Do not call it the China border

Anmol Jain

May 29, 2024, 06:41 PM | Updated 07:00 PM IST

It's Not About Victory, But The Victory Margin In Shimla

Ankit Saxena speaking to Jiya lal (98), one of the oldest persons from Chitkul, the first village of India along Tibet border.
Ankit Saxena speaking to Jiya lal (98), one of the oldest persons from Chitkul, the first village of India along Tibet border.

Dear Readers,

How are you doing?

My colleague Ankit Saxena is in Himachal’s Kinnaur, Lahaul, and Spiti districts covering these places for Swarajya's '50 Ground Reports' project.

Yeah, people go to these places "to work" too. I'm sure that is what Ankit will say when he returns after his 'workation'.

This election season, he has travelled to constituencies across the northern and western India. But when asked about his most enriching experience, he said, "Swarajya Ground Reports project brought me to where I’ve always wanted to go but couldn’t reach all these years, where few Indians go due to the difficult terrain and weather — Himachal’s remotest corners."

While he is yet to file his report on these remote villages, here's what he has from Shimla — "It's Not About Victory, But The Victory Margin In Shimla".

Getting back to Ankit's vivid account: The pradhan of Chitkul, India’s "first village", warned him not to call it the "China border" — it's Tibet after all. (Side note: there's no emoji for a Tibetan flag. Unfortunate.)

  • To get a direct interface with the 'Vibrant Villages Programme' — which aims to develop the border villages as the 'first villages' of India — Ankit took a long journey. But he couldn't complain because the "roads are smooth".

  • "Tourism is thriving and work on the Vibrant Villages Programme is beginning to gather pace," he says while also describing the Indian and Tibetan flags flying over every home.

Exploring India's Diversity: Ankit has traveled through the rural arid regions of Rajasthan, the border areas of Jammu, the vulnerable tribes in Uttar Pradesh, and the most developed cities across the country.

  • This provided him with a unique lens to understand how democracy truly functions on the ground.

  • Key issues like infrastructure, employment, water, climate change, and the tourism economy provide a granular understanding of the diverse challenges and aspirations of our fellow citizens.

Key Takeaways: Ankit highlights the complex voting patterns — "It’s not any one issue that dictates voting patterns" — the voting choice a common Indian is shaped by a blend of "personal concerns" and "national interest".

  • "Democracy is working, it’s thriving, and anyone who says otherwise hasn’t spoken to a person outside the National Capital Region in a while" — even in country's remotest corners, people are acutely aware of what’s happening around them.

Coming Soon: Keep an eye on '50 Ground Reports' project here for Ankit's fascinating report from Himachal's border villages.

🎙️Twitter Spaces Tonight on "How India Voted: Views From The Ground!"

The election that was (and is)
The election that was (and is)

With over 50 ground reports and counting, Swarajya has strived to reach the remotest corners of the country during the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

🎙️ Join us tonight on X Spaces as we discuss our '50 Ground Reports Project'!

Our reporters, fresh from the field, will share their fascinating insights from across the country as the elections near the end.

🕗 When: Today 9 PM

🔗 Where: LIVE On Swarajya's X account

How to join? Head over to our X account at 9 PM and you'll find us LIVE!

See you tonight then!

Anmol N Jain and Amar Govindarajan

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