Mrs. Draupadi Murmu (64) yesterday won the presidential election by a thumping margin. She will take oath as the 15th President of India on July 25.
Mrs. Murmu will be the first person from a tribal background and second female to hold this highest position of the country, the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces. She will be the youngest (64) President and the first President born after Independence (1947).
Hers is a life-strory of constant struggle, sheer grit and determination. The journey of this low-profile lady started from a tribal hamlet in Odisha’s backwaters to Rashtrapati Bhawan (Presidential Palace) at Raisina Hills epitomises the the struggle of millions of her compatriots who have risen from grinding poverty and squalor by dint of hard work and dedication.
This polite and soft-spoken tribal leader from Rairangpur in Mayurbhanj District in the state of Odisha was born on June 20, 1958, in a Santhali tribal family of Uparbeda village. She was the first from her paternal village to go to Rama Devi Women’s College at Bhubaneshwar.
She initially worked as a clerk in the State Irrigation department from 1979 to 1983. Thereafter she started teaching at Shri Aurobindo Integral Education and Research Institute, Rairangpur till 1997.
She took plunge in politics in 1997, when she became a councillor and also the chairperson of Rairangpur Notified Area Council. Thereafter she never turned back and moved forward to become a legislator, minister, Governor and now to the top constitutional post of the country.
Her personal life was full of turmoils, but a glaring example of resilience and self-pride. She was married to a banker, Shyam Charan Murmu. In 2009, her 25-year-old son, Lakshman died unexpectedly after attending a gathering in Bhubaneshwar. She was completely shattered.
But tragedy befell her again when her younger son, Shipun, also died in a road accident. The catastrophe came in droves. Her mother and a younger brother also died in quick succession. Due to deep depression, her husband, also passed away in 2014. It all happened in a span of just six years between 2009 and 2015.
She then embraced Brahma Kumaris, a spiritual movement that believes in spiritual awakening of humanity and removal of negativity. She completed a course and learnt Sahaj Rajyog. She became a keen practitioner of yoga and meditation. She turned to spirituality and vegetarianism. She has a daughter, Itishri, who is also a banker.
Mrs Draupadi Murmu has donated her family’s land for public causes. She runs the SLS residential school in memory of her husband and two sons. She has made Samadhis (memorials) in their memory.
Mrs Murmu, a woman of substance, has proved that the journey may be hard and destination difficult, but it becomes easier if we keep on stepping with patience and perseverance.