“Reform must begin today, tommorow could be too late.”
Life is unpredictable. This powerful statement made its presence felt when India lost one of its most beloved politicians. Smt. Sushma Swaraj took her last breath on the 6th of August, 2019 at AIIMS, Delhi after a severe cardiac arrest. It came as a huge shock to the nation when all the headlines of the country enunciated the heavy words of grief. The first woman to become the Chief Minister of Delhi and a seven times member of parliament, Sushma Swaraj’s iconic character and charisma won’t be forgotten by the generations to come. With a number of firsts related to her name, she will definitely go down in history as a prolific orator and outstanding parliamentarian.
Swaraj had not only spoken out about the major issues that the nation faces but also helped out individual citizens in distress, thereby staying connected to the people at the grassroots level. She won the hearts of common man with her striking replies, sharp wit and intelligent humour.
With around 13 million followers. she is rightly the most followed female world leader on Twitter. Her laudable tweets always left readers in awe of her great personality. Whether be it helping the elderly to get their visa quick or to grant medical visa to Pakistani citizens requiring treatment in India, she used her authority for the benefit of the people. Even when it came to striking down trolls and critiques, her razor-sharp wit came to the forefront. When someone tried to troll her, by requesting help to get him “rescued from mars”, she replied with a crisp line- “Even if you are stuck on Mars, Indian Embassy there will help you”. Another instance of her personality was seen when a person sought her help to get his grandmother’s passport and she replied to him personally assuring that the work would be easily done. The public appeal she garnered with her humane side towards the issues that people faced has been endearing.
Her majestic political career is one of the most illustrious to see in recent times. Spanning decades, her political life is probably one of the very few times a female right-wing leader has reached such lofty heights. Born in a family populated by RSS members, Swaraj naturally had various encounters with right-wing ideologies and politics from an early stage. After studying law from Punjab University, she started working as an advocate at the Supreme Court. She met her husband, Swaraj Kaushal there, whose name she took as her second name after marriage. Even though they had opposing political views, their marriage was a successful one. The duo worked together in the defence team for George Fernandes during the Emergency.
Beginning her political career by joining the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, at twenty-five she became the youngest member of the legislative assembly of Haryana. At 27, she was sworn in as the State President of the Janata Party in Haryana. She went on to become the secretary of the Bhartiya Janta Party in the 1980s. In 1999 Lok Sabha elections, she went up against Sonia Gandhi from the Bellary district in Karnataka, losing by a very thin margin. It was then that she rose to greater prominence. She had definitely “lost the battle but won the war”. In 2004, the two women were at loggerheads again when the UPA government was backing Sonia Gandhi as the Prime Ministerial candidate. Swaraj protested vehemently against this decision, even pledging to shave her head off and living her whole life as a widow if an outsider were to lead the country.
Throughout her life, Swaraj has upheld various posts and the work she did in all the fields has made a monumental difference in each sphere. She set up six All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) around the country as the Union Health Minister. Her work as the Minister of External Affairs had been remarkable. She played a major role in bringing Gita, the 23-year-old hearing and speech impaired girl, back to India after she spent 15 years in Pakistan. As the Minister for Information and Broadcasting, she declared film production as an industry, thereby helping various new-comers into the industry to get the much needed monetary support and also started community radios at various universities. As an orator, her powerful speeches have struck the right chords and have never failed to impress the world at large. Her famed speech at the 73rd UN General Assembly as the Minister of External Affairs gained much applause as she addressed the entire world in our mother tongue, Hindi. Therefore, the woman became a powerhouse for all of us to look up to.
The 67-year-old has gone too soon. The nation remains in a state of mourning. Nevertheless, the legacy that Late Sushma Swaraj has left will forever remain a precedent for Indian politicians. The work she did and the unique ways she adopted that actually brought about great changes in the country have set the bar high for many striving political workers. She has not only made a name for herself from her deeds but also became an inspiring role model for a lot of people.