By: Er. Prabhat Kishore
A history is going to be created in India when the first tribal women will be its next highest constitutional head. The contest between Draupadi Murmu of the Ruling Alliance and Yashwant Sinha of Opposition parties for the highest post of President of India is final. But the arithmetic of the Electoral College confirms that the contest will be one-sided and it is just a formality. It would have been better if all the political parties had a consensus on a common candidate for the constitutional post.
Presently, government as well as society are working for the empowerment and equality of women through many ambitious programmes. The women serving at various positions are role model for girls, who are dreaming of a prosperous future. The elevation of Draupadi Murmu to the top post of the country, having second largest population in the world, will prove to be catalyst for social change. Undoubtedly, her election as President will be a milestone in the Indian history.
Draupadi Murmu has travelled her political career from zero to hero. Her family, belonging to the Santhal tribal, struggled with poverty. Born on 20th June, 1958 in the remotest Uparbeda village of Mayurbhanj district of Odisha, Draupadi completed her graduation from Ramadevi Women’s College, Bhubaneshwar. She started her social life as an honorary assistant professor at Sri Aurobindo Integral Education & Research Centre, Rairangpur. Then she served as a junior assistant in Irrigation and Power department in Odisha Government since 1979 to 1983.
Draupadi started her political journey in 1997 as a councillor and vice-chairman of Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat. In the same year she was appointed as the Vice-President of Odisha BJP Schedule Tribes Morcha. She was elected MLA in 2004 and served as state minister in Commerce & Transport department and subsequently Fisheries & Animal Resource in BJD-BJP coalition government under the Chief Ministership of Naveen Patnaik. For her outstanding contribution, she was honoured the Neelkantha Award for being best MLA by the Odisha Vidhan Sabha in the year 2007. She was again elected from the same constituency in 2009. In 2015, she was sworn in as the first women governor of Jharkhand and completed her full term. As a governor she proved herself as a compassionate and balanced administrator who was accessible for the cause of the downtrodden and marginalised community.
Draupadi Murmu is not a very high profile personality. She rose through political ranks battling negligence, poverty and personnel tragedies. She faced many ups and downs in her personal life and lost her husband and both sons in a tragedy; but having great zeal to serve the nation and the society, she did not stop her marching step.
In fact, Draupadi’s name was also doing the rounds for the BJP’s likely choice for the topmost post in year 2017; but then Ram Nath Kovind, the Governor of Bihar, was finally chosen. There may be several political and other factors regarding her selection by the BJP for the top post, but for the people she represents the Nari Shakti to prop up the message “Yatra Naryastu Pujayante, Ramante Tatra Devta.”
Now our Country is ready to welcome its 15th President of the world’s largest democracy. For the first time, a Moolwasi Tribal of the country will occupy the Rashtrapati Bhawan at Raisina Hills, which epitomises India’s strength, its democratic traditions and nationalist character. (The author is a technocrat and educationist)