Sushma Swaraj (14 February 1952 – 6 August 2019) was an Indian politician and a Supreme Court lawyer. A senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party, Swaraj served as the Minister of External Affairs of India in the first Narendra Modi government (2014–2019). She was the second woman to hold the office, after Indira Gandhi. She was elected seven times as a Member of Parliament and three times as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. At the age of 25 in 1977, she became the youngest cabinet minister of Indian state of Haryana. She also served as 5th Chief Minister of Delhi for a short duration in 1998.
In the 2014 Indian general election, she won the Vidisha constituency in Madhya Pradesh for a second term, retaining her seat by a margin of over 400,000 votes. She became the Minister of External Affairs in the union cabinet on 26 May 2014. Swaraj was called India’s “best-loved politician” by the US daily Wall Street Journal. She decided not to contest the 2019 Indian general election due to health reasons as she was recovering from a kidney transplant and needed to “save herself from dust and stay safe from infection” and hence did not join the Modi Ministry in 2019.
Early Life and Education
Sushma Swaraj was born on 14 February 1952 at Ambala Cantt, Haryana,to Hardev Sharma and Shrimati Laxmi Devi.Her father was a prominent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh member.
Her parents hailed from the Dharampura area of Lahore, Pakistan. She was educated at Sanatan Dharma College in Ambala Cantonment and earned a bachelor’s degree with majors in Sanskrit and Political Science.
She studied law at Panjab University, Chandigarh.A state-level competition held by the Language Department of Haryana saw her winning the best Hindi Speaker award for three consecutive years.
In 1973, Swaraj started practice as an advocate in the Supreme Court of India
Swaraj who was the foreign minister from 26 May, 2014 to 30 May, 2019, was the second woman to hold the office, after Indira Gandhi. She had won from Vidisha constituency in Madhya Pradesh for a second term in 2014, retaining her seat by a margin of over 400,000 votes.
A seven-time Member of Parliament, she also served as MLA for three terms. She also served as 5th Chief Minister of Delhi from 13 October, 1998 to 3 December, 1998.
At the age of 25 in 1977, she became the youngest cabinet minister in Haryana.
Union Minister I&B & Telecommunications,Minister for Information and Broadcasting,Union Health Minister,Leader of Opposition, 15th Lok Sabha,Minister of External Affairs
During the times of the Emergency, on 13 July 1975, Sushma Swaraj married Swaraj Kaushal, a peer and fellow advocate at the Supreme Court of India. The Emergency movement brought together the couple, who then teamed up for the defence of the socialist leader George Fernandes. Swaraj Kaushal, a senior advocate of Supreme Court of India and a criminal lawyer, also served as Governor of Mizoram from 1990 to 1993. He was a member of parliament from 1998 to 2004.
The couple have a daughter, Bansuri, who is a graduate from Oxford University and a Barrister at Law from Inner Temple.
Sushma Swaraj’s sister Vandana Sharma is an associate professor of political science in a government college for girls in Haryana. Her brother Dr. Gulshan Sharma is an Ayurveda doctor based in Ambala.
On 10 December 2016 she underwent a kidney transplant at AIIMS, Delhi with the organ being harvested from a living unrelated donor. The surgery was successful.
On 6 August 2019, Sushma Swaraj reportedly suffered a heart attack in the evening after which she was rushed to AIIMS New Delhi, where she later died of a cardiac arrest. The next day, she was cremated with full state honours at the Lodhi crematorium in Delhi.