Draupadi Murmu is the new President of India. She defeated the opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha in the election, the result of which was announced on Thursday (July 21). Murmu, 64, is the first Adivasi and second woman to become the nation’s First Citizen and the Supreme Commander of India’s Armed Forces.
Here are five facts about the new Rashtrapati Bhavan occupant, who assumes office in the momentous 75th year of the country’s independence.
Draupadi Murmu – Early Life
From a very young age, Murmu has been a pioneer. She was the first girl from Uparbeda, one of the seven revenue villages in the Uparbeda panchayat in the underdeveloped Mayurbhanj district of Odisha, to enrol in college, the Ramadevi Women’s College, which is now the Ramadevi Women’s University in Bhubaneswar. She was born in 1958 into a Santhal family.
Murmu worked as a teacher at the Sri Aurobindo Integral Education Centre in Rairangpur, Mayurbhanj, before starting her political career. She later served as a junior assistant in the Odisha government’s irrigation and electricity division.
Draupadi Murmu – Successful political career
Murmu won an election to the Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat in 1997, and served as councillor. She was elected to two terms in the Odisha Assembly in 2000 and 2004, and served as a Minister from 2000 to 2004 in Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s BJD-BJP coalition government.
She held the portfolio of Commerce and Transport and, subsequently, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry in the state government. As Transport Minister of Odisha, she was credited with having set up transport offices in all 58 subdivisions of the state. Draupadi Murmu also served as vice-president of the BJP’s Scheduled Tribes Morcha.
Her personal struggles:
Despite a successful political career, Murmu also faced some hurdles along the way. In 2009, she contested the Lok Sabha election from Mayurbhanj constituency, but lost as the BJD and BJP severed ties.
The electoral setback coincided with a tumultuous period in her personal life. Over the next six years, she lost three of her closest family members — her eldest son Laxman Murmu in 2009, her younger son Sippun Murmu in 2013, and then her husband Shyam Charan Murmu in 2014 — in a series of unfortunate incidents.
Governor of Jharkhand:
Murmu was sworn in as the first woman Governor of Jharkhand in 2015.
In November 2016, the BJP government of the state led by Chief Minister Raghubar Das passed amendments to two centuries-old land laws — the Chotanagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act and the Santhal Pargana Tenancy (SPT) Act — that would have ensured easy transfer of land for industrial use. After widespread protests by Adivasis who believed that the move would limit their rights over land, Murmu returned the Bills in June 2017, and asked the government to clarify how the amendments would benefit tribals.
The refusal to give her assent to controversial Bills passed by the government of the party to which she had herself belonged, won Murmu admiration and respect.
The Adivasi leader:
Murmu, a Santhal leader and an inspirational figure for her community and for women in general, has frequently weighed in on issues that Adivasis face.
On November 24, 2018, Governor Murmu stated at a global conference on financial inclusion that despite efforts by the Jharkhand state government (at the time led by the BJP) and the federal government to expand access to banking services and other programS for tribal people, the conditions for SCs and STs “remain extremely poor.” Murmu urged the translation of writings about the Adivasi languages and cultures.
Draupadi Murmu: Governor of Jharkhand
On May 18, 2015, Draupadi Murmu took the oath of office to become the 1st female governor of Jharkhand. She is the first woman to hold the office of governor of an Indian state and is a tribal leader from the state of Odisha. When Draupadi Murmu was the governor of Jharkhand in 2017, she declined to sign a measure that sought to change the Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act of 1949 and the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act of 1908.
The bill aimed to maintain land ownership while granting the Tribes the freedom to use their property for commercial purposes.
Draupadi Murmu Awards & Honours:
Draupadi Murmu, in 2007, received the Nilkanth Award for the best MLA ( Member of Legislative Assembly) by Odisha Legislative Assembly.
Read about Homeopathy – What Exactly is it?
Know about China – Red Alert Due To Heat Waves