Scroll has put together a mammoth collection of Instagrams from India’s general elections this year—and we’re not talking about voter selfies. Photographers from around India have contributed to this project, capturing rarely seen facets of the largest democratic exercise in the world. Here are 13 of those, along with the stories behind them.

By Arkadripta Chakraborty

On the day Assam went to the second phase of the elections, I was wandering the streets of Guwahati trying to make some Instagrams. After half a day of shooting I couldn’t get anything interesting and thought of venturing a little out of town. I was already at the Kamakhaya temple which is halfway towards the airport. I went there. I had not anticipated getting an image. As I was smoking outside the airport, I suddenly spotted this group climbing onto an abandoned aircraft staircase outside the airport. I wandered for a while thinking what they were up to as I smoked, and then walked up to them and started shooting them, still not knowing what they were actually doing up there. But by the end of it they had seen me shooting them, and we eventually started a conversation which revealed they were awaiting to receive their relatives coming to Assam to cast their votes that day. They had come all the way from the Dhubri district of Assam to receive their relatives as the availability of vehicles Guwahati to Dhubri would be next to nil on voting day.

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Is it “too trivial” for complex geopolitical stories to use the same techniques used to list examples of horses that look like Miley Cyrus? This is a perverse reaction to an interesting phenomenon: the remaking of an effective tabloid press. Media that aims to be accessible, that seeks to engage and inform people outside elites, has a valuable mission. Engagement with Ukrainian politics might begin and end with a “disaster porn” slideshow nine times out of 10, but what of the tenth individual who goes on to read more? For younger audiences or those disengaged from the mainstream media, one thing is sure: that the exploration of an alien topic will very rarely start with a 5,000-word article in Foreign Policy.

I’m not terrific at remembering to post my published pieces on here, but some products from the last few months:

A piece I reported for Al Jazeera English on mass weddings taking place in post-riot relief camps in Muzaffarnagar.

A piece I reported for the New York Times’ India Ink blog on the politics motivating sectarian violence in Lucknow during Muharram.

A media analysis I wrote for Columbia Journalism Review on how Indian media and international media saw the Khobragade diplomat case.

A Q&A I did with Mukulika Banerjee on what anthropology and ethnography can teach us about why India votes (NYT India Ink).

A Q&A I did with Vishwajyoti Ghosh on the significance of younger generations “restorying” Partition in a graphic novel format (NYT India Ink).

My slowness with these updates aside, I’ve been pretty active lately on Instagram! Check out my photos from the field and some daily life snaps.


The Big Roundtable exists to provide a home for what lately has been called “longform” journalism, and what we like to call nonfiction short stories. Six months after our launch we have an even dozen such stories under our belt, including our latest, Jaime Joyce’s “Killl Me Now,” published in a…


Whether by accident or design, President Obama chose an interesting day to deliver his speech on the future of government surveillance, says “The World that Was” reporter Chris Woolf.

The speech fell on the anniversary of President Eisenhower’s Farewell Address, warning about the threat of the emerging national security state.

Upon arriving in China (where we traveled after India), 9-year-old Kyri said of all the gleaming highways and office buildings, “Daddy, this looks more like America.” But by the end of our trip, 11-year-old Annika proclaimed: “India was dirty. China is polluted.”