Where to read about the Elections in India?

There is an election process going on in India, which is frequently called “the world’s largest democracy” and an “upcoming world power”. Both descriptions are quite true, so elections in such a country should be pretty important, shouldn’t they?

Because of my work I have a lot of Facebook friends in India, and they frequently write about it. Mostly in English, and sometimes in their own languages—Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam and others. Even when it’s in English I hardly understand anything, however, because it is coming from people who are immersed in the India culture.

It is similar with Indian English-language news sites, such as The Times of India: The language is English, but to me it feels like information overload, and there are too many words that are known to Indians, but not to me.

With English-language news sites outside of India, such as CNN, BBC and The Guardian it’s the opposite: they give too little attention to this topic. I already know pretty much everything that they have to say: a huge number of people are voting, Narendra Modi from the BJP is likely to become the new prime minister and the Congress party is likely to become weaker.

Russian and Hebrew sites hardly mention it at all.

What’s left? Wikipedia, of course. Though far from perfect, the English Wikipedia page Indian general election, 2014 gives a good summary of the topic for people who are not Indians. It links terms that are not known to foreigners, such as “Lok Sabha” and “UPA” to their Wikipedia articles, so learning about them requires just one click. When they are mentioned in The Times of India, I have to open Wikipedia and read about them, so why not do it in Wikipedia directly?

This also happens to be the first Google result for “india elections”. And if you go the page “Elections in India” in Wikipedia, a note on the top conveniently sends you directly to the page about the ongoing election process. Compare this to the Britannica website: searching it for “india elections” yields results that are hardly useful—there’s hardly anything about elections in India in general, let alone about the current one.

One thing that I didn’t like is the usage of characteristic Indian words such as “lakh” and “crore”, which mean, respectively, “a hundred thousands” and “ten millions”. I replaced most of their occurrences in the article with the usual international numbers, and I think that I found a calculation mistake on the way.

So while Wikipedia is, again, far from perfect, its “wisdom of the crowds” system works surprisingly well time after time.

The party finds you

I always say that in elections people have to vote. It’s a shame that i don’t have Russian citizenship. The TV there is so full of crap, that there’s no need to fake the vote count in favor of the current ruling party, so my influence wouldn’t be too great, but anyway – votes are great.

But who would i have voted for? To be sure, i took a personality test.

The answer, apparently, is too obvious:

Тест журнала Коммерсантъ ВЛАСТЬ

According to the test my party is The Union of Right Forces, a.k.a. SPS (see also Wikipedia). It is not “right” in the nationalistic sense, but in the liberal-democratic-capitalist sense1. Of course, SPS has a very slim chance of getting into the Duma, but i suppose that i would have voted for them anyway.

1 Ever heard of the Russian Reversal? The party whose name is “Liberal-Democratic” (Flash; see also Wikipedia) professes an ideology, which is populist and mildly national-socialist.