Lawyer and politician Pratibha Patil is the first, and only, woman president of India. She occupied the office from 2007 till 2012.
As she celebrates her birthday on Wednesday, here are some achievements and facts about her life and political career.
Early Life Of Pratibha Patil
Pratibha Devisingh Patil was born on 19 December 1934 in Jalgaon, Maharashtra.
Pratibha Patil went to RR Vidyalaya, Jalgaon. Later, she obtained a Master’s degree in Political Science and Economics from Mooljee Jetha College, Jalgaon. She also has a law degree from Government Law College, Mumbai.
She practiced law at the Jalgaon District Court. Simultaneously, social issues concerned her like women empowerment.
She married Devisingh Ransingh Shekhawat and has a son and a daughter.
At the age of 27, Pratibha Patil entered politics and since then, never lost an election.
Her political success continued when she contested from Muktainagar (formerly Edlabad) constituency, winning consecutively four times between 1967 and 1985.
During this period, she held several ministries such as education, tourism, urban development and housing, parliamentary affairs, cultural affairs, social welfare and public health.
She became the deputy minister for education in 1967 for the first time. Pratibha kept on getting elected to the assembly either from Jalgaon or Edlabad Constituency.
In 1985, Indian National Congress (INC) nominated her to the Rajya Sabha. She was appointed as Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief in 1988.She held the designation for two years and later, got elected to the Lok Sabha.
First Woman Governor Of Rajasthan
After serving as the Member of Parliament from Amaravati Lok Sabha constituency from 1991 to 1996, Pratibha was made the Governor of Rajasthan.
She was appointed as the 24th Governor of Rajasthan on 8 November, 2004. With this, she became the first woman to hold that office.
She was chosen to contest as the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) candidate for the President’s post in 2007.
She defeated her lone opponent, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), by more than three lakh votes (with votes valued at 10.98 lakh).
Pratibha secured 65.82% of the total votes cast while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)-supported Shekhawat polled 33.18%.
She was sworn in as the 12th President of on 25 July 2007. She became the country’s first female President and held office till 2012.
She made history as a woman or a head of state to fly a fighter jet, Sukhoi 30 MkI (SB 139). She is the second President to fly in a fighter plane; her predecessor, APJ Abdul Kalam, flew one from Pune in 2006.
She was succeeded as President by Pranab Mukherjee.
Charity And Social Activities
The Patils established ‘Vidya Bharti Shikshan Prasarak Mandal’ which runs a chain of educational institutes in Jalgaon and Mumbai. Pratibha Patil laid the foundation of a trust, ‘Shram Sadhana Trust’ which oversees hostels for working women in Delhi, Pune and Mumbai.
Apart from this, she also started an Engineering College and an Industrial Training School in Jalgaon for the blind. A school for the poor children of Vimukta Jamatis and Nomadic Tribes was also set up by her.
She also founded and was chairperson of a cooperative sugar factory, ‘Sant Muktabai Sahakari Sakhar’ and a cooperative bank, ‘Pratibha Mahila Sahakari Bank’.