Shyam Saran Negi was born on 1 July 1917 in Kalpa, Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh. Negi was a school teacher in Kalpa. Shyam Negi was the first citizen of India to cast his first vote in the 1951 general election. The first election after independence was held in 1952. Saran Negi cast his first vote on 25 October 1951. His polling party had to travel a long distance of 10 days to vote in Ribba-Moarang-Nesong. The weather in Kinnaur is very bad in winter.
The First Voter in Independent India
Citizens find it impossible to reach the polling stations. That’s why the elections in Himachal Pradesh were held six months ago because the weather in Kinnaur is very bad in February and March and there is heavy snowfall during that time. Negi was a member of the polling party and cast his first vote at the Shontong polling station. He voted in every general election from 1951 until his death (5 November 2022). Negi ji is also the oldest voter in India. Shyam Saran Negi voted 34 times and died at the age of 105 (5 November 2022). He passed away 3 days after casting his last vote. And at that time the Government of India announced that Negi ji would be cremated with full state honors in Kalpa. A Hindi film Sanam Re was shot in Kinnaur in which Shyam Saran Negi played a special role.
In 2010, the then Chief Election Commissioner of India Naveen Chawla visited Negi’s village to honor him as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the Election Commission. And talked to him about how he became the first citizen of India to vote. In 2014, Google India made a public service announcement in which Negi recounted his participation in independent India’s first election and reminded viewers of the importance of voting. He had cast his vote in every general election and he had explained this to the people many times.