Sushma Swaraj: A mother who took care of all those in distress anywhere in the world
The passing away of Sushma Swaraj has left a deep void in the political leadership in India. She was not just a able minister but also a beacon of hope for those in distress. Her concern for the welfare of people anywhere in the world was unparalleled and appreciated by people all over. Be it getting the man back to India who was jailed in Pakistan, to solving Visa issues to Indians in trouble abroad and saving those who were caught in war torn regions, Sushma Swaraj was the go-to person for anyone in distress. Her engagement on Twitter with Indians abroad is already a tale of folklore and a ideal for any minister of any country.
Sushma Swaraj played a great role in Operation Rahat that was launched by Indian armed forces to evacuate more than 4,000 Indian citizens and other foreign nationals from Yemen during the 2015 military intervention by Saudi Arabia and its allies. The 11-day evacuation by sea started on April 1, 2015 from Aden port. Sushma Swaraj's relentless diplomacy with Saudi establishment made the evacuation possible amids heavy bombing of Yemenese locations.
A poor labourer from Tuticorin called Tamilselvi was sold as a sex slave in a Middle Eastern country. A concerned person brought the issue to the notice of her ministry. Within 2 weeks Tamilselvi was saved and brought back. Another Indian national Hamid Ansari had strayed into Pak territory from Afghanistan. He was held captive for six years. Sushma Swaraj intervered and took up the case personally. After much deliberations with the Pak establishment, Hamid was released. Upon his return to India, he said that he owed his life to her and without her intervention he would have rotted in a prison cell in Pakistan.
Few ungrateful Pakistanis might have been celebrating her departure but Sushma Swaraj as minister had helped scores of Pakistani citizens by providing them visas to help get medical treatments in India. The case of 15-month old Pakistani girl is a testimony to this. Shiraz was suffering from a heart ailment. When the regular process failed to get them a Visa to visit India, her parents approached Sushma Swaraj. Though there were some discrepencies in their Visa application, she intervened on her behalf and ensured that they get their Visas in time for the visit. The life of baby Shiraz was saved and their thankful parents said they are indebted to Sushma Swaraj forever.
Twitter as distress Helpline
PM Narendra Modi laid huge stress on social media as the tool to stay in touch with the citizens. However, Sushma Swaraj went a step forward and made Twitter into a helpline to those Indians in distress. Her sometimes hilarious retorts won the hearts of everyone.
In 2015, Swaraj offered humanitarian aid to a Yemeni woman married to an Indian man. While sharing a picture with her baby, the Yemeni woman made a plea for safe evacuation from a conflicted area. Hundreds of Indians stuck in Basra (Iran) received Swaraj's support, and all this on the basis of a video she received on social media. Later, in the same year, she helped an Indian who lost his wallet and passport in Germany.
Aged parents of a Mumbai citizen had lost their passport in Europe. When approaching the Indian embassy there did not help, their daughter approached Sushma Swaraj on Twitter. Intervention from her ensured that the lady's parents were given emergency travel documents so that they could fly back.
Sushma Swaraj in 2017 assured all help to an Indian student admitted in a hospital in Georgia, US. Sushma Swaraj took to Twitter to respond to extend help to the student after she was approached by the student's sister.
Such examples of Sushma Swaraj helping those Indians in distress across the world are numerous. Their status, profession, religion, country, none mattered for Sushma Swaraj to take up their case and help them. He humane nature was the reason as to why she was able to help those in distress as if they were her own.
Today, a day after Sushma Swaraj was confined to the Panchabootas, her work ethics, her humane nature, her staunch nationlistic ideals should serve as a reminder and ideal for us all.