEO of MPVL, highlights the ink’s global impact, having been exported to over 35 countries, reinforcing the integrity of their electoral systems.

With its resistance to water and detergents, the mark lasts for weeks, symbolizing citizens’ commitment to democracy. As India prepares to mark nearly a billion voters, the indelible ink remains a beacon of transparency and fairness in electoral processes worldwide.

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