An indomitable spirit, a fierce leader and one of the finest politicians India ever had, Smt. Sushma Swaraj passed away last night after suffering a cardiac arrest. While prayers and condolences flow in from around the world for family and friends of Sushma Swaraj, Prime Minister Modi also in a series of tweets wrote, “A glorious chapter in Indian politics comes to an end. India grieves the demise of a remarkable leader who devoted her life to public service and bettering lives of the poor. Sushma Swaraj ji was one of her kind, who was a source of inspiration for crores of people.”
Senior BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani also wrote a condolence letter in her memory, which read, “Sushmaji was also a fine human being. She touched everyone with her warmth and compassionate nature. I do not recall a single year when she missed bringing my favourite chocolate cake on my birthday.”
One of the most popular and prominent leaders in our country, Sushma Swaraj surely was and will be a role model for women leaders in the country. Seven times Member of Parliament and three-time MLA, her contribution to the Indian polity and development is immeasurable, her tenure as the Minister of External Affairs is also an example of high performance and delivery. Perhaps one of the greatest orators in Indian politics, Sushma Swaraj’s speeches cast a spell on the audience; her precise speeches were surely capable of bringing a change of mind even in staunchest critics of her idea’s. Whether it was in 1996 in the Lok Sabha or the 71st UNGA, Sushma Swaraj, with her speeches, was not one to mince words or shy away from calling spade a spade. As the nation mourns the loss of this great leader, some of her speeches which not only made a deep-rooted impact in the minds of the audience but also brought about real ground changes are sure to be remembered.
1996 speech in Lok Sabha
On 11.06.1996 Sushma Swaraj stood up for speaking against the no-confidence motion. In one of her most fiery speeches, she had lashed out at her political opponents after Atal Bihari Vajpayee had to resign from the Prime Minister’s post.
“Mr. Speaker, we are communal. Opposition leaders start agreeing and saying YES!, Yes Mr. Speaker, we are communal, because we advocate the singing of Vande Matram, Yes, we are communal, because we fight for the respect of the national flag, we are communal, because we want to abolish the 370, we are communal, because we want to put an end to discrimination based on caste and creed in this country, yes we are communal, because we want to get the Uniform Civil Code (Saman Nagrik Samhita) implemented in this country,” she had said.
“Mr. Speaker, we are communal, because we want the voices of the Kashmiri refugees to be heard. Mr. Speaker, all of these people are secular, these Congressmen who murdered 3000 Sikhs on the streets of Delhi are secular,” she had added.
“Mr. Speaker, I was mentioning their secular credentials. These people, to make their vote bank happy, getting innocent Rambhakts sprayed with bullets, these Samajwadi Party people are secular. Chasing Chakma refugees away and accepting illegal immigrants, these Communist people are secular.”
Address at the 71st Session of the UNGA
On 26.09.2016 Sushma Swaraj as the Minister of External Affairs in her address at the UNGA spoke against terrorism and not only exposed India’s rouge neighbor but also drew the attention of the international community at terror emanating from Pakistani sovereign territory. In one of her most blazing speeches, she also exposed Pakistan’s sinister plans and the rampant human rights violations committed by the radical military regime of Pakistan. Sushma Swaraj had also reiterated India’s commitment to addressing climate change in her historic speech.
She had said, “In our midst, there are nations that still speak the language of terrorism, that nurture it, peddle it, and export it. To shelter terrorists has become their calling card. We must identify these nations and hold them to account.”
“I can only say that those accusing others of human rights violations would do well to introspect and see what egregious abuses they are perpetrating in their own country, including in Balochistan. The brutality against the Baloch people represents the worst form of State oppression.”
“Climate change is yet another serious challenge confronting us. There are enough resources on this planet to fulfil everyone’s needs, but not enough to fulfil anyone’s greed, for greed is limitless.”
Speech in Rajya Sabha on International Women’s day
Sushma Swaraj gave a fiery speech over women equality on International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018, when she served as an External Minister and not only outlined the massive contribution of Women in India’s development but also called for a movement to be started against discrimination faced by women.
“Today women are doing combat duties in the Army, flying Air Force jets, are going to space, climbing Mount Everest with artificial legs. I believe where these things raise the reputation for women, on the other side the injustice with women puts our head down in shame. Today is the day to take an oath that we will not bear the pain and injustice, and when I saw ‘we’ I speak for both men and women. When I say ‘we’ I speak for the entire society. This should be a movement, not just be a government program,” she had said.
Speech on the Issue of Nirbhaya Gang rape in Delhi in Lok Sabha
The Nirbhaya rape case was a frightful crime, in which a 23-year-old girl was brutally gang-raped by 6 individuals in a moving bus. A couple of weeks later, she succumbed to her injuries in a hospital in Singapore. On 18.12.2012, MP Sushma Swaraj then from the opposition benches took on the ruling party for their negligence and called for death penalty for the rapists.
“What is the government doing to curb rape cases in the capital?” she asked. “The rapists should be hanged, we need tougher laws to stop rapes,” she had said in what can be called one of her best speeches.
Smt. Sushma Swaraj’s statement on Kulbhushan Jadhav in Rajya Sabha
Kulbhushan Jadhav was abducted near the Iran Pakistan border, by March 2016, by the Taliban terrorists, who sold him to Pakistani intelligence at Balochistan, after which he was incarcerated presumably in Karachi, and sentenced to death within three months of the proceedings being opened in the military courts, throwing all legal proceedings to the wind.
Due to efforts of Sushma Swaraj as the External Affairs Minister, India scored a big victory recently in the case at the International Court of Justice. In a 15-1 verdict, the Court has granted India consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav. In addition, the court had also maintained the stay on his execution. In the speech, Sushma Swaraj had not only exposed the conduct of Pakistan regarding the case when family of Kulbhushan Jadhav had gone to meet him in Pakistan but also brought the attention of the nation to Pakistan’s nefarious design.
“Not just his wife, but the bindi and mangalsutra of his mother were also removed. When I spoke to her, she told me that as soon as she reached, Kulbhushan asked her ‘Baba kaise hain?’ (How is father?), because he thought a mishap had taken place when he wasn`t around,” Sushma Swaraj had said.
“Humanity was missing in the meeting. This was a violation of human rights of Jadhav’s family members, an environment of fear was created. We will bring him back,” Sushma Swaraj had said and added, “We are seeking to get permanent relief from ICJ. We will place more solid proof in front of them. The ICJ has postponed the death penalty handed out to Jadhav. We will now go with bigger proof to bring him back. I call upon this Parliament to condemn Pakistan’s act and support Jadhav.”
Sushma Swaraj was an era in herself and her passing away is literally the end of that era. The void that her demise has created will never be fulfilled.