The visuals of President Droupadi Murmu participating in Vedic rituals before she assumes office has become the focal point of a vicious misinformation campaign. Attempts are being made to paint a Vedic ceremony as a “cleansing process” before she enters the highest constitutional office in the country. Some are even questioning if as the President, she is allowed to showcase her religious beliefs.
Before we answer these falsehoods, it is important to study the strength of Murmu’s character that speaks for itself.
Madam President, born into a humble household of Santhali tribe, broke many barriers to attain her education. Crossing all hurdles, she became the first woman from her village to go to college.
Despite suffering through many personal tragedies, she continued on her path to serve society. As governor of Jharkhand, she did not shy away from presenting contrarian views to her party. She carried out all her administrative duties with integrity and remained true to the values she cultivated as part of the tribal community.
Her life trajectory shows Murmu is not a 'rubber stamp', as those in the opposition would want people to see her as. She is, however, a practising Hindu who does not feel ashamed to wear her faith on her sleeves. Her belief has not been acquired because she joined the BJP. But has been a part and parcel of her daily life, as it is with most Indians. In life’s toughest phases, Murmu held on to her spiritual beliefs and practices to sail her through an ocean of grief.
When her name was announced as National Democratic Alliance’s presidential candidate, she began her campaign by first visiting the Jagannath Temple at Rairangpur in Mayurbhanj. She visited the Shiva temple, where she cleaned the premises with a broom, just like any Shiva devotee would do.
However, Murmu brandishing her faith has not pleased some from the ‘left, liberal commentariat’ because of how effectively she has punctured the narrative of India’s tribal community not being part of the Hindu fold.
Before beginning a journey or starting a new job or business, it is a common practice to offer prayers or seek blessings. Portraying simple Vedic mantra-chanting and rituals as anything other than Murmu seeking blessings before she takes on new responsibilities is reprimanding her, a tribal woman, for holding on to her faith.
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