From Tribal Land To Raisina Hills: Droupadi Murmu's Inspiring Journey To India's Top Post

At 64, the woman who became India's 15th president, taking over from Ram Nath Kovind, is also the youngest and India's first president to be born after Independence.

By Talibuddin Khan
Updated: Fri, 22 Jul 2022 08:07 AM IST
Minute Read
From Tribal Land To Raisina Hills: Droupadi Murmu's Inspiring Journey To India's Top Post
President-Elect Droupadi Murmu greets as she arrives for the NDA MPs Ministers meeting ahead of the Monsoon Session of Parliament. (ANI Photo)

The arc of triumph forged through personal tragedy is complete for the unassuming politician who started public life as a councillor in Odisha and was written into history as India's first tribal president and the second woman in the post. On Thursday, the former Jharkhand governor and the BJP-led NDA's presidential candidate, who found many other backers along her campaign trail, won an easy victory over the opposition's pick Yashwant Sinha.

At 64, the woman who became India's 15th president, taking over from Ram Nath Kovind, is also the youngest and India's first president to be born after Independence. She will be sworn in on July 25 a day after incumbent President Ram Nath Kovind demits his office on July 24.

The low-profile politician is believed to be deeply spiritual and a keen practitioner of the meditation techniques of the Brahma Kumaris, a movement she embraced after she lost her husband, two sons, mother and brother in just six years between 2009-2015.

POLITICAL CAREER OF DROUPADI MURMU

Born on June 20, 1958, in a poor tribal family in a village of Mayurbhanj, a backward district in Odisha, Murmu started her political career after she joined the BJP and became a councillor in the Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat in 1997. Three years later, she became the chairperson of the Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat.

Her rise continued and she later became a minister in the Odisha government in 2000. Murmu, a two-term former MLA from the Rairangpur assembly constituency, was the Minister of State with Independent Charge for Commerce and Transportation from March 6, 2000, to August 6, 2002. She was also the Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Minister of Odisha from August 6, 2002, to May 16, 2004.

In 2007, Murmu was conferred Nilkantha Award for best MLA by the 147-member Odisha legislative assembly. Murmu, who was the vice president and later president of the Scheduled Tribe Morcha of the BJP in Odisha, continued to rise through the ranks and became the first woman Governor of Jharkhand in 2015.

PERSONAL LIFE AND EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS

Overcoming all odds, Murmu earned her Bachelor's degree in Arts from Ramadevi Women's College in Bhubaneswar. She has served as a junior assistant in the irrigation and power department in the Odisha government, and as an honorary assistant teacher in the Shri Aurobindo Integral Education Centre in Rairangpur.

She was married to Shyam Charan Murmu and they had two sons and a daughter. Her life has been marked with personal tragedies as she lost her husband and two sons. Murmu's daughter Itishree is married to Ganesh Hembram. Murmu's daughter Itishree works in a bank in Odisha.

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