500 million Indians prove their vote by flipping the bird

Rishab sez, "India's election commission has a sense of humour. It has insisted that when about 500 million Indians vote in the general elections this summer, they will be marked on their middle fingers with indelible ink to prevent double voting. The photograph shows the Chief Minister of Maharashtra state (and his wife) showing their middle fingers to the camera, apparently only realising later what it looked like."
The Election Commission is ensuring your message goes out loud and clear -- they are giving your index finger a go-by, and painting your middle finger with indelible ink instead. A Commission official said the change was necessitated by the recently-concluded elections to local bodies in some parts of the country. "Since these voters will still have their index fingers marked, we decided to uniformly mark the middle finger of the left hand," he said.

Not everyone's amused, though. In many places, politicians and celebrities smiled and posed for the cameras after casting their vote, but realisation dawned much later. A Pune-based Bollywood celebrity said, "I did not realise it when I posed for the cameras. But when I saw the photo, my pose appeared to be in poor taste."

Voters will now show middle finger (Thanks, Rishab!)


  1. I love it. Hopefully, the new meaning of this gesture will catch on. Soon, ‘flipping the bird’ will be a sign of taking civic responsibility and caring about the common good.

    It only have to catch on in India, and the rest of the world will just have to follow out of sheer peer pressure.
    Like when I worked with three south Indians, and subconsciously started doing the head-wobble.

  2. Where’s the cultural context? I doubt it’s quite as well-known a gesture in India; almost nobody in the United States would make a gesture like that without realizing what it looked like.

    The “realization dawned much later” stuff was probably because someone told them, “Hey, in the United States that means Fuck You.” “Oh really? I did not realize that until now.”

  3. You’re right Cory. Just like a swastika is a very benign religeous symbol in hinduism.
    Imagine wearing that on your t-shirt on election day in India.

  4. What about people who have lost their middle finger? Will they get the mark on another finger?

    Could a really devoted party member cut off their fingers one after another to vote several times?

  5. Hey, I doubt if ECI (Election Commission of India) really insisted on putting the mark on middle finger. For us, in Andhra Pradesh (a South Indian state), the mark was put on left index finger when we voted on 23rd. One of the polling agents in the booth told me that was the rule, when I enquired if the mark could be put on middle finger or any other finger.

    But I agree this pic (taken on 23rd in Bangalore) would have been great had the middle finger rule been implemented – http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/24/stories/2009042450531400.htm

  6. this gesture means fuck you in many other countries outside the USA..like in all countries in Europe..and I bet in Australia too, so I think it is a symbol known world-wide.

  7. Yeah same thing happened to my community back home when they marked everyone’s left ass-cheek. At the time, it made sense. But in retrospect, well, you know.

  8. In India the middle finger most certainly does not have the significance it has in the USA. In fact, a good chunk of Indians use their middle finger to point at things in the same way Americans use the index finger. I’m a second generation Indian-American, and my mother would cause me no end of embarrassment doing this in public places.

  9. that’s funny,but only in our country, cos it just mean they’re voting for sth, instead of showing other feelings. It’s cultural difference.

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