‘My village girl is president’: Pride and hope echo in Odisha | Latest India News

Rairangpur: On Thursday morning, as her husband Sunaram wore a traditional loincloth and prayed to Jaher, the sacred deity of the Santhal tribe, Savita Hembram scoured her closet for the most colorful saree, before settling on one red and blue. . Hastily dressed, the sarpanch of Uparbeda in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha came out of her house and joined the rest of her village in a Santhali song, celebrating the woman who grew up next door to her – Draupadi Murmu, the 15th President of India.

“Although the celebrations haven’t stopped since she was nominated as a candidate last month, today is nothing short of a celebration for us as a girl from my village will become president,” Hembram said. , who lives near Murmu’s ancestral home in Uparbeda. “My husband and other men went to Jaher Era. What tribal woman won’t feel proud today?

It was in the village of Uparbeda where Murmu was born in 1958 and spent her early years, studying in upper primary school up to grade 7. On Thursday, the village wore a festive look with locals embracing each other , often breaking into singing and dancing, and flexible billboards with Murmu’s photo watching the celebrations from all corners of the village of 2,500 people. Around noon, the inhabitants gathered in the village courtyard for a meal of mutton and rice.

At Murmu’s ancestral house, his relative Dulari Tudu was harassed but constantly smiling, handing out sweets to every visitor to the house. This is the peak paddy season, a time when the crop needs to be transplanted. “But today, everyone took a break. It’s a special day for the whole region and we just want to live every moment of it,” said farmer Khelaram Hansdah, raising his hands in celebration outside Murmu’s house.

Just 10 km away in Pahadpur, the ancestral village of Shyam Charan Murmu, Murmu’s bank husband, the SLS Tribal Boarding School also wore a festive air. The school, run by her daughter Itishree, was established by Murmu in 2016 in memory of her husband and sons Laxman and Sipun, who all died between 2009 and 2014. “She was always our role model, but now she is an even greater inspiration,” said one student at the school. “She comes to school regularly, so we can’t wait for her to come back.”

As in Uparbeda, the villagers of Pahadpur also rejoiced at Murmu’s victory, claiming their part in his rise. “Our prayer in the Jaher era has been answered. We cannot express how happy we are. This is where she got married and spent so much time. set up her school as she is passionate about education, this is the greatest thing that has happened to our region,” said Sardar Murmu, an elderly resident of Pahadpur.

In the town of Rairangpur – where Murmu cut her political teeth in 1997, becoming vice-president of the civic body and later legislator of the assembly constituency – celebrations began early Thursday morning and continued late in the night. The entire city was lit up with lights and flowers as people popped crackers for hours. The local business community distributed over 3.5 quintals of laddoo (popular candy) to residents. An exhausted Taranisen Tudu, who spent all day telling visitors and the press about Murmu’s story growing up, said: “Every man on the street feels happy as if his own sister has become president.

At the Aurobindo Integral Education Center in Rairangpur, where Murmu taught as an honorary professor between 1994 and 1997, a public holiday has been declared and a meeting held to remember their most famous faculty member. Children, alumni, teachers and ex-teachers shared how Murmu made everyone feel special. “When I came first in my class in 1996, she picked me up and carried me on her lap around school. She gave chocolates to students and encouraged everyone to excel,” said Abhisek Das, l one of his former students.

Celebrations also erupted in the rest of Odisha and the state capital, Bhubaneswar, where Bharatiya Janata Party workers beat drums and danced while handing out sweets to passers-by.

Back in Uparbeda, Savita Hembram said Murmu’s election as president would boost women’s education in the region. “Often in our homes we can’t study after we get married and no one asks us about our dreams. I hope parents in my area now take girls more seriously,” she said.

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