On 6 August 2019 India lost one of its favorite daughter, Sushma Swaraj. The Indian media and social media was abuzz with all sorts of stories on her. Right from the time she entered the politics as a young member of parliament, she will always be remembered for her dedication and commitment towards work and her excellent oratory skills.
But I am not writing this post to talk about her political career. We all have seen and experienced enough of it. I am also not writing to illustrate what an excellent speaker she was. We have heard enough of her speeches to witness it. What really caught my attention among all these stories is the one which I think was the most important to her as well. This post is not about Sushma, its about her Swaraj.
It was only quite recently that I read about Swaraj Kaushal. What is noteworthy is that in a predominantly patriarchial society this man was the pillar of strength that every woman dreams of. Despite the fact that his own career was no less either. At the mere age of 34 he was the youngest ever Senior Advocate designated by the Supreme Court of India.
Not many are aware that he fought for the Mizoram Peace Accord and his work in the northeast region is noteworthy. He has the honour of being India’s youngest ever Governor of a state at the age of 37. While his wife, Sushma was the youngest Cabinet minister at the age of 25 in 1977.
Both of them had an illustrious professional life. From what I read in a few articles that I could find on their marriage, their camraderie and companionship was outstanding too. Two very successful people to have a successful marriage with the wife running in forefront in public eye is something that is rarely seen in our country. It really speaks volume on the strength of the character that Mr Swaraj must be.
The couple also defied many other social norms. Sushma was 5 months older than her husband. But in a relationship thats so solid and secure, these facts hardly matter. What is even more surprising is that both came from different political views. While Sushma hailed from a family with strong RSS connection, Swaraj had more socialist views. Two individuals with differing professional views and yet to have a successful marriage is something that the generation of today should learn from.
Sushma was survived by her husband and only daughter Bansuri. Here again, the couple taught us the value of girl child. Its 2019 and India still grapples with issues like female foeticide and rape. How many Sushma’s do we really need to prove that a girl child can bring just as much honour and pride to the family. Not just the family but the entire country.
The couple again defied the societal norms when their daughter performed the last rites. Earlier we also saw daughter of former Prime Minister Atalji performing the last rites of her father. Not just Bansuri, Sushma herself performed the last rites of her father-in-law as per his wishes. We need more such strong women to come forward and broaden our horizons.
But strong women are not enough to change the perceptions of society. We need even stronger men to back their strong woman. There are many women in this country who have tried to defy societal norms but more often than not end up having broken homes or failed relationships. Because their first level of support which should be their own family fail to understand them.
We have enough Sushmas. What we really need is more Swarajs to give their wife/daughter/mother/sister the space and the environment to be able to fully grow and blossom. If only every Sushma had her Swaraj…