SAYING THAT her election “reflects the dreams and capabilities of crores of women and daughters”, President Droupadi Murmu on Monday urged the country to move forward on the “twin tracks of sabka prayas (everyone’s effort) and sabka kartavya (everyone’s duty)”.
In her speech, shortly after taking oath as India’s 15th President, Murmu said: “It is satisfying to me that the people who were devoid of development for years — the poor, Dalits, backward and the tribals — can find representation through me. My election has the blessings of the poor of the country and reflects the dreams and capabilities of crores of women and daughters of the country… It is the power of our democracy that a daughter born in a poor house, a daughter born in a remote tribal area, can reach the highest constitutional post of India.”
Murmu, 64, is the first President to be born after Independence. “That I attained the post of President is not my personal achievement. It is the achievement of every poor person in India. My election is proof of the fact that the poor in India can have dreams and fulfil them too,” she said. She assured that the interests of people, especially the women and youth, will be “paramount” to her while in office.
“It is a coincidence that my political career started when the country was celebrating its 50th year of Independence. And today, in the 75th year of Independence, I have been handed this responsibility. I am honoured to take on this responsibility at a historic time when India is gearing up to achieve the vision of the next 25 years,” she said in her address, which lasted a little over 18 minutes.
Citing the Santhal, Paika, Kol and Bhil revolutions, she said: “All these revolutions strengthened the tribal contribution in the freedom struggle. We derived inspiration from the sacrifice of ‘Dharti Aaba’ Bhagwan Birsa Munda Ji for social upliftment and patriotism. I am happy that many museums are being built across the country dedicated to the role of the tribal communities in our freedom struggle”.
Paying tribute to India’s freedom fighters, Murmu said the country will have to move quickly on the twin tracks of “sabka prayas” (everyone’s effort) and “sabka kartavya” (everyone’s duty) to fulfil their expectations.
“In our country full of diversities, we are engaged in the making of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’ by adopting many languages, religions, sects, food habits, lifestyles and customs,” she said. “I was born in that tribal tradition which has lived in harmony with nature for thousands of years. I have realised the importance of forests and water bodies in my life… We take necessary resources from nature and serve nature with equal reverence. This sensitivity has become a global imperative today,” said Murmu, the country’s first tribal woman President.
Quoting tribal poet Bhim Bhoi, she said: “Mo jeeban pachhe narke padi thau, jagato uddhar heu”, which translates as “working for the welfare of the world is far greater than one’s own interests”. In her address, Murmu touched on various issues, including the NDA government’s “Digital India” and “vocal for local” initiatives and its Covid vaccination programme.
Earlier in the day, Murmu was administered the oath of office by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana in Central Hall of Parliament, in the presence of outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Union ministers, chief ministers, heads of diplomatic missions and Members of Parliament among others.
After the short ceremony, Murmu and Kovind were escorted out amid the roll of drums and blowing of trumpets. There was a national salute by the President’s Bodyguard at Gate No 5 of Parliament, after which the new President and her predecessor were escorted in a ceremonial procession to Rashtrapati Bhavan. The new Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces then inspected a tri-services guard of honour in the forecourt.
In her first tweet as President, Murmu greeted the nation with “Johar, Namaskar”.
Kovind and his family were given a formal send-off by the Prime Minister and other dignitaries as well as the Rashtrapati Bhavan staff.
Saying that Murmu assuming the Presidency is a “watershed moment for India especially for the poor, marginalised and downtrodden”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “In her address after taking oath, President Droupadi Murmu Ji gave a message of hope and compassion. She emphasised on India’s accomplishments and presented a futuristic vision of the path ahead at a time when India is marking Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.”
Murmu, a Santhal tribal from Mayurbhanj district of Odisha, defeated Opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha, securing 64.03 per cent of the total votes polled. Her daughter, Itishree, works in a bank in Odisha.