Know Itishree Murmu, President Murmu’s Daughter

Is the girl child that disposable? Or is it because Droupadi Murmu’s daughter is married that we're not considering her of her mother's lineage?

I recently finished the 600 pager book- American Prometheus, a biopic on J. Robert Oppenheimer only to trade it for another 600 pager. Glutton for punishment much? The book I’m reading is titled ‘America’s First Daughter’ is about the life of Thomas Jefferson’s daughter, Pasty (nickname). It’s apt that today’s post is about daughters/ women.

India’s 15th president is the first of many things. Droupadi Murmu is the first person from tribal community, youngest in age and first to be born in independent India to be president of the nation. (India got her independence on 15 Aug 1947. It has taken us three quarters of a century to reclaim our original name. We are now known as Bharat and henceforth I will refer my home country as Bharat.) Mrs. Murmu was the first woman from her village to graduate from university. She is also the first tribal woman governor of any tribal-majority state in India. What Murmu wasn’t first for was being a female president of India. That first was taken by President Pratibha Patil in 2007. Murmu, in her role as Madam President, has been applauded for her compassion and deep understanding of government policies. She has both head and heart. People often write about her humble beginnings, having lived in poverty and personal struggle.

An article on Murmu in the Britannica mentions the terrible loses she has faced in her life. Murmu’s daughter died when she was a child, but goes on to mention she and her husband had three children after this loss. Brittanica then shares information about the years Murmu lost her husband, two sons, mother and brother.

When I speak to friends and family living in Bharat they cite this loss, often saying Murmu doesn’t have anyone in her life with the husband, sons, mother and brother all gone.

But there was a third child Britannica mentioned. A quick google/Wikipedia mention Murmu has a daughter that is still living. How is it that we talk about the loss of her children but don’t acknowledge Murmu is not all alone. She has a living, thriving, married daughter. Is the girl child that disposable or is that because Murmu’s daughter is married that we are considering her as someone else’s family and not her mother’s keeper? Murmu’s daughter has given her a granddaughter, the lineage of strong Indian women lives on.

Time and time again, I see this in Indian families- it is us girls that take care of our ageing parents. The emphasis on having a boy, carrying the family name is not in vogue. Many Indian families stop at one child if their first is a girl. Times are changing… but not fast enough. Recently I heard from a friend back home that she erroneously thought that she and the brother were equals in her parents’ eyes. Only to find out that her parents have signed off all the inheritance to her brother. We need to be part of the change, and we need allies. Men have to step up, in this case the brother needs to tell the parents he won’t accept the whole inheritance and that it needs to split 50-50. We need allyship.

Back to Droupadi Murmu, Bharat’s Madam President has suffered terrible personal loss, but she is not the lone survivor of her bloodline. Her lineage carries on with her daughter and granddaughter. Daughters matter and we are as much part of lineage and legacy as sons.

Here’s to the President’s daughter, Itishree Murmu. Know her name.

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About the Author

Niyati Tamaskar

Niyati Tamaskar is a breast cancer survivor, she was diagnosed at the age of 34 while she was breastfeeding her second child. As an engineer, she realized that she was a statistical outlier as this read more...

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