“Droupadi Murmu creates history, elected first tribal president of India” – Odisha

Droupadi Murmu creates history, elected first tribal president of India

Presidential election 2022, Droupadi Murmu, Yashwant Sinha: President Ram Nath Kovind will finish his term July 24

Murmu, 64, won by an overwhelming margin against Sinha after receiving over 64 per cent valid votes in a day-long counting of ballots of MPs and MLAs, comprising the electoral college, to succeed Ram Nath Kovid to become the country’s 15th president. […]

She will be the first President to be born after independence and is the youngest to occupy the top post. She is also the second woman to become the President. […]

The president is elected indirectly – by an electoral college of all MPs and MLAs. This adds to up a total of 4,809 votes. The value of each vote is based on the population of the state s/he represents; by dividing the population by total elected Assembly members and then dividing the quotient by 1,000. […]

Apart from the BJP’s lawmakers, Murmu had the support of several opposition parties, including the Biju Janata Dal from her home state of Odisha. […]

Source: “Droupadi Murmu creates history, elected first tribal president of India”, Hindustan Times, 21 July 2022
URL: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/presidential-election-results-round-1-over-murmu-has-232-vote-lead-over-sinha-101658396005509.html
Date Visited: 23 July 2022

Droupadi Murmu: The woman who is India’s first tribal president
BBC News 22 July 2022

The candidate of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the 64-year-old former teacher comes from Odisha (Orissa) state and has had a stint as a state governor. Ms Murmu is the country’s first tribal leader in the top post. The president in India is the head of the state, but does not exercise executive powers. […]

Political leaders in Odisha had welcomed her nomination, describing her as a “daughter of the soil”.

Party colleague in the state, Kabi Vishnu Satpathy, who has known her since the 1980s, describes her as a “straightforward and simple” person.

“A compassionate woman, she’s good at heart, with no arrogance, no airs. She doesn’t show off, mixes freely with people and is humble and down-to-earth. As a politician, she knew how to take people along.”

According to BBC Hindi’s Ravi Prakash in Ranchi, Jharkhand’s capital, Ms Murmu won appreciation during her tenure for keeping the governor’s office open to people from all walks of life. […]

Mr Das adds that the most remarkable part of Ms Murmu’s personality “is her equanimity in both happy and sad times and her stoicism in the face of tragedy”. […]

Source: “Droupadi Murmu: The woman who is India’s first tribal president”, BBC News 22 July 2022
URL: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-61892776
Date Visited: 23 July 2022

Read the full commentary in the
Indian Express >>

Droupadi Murmu’s candidature is significant, and also limited, in its meaning

The selection of Droupadi Murmu as the NDA’s presidential candidate has come as a surprise to Scheduled Tribes (STs), who are among the most marginalised groups of the country. What makes the NDA’s choice even more remarkable is that she is a tribal belonging to the Austro-Asiatic ethnic group also known as Adivasis, who reside mainly in the central and eastern states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha. In the colonial period, large numbers of Adivasis were taken as indentured labourers to Assam and today their descendants belong to a separate group called the “Tea Tribes”, thereby distinguishing them from the tribes of the North-East. The Adivasis also differ from the tribes of the Andaman Islands who are considered the most “primitive” in India. […]

Recently, one of my tribal friends spoke warmly of Murmu’s genuine concern for higher education in Jharkhand. Yet, how can this be ensured for tribals without providing quality education for them at the primary and secondary levels? Many ST seats are not filled in professional colleges because the candidates are not found suitable.

The elevation of a leader from a marginalised community or group does not necessarily mean that the entire community or group will benefit. For instance, as I have written elsewhere, where I examine the elevation of Birsa Munda to a national leader and the impact this had on the situation of tribals: despite the many honours bestowed on Birsa Munda at high places, there has not been much change in the situation of tribal people at the grassroots level. The basic motivations behind tribal rebellions, i.e., Jal, Jangal aur Zameen (water, forest and land) remain the same. Hence, the fight by the tribal people of India will probably continue until a radical change is made in the government’s policy towards them.” (‘The Johar Journal’, Vol. II, January-June 2021) […]

Finally, the Constitution of India makes the president the nominated head of state while vesting all the real powers in the prime minister and council of ministers, who are the elected representatives of the people. […]

Source: “Presidential elections: An Adivasi in high office” by Ivy Imogene Hansdak, Indian Express, 16 July 2022
URL: https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/an-adivasi-in-high-office-8032126/
Date Visited: 22 July 2022

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

The Johar Journal
The Johar Journal (द जोहार जर्नल ) is an online open-access, peer-reviewed, biannual journal on Adivasi, tribal and indigenous issues with particular focus on tribal literatures in translation.
https://joharjournal.org >>
Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia
YouTube video channel >>

“We cannot let our culture and society stop” – Ivy Imogene Hansdak, Editor-in-Chief

Read the inaugural Speech by Dr. Ivy Hansdak: “Is tribal identity relevant in today’s world?” delivered during the conference titled “Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative” | Conference report >>

In his play Muktadhara (The Waterfall), Tagore robustly employs this element of freedom. The play relates the story of an exploited people and their eventual release from it. [Today, when] tribal populations across India are being uprooted with impudence Tagore’s message of freedom, in all its shades, is of utmost relevance.

Bhaswati Ghosh in Freedom in Tagore’s Plays | Learn more >>

I disagree with the current naming of our community as ‘Tea-Tribe / Ex-Tea Garden Labour Community.’ Is there any community in this world named after a commodity?

Assamese poet Kamal Kumar Tanti >>
Misconceptions | Scheduled Tribe (ST) >>

“We shall first have to give up this hubris of considering tribes backward. Every tribe has a rich and living cultural tradition and we must respect them.”

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on India’s Constitutional obligation to respect their cultural traditions
Gandhiji at Prayer Time, Parnakuti, Poona (1944) by Chittaprosad, the great advocate of the rights of workers and revolutionary artists. | Learn more in “Gandhi, Secularism, and Cultural Democracy” by Vinay Lal >>
Gandhian social movement | Constitution >>

“Air is free to all but if it is polluted it harms our health… Next comes water… From now on we must take up the effort to secure water. Councillors are servants of the people and we have a right to question them.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi, Ahmedabad address on 1 January 1918; quoted by his grandson, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, in “On another New Year’s Day: Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘khorak’ a 100 years ago” (The Hindu, 1 January 2018)

Photo Birsa Munda © Wikipedia >> photograph in Roy (1912-72)

“Munda’s rebellion had shaken the foundations of the British empire, fighting the British army’s advanced weapons with bow and arrows. He died under mysterious circumstances in the Ranchi jail, and has, since then, been remembered as a martyr.” – Sushmita in The Wire >>

“Despite the many honours bestowed on Birsa Munda at high places, there has not been much change in the situation of tribal people at the grassroots level. The basic motivations behind tribal rebellions, i.e., Jal, Jangal aur Zameen (water, forest and land) remain the same. Hence, the fight by the tribal people of India will probably continue until a radical change is made in the government’s policy towards them.” – Ivy Imogene Hansdak in The Indian Express >>

“Who owns India? Who owns the forests and rivers, the farmlands eyed by industry, the slums coveted by real estate developers and airport authorities, the hills and plateaus desired by mining barons? In roughly a third of the country, this is no idle question.” – Sunil Khilnani in Outlook Magazine >>

“Many people – though not all – have been able to secure freedom from torture, unjustified imprisonment, summary execution, enforced disappearance, persecution and unjust discrimination, as well as fair access to education, economic opportunities, and adequate resources and health-care.” – Universal Declaration of Human Rights | United Nations >>

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It’s a long road to freedom!

Stan Swamy (sociologist and activist for Adivasi rights) in “I am Not a Silent Spectator: Why Truth has become so bitter, Dissent so intolerable, Justice so out of reach” | Indian Social Institute, Bangalore, 2021 | Accountability >>
In pursuit of “equality for all the citizens”: National Legal Services Authority asked to provide free legal consultations to Scheduled Tribes (ST) – Supreme Court >>

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