Droupadi Murmu, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) nominee for the July 18 Presidential election, was on the short list for the same position in 2017. When the BJP leadership announced her candidacy this year, the candidate herself acknowledged it. She was considered to have time on her side at the age of 59 at the time. The time appears to have come in 2022 for a woman tribal candidate to be elected to the highest office in the country, the beating heart of the Indian Republic, so to speak.
Droupadi Murmu’s life and political career are once again being scrutinized as she becomes India’s 15th President. Her village in Pahadpur is celebrating after she won the Presidential election on July 21 to become the nation’s first tribal President. Murmu’s career highlight has been becoming India’s first tribal President; however, she has a penchant for collecting firsts. Her life’s journey has not been easy, but it has the potential to inspire many people in the coming years.
Droupadi Murmu is the first person from her paternal village, Uperbeda, in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district, to attend college. She attended college in Bhubaneswar, about 270 kilometres from her home. Her village did not have electricity at the time, and her parents only gave her a monthly allowance of 10 rupees. Murmu began her professional life as a government clerk before becoming a teacher. Murmu became a keen practitioner of Brahma Kumari meditational techniques during this time, a movement she joined after suffering personal losses. She first became connected with the Brahma Kumari Sansthan in Mount Abu around 13 years ago.
She later became a councillor in Rairangpur, where she and her husband resided. Her career took off after she was elected MLA for two terms and minister. In 2015, she was appointed as the Governor of Jharkhand. After her term as Governor of Jharkhand expired in 2021, she returned to her five-room Rairangpur home, which her husband purchased in the 1990s. She was, in fact, the first female Governor of Jharkhand, as well as the first female tribal leader from Odisha to be appointed Governor of an Indian state.
Murmu lost her husband, two sons, mother, and brother in just six years, between 2009 and 2015. She had two sons and one daughter. Her first son died in a car accident in 2009, and her second son died in a car accident three years later. Previously, she had suffered the loss of her husband, Shyam Charan Murmu, due to cardiac arrest. Itishree, her daughter, works at an Odisha bank. Murmu later renamed her old house the SLS Memorial School in honour of her husband and sons. The Santhal community in Mayurbhanj has many wishes, and many of them hope that Droupadi Murmu will be the first to listen to them.