Being a double graduate, madam has been very passionate about education for all and especially the girl child. She considers education to be primary index of nation’s advancement and has maintained that “Education is perceived by us in India, as a parameter of the human development index essential for developing the nation, and for making every Indian individual, an invaluable asset contributing to the country’s economic development.”
During her political career, Smt. Pratibha Patil has constantly been thinking of ways and means to better the position of women in India. In 2008, she initiated the setting up of a Committee of Governors to study and make recommendations for the “socio-economic empowerment of women”. The findings and suggestions of this committee finally led to establishment of a Mission for the Socio-Economic Empowerment of Women by Govt. of India.
Smt. Pratibha Patil has always been appreciated as a politician but it is her warm-hearted, compassionate, tender and caring demeanour which endears her to all. Her benevolence, philanthropic and humanitarian deeds, if listed in entirety, would be incredibly voluminous. But Smt. Pratibha Patil is and has always been a silent crusader who just believes in doing; it does not perturb her if her actions remain unsung and unrecognized.
Provided medical aid to a boy’s father during Jalgaon riotsIt was the year 1970. Jalgaon was wreathing under the fury of riots. Smt. Pratibha Patil, who was the Deputy Health Minister at that time. She swiftly based herself in Jalgaon and worked overtime to alleviate the plight of the victims. ‘No one should die for want of medical aid’ seemed to be her only anxiety. Amidst all this chaos, a visibly shaken boy approached her car. Crying inconsolably he narrated the precarious position of his father and his financial inability to get himself treated. Smt. Pratibha Patil responded instantaneously; called for the Civil Surgeon and directed him to give the best possible treatment. With God’s grace and timely help the boy’s father convalesced well. This little boy, under the loving care and support of his father, grew up to be a renowned consultant.
Saved the life of a boy sustaining bullet injuries during Jalgaon riotsAn innocent child was a victim of the lawlessness which prevailed during Jalgaon riots. He sustained bullet injuries which, the doctors felt, could be fatal. The vigilant Smt. Pratibha Patil, on being informed of the child’s condition, reacted with utmost urgency; she mobilized the boy from Jalgaon to Mumbai and constantly monitored his case in order to make certain that he was given uninterrupted medical aid. This made all the difference; the child survived the attack. The boy who was treated by an orthopedic surgeon at that juncture, grew up to become Dr. A.S Chandanwale, presently serving as the Head of the Department of Orthopedics in Grant Medical College & Sir J.J. Group of Hospitals, Mumbai, he gratefully reminisces the fresh lease of life which Smt. Pratibha Patil gave him in his childhood.
Provided justice to the women doctor who was harassed by a senior officerWhen Smt. Pratibha Patil was a Deputy Minister of Health in Maharashtra she ensured that, as far as possible, the Primary Health Centres in the rural areas were headed by women doctors; this was to reduce the embarrassment and discomfort of women in these neglected locales. In one of the Primary Health Centres a lady Doctor had been posted after much persuasion; appreciation for her work was flowing in from all quarters. One day she came to meet Smt. Pratibha Patil and complained about the harassment she was subjected to at the hands of a senior officer who had gone for inspection. Smt. Pratibha Patil made discreet inquiries and on being convinced about the correctness of the complaint, broached the case with the then Chief Minister and mitigated her problems.
Smt. Patil has been an ardent advocate of conservation and sustainability of ecology for the common good of human kind. ROSHINI initiative was launched on 25th July, 2008 to make the President’s Estate spread across 340 acres into an eco-friendly, green and ‘model urban habitat’. The Resident’s Welfare Association, Women Self Help Groups and various Govt. Departments implemented ROSHINI projects in Solid Waste Management, Energy Management, Water Management to transform the ecological system of the President’s Estate. As part of subsequent initiative of “Universalization of Roshini” in 2011, these projects were implemented in various Raj Bhavans across the country.
Hailing from an agricultural hometown herself, Smt. Pratibha Patil has always been aware of the socio-economic challenges of the farmers. Cognizant of the fact that a greater part of the cultivated land is rainfed, and also about 80% of the farmers involved in this rainfed farming are small farmers, she laid emphasis on policy initiatives for a Second Green Revolution with special focus on Rain-Fed/ Dryland Farming. She has also pushed for farmer-industry partnership to develop areas like food processing and to get better price realization for small farmers.