Pratibha Patil Birthday Special: Meet  the crusader of women empowerment in India

Pratibha Patil, one of the symbols of women empowerment in India was born on December 19, 1934, in Nadgaon, a small village in Jalgaon district, Maharashtra. Pratibha Patil is the daughter of Narayan Rao Patil and she had a sister GN Patil.

India’s first woman president and successor of ‘the Missile Man’ APJ Abdul Kalam Azad in the office was born on this day. She has served as 12th President from 2007 to 2012 and was followed by Pranab Mukherjee.

Pratibha Patil was a law Graduate and practicing at Jalgaon District Court and it was in 1960 when she decided to join the Indian National Congress and at the young age of 27, she subsequently won from the Jalgaon Assembly seat in 1962.

Patil had held multiple portfolios in the Congress government in Maharashtra and won 4 consecutive assembly elections from Edlabad (Muktai Nagar) constituency in Maharashtra till 1985.

She also served as Member of Parliament in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. She was elected to Rajya Sabha from 1985 to 1990 and represented the Lower House in the 1991 General Elections from the Amravati Constituency of Maharashtra.

She became the 24th Governor of Rajasthan and was the first woman Governor of the state. She has a unique feat under her achievement list of not having lost a single election she contested till date.

Former President Patil has worked extensively towards the development and welfare of women and children and the unprivileged sections of society. She had been concerned actively towards women’s cause in the country. Pratibha Patil has also represented India at several International events and in September 1995 she led a delegate at the World Women’s Conference, Beijing in China.

She had established several institutions for women and children for their upliftment and benefits. She had set up hostels for working women in Delhi and Mumbai, Shram Sadhna Trust, an Industrial Training Institute for visually challenged in Jalgaon, a school for Nomadic tribes in Amaravati, and a Krishi Vigyan Kendra (Farmers’ Training Center). She was the pioneer in setting up the Mahila Vikas Mahamandal, a government of Maharashtra undertaking for the development of women.

She received her initial education at R. R. Vidyalaya, Jalgaon, and later enrolled at the Mooljee Jetha College, which was then under Pune University, to study Political Science and Economics. She was awarded a master’s degree in the subjects while attending the Government Law College, Mumbai, and got a Bachelor of Law degree.

Pratibha Patil was married to Devisingh Ransingh Shekhawat on July 7, 1965. The couple has a daughter and a son, Jyoti Rathore and Rajendra Shekhawat.

She had conferred a record 35 petitioners death sentences to life imprisonment during her tenure and gave her full support in crushing away some regressive practices of child marriage, suppression of women and addiction. She was also the recipient of 2010 Glamour Women of the Year Awards.

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