Friday, April 17, 2009

On the Move

The juggernaut is on the move! Any superlative you use is not enough to describe the 15th General Election of India, the largest exercise of democratic power in the world. 700 million registered voters - even assuming only 50% vote, that's still 350 million, larger than the total population of the next largest democracy, the United States. (And I believe, all of it electronically enabled). China's, if they would have such a system, would have been bigger, but right now in the next couple of centuries or so, we have no competition.

However, as the smallest cog in this gigantic wheel, the individual voter, I wish one could find a way to look up our names in the voters list. For some time I have been trying to see the voters' list which is supposedly on-line, here, which is impossible to read because of a problem with Tamil fonts. Only Internet Explorer with the appropriate Tamil fonts downloaded can read it and my machine on which I can indeed run IE (Mac --> Parallels --> Windows Vista --> IE) still cannot though I continue to try. Surely the largest exercise of its kind in the world involving a few hundred million people should not be made hostage to branded software? Unlike many of my colleagues, I have no ideological issues with Windows (to each her own is my view, I just don't want to use it) but surely this is a bit thick?

In the meantime, I continue to hope that when I go to the polling booth on May 13th, my name will not have been deleted.


Ramanan said...

The list is given in the central website.

Ramanan said...

oops sorry I thought you were looking for the candidate list

Kapil said...

The fonts provided on the website are "TrueType" fonts. However,
neither the fonts, nor the web site uses the unicode font encoding!

You can still download these and install them for your use on any
machine that supports such fonts. It is possible that some characters
may be interchanged because of the display engine being unfamiliar
with the encoding.

The way this works for GNU/Linux is as follows. Save the fonts to a
directory such as '$HOME/.fonts'. Then run the command 'fc-cache'.
Then restart your browser.

Ramanan said...

maybe you can try and check if your name is there. I dont think you need to open an account in that website.

Rahul Siddharthan said...

I just tried installing in ~/.fonts (mozilla, linux) and it works. fc-cache not required. I agree they should learn about unicode (if they used unicode one wouldn't need to install extra fonts).

They ought to be bilingual though.

Rahul Basu said...

I finally managed to do it on the Mac - essentially the same way as in linux.

Of course if you see the way it is listed it is virtually impossible to find anything - there is a completely arbitrary way in which roads and nagars are listed and given the enormous numbers, it's very difficult. And there is no search since it is all in Tamil.

longnose said...

First of all, thank you for the link to check electoral roll. Having reached the page, I could download the tamil font,install and could easily navigate to the page where my ward number is. On clicking the relevant ward no, I could locate my street.Bing go!! My name features on the elctoral list.Where is the hardship some of you cited here? One thing though.The names, information on consistuency, ward name are all in tamil so that the non tamilian speaking population can go to hell.Either lack of funds or lack of concern has made the electoral office to miss this important work. I wanted to leave a complaint with them on this but did not find the email address.Unless we decide to implement 3 language policy, this irritation will linger.Language Chauvinism has been the bane of this nation more than religon.

longnose said...

Ha,, well, Now the realisation.Some of you guys are not using windows...

Rahul Basu said...

Well, bingo, my name has disappeared.

But be that as it may, reading the list doesn't have to do with Windows, the ttf fonts work with Mac and Linux as I already indicated. The problem is, even knowing the Ward no. to navigate to one's street and finding one's name. It's very painful since it doesn't seem to be in any particular order, and since it's in Tamil, there is no search possible.

And yes, even though I can read Tamil, it would help to have it in another language, like English -- which makes it easy also to use the search options.