Days after 100-year-old Fauja Singh of Indian-origin became the oldest person to complete a marathon, a 102-year-old Dalit woman in Tamil Nadu has put on another display of centenarian vigour, winning a local body election.
Thadagathi was elected a ward member in Pudukulam panchayat of Madurai district, around 450 km south of Chennai, on Friday.
A state election commission official said she was the oldest elected member in the local bodies in the state.
“Revered as Maruthuvatchi (village doctor conversant with traditional medicine), Thadagathi has excelled as a midwife, having had a hand in the delivery of nearly 1,000 babies,” said panchayat president P Muthuramalingam.
On her political debut, Independent candidate Thadagathi beat two contestants 70 years younger.
“Vote for me, I will not swindle you or government money,” was Thadagathi’s door-to-door campaign theme in Pudukulam, where she arrived as a 10-year-old child bride.
Her husband died when she was 75 and she has outlived eight of her 12 children. Her youngest son is 56.
Thadagathi is still sprightly and even works in the fields of her neighbour, lawyer S Muthuramalingam, and is at hand as a midwife when required. “My first task is to see that there is peace in our village, and then to make the village clean.”