Sushma Swaraj passed away on August 6, after suffering from cardiac arrest at New Delhi AIIMS hospital. She was taken to AIIMS at quarter to nine in a critical condition on Tuesday evening. An affable leader, Sushma Swaraj was the most approachable and the one who had dedicated her life to public service.
The former external affairs minister was not only known in the international platform for her magnificent work and oratory but also honoured in the country for standing with all those who needed her. In her party, the BJP, Swaraj was known as a guiding force, and in her political career she is recalled for her political punches. Across party lines, she is honoured not only for being an able administrator, fiery speaker, but also one who respects her opponents. Her poetic enounter with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is famous.
In 2013, when the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his over 40-minute reply used an Urdu couplet to accuse the BJP and then Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj of not supporting the government, Swaraj also responded using verse of Hindi poet Bashir Badr and declared that the party's compulsion was that Manmohan Singh was disloyal to the nation and that's why it cannot be loyal to him.
Manmohan Singh had said: "Humko hai unse wafa ki umeed, jo nahi jaante wafa kya hai (We hope for loyalty from those who do not know the meaning of the word)," the prime minister quoted famous Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib.
In response, Swaraj said: "Kuch to majbooriya rahi hongi yun koi bewafa nahi hota (There must have been some compulsions, one is not disloyal for no reason at all)." She then broke into a second verse: "Tumhe wafa yaad nahee, Humein jafa yaad nahee, Zindagi or maut ke toh do hee tarane hain, ek tumhein yaad nahee, ek humein yaad naheen (You don't remember loyalty, we don't remember disloyalty, life and death have two rhythms, you don't remember one, we don't remember the other)."
Before joining politics, Sushma Swaraj practised law as an advocate at the Supreme Court of India in 1973, after which she joined the ABVP. Later, she participated in JP Narayan's movement during the Emergency, after which she joined the newly founded BJP. In her path-breaking political career, Swaraj served as the Chief Minister of Delhi, and then, in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government, as a union minister in multiple ministries. In the first Modi government, she was appointed as the External Affairs Minister - a portfolio she redefined owing to her hands-on approach wherein she would often respond to citizens' queries on Twitter. She declined to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections citing her detoriating health.