Shyam Saran Negi was an Indian retired school teacher. He is best known for being the first as well as the oldest voter of Independent India. On 5 November 2022, he died in his village Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh; he was 105 years old.
Shyam Saran Negi was born on 1 July 1917 (age 105 years; at the time of death) in Kalpa, Kinnaur District, Himachal Pradesh. His zodiac sign is Cancer.
Negi started his schooling at the age of 10. He studied at a public school in Kalpa till his 5th standard and moved to Rampur to continue his further education. He turned 20 years old by the time he reached his 10th standard and was denied admission to the 10th standard on the grounds that he was overaged. After completing his schooling, Negi joined the Forest Department as a Forest Guard. He worked there for 6 years in the period between 1940-1946. Shyam Saran later worked at Kalpa’s Lower Middle School as a Junior Basic Teacher and after serving the education department for 23 years, he retired from his post in 1975.
Eye Colour: Black
Hair Colour: Grey
Shyam Saran belonged to a Hindu Rajput Family.
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name was Narayan Das.
Wife & Children
Shyam Saran’s wife, Hira Mani, died in 2014 at the age of 78 years. The Times of India He had 3 sons and 5 daughters. His youngest son’s name is Chander Prakash Negi. Negi lost his eldest son in 2002. NDTV
In 2019, Pushapraj, a BJP worker, used the word “Chowkidar” against Shyam’s name. In response to which Negi filed a complaint with the Deputy Commissioner of Kinnaur saying that he does not use any social media platform and has not authorized anyone except the H.P. Government and Election Commission of India, to use his name or pictures for the fulfilment of their political interest.
On 5 November 2022, Shyam Saran Negi took his last breath in his native village Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh, where the Himachal Pradesh government cremated him with full state honours.
- He loved listening to the radio.
- Negi followed a vegetarian diet.
- Negi resided at the Kanang Saring in Kalpa, which is situated at an altitude of around 10,000 feet. The place is well-known for the quality of its apples.
- Negi first voted on 25 October 1951. The first elections were going to be held in February 1952, but the elections in Himachal Pradesh were scheduled 5 months prior as there was a forecast of harsh weather and heavy snow in the area, which would have troubled the HP residents in reaching the polling stations. Shyam who was a government teacher was drafted for poll duty in the first elections. Negi requested the polling party to allow him to cast his vote and then move to the polling station where he was assigned a duty. The officer approved his request and he became the first voter of independent India.
- He was 33 years old when he cast his first vote in the Lok Sabha Elections in 1951. On 19th May 2019, he voted for the 17th time at the General Elections in Himachal Pradesh.
- He voted in the same school in the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections from where he retired after 23 years of his service.
- Negi was just a normal voter until 2007 when the Election Commission traced his identity as the first voter of independent India.
- In 2010, Navin Chawla, the then Chief Election Commissioner of India, visited Shyam Saran’s village to honour him as a part of the Election Commission’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
- In 2014, a video was made by Google India in which Shyam Saran told about his participation in the first election and also stated the importance of voting to the viewers. The video received more views than other videos launched under the same campaign featuring well-known faces like Arjun Rampal, Diya Mirza, Virender Sehwag, and Amitabh Bachchan.
- In 2016, Negi made a special appearance in the film “Sanam Re” starring Yami Gautam, Pulkit Samrat, and Urvashi Rautela.
- In Himachal Pradesh’s Vidhan Sabha elections held on 9 November 2017, Shyam Saran received a warm welcome at the voting booth. Pick Up and Drop arrangements were made for him by the Election Commission and a red carpet was also rolled out on his way to the voting booth.
- Negi was appointed as the Brand Ambassador of the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) campaign by the Election Commission of India.
- He had voted in almost every Lok Sabha election, Assembly election, and Panchayat election.
- On 2 November 2022, he cast his ballot during the Himachal Pradesh assembly election, just three days before his death, and it was the first time he cast his vote through a postal ballot instead of a polling booth due to his ill health. BBC