After Shiela Dixit, it is Sushma Swaraj. The news of her death came so suddenly. Just a couple of months back, when she attended the swearing-in ceremony of the Narendra Modi Cabinet, she appeared to be in perfect health, taking strong and confident strides. Death sometimes strikes silently, leaving us totally unprepared and therefore, more devastated.
Like Shiela Dixit, Sushma Swaraj was dignity personified. One never saw her losing cool and behaving in a mean manner. A smile adorned her face even in the most trying circumstances. This is one of the biggest qualities of a leader.
Her Parliament speeches are perfect examples of top-class oratory. Whenever she spoke, she appeared fully prepared. Sushma Swaraj put across her points extremely well without raising the pitch of her voice. Her command over the Hindi language was exceptional. Undoubtedly, she was one of the best speakers of our time.
I remember her media handling as I&B Minister and also as Health Minister. I particularly remember her press briefing when there was a serious bird flu situation. Her handling of media was deft. She always had a lot of friends in media and perhaps, no enemy.
As External Affairs Minister, she had the image of a very caring politician. She would quickly respond to any call for help on Twitter. She was a pioneer in using social media as a potent medium of grievance redressal. So many common people were beneficiaries of her alertness.
India has lost two women of remarkable character in quick succession. Their departure has left the political class much poorer.