Former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley passed away on Saturday- August 24, 2019, at Delhi's AIIMS hospital after a prolonged illness, bringing an end to an illustrious political career. While the BJP veteran was known for his articulate speeches, his political career was marked by his dedication to India. Throughout his lifetime, he set an example of what it meant to put Nation First. His nationalism was evident through his many speeches and articles written on his blog.
In his blog, Arun Jaitley described himself as a proud Indian. He stated, "Like all of you, I am a proud Indian. I cherish India as a nation-state because it has succeeded as the world’s largest democracy, where many other nations have failed. The resilience of our democracy is truly remarkable. This great country is unique for the diversity in language, culture, and religion which in a subtle way binds all of us into an essential oneness of being an Indian first and foremost."
Speaking about nationalism in as the driving force of the BJP, Arun Jaitley had explained in 2016, how nationalism coexisted with freedom of speech."We are in favour of freedom of expression. The freedom of speech and the feeling of nationalism coexist. We are in the support of dissent and disagreement. The Constitution gives the freedom of dissent but not the destruction of the nation," he said while interacting with media at the two-day BJP National Executive meet.
Being a part of the Emergency movement in 1975, Jaitley's nationalism was not driven by a political goal but for the nation's greater good. In 2019, talking about his involvement in the Emergency movement the former Union Minister recalled, " I led a protest of Delhi University students where we burnt an effigy of the Emergency and I delivered a speech against what was happening. I was taken to Delhi’s Tihar Jail for the purpose of detention. I thus got the privilege for organising the only protest on the morning of 26th June 1975 and became the first Satyagrahi against the Emergency."
Known for his articulate and to-the-point tweets, Jaitley had expressed his belief in Indians' inherent nationalism in April 2019. He tweeted, " India, a land of patriotic people with a few fringe contrarians." He had made a case for nationalism which empowered democracies. This statement of the former Defence Minister had shown his optimism in the electorate. It instilled a sense of belief among the people in voting for India.
India, a land of patriotic people with a few fringe contrarians. The fringe can be a disgruntled lot, getting disproportionate voice on electronic & social media, but it cannot win elections. This is the power of democracy.— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) April 29, 2019
The BJP-led parliament has truly unified Jammu and Kashmir with India with the abrogation of article 370. Jaitley had staunchly advocated for the cause. This was witnessed by his poignant speech in the Parliament on 8 August 2000 where he spoke about the situation in Kashmir, post-Kargil war. "There are several occasions, very challenging ones in the life of a nation where we must rise above partisan attitudes. We will have to think in terms of institutions," he said. This marked his belief that politics could
never ever come at the cost of the nation.
His passing brings to an end a remarkable political career which witnessed him occupying some of the top-most Cabinet positions. This included both Finance and Defence Ministries simultaneously when the Modi government first came to office in 2014. Known for his thunderous speech, the 66-year-old former union Minister commanded respect from leaders across the aisle. His demise has been mourned by eminent political leaders, businesspersons and media personalities alike.
Sources have informed that the Former Finance Minister will be cremated on Sunday afternoon at Delhi's Nigambodh Ghat. Jaitley's body will be taken to his Kailash Colony residence after formalities are completed at the AIIMS on Saturday. Sources further report that on Sunday morning, his body will be taken to the BJP headquarters where leaders across the political spectrum are expected to pay their last respects. From thereon, his mortal remains will be taken to the Nigambodh Ghat for the last rites.