RANCHI/ KHUNTI (JHARKHAND), Nov 15 (PTI): President Droupadi Murmu arrived in Ranchi on Tuesday morning and directly went to Ulihatu, the birthplace of Birsa Munda where she paid floral tributes at a bust of the tribal icon on his birth anniversary.
Birsa Munda’s birth anniversary is celebrated as ‘Janjatiya Gaurav Divas’.
Murmu arrived at the Birsa Munda Airport at about 9 am and was welcomed by Jharkhand Governor Ramesh Bais, chief minister Hemant Soren and Union ministers Arjun Munda and Annapurna Devi.
From there, she flew in an Indian Air Force chopper to Ulihatu, Birsa Munda’s village, about 70 km from the state capital.
This was Murmu’s first visit to Jharkhand, where she was earlier the governor, after assuming the office of the country’s first citizen.
She was accorded a warm welcome at Ulihatu, where the villagers danced to the tune of traditional instruments like the dhol, nagara and mandar (all percussion instruments).
Even though common people were not allowed at the main venue due to security reasons, many of them dressed in traditional attires stood on both sides of the road to greet the president.
Murmu paid floral tributes at a bust marking the birthplace of the legendary tribal freedom fighter. She also spoke to Birsa Munda’s descendants before visiting the nearby complex named after him and paid her respects at the full-size statue of the tribal icon there.
Jungle Singh Munda, a descendent of Birsa Munda, told PTI “The president asked about our well being and gave us shawls and saris as a mark of respect. She had visited the village in 2015 when she was Jharkhand governor.”
Murmu tweeted, “Today, I had the good fortune to pay floral tributes at the statue of Bhagwan Birsa Munda in Ulihatu village. Visiting the places associated with his birth and work is like a pilgrimage for me.”
After spending about 30 minutes at Ulihatu, she returned to Ranchi airport in the special chopper and flew to Madhya Pradesh, where she will address a Janjatiya Samagam at Shahdol. Bais, Soren and the two union ministers saw her off at the airport.
Earlier in the day, the president extended her greetings to the people on the occasion of the second Janjatiya Gaurav Divas.
In a Twitter post, she said, “On Janjatiya Gaurav Divas, my greetings to fellow citizens, especially brothers and sisters of the tribal society! Tribal communities have enriched the life of the nation with their arts, crafts and hard work. Their lifestyle offers the world lessons in nurturing nature.”
She said, “Tribal communities made great contributions to the freedom struggle. I bow down to all tribal freedom fighters and unsung heroes. Tribal people’s contribution to the nation’s journey since Independence is no less significant. My best wishes for their development and prosperity.”
Murmu also extended her wishes to the people of Jharkhand on the state foundation day.
“I want the people of Jharkhand to cherish their culture, traditions and customs and establish new dimensions of eco-friendly development,” she said in another Twitter post.