Sushma Swaraj | Source: wikipedia.org
14 February is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Sushma Swaraj (14 February 1952 – 6 August 2019). She was a tall leader with a large heart, and she impressed the world with her thoughts, behavior, and action throughout her career as an Indian politician. She always left an incredible mark with her great oratory skills.
Sushma Swaraj was born on 14 February 1952 at Ambala Cantonment, Haryana. Her father, Hardev Sharma, was a prominent RSS member. She was educated at Sanatan Dharma College in Ambala Cantonment. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Sanskrit and Political Science. She had made mark with oratory skills from childhood. She became champion for Hindi speech competition for consecutive three years. Later she studied Law at Panjab University, Chandigarh and started practicing law in Supreme Court of India in 1973.
She joined politics as a student leader and arranged numerous protests against the Indira Gandhi Government and later, she joined Janata Party and continued her journey from then. In 1977, she became minister at age of 25 years. At age of 27, she became State President of the Janta Party in Haryana. She twice became MLA from Haryana during 1977-1982 and 1987-1990, and once from Delhi in 1998. In October 1998 she held the position of the first woman chief minister of Delhi.
She was elected for the sixth term in 15th Lok Sabha. In the same term she was elected as first woman Leader of Opposition. In the 16th Lok Sabha, she was elected from Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh and served as the Minister of External Affairs of India in the first Narendra Modi government (2014–2019). During her term, she received numerous appreciations for her proactive humanitarian support to Indians and any seeking for her help.
She was the second woman to hold the office, after Indira Gandhi. She was elected seven times as a Member of Parliament and three times as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. She held the record of becoming the first woman spokesperson of a national-level party, first woman Chief Minister, first Union Cabinet Minister, and she was given Best Speaker award by the Haryana State Assembly and received the Best Parliamentarian award twice in the years and 2010. She is the first-ever and the only woman MP to receive the Outstanding Parliamentarian award. She was also awarded Padma Vibhushan (posthumously), India’s second-highest civilian award, in 2020.
The government of India renamed two prominent institutes after Sushma Swaraj— Foreign Service Institute of India is named as Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service and Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra is renamed as Sushma Swaraj Bhavan.
She married Swaraj Kaushal, a peer and fellow advocate at the Supreme Court of India. The Emergency movement brought together the couple, who then teamed up for the defence of the socialist leader George Fernandes. Swaraj Kaushal, a senior advocate of Supreme Court of India and a criminal lawyer, also served as Governor of Mizoram from 1990 to 1993. He was a member of parliament from 1998 to 2004.
The legendary leader underwent a Kidney transplant at AIIMS, Delhi in 2016. On 6 August 2019, Sushma Swaraj reportedly suffered a heart attack in the evening after which she was rushed to AIIMS New Delhi, where she later died of a cardiac arrest. Though she does not with us, her memories are vivid with mankind.