Small in stature, tall by achievements! Sushma Swaraj a woman of substance

Sushma Swaraj, an iconic leader, a role model for millions of Indians left for her heavenly abode on 6th August 2019. She was a distinguished achiever, a true nationalist, amazing orator and a woman of extraordinary zeal to serve her country. A big salute to her.

Om Shanthi.

She will be forever remembered as a true face of an empowered woman. Let’s pay a tribute to her by remembering her life full of achievements worthy of mention.

  • Sushma Sharma (Swaraj after marriage) was born on 14 February 1952 at Ambala cantonment to Shri Hardev Sharma and Shrimati Laxmi Devi. Her father was an eminent member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Sushmaji’s brother Dr. Gulshan Sharma is         an Ayurveda doctor based in Ambala and her sister Vandana Sharma is an associate professor of political science in a government college for girls in Haryana.

  • Sushma Swaraj was declared the best cadet of N.C.C. of the S. D. College for three consecutive years.

  • She completed her graduation inA with Political Science and Sanskrit as major subjects from the Sanatan Dharma Collegeof Ambala Cantonment.
  • In 1970 she received the Best Student award. She did a degree course in LL.B. from the Department of Laws of the Punjab University at Chandigarh.
  • A state-level competition held by the Language Department of Haryana saw her winning the best Hindi Speaker award for three consecutive years.
  • She also became the best speaker in Hindi of Punjab University in the C. Bali Memorial elocution contest and there, she was awarded the university colour.
  • She won several awards of distinction in rhetoric contests, debates, recitations, dramas and other cultural activities.
  • She went on to become President of the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan of the State of Haryana for four years.
  • Her interests include classical music, poetry, fine arts, drama and literature.

She started her political career in the 1970s as a student leader in the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, chosen for her great skills in public speaking and leadership qualities, that were recognized early.

  • Having studied Law she started her practice as an advocate of the Supreme Court in 1973.
  • Later it also gave her an opportunity to be part of the legal defence team of prominent socialist leader George Fernandes.
  • During the times of Emergency, on July 13, 1973, Sushma Swaraj 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 defense of the socialist leader George Fernandes.

Swaraj Kaushal is now a senior advocate of Supreme Court of India and a criminal lawyer who served as Governor of Mizoram from 1990 to 1993. He was a member of parliament from 1998 to 2004.

  • They have a daughter, Bansuri, who is a graduate from Oxford University and a Barrister at Law from Inner Temple.
  • She was part of socialist Gandhian P.Narayan’s Total Revolution Movement in the late 70s that turned into an All India Movement against the then ruling Indira Gandhi Govt.
  • After the 1975 Emergency she joined the BJP and rose within the party to become one of its foremost leaders and spokespersons.
  • she stands tall as a much liked BJP minister heading the External affairs Ministry. She had earned the respect and confidence of the people of India.

She was the Second woman after the Late PM Indira Gandhi to be handling the External Affairs Ministry.

  • At 25 years of age in 1977 she became the youngest cabinet Minister of Haryana, and served as 5th Chief Minister of Delhi for close to 3 months.
  • She had been elected 7 times as MP, 3 times as MLA.Became State President of Janata Party (Haryana) at the age of 27. She was education minister in the BJPLok Dal coalition govt. for 3 years between 1987 & 1990.
  • In the second Vajpayee govt. she was I & B minister with additional charge over Telecommunications.
  • One of her major decisions was declaring the Hindi film industry an ’industry’. Automatically this allowed the film industry to avail bank finance which till then was being financed by the underworld that was dictating terms heavily. She also started the community radio in universities.
  • When she was Health Minister from 2003 to 2004, she set up 6 AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) apart from the existing one at New Delhi.
  • When NDA lost the elections in 2006, she got elected to the Rajya Sabha and was Deputy Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha. Again in 2009 when the NDA lost the elections, she became leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha from 2009 to 2014.

Lawyer by profession and a seasoned parliamentarian with many first-time happenings attributed to her name,   she was known widely for her diplomatic skills.

Sushma Swaraj and her husband Swaraj Kaushal have been credited as the Most Distinguished Couple by Limca Book of Records for their achievements and distinction at a young age. They were adjudged as the youngest ever achievers till date in their respective fields in the country.

She was by nature exuberant and forthcoming but very focused. What is endearing about her was the ability to connect with people in a manner that makes them comfortable enough to pour out their woes fully understanding that here is a soul who would within the bounds of protocol not leave any stone unturned to achieve a desired result.

That is why she had earned the admiration of millions in India and across the world for her humanitarian gestures in using the ministry through the goodwill created by the PM in his numerous visits overseas, as well as her own rapport from years of interaction to get things done.

May she stay the way she is. Ever in the heart of every Indian , is what India wishes.

Dr Sindhu Prashanth