There was an unforgettable moment for her in 2009 when her 25-year-old son Lakshman died unexpectedly after attending a gathering in Bhubaneshwar. His death broke her. Supriya Kumari, head of the Brahma Kumari ashram in Rairangpaur, Odisha says, “She was completely shattered. She wasn’t having any life within her to even talk.”
In one of the talks on Brahma Kumari’s television programme, Draupadi Murmu herself narrated this event, “The tsunami came into my life in 2009. It was a huge jolt to me. I couldn’t hear anything for a few days. I slipped into depression. Log kehte the ye to mar jaegi (People thought I will not survive). But, no, I wanted to live.”
After two months, she visited Supriya Kumari in the Brahma Kumaris ashram, completed a course and learnt Sahaj Rajyog. She recovered by changing her life. Since then, she gets up every day around 3.30 am and retires to bed by 9.30 pm. She does yoga and meditation unfailingly and is punctual as well. The spiritual bent of life not only survived her but stabilized her too.
But tragedy befell Murmu again when her younger son, Shipun, died in a road accident. When his body was brought home, she was broken completely, once again.
Rajesh Sharma, a local journalist who was present at her home, says, “She was crying uncontrollably. She broke down before her son’s body. She raised her hands to the sky, asking, ‘God, what more do you want from me? What is left now?’” The catastrophe came in droves.
In an indescribable series of events, her mother and a younger brother died within a month. And a year later, due to deep depression, her husband, Shyam Charan Murmu, died as well.
At that point, Droupadi Murmu told a TV anchor with pain in her voice: “When my second son died, the jolt was a little less than before because I was doing meditation. My husband wasn’t as strong as me, so he couldn’t survive.” She insisted on her only daughter, Itishree, to marry and lead a normal life. After the deaths of five family members, she turned to spirituality and vegetarianism. When she was the governor of Jharkhand (2015-2021), she made the kitchen completely vegetarian. She is likely to bring many fundamental changes in the running of the government in the Rashtrapati Bhavan if she becomes the President.
Draupadi Murmu has donated her family’s land in Pahadpur for public causes. She runs the SLS residential school in memory of her husband and two sons. At the exact location, she has made samadhis in their memory. It’s a heart-wrenching sight.
At the same time when you see tribal girls and boys getting free education and decent surroundings around samadhis, you can visualise carving out a beautiful future out of a deathly past.
Take a bow Droupadi Murmu, to be the President of India!