07 May, 2021

Thousand Splendid Suns

With grace, civility and humility, the BJP leader shone in her own light

Sushma Swaraj (1952-2019)
Thousand Splendid Suns

I knew Sushmaji from the early 1970s when we were both studying law at Panjab University in Chandigarh; she was two years my junior. We had been political opponents since our days in student politics. But even then Sushmaji displayed a rare maturity of political mind. What endeared her to everyone, including people like me who were firmly affiliated to the Congress, was her firm belief that ideological rivalry should not be mixed with personal camaraderie.

I distinctly recall how, when I was secretary of the Panjab University Students’ Union and she was just a first-year student, we were organising a function. Though she was a newcomer and one with a strong affiliation to the RSS—an outfit Congress-backed union office-bearers abhorred—I asked her to compere the programme because she could hold an audience in rapt attention, a quality that held her in good stead throughout her illustrious political career.

Later the same year, there was another incident which brought us closer. I remember that the university’s Hindi department had to select...

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