Our great country witnessed a landmark in its history when Mrs. Pratibha Patil was sworn in as the first Woman President on Wednesday, July 25, 2007. This seventy-two year old, seasoned politician and a dedicated social worker was administered the oath of office by Chief Justice, KG. Bal Krishnan, in the central hall of the Parliament.
Present on the occasion were the out-going President APJ Abdul Kalam, P.M. Manmohan Singh, Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi, Chief Ministers, Governors of most of the States, leaders of all the political parties and a number of foreign dignitaries.
Mrs. Pratibha Patil was elected by an impressive margin of more than 300000 votes, in spite of the baselessly vicious campaign, launched by some opposition leaders, to tarnish her image, made her victory all the more interesting. Unruffled by mud-slinging, she kept her cool and remained calm and quiet during the campaign period.
Having been born at Jalgaon in Maharashta, Mrs Pratibha Patil’s rise to the Presidency of the country is unbelievably meteoric, indeed. After having completed her post-graduation, she went in for the study of law and started working as a lawyer like her father. She took keen interest in extra curricular activities in her college days and was the Champion in table tennis.
She also won the beauty contest and was declared the College Queen. Mrs. Patil fought and won the election to the State Assembly in 1962 and served Maharashtra in various capacities, as a minister, as the leader of the opposition and also as the President of the State Congress Party.
What strike most are her simple life style, sweet nature and unassuming nature. She is always dressed in traditional Indian style and is God-fearing to the core. Mrs. Patil has also served as the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha for two years.
She has been closely associated with social work, education and co-operative movement. She has big dreams for the country and is eager to see every Indian to be the beneficiary of the development process. Her priority is to fight against poverty, ignorance and disease, mal-nutrition and infant mortality. Her quote from Sant Tukaram is an eye- opener for all of us:
One who befriends the poor and the oppressed, recognise him to be a saint, for God is with him.
I am sure our country would progress by leaps and bounds and attain new heights under the able leadership of our first woman President, Madam Pratibha Patil. May her dreams for the betterment and progress of the common masses come true during her tenure!