Indelible Ink: The Colorful Mark of Democracy

Indelible Marking Ink

New Delhi: The Lok Sabha Elections 2024 in India commenced on April 19, marking the beginning of the democratic process. As the entire nation gets immersed in the electoral fervor, one thing remains constant: the use of indelible ink. This special ink, applied to the left index finger of every voter before casting their ballot, plays a crucial role in ensuring the integrity of the electoral process.

The Unique Ink

  • The deep blue color of the indelible ink has become synonymous with Indian elections.
  • Only one company in India holds the responsibility for manufacturing this ink: Mysore Paints and Varnish Limited (MPVL).
  • Founded in 1937 by Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, MPVL initially operated as the “Mysore Lac Factory.”
  • After India gained independence in 1947, the government took over the company, renaming it to its current form.
  • MPVL, now under the Karnataka government, continues to produce the iconic ink.


  • According to available data, MPVL’s turnover was ₹3974.58 crore in 2021, ₹3179.22 crore in FY 21-22, and ₹2895.95 crore in 2022-23.
  • The company reported a profit of ₹588.63 crore in the financial year 2022-23.

A Legacy Since 1962

  • MPVL has been producing indelible ink for elections since the 1962 general elections.
  • The Election Commission of India exclusively procures this ink from MPVL.
  • The company also exports the ink to 25 countries.

The Making of the “Indelible Mark”

  • The ink, based on water, contains silver nitrate, various dyes, and specific solvents.
  • When applied to the nail and skin of the left index finger, it dries within 40 seconds.
  • Silver nitrate, a colorless chemical, becomes visible when exposed to ultraviolet or sunlight.
  • The quality of the ink depends on the concentration of silver nitrate.
  • MPVL ensures that the ink adheres to the skin even after washing with soap, detergent, or hand wash for up to 72 hours.
Indelible Marking Ink

The indelible ink, often referred to as the “amit chhap” (unfading mark), remains an essential part of India’s democratic process. It symbolizes citizens’ participation and commitment to shaping the nation’s destiny through their votes.