On 21 July 2022, Mrs. Droupadi Murmu has won the elections for the post of President of India, becoming the first tribal woman to take up the Office when she is sworn in on 25 July 2022. Becoming President marks the culmination of a career spanning 3 decades for Mrs. Murmu. An arc of triumph forged through personal tragedy is complete for the unassuming politician who found many backers along her campaign trail beyond her political affiliations.
Mrs. Droupadi Murmu, 64, the Presidential candidate of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) received over 64% of votes polled.
Born on 20 June 1958, Mrs. Murmu was the first girl in the remote village of Uparbeda in the Eastern State of Odisha’s tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj District to go to college. Mrs. Murmu belongs to the Santhal tribe.Her father and grandfather were the traditional Heads of Village Council. She graduated with a BA degree from Ramadevi Women’s College in Bhubaneswar and worked as a Clerk in the Odisha State Secretariat. She married Mr Shyam Charan Murmu, a bank employee. In the early 90s Mrs. Droupadi Murmu taught at Sri Aurobindo Educational Centre at Rairangpur.
Mrs. Murmu entered into politics in the 1990s being elected as a Councilor in Rairangpur Municipality in 1993 and later elected as the President of BJP’s ST Morcha. Mrs. Murmu was then elected to the Odisha State Assembly from Rangraipur Constituency and became a Minister twice from 2000 she handled Transport and Commerce portfolios and from 2004 was the Minister of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries. Between 2006-09, Mrs. Murmu served as State President of BJP’s ST Morcha and from 2002-09 and 2013-15 she was a National Executive Member of the BJP’s ST Morcha. In 2015, Mrs. Murmu was appointed as the first women Governor of the State of Jharkhand, for 6 years till 2021. She is an excellent orator in Santhali, Oriya and Hindi languages. She has worked extensively to improve infrastructure such as roads and ports in the region while batting strongly for traditional tribal rights including land rights.
Mrs. Murmu has witnessed many ups and downs in her personal life including loss of three family members. Her eldest son, Laxman Murmu, died in 2009, her younger son, Sippon Murmu, passed away in 2013 and her husband, Shyam Charan Murmu, in 2014. She has a daughter, Itishree Murmu. Mrs. Murmu is believed to be deeply spiritual and keen practitioner of the meditation techniques of the Brahma Kumaris – a movement she embraced after her tragic loss.
On her victory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Mrs. Murmu stating “India scripts history. At a time when 1.3 billion Indians are marking Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (India’s 75 years of independence), a daughter of India belonging from a tribal community, born in a remote part of Eastern India, has been elected our President.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi was joined by top Cabinet Ministers, party leaders and millions of tribals and common people across India who celebrated her election as a triumph for both tribal and women’s empowerment.
Meanwhile, the High Commission of India in Georgetown has received congratulatory messages from many Guyanese located in Guyana as well as abroad. High Commissioner, Dr. K J Srinivasa thanked all well-wishers and stated that “Mrs. Droupadi Murmu, being the second woman President of India, and the first tribal to become the Head of State marks a remarkable journey of Mrs. Murmu. The vibrant nature and strength of India’s democracy is now reflected in the empowerment of both tribals and women in this election. India continues to march ahead in various fields aided by an overall development pathway taking all sections of society together with no discrimination. Women’s empowerment in India has been very successful in the past few decades.”