The back cover of the book, 'Madam president', calls it the first ever authentic biography of Droupadi Murmu written by Sandeep Sahu. The accounts in the book are gathered painstakingly from several first person opinions and perspectives. The book itself does well to examine both the significance and the symbolism of India's first tribal President.
And one cannot miss that the young NCC cadet who could not afford INR60 to travel to represent the state of Odisha for the Republic Day Parade, now presides over it. Such is the power of a democracy.
Here are our five bookstrapping insights:
The nomination of Droupadi Murmu, as the presidential candidate was surprising for those who hadn't heard of her - on the one hand it led to rival parties ending up on the same side. On the other hand, Murmu was called disparaging things from 'rubber stamp' to representing a 'very evil philosophy' to 'a statue, whose voice has never been heard.'
The author asks the question whether Murmu's candidature was meant to puncture the narrative that tribals have a distinct religion of their own by suggesting that they're actually Hindus.
The attributes Droupadi Murmu is credited with, include being an expert broom-maker, singer and tunda player. Tunda is a native musical instrument! There's a lot of colloquial language splattered all over the book which makes for a very authentic narrative.
The book is generously garnished with anecdotes; for instance, on a particularly rainy day during childhood, when floods in Murmu's village took the water up to four feet, on her path to school, Murmu swam the distance while holding her bag aloft, making sure it did not get wet. Such was her dedication to education, and this continues till date!
Murmu also won hearts as the governor of Jharkhand. Especially when she used her constitutional powers to 'stall' a bill that was anti-tribal and helped to stop a secessionist movement from building up.
She is credited with being the most travelled governor ever! Instead of sitting inside Raj Bhavan, she was out meeting people, listening and empathising with the poor every single day. The book also offers insights into the practical workings of the presidential election through secret ballot as well as other leaders of the state of Odisha.
Time to get to know your president better; the tribal lady who made the journey from Uparbeda village in Rairangpur to Raisina!