For most of us, voting is a right we exercise to get pretty inked selfies for social media. But one man has been casting his vote with equal gusto for the past 66 years. Shyma Negi has practiced his vote 29 times in his hundred years on the planet but he walks into a polling booth every time with renewed enthusiasm. For the first voter of independent India, voting is indeed a special experience.
A humble school teacher in a village of Himachal Pradesh, Shyma Negi was the first Indian to cast his vote in his village of Kalpa of Kinnaur district in 1951. The district had its election in independent India before any other part of the country due to apprehension of heavy snow fall.
Since then Negi has not missed a single chance to vote. Democracy was after all a long battle he saw his country fight for. Twenty nine elections later, he still remembers the first time cast his vote in Kalpa at an altitude of 10,000 feet.
This voting legend even featured as the face of Election Commission of India for the 2014 general elections.
As Himachal Pradesh goes to polls today, Negi will be casting his vote yet again and this time he was greeted with a red carpet by the Kinnaur Deputy Commissioner Dr Naresh Kumar Lath, who is also the district electoral officer. Reports say that Negi was felicitated with a traditional Kinnauri cap, a shawl and mementoes as he stepped inside the polling booth which coincidentally was also the school he has taught for 23 years.Shyam Negi may not be a poster boy for democracy with his simple wrinkled face but he a living proof of the struggle our country went through for a democracy we take for granted.