The India of today lives in a highly polarized political climate, where the public often believes that political parties keep personal motives above the nation's growth and development.

But there was one leader who rose above it all and managed to truly serve the nation to the best of her capabilities, going above and beyond her duty - former External Affairs Minister, late Sushma Swaraj.

Sushma Swaraj
Source: financial express

Sushma Swaraj, who passed away on August 06, 2019 due to a cardiac arrest, was a fierce leader, an accomplished lawyer, and one of India's most well-loved politicians. And throughout her career, she managed to carve a unique place for herself - when even today, politics largely remains dominated by male members.

sushma swaraj with foreign ministers
Source: DNA India
Sushma Swaraj with barack obama
Source: Business Standard

Throughout her long and illustrious career, Sushma Swaraj proved to be a stalwart leader who stood tall as a deserving role model for young women across the nation.

Sushma Swaraj
Source: India Today

She held a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Sanskrit and studied law at Punjab University, Chandigarh. In the 1970s, she began her political career with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. However, right after the Emergency, she joined the Bharatiya Janta Party.

Sushma Swaraj Young
Source: Twitter

A Supreme Court lawyer, Sushma Swaraj was elected seven times as a Member of Parliament and three times as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. She was only 25, when, in 1977, she became the cabinet minister for Haryana - the youngest minister, at the time, to hold the position.

Sushma Swaraj Haryana cabinet
Source: Newstracklive

Throughout her career, Sushma Swaraj held many firsts to her name. In 1979, two years after she was appointed as the cabinet minister for Haryana, she became the State President of Janata Party, Haryana State. She was the first woman to become the spokesperson for any national political party.


Sushma Swaraj old
Source: Indian Express

An icon of female politicians in India, in 1998 she became the first woman to be appointed as Chief Minister of Delhi, and consequently, was also BJP's first female Chief Minister.

Sushma Swaraj CM sworn in
Source: Getty Images

An accomplished orator, during the 13th Lok Sabha elections, she stood against Congress President, Sonia Gandhi for the Bellary constituency in Karnataka. And though she lost the election, people still remember that during her campaign she addressed the public meetings in the local Kannada language. And later on, both female leaders shared a cordial relationship.

Sonia Gandhi Sushma Swaraj
Source: Livemint

During her long stint with state and national level politics, Sushma Swaraj held various prominent positions, including, the Union Minister I&B & Telecommunications, the Union Health Minister, Leader of Opposition, and lastly, the Minister of External Affairs.

Sushma Swaraj Former MEA
Source: Indian Express

Every time she held a portfolio in the Cabinet, she managed to step up to her role with determination, grace, and utmost dedication. As the Union Minister I&B & Telecommunications (12th Lok Sabha) she was responsible for declaring film production as an industry, thereby making it eligible for bank finance.

A direct result of this development was that it enabled filmmakers to move away from unconventional moneylenders, and helped legitimize the film industry.

As the Union Health minister (in 2003), she helped set up six AIIMS across the nation. And after the 2009 elections, she replaced Lal Krishna Advani as the Leader of Opposition in the 15th Lok Sabha.

Sushma and Lal Krishna Advani
Source: Newstracklive

After the 2014 elections, under the Modi government, she was appointed as the Minister of External Affairs at the age of 62. And this was the position that elevated her from a national politician to a beacon of hope for distressed Indians across the globe.

She used social media, especially Twitter, as a medium to offer help and support. During her tenure, she helped countless Indians across the globe. In fact, it wouldn't be unfair to say that she actually turned Twitter into a personal hotline - one where she was readily available to help, offer comfort, and take prompt and necessary action.

She was among the top 10 most followed politicians on Twitter. And this was when most of her tweets were in response to help pleas.

She also ensured that she offered quick action to people seeking urgent visas between India and Pakistan for medical help.

And, not to forget, she was a true champion when it came to handling internet trolls.

She was the only MP to be honoured with the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award. In fact, the Spanish government also conferred on her the prestigious Grand Cross of Order of Civil Merit, as recognition for India's support in helping evacuate its citizens from Nepal during the 2015 earthquake.

Sushma Swaraj outstanding parliamentarian award
Source: archivepmo.nic.in
Sushma Great Cross of Civil Merit
Source: thediplomatinspain

During the 2019 elections, she stepped away from politics due to her health concerns. And yet, set an example for politicians across parties when she dutifully vacated her official premise at the end of her tenure as the MEA.

It's a testament to her exemplary political conduct that despite political differences, national and international leaders remember her for her grace, work ethics, and commitment.

Sushma Swaraj was a leader who truly understood the value of people's trust. The grace and poise with which she conducted herself, brought a strain of honesty to her portfolio - when even today, people's faith in government continues to dwindle. She will continue to be an icon that not only young women but even men look up to. It's a true loss for not just a political party, but the nation as a whole.