It is the power of our democracy that a daughter born in a poor house, a daughter born in a remote tribal area, can reach the highest constitutional post of India.
– Smt. Draupadi Murmu
As the Rashtrapati Bhawan witnesses, the advent of its new occupant, the state gets its new head. Smt. Draupadi Murmu shall serve as the 15th President of the Republic of India. It’s a matter of immense honor and pride that when the whole country is nearing 75 years of independence, its people get a woman from a tribal community adorning the highest office in the country.
Born in 1958, in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha, Smt. Murmu graduated from Rama Devi Women’s College. She worked as a junior assistant at the irrigation department of the Government of Odisha and then went on to work as a school teacher in Sri Aurobindo Integral Education Centre and taught Maths, Geography, Odia, and Hindi.
The political career of Smt. Murmu started when she joined the Bhartiya Janta Party in Rairangpur. In the year 1997, she got elected to the Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat. Since then her rise in the political arena was steady. In 2000, she won her first Assembly election and served two consecutive terms, from 2000 to 2009, in the Odisha Legislative Assembly.
When BJP and BJD joined hands, she became the Minister of State with Independent Charge for Commerce and Transportation from March 6, 2000, to August 6, 2002, and Fisheries and Animal Resources Development from August 6, 2002, to May 16, 2004. She lost the 2009 Lok Sabha elections from the Mayurbhanj constituency but despite the Naveen Patnaik wave managed to retain her seat in the Legislative assembly.
Whilst the political turbulence settled down in the life of Smt. Murmu, her personal life started disturbing her. From 2009 to 2015, her husband, her two sons, her mother, and a brother died, leaving her with her daughter Itishree Murmu. Her life in these years was depressing which made her more spiritual and empathetic.
Her political life witnessed an irresistible rise when she was appointed as the Governor of Jharkhand. Smt. Murmu as the Governor of the state became quite popular among the masses because of her sensitivity toward the land rights of the tribal people. She managed a good working relationship with the state government either of her own party or the other.
Smt. Murmu is our new President; our very first President who comes from a tribal community. In our daily talks about Indian independence, we talk about a lot of freedom fighters and their part in the struggle against the British. But we always forget about the contributions of our tribal communities in the freedom struggle. Either the duo of Sidhu – Kanhu or Bhagwan Birsa Munda, the mass ignorance of tribal communities and their contributions in the making of contemporary India shall be one of the reasons it took 75 years for one of them to get placed in the highest office of the country. We wish Madam President all the best for the journey she has embarked on.