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Remembering Sushma Swaraj, the mother to Indians stranded abroad

Sushma Swaraj was one of the most prominent ministers in the Modi government in first term. She will sorely be missed.

I write this with a heavy heart. I never thought the demise of any politician will move me to tears. The unfortunate demise of former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has come as a shock. We all know death is inevitable, for all of us. But no matter how much we are prepared, when it finally knocks on the door, it still takes us by surprise.

Sushma Swaraj’s death has left a strange void. She had not contested the recently concluded elections on health grounds. She had undergone kidney transplant a few years back. She had been keeping unwell. All these are facts. However, it still is tough to come to terms with her passing.

A lawyer by profession, Sushma Swaraj started practice as a Supreme Court lawyer in 1973 at 21. She rose to prominence among political ranks when she organised protests against Indira Gandhi’s government. She was also part of George Fernandes’ legal defence team in 1975 during Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency.

I do not have words to speak on her political achievements and how she shattered the glass ceiling way too many times in her career spanning over four decades. I would like to bring a compilation of tweets which show how she was just as human as each one of us. Oh and the inimitable sense of humour.

Someone on Twitter joked about Indian embassy on Mars after a successful Mangalyaan mission. She was ready with an answer.

During the run-up to general elections, Swaraj had added ‘Chowkidar’ as part of the BJP #MainBhiChowkidar campaign. Someone quipped how can she call herself a chowkidar, after all, she was the ‘only sensible’ person in BJP. She responded to how she was doing the chowkidari of Indians abroad.

Another one of my absolute favourite tweets from her was when she very nicely, politely told someone who reached out to her to get his fridge repaired that she couldn’t really help him because she is busy helping Indians in distress.

Oh, and you didn’t really need to have a huge follower count to get former minister’s attention. As displayed in the following set of tweets.

One Gavy reached out to Swaraj who was in Malaysia and needed help. Swaraj immediately asked the High Commission in Malaysia to help him out. Gavy’s message had grammatical errors and someone pointed it out to him how he could have written it in Hindi or Punjabi instead since English does not seem to be his strongest point. The ever amazing Swaraj responded that after becoming the foreign minister, she has learnt to understand English in all accents and grammar.

Two weeks back, when Mange Ram Garg, former Delhi BJP President passed away, Swaraj had posted her condolence message on Twitter. Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had also just recently passed away. In response to her condolence message, a troll, Irfan Khan had wished death upon the former Union Minister. He tweeted to Sushma Swaraj that someday she too would be remembered in the same manner.

Sushma Swaraj had shut him down by thanking him for his kind thought.

And at last, as if almost she had a premonition, last evening, just hours before she suffered a massive cardiac arrest, she tweeted her thanks to the Prime Minister for dilution of Article 370, which made Jammu and Kashmir an integral part of India without any conditions and riders attached.

She tweeted that she was waiting to see this day in her lifetime. It is almost as if she knew.

Sushma Swaraj was one of the most prominent ministers in the Modi government in the first term. She will sorely be missed.

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Nirwa Mehta
Nirwa Mehta
Politically incorrect. Author, Flawed But Fabulous.

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