1952 — A Love Story (For Democracy in India)

Welcome to Pehla Pehla Chunaav, our special episode of Samvidhaani Pitaara. Hosts Seetal Iyer and Vineet KKN Panchhi take you on a time machine trip simulating a retro radio broadcast as they recount the exciting events of the historic day when the results of India’s first free and fair parliamentary election are being declared

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The radio crackles to life. We rewind to April 2, 1952. A day that is set to go down in the history of India, and the history of the world, as a triumphant one for democracy. At the counting stations, ballot boxes have been emptied for every last vote to be counted. We wait with bated breath for the results of independent India’s first-ever general election to be declared.

This is a significant moment for the world. The newly declared republic is at a crossroads, having just shaken off the yoke of colonialism before it was riven by Partition.

Over the past few months, this elaborate democratic exercise has played out step by step. A total of 175 million citizens, spread over a million square kilometres, have cast their votes to choose their leaders. The entire world has had its eyes on India.

A democratic government of a nation of this size and a population this numerous is not elected in a day. Voting began six months earlier on October 25, 1951. Voters from the tehsils of Chinni and Pangi in Himachal Pradesh were first to cast their ballots. The first Indian voter was Shri Shyam Saran Negi, a schoolteacher. In Travancore-Cochin, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Hyderabad and Punjab, polling commenced in December 1951. All the remaining states went to the polls during January 1952. Polling in the northern hilly areas of Uttar Pradesh took place in the second fortnight of February 1952. The entire process spanned 68 phases over 4 months.

Imagine the massive effort it took to set up hundreds of thousands of polling booths across the country! Independent India’s first-ever election witnessed a total of 1949 candidates contest the polls for 489 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s bicameral parliament. The Legislative Assemblies of the states had a combined total of 3,283 seats.

The people of India have exercised their franchise to elect their first government. This is a watershed moment not just for India, but for democracy worldwide.

In Pehla Pehla Chunaav, our special episode of Samvidhaani Pitaara, hosts Seetal and Vineet KKN Panchhi take you on a time machine ride with a dramatised radio broadcast. Join us to recount the exciting events of the day that announces the winner of India’s first parliamentary election, and the party that will form India’s first democratically elected government.

Celebrate the legacy of democracy in India. May we have many, many more free and fair elections!


Akshay Ramuhalli, Bijoy Venugopal, Bruce Lee Mani, Harsh Gupta, Narayan Krishnaswamy, Prashant Vasudevan, Sameera Ahmed, Sananda Dasgupta, Seema Seth, Shraddha Gautam, Supriya Joshi, and Velu Shankar


  • YouTube: Jawaharlal Nehru’s Broadcast to the Nation ahead of 1951 General Elections
  • YouTube: The Great Experiment: 1st General Election of Independent India
  • YouTube: Rights And Responsibilities
  • YouTube: Rajasthan Series 1 (Jaipur)
  • YouTube: Indian News Review : NR1304
  • YouTube: Indian News Review: NR0025
  • YouTube: General elections
  • YouTube: Six Years of Freedom 
  • Film Division Archive: Indian news review 172

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