Friday (July 29th): India’s President Draupadi Murmu

Draupadi Murmu
Press Information Bureau on behalf of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India

Name? Draupadi Murmu

Westphalian identity? Indian

Age? 64

Why is she in the news? On Monday, Draupadi Murmu was sworn in as the 15th President of India, making history not only as the youngest President yet, but also the first to be born in independent India. Belonging to one of the largest tribal groups in the country, the Santhals, Murmu’s election means greater representation, and potentially protection, for the often overlooked indigenous communities in India.

Why do we care? In all honesty, we are trying to expand our knowledge of the world’s different political systems and were curious as to what power the president of India holds and why we haven’t really heard much about the position until now.

Why should you care? As head of state, Murmu’s role as president is considered largely ceremonial since Prime Minister Modi holds executive authority. That said, the president of India can declare a state of emergency as well as declare war, conclude peace, and sign treaties with a foreign country as the Commander in Chief of all the Indian armed forces. You should care 6/10 about who directs the powers of the Indian Presidency.

Who else cares? Russian President Vladimir Putin. In an effort to assure that certain countries remain neutral on the Ukraine war, Putin emphasised how the Kremlin attaches “…much importance to the relations of special privileged strategic partnership with India. I hope your activities as the head of state will promote the further development of the Russian-Indian political dialogue”

Any further comments? So who is the newly elected President Murmu? She is a former teacher, governor and the first girl from her village to attend college. As stated in her maiden address, her “election is proof of the fact that the poor in India can have dreams and fulfil them too. It is the power of India’s democracy that a girl born in a poor tribal home could reach the topmost constitutional post.”

Sarah McFadden

General Coordinator