Droupadi Murmu, born on 20 June 1958, is a prominent Indian politician and former educator, currently serving as the 15th President of India since 2022. Her historic presidency marks not only a significant milestone for the nation but also for the tribal community she hails from. Droupadi is the first individual from the tribal community to hold this esteemed office and the second woman after Pratibha Patil to do so. Remarkably, she is also the youngest person to assume this role and the first President to be born in independent India.
Before her presidency, Droupadi Murmu had a distinguished political career. She previously served as the 8th Governor of Jharkhand from 2015 to 2021. Prior to that, she was a member of the Odisha Legislative Assembly, representing the Rairangpur Assembly constituency from 2000 to 2009. During her time in the Odisha government, she held the position of Minister of State (Independent Charge) from 2000 to 2004. Her journey into politics followed a period of public service, where she worked as a clerk in the State Irrigation and Power Department from 1979 to 1983. Subsequently, she dedicated herself to education, serving as a teacher in Rairangpur from 1994 to 1997.
Droupadi Murmu was born into a Santali family in Uparbeda village, situated in the Baidaposi area of Rairangpur, Odisha. Her father, Biranchi Narayan Tudu, was a respected farmer and a traditional leader in the village council (Gram Panchayat). Initially named Puti Tudu by her family, she was later renamed Droupadi by one of her school teachers. Over the years, her name underwent various spellings, including Durpadi and Dorpdi.
Her educational journey began in the local primary school in Upar Beda, where she received her elementary education. At the age of five, she moved to Bhubaneswar to pursue higher studies. She completed her secondary education at Girl’s High School Unit-2 and later earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rama Devi Women’s College.
In 1980, Droupadi Murmu married Shyam Charan Murmu, a banker. Together, they had two sons and a daughter. Tragically, her family experienced profound loss when both her sons, Sipun (who died in a road accident) and Laxman (who passed away in mysterious circumstances), her husband, mother, and brother all succumbed to various circumstances within a span of seven years, from 2009 to 2015.
Despite the challenges she faced, Droupadi Murmu found solace and strength in her spiritual beliefs. She became a follower of the Brahma Kumaris spiritual movement, which provided her with support and guidance during difficult times.
In addition to her political achievements, Droupadi Murmu is known for her admiration of India’s key historical figures. She holds a deep respect for Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, and has expressed admiration for the principles upheld by Mahatma Gandhi and B. R. Ambedkar.
Droupadi Murmu’s inspiring journey, marked by resilience and determination, continues to serve as a beacon of hope and empowerment for the tribal community and the nation as a whole. As the first tribal President of India, she symbolizes the nation’s progress towards inclusivity and representation for all its diverse communities.