India might be the largest youth democracy in the entire world but the number of centenarian voters i.e. citizens on the electoral list above the age of 100, who're eligible to vote are also quite impressive.
In the ongoing Delhi Assembly Elections, 130 centenarian citizens are eligible to cast their votes. However, the national capital witnessed its oldest woman voter who proudly got inked from the C.R Park polling station at the age of 111.
Kalitara Mandal is the superhero who didn't let her old age stop her from fulfilling the duties of a responsible citizen and casting her vote.
I've always cast my vote ever since I received my voter ID. I feel happy while casting vote. It gives me power. I wish each & every citizen casts his vote.
Born in the era of undivided India, in Barisal (now a part of Bangladesh), Kalitara has witnessed the subcontinent survive the tremors of violent and turbulent phases, including two partitions.
Before settling in the serene area of the national capital, the 113-year-old voter has lived "twice as a refugee". Maybe that's why she understands the value and importance of casting her vote even at this age.
From folding and slipping her vote into a ballot box to pressing the buttons on EVMs, Kalitara has witnessed the evolution of the voting process in India. She further recalls the old ballot days and confesses:
Yes, I remember, they (polling officials) would take my thumb impression and then the ballot paper would be folded and put into boxes. I have voted with big machines (EVMs) too.
Making an exit on a wheelchair, aided by her family, Kalitara Mandal flashed her inkked finger infront of the cameras. Harish Kumar, the assistant returning officer who escorted the centenarian from her home to K block commented:
I feel blessed to have been given this job. In this age, she came out and voted, it should be an inspiration for all of us Indians, to use our democratic right of voting.
Kalitara is a living and walking inspiration to the citizens of the largest youth democracy in the world.