Droupadi Murmu Swearing In Ceremony: Droupadi Murmu on Thursday scripted history by becoming the first tribal President of India and the second woman after Pratibha Patil at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. However, Murmu’s journey to the Raisina Hills has been fraught with hardships and tragic personal losses.
This time around, the Opposition led a bitter presidential campaign, which was filled with personal insults, at times, even denigrating Murmu’s tribal identity. Led by the Opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha, several Opposition leaders referred to Murmu as a “rubber-stamp” or a “statue.” Visibly reticent and known to be soft-spoken in her close circle, Murmu had never said a word in return to any of her critics. But one look at her career and her actions will suggest that she is no ”rubber-stamp.’ During her tenure as the Jharkhand governor, Murmu had stood up against the Raghubar Das-led BJP government in the state in 2016. She had returned amendments to two bills back to the state government, without signing them. The proposed amendments to one of the bills would make it easier for tribal lands to be used for commercial use. She was the longest-serving governor of Jharkhand.
During her tenure, she had also acted as a bridge between the state government and the Pathalgarhi movement leaders in the Khunti district, the birthplace of famous tribal freedom fighter Birsa Munda. She had managed to reach out to the agitation leaders, asking them to strengthen their faith in the Constitution. The state government finally relented after a prolonged stand-off with Murmu and withdrew the bills in August, 2017. Coming from an impoverished village in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district, Murmu was a school teacher between 1994 to 1997, before she joined the BJP and slowly rose up to the top echelons of power, starting as a councilor in her home constituency Rairangpur, and then winning the from the Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha constituency two times in a row. During the BJP-BJD alliance, she had served as the Minister of State with Independent Charge for Commerce and Transportation and Fisheries and Animal Resources Development.
Between 2009 to 2014, Murmu had lost both her sons and her husband. However, that didn’t stop her from marching forward, while raising her daughter up single-handedly. Now, a school, which she had founded in Pahadpur’s Shyam village, stands as a remembrance for her lost ones. Through her grief, Murmu chose to bring joy and enlightenment to others. As she was announced the winner on Thursday, the 60 students in the school and their teachers broke out in celebration, knowing that their next President did right by them.