Published On: Sat, Feb 11th, 2023

President Murmu turns nostalgic during her college visit

President Droupadi Murmu.

President Droupadi Murmu.
| Photo Credit: ANI

President of India Droupadi Murmu on Friday turned nostalgic on her maiden visit as head of the country to Rama Devi Women’s University in Odisha, where she had studied in the 1970s.

Before Ms. Murmu began delivering her convocation address, she said, “When I stepped into the university campus today, I felt a bit different. Perhaps, the reason was that it was not the usual path I used to take to enter the institute. I was taken through a separate entrance.”

“When I arrived here, it was as if the same smell of the auditorium, the same known faces and 43-year-old walls of the institute greeted and welcomed me to the campus,” she said.

“The memories of yesteryears keep coming to my mind. I did not come through the portico of the institute today. But, I still remember the days when I used to sit leisurely near the portico,” recalled Ms. Murmu, who graduated from the Rama Devi College in 1970s.

“During those days, there was no dress code for students. Our identity was that we were inmates of the tribal girls’ hostel. This was the only women’s college in those days. There was no difference between daughters of Chief Minister and Chief Secretary to the daughters of poor farmers,” she said.

“The endless chattering among us showed that there was no trace of any discrimination. The campus life was generating new stimulation for a girl, who had travelled from a remote village to the capital city. If I go on describing my college life, I will run out of time,” Ms. Murmu said.

The President said, “Everybody knows my family and financial background. Though I was able to smell all of the food emanating from the college canteen, I used to avoid the path to the canteen. Instead, I looked to have my snacks from the street vendor near our college boundary. If I had 25 paise of groundnut, it was like a treat.”

Ms. Murmu went on to recall the names of the teachers who taught her during four years on the campus of Rama Devi College.

She called upon girls to excel by realising their potential. “We don’t lack potential within us. Parents and government are mere facilitators. We need to make efforts,” she said.

Ms. Murmu, who hails from a tribal family, had left her remote village in the Mayurbhanj district when she was a 12-year-old. No higher education was available in her village or nearby after standard VII then. She got admission to standard VIII in the Capital Girls High School in July 1970. After completing her school education, President joined Rama Devi College for undergraduate courses from 1974-1978. Due to her poor financial background, she had completed her education by staying in a tribal girls’ hostel in Bhubaneswar.

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