4 WOMEN. 3 GENERATIONS. 1 COMMITMENT

The PowerOf49 Passed Down the Generations.

This is a story of four women voters from a single family.

At a time when many educated people do not even register to vote - we meet a special family - where voting has been a family tradition, almost as old as the family itself. Almost as old as our democracy.

Where women have led this tradition, and are continuing to carry it forward.

Many Governments have come together; many have fallen, but the women in this family have never failed to honour their right to vote.

We meet them in their humble abode in the city of Bangalore to ask them why most women in their family have never missed voting in the Indian elections.

Chathambeth Bharathy, 82, former employee at Airport Authority of India, Grandmother

I have been voting ever since India's first election. I've never missed an election.

Politics wasn't a dirty game in those days.

I was head of the Student Congress back in the days. I even participated in many of Gandhi's hunger strikes.

I hail from Kerala, a matrilineal society, where the woman's family name is passed down the generations. Even though women were not allowed to step out or go shopping for groceries or household necessities, women were allowed to vote.

My children have always seen me voting and perhaps they derive their encouragement to go and vote from me.

Asked why she casts her vote unfailingly in every election, she cheekily says, "It's my right, na!"

Chathambeth Girija, 49, Former Teacher and Mother

I have been voting all these years because it's my right. My mother has been my inspiration.

I always vote for whoever I feel is efficient. Whoever I think is a true democrat.

Lots of women have been voting since the years I've been voting. It was quite a normal trend.

Chathambeth Padmini, 83, Grand-aunty

I started voting ever since I turned 21, right from the first Indian election.

Back then there was a strong sense of patriotism in the air; it was right after India won Independence. At the polling booths, there would be long queues of people waiting to cast their votes. People would go with their families to vote.

So much violence and corruption didn't exist then - politics was straightforward and simple in those days.

I find my vote of acute importance. Recently, I had a paralysis attack and it was hard for me to literally move. During the last election, my name wasn't on the voter list. My granddaughter went to the polling booth to ensure that my name appears on the list. She took me there in an auto. Only after casting my vote, my health improved.

Chathambeth Bhavna Suresh, 25, Business Development Manager, Granddaughter.

I was 18 years old when I voted for the first time.

I'm seeing more youngsters now than I did in the previous elections.

The youth doesn't really believe in the concept of politics. I think there's a common misconception that 'one vote' cannot make a difference. I see that slowly changing. In every little way, one vote can make a difference.

In my family, nobody has been forced to vote. We vote because we feel a sense of responsibility.

In fact, there are a few members in my family who don't vote. It makes me angry. I'm not the most patriotic person, but it takes ten minutes of your time to go out and vote.

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