Political party-Indian National Congress
Born On: 19th December 1934
Born In: Nadgaon, Maharashtra
Career: President of India
Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil is the twelfth President of India and the first woman to be appointed to India's highest constitutional office. A former member of the Indian National Congress Party, Smt. Pratibha Patil created history when she succeeded Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to become the first woman President of India. A lawyer by profession, she has also served the post of Governor of Rajasthan. But that is not all. In her 28 years long political career, Pratibha Patil has held several impressive ministerial portfolios, from being the deputy minister of education to being the minister of social welfare, tourism, and housing. With every position, Smt. Pratibha Patil has proved her spunk and it is due to her extraordinary political career that she was appointed as the President of India. Pratibha Patil got the motivation to step in the politics from her father. With her determination, deeds and service, she etched a name for herself in the glorious pages of Indian history that will be remembered and revered in the days to come. Know all about her life, work, and achievements in the write-up below.
She was born in 19 December 1934 in Nadgaon, a village in Bodwadtaluka in Jalgaon district of Maharashtra. Her father Narayan Rao was a local politician. She completed her primary education from R.R. Vidyalaya, Jalagaon and received her Bachelor's degree in Law from Government Law College, Mumbai. She pursued her Master's in Political Science and Economics from Mooljee Jetha College, Jalagaon. In her college days, she actively participated in sports and did extremely well in table tennis. In 1962, she was entitled as 'College Queen' of M.J. College. On 7 July 1965, she married Dr. Devisingh Ramsingh Shekhawat and the couple has two children, a son Rajendra Singh and a daughter, Smt. Jyoti Rathore.
She started her career as a practicing lawyer at Jalgaon District Court. At the age of 27 years, she was elected to the Maharashtra State Legislature from Jalgaon Assembly Constituency. For four consecutive years, she was elected as the MLA from the Edlabad (Muktai Nagar) Constituency. She has held various positions in the Government as well as in the Legislative Assembly of Maharashtra. From 1967 to 1972, she served as the Deputy Minister of education and has held several other ministerial portfolios- from Public Health to Tourism to Parliamentary Affairs and more. Smt. Pratibha Patil worked as the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly of Maharashtra. Apart from that, she has served as the Chairperson of Committee of Privileges and the Member of Business Advisory Committee, Rajya Sabha. Smt. Pratibha Patil became the Governor of Rajasthan on 8 November 2004 and remained in the position until June 2007. On 25 July 2007, she was sworn in as the 12th President of India. She won the Presidential Elections after defeating her competitor Bhairon Singh Shekhawat by more than 300,000 votes.
Besides her achievements in politics, she has been connected with various organizations and was the Chairperson of Maharashtra State Water Pollution Control Board from 1982 to 1985. From 1988 to 1990, she served as the President of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC). Apart from being on the position of Director and Vice-Chairperson of National Federation of Urban Cooperative Banks and Credit Societies, Smt. Pratibha Patil also worked as the Member of Governing Council of National Cooperative Union of India and the Chairperson of 20-Point Program Implementation Committee, Government of Maharashtra. Besides this, she has also attended the International Council on Social Welfare Conferences at Nairobi and at Puerto Rico. In 1985, Smt. Patil was appointed as a Member of the AICC (I) Delegation to Bulgaria and in 1988, she became the Member of Commonwealth Presiding Officers Conference in London. She also led the Indian delegation to the Conference on the 'Status of Women', which was organized in Austria, and in September 1995, she was chosen as the representative at the World Women's Conference, Beijing, China.
She has played a very important role in the development of India and for the welfare of women and children and the neglected sections of the society. She set up various institutions for the progress of them. She established hostels for working women in Mumbai and Delhi, an Engineering College at Jalgaon for rural youth, the Shram Sadhana Trust that is involved in several welfare activities for the advancement of women. She also set up an Industrial Training School in Jalgaon for the visually handicapped children, schools for poor children of Vimukta Jatis (Nomadic Tribes) and Backward class children in Amravati District. Moreover, she has opened a Krishi Vigyan Kendra (Farmer's Training Centre) at Amravati, Maharashtra. She played a revolutionary role in the foundation of Mahila Vikas Mahamandal, in which Maharashtra State Government is responsible for the development of women. She was also involved in organizing music, computer and sewing classes for the poor and needy women at Amravati, Maharashtra.