“Judge politician by action rather than promises.“
Incidentally, many women have done sheer unexpected work in India which brought a hall of fame to the country but today we will talk about a woman who is not only renowned for her work but also known for making her department relevant for every Indian.
Today is the death anniversary of one of the longest-serving leaders of BJP Sushma Swaraj who died last year on the same day because of cardiac arrest. She is lauded for her quick response to the people reaching out to her.
After Indira Gandhi, she was the second woman in India to become foreign minister. One will never forget Sushma Swaraj’s significant role, as External Affairs Minister, in bringing back the then 23-year-old hearing and discourse impaired Indian young lady named Gita who was stranded in Pakistan for a long time.
She started her political career by joining Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad in 1970s. Her husband was associated with George Fernandes, a socialist, and as she was practicing as a Supreme Court lawyer, she became a part of George’s legal defense team. She played a key role in JP Narayan’s Total Revolution Movement. After the Emergency she joined the BJP.
She became the youngest female legislative member of Haryana assembly, at the age of 25. She served as Labour and Employment Minister for two years (1977-79) and Education Minister for three years (1987-90) in Haryana.
In 1990 she became a Rajyasabha member and in 1996 she was elected as member of parliament in 11th Loksabha from South Delhi constituency.
She was the first female Chief Minister of Delhi. But unfortunately, she left the portfolio in less than two months, in December 1998.
Her most striking decision, during her second term as MP in 12th Loksabha when she became the Minister of Information and Broadcast with the additional charge of Telecom ministry, was to announce film creation as an industry, which made the Indian film industry qualified for bank finance. She likewise began community radio at colleges and different establishments.
She is responsible for setting up six All India Institute of Medical Sciences, as the Union Health Minister, at Bhopal (MP), Bhubaneshwar (Odisha), Jodhpur (Rajasthan), Patna (Bihar), Raipur (Chhattisgarh) and Rishikesh (Uttrakhand).
Swaraj was the recipient of the prestigious Grand Cross of Order of Civil Merit, which was conferred by the Spanish government in identification of India’s support in rescuing its citizens from Nepal during the earthquake in 2015.
She was the first and the only female MP honoured with the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award. She has contested 11 direct elections from four states of India. She was one of the boldest female opposition leaders of Indian Parliament till date.
There were many leaders who astonished the country with their work and hard decisions. But Swaraj’s immediacy while responding to the problem was never seen in a political leader. At the time of Covid -19 when immediate response is vital, the government should take inspiration from Swaraj and set citizens as their first priority.
Written By Chanderveer Singh
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