1. In case you missed it: India is currently in the throes of its general elections, voting to elect a new parliament and Prime Minister.
With more than 800 million eligible voters, this is the largest democratic election of all time, the world over.
2. In an age-old electoral procedure, voters’ index fingers are marked with a small ink stripe after they’ve cast their vote.
3. The point is to prevent anyone from voting more than once.
4. The image has always been iconic but now, in India’s first general election since social media went mainstream in the subcontinent, it’s more ubiquitous than ever.
5. No, really. This is what happens when you search the hashtag #VOTED on Instagram.
6. The trend is pioneered and sustained by the generation that turned 18 in the last five years, who are both selfie-obsessed and newly eligible to vote.
^ Because this is what happens when you search #FirstTimeVoter.
12. Others not so much.
(BJP and Congress are the two most popular parties competing for control.)
13. One revolutionary is supporting the trend by teaching the world how to convincingly fake the ink mark, even if you didn’t actually vote.
14. Which is apparently a thing that is happening, because this kid is definitely not 18 years old.
15. Some people are using this as an outlet for their pent-up creative energy.
22. This trailblazer is using one index finger to point to the other.
23. Hopefully the social pressure to Instagram one’s way onto this bandwagon will result in higher youth turnout.
(Which is at a record high, anyway.)