Profile: Meira Kumar, Ist woman Dalit Speaker
A new chapter began in the history of Indian Parliament when it unanimously elected Meira Kumar as the first woman and Dalit speaker of India.
Meira, daughter of former deputy Prime Minister and prominent Dalit leader Babu Jagjivan Ram and freedom fighter Indrani Devi hails from state of Bihar. Meira who was born in Patna in 1945, is a law graduate and holds a Masters in English literature. She joined the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in 1973 and served at embassies in Spain, United Kingdom and Mauritius.
Meira formally entered politics and followed her father's footsteps in 1985 and was elected from Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh. She became Member of Parliament in the 11th and 12th Lok Sabha by contesting from Delh's Karol Bagh constituency.
In 1999, she lost her seat but was able to get re-elected with a record majority from her father's former constituency of Sasaram in Bihar. Meira Kumar was inducted to the Manmohan Singh cabinet in 2004 as a Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
In UPA's second term, she assumed the charge as the Union Minister for Water Resources again under the leadership of Dr Manmohan Singh.
She is married to Manjul Kumar, who is presently a Supreme Court lawyer. The couple has two daughters and a son.