My finger! My finger! My finger for a vote

The Taliban chopped off the index fingers of two women who braved threats of violence and cast a ballot in Afghanistan’s presidential and provincial elections Thursday. That was the word today from the country’s top monitoring group.

In Afghanistan, voters must dip their fingers in ink as they leave the polling station. This prevents a person from voting multiple times.

It used to be that way in India, too, before my homeland got a bit more high-tech. I never had an opportunity to vote in India but for years I watched my friends and relatives emerge with purplish blue stain on their fingers. Sometimes it seeped through into their nails and made it look like they had severely bruised their finger.

But never did they return home without the finger.

That, I suppose, is one difference between an established democracy — the world’s largest to be precise — and a nation that is trying so hard to be one.

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