“My election is evidence that the poor in India cannot just dream but also fulfil those dreams.” - President Droupadi Murmu in her first address as the President of India.
On July 25, 2022, India got its youngest President, when Droupadi Murmu swore an oath as the 15th President of India, succeeding Ram Nath Kovind. From Rairangpur to Raisina Hills, Droupadi Murmu’s journey from the Indian tribal lady to being the most important person in the country has become a source of inspiration for many. She was also honoured by the Legislative Assembly of Odisha with Nilakantha Award for being the best MLA of 2007. The award recognised her extraordinary work towards public service and women empowerment.
But who is Droupadi Murmu? And why is her election as the Indian’s First Citizen considered a historical moment in the history of Indian Presidents? Let’s read here.
Droupadi Murmu scripted history by becoming the first person from the tribal background to become the current President of India. Moreover, Murmu, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)'s candidate for President of India nominated by BJP, also won the presidential poll by an overwhelming margin. She secured 6,76,803 electoral votes (64.03% of the total) to defeat the opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha.
At the swearing-in ceremony held on July 25, the 15th President talked about her struggle and challenges. Previously, she has held the offices of Governor of Jharkhand, Minister of State for Fisheries and Animal, Minister of State for Commerce and Transport, and she has also remained a Member of the Odisha Legislative Assembly.
Droupadi Murmu was born on June 20, 1958 in Uparbeda village, Mayurbhanj, Odisha, one of the most backward districts in India. She was born to a farmer, and belongs to the Santhal tribe of Odisha. In a village where obtaining even primary education was a dream for girls, Murmu beat all odds to complete her Bachelor of Arts in 1979 from the Rama Devi Women's College, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, and, thus, became the first woman from her village to do so.
The 64-year-old is a widow with a daughter, and started her career as a junior assistant at the irrigation department of the Government of Odisha in 1979, and then worked as a teacher at the school Sri Aurobindo Integral Education Centre, without salary. Eventually she entered the Odisha politics in 2015.
Murmu started out as a teacher and then entered into Odisha politics. To know more about the political career of Droupadi Murmu, read on.
Droupadi Murmu joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1997 and was soon elected as the councillor of the Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat.
In 3 years, she was elected the Chairperson of Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat and also served as the National Vice-President of BJP Scheduled Tribes Morcha.
In the 2000 and 2004 assembly elections, she was elected as the Minister of BJP from the Rairangpur constituency twice.
She also has a diverse administrative experience, as she has served as the Minister of the Department of Transport, Commerce, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry between 2000 and 2004.
From 2002-2009, Murmu served as a national executive member of the BJP’s ST morcha.
Droupadi Murmu served as the District President of BJP in Mayurbhanj and State President of BJP Scheduled Tribe Morcha from 2006 to 2009.
On May 18, 2015, Draupadi Murmu became the first woman Governor of Jharkhand and the first female tribal leader from Odisha to be appointed the Governor of the Indian State.
In 2022, she was named as the National Democratic Alliance's candidate for the 2022 Indian Presidential Elections.
On 25 July 2022, Droupadi Murmu wrote history by being elected as the 15th President of India.
Droupadi Murmu’s nomination as the Indian President came with many firsts, such as:
Smt. Murmu is the first President of the country to be born in Independent India.
At age 64, she became the youngest Indian President.
Draupadi Murmu is the first tribal woman to have been elected for the highest constitutional post of the country.
In 2015, Murmu was sworn in as the first woman Governor of Jharkhand, and was also the longest-serving Governor of the state, from 2015 to 2021.
She is also the first girl from her village to attend college, the Uparbeda village of Mayurbhanj district in Odisha.
Here is the complete list of Indian Presidents from 1947 to 2022.
Dr. Rajendra Prasad
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Dr. Zakir Hussain
V. V. Giri
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed
Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy
Giani Zail Singh
Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma
K. R. Narayanan
Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Pratibha Singh Patil
Ram Nath Kovind
Hailing from a tribal family, amidst utmost poverty, Droupadi Murmu’s childhood had been full of challenges and hardships, however, she overcame all odds and achieved the feat of becoming the first female from her village to attain a bachelor’s degree.
Not only this, Murmu’s tremendous work as the best party worker and MLA also earned her the prestigious Nilkantha award. She also has hands-on experience with ministries such as Commerce, Transport, Animal husbandry, and Fisheries in the Odisha Government.
Belonging to the Santhal community, and despite coming from a backward area, Murmu managed to get good education and grassroot level hands-on experience by serving the society in various roles, and now holds the most important office in the country with many firsts to her name!