Draupadi Murmu a Santal, first tribal President of India
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The original name of Draupadi Murmu – a Santal who was sworn in today (July 25, 2022) as the first tribal President of India – was "Puti", she says.
The name Droupadi, based on a character of the epic Mahabharata, was given by her school teacher, Murmu said in an interview with an Odia language video magazine some time ago when she also revealed that her Santali name was Puti.
"Puti was changed to Droupadi by a teacher in school. Droupadi was not my original name. It was given by my teacher who hailed from another district, not from my native Mayurbhanj," Murmu told the magazine.
Born as Puti Tudu in Uparved village of Mayurbhanj district of the eastern state of Odisha, Murmu was the first girl from the area to join a college.
School teachers in tribal-dominated Mayurbanjh district used to travel from either Balasore or Cuttack districts in 1960s, the 64-year-old President said.
"The teacher did not like my previous name and changed it for good," she said when the magazine asked why she is called Droupadi, our New Delhi correspondent reports.
She had also mentioned that her name was changed several times – from Durpadi to Dorpdi.
In a separate interview on February 18, 2020, Murmu narrated her ordeal after the death of her 25-year-old eldest son Laxman.
"I was completely shattered and broken following the death of my son. I was depressed for about two months. I stopped meeting people and remained confined at home. Later I joined Ishwariya Prajapati Brahmakumari, underwent yoga and meditation," she said.
The 15th President of India lost her younger son Sipun in a road accident in 2013 and subsequently, her brother and mother passed away.
"I have encountered tsunami in my life and seen three deaths of my family members in a span of six months," Murmu said, adding that her husband Shyam Charan also fell ill and died in 2014.
"There was a time when I thought I might die anytime," she said.
She stated that names do not die in Santali culture.
If a girl is born, she takes the name of her grandmother, while a son carries grandfather's nomenclature, she said.
The Daily Star