Droupadi Murmu Is India's New President

Droupadi Murmu is the new President of India. She defeated the opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha in the election, the result of which was announced on Thursday,July 21. Murmu, 64, is the first Adivasi and second woman to become the nation’s First Citizen and the Supreme Commander of India’s Armed Forces.

Here are five things about the new incumbent of Rashtrapati Bhavan, who takes office in the historic 75th year of the nation’s Independence.

Murmu has been a trailblazer from a very young age. Born into a Santhal family in 1958, she was the first girl in Uparbeda, one of the seven revenue villages in Uparbeda panchayat in Odisha’s backward Mayurbhanj district, to go to college — the Ramadevi Women’s College, now the Ramadevi Women’s University in Bhubaneswar.

Before beginning her career in politics, Murmu was a teacher at the Sri Aurobindo Integral Education Centre in Rairangpur in Mayurbhanj, and later worked as a junior assistant in the irrigation and power department of the Odisha government.

Despite a successful political career, Murmu also faced some hurdles along the way. In 2009, she contested the Lok Sabha election from Mayurbhanj constituency, but lost as the BJD and BJP severed ties.

The electoral setback coincided with a tumultuous period in her personal life. Over the next six years, she lost three of her closest family members — her eldest son Laxman Murmu in 2009, her younger son Sippun Murmu in 2013, and then her husband Shyam Charan Murmu in 2014 — in a series of unfortunate incidents.

Murmu, a Santhal leader and an inspirational figure for her community and for women in general, has frequently weighed in on issues that Adivasis face. On November 24, 2018, speaking at an international conference on financial inclusion, Governor Murmu said that even though the Jharkhand state government  and the Centre were working to extend the benefits of banking services and other schemes to tribals, the condition of SCs and STs “remain extremely poor”. Murmu also called for the translation of literature on Adivasi languages and culture.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the residence of Droupadi Murmu to congratulate her as she took an unbeatable lead over opposition nominee Yashwant Sinha.