By Tenzin Dharpo
Sushma Swaraj offering a khatak in an undated photo. Photo- facebook
DHARAMSHALA, Aug. 7: Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the heads of the Tibetan polity have offered condolences following the sudden passing of veteran Indian politician and senior leader of the ruling Bharitiya Janata Party party Sushma Swaraj.
The 67-year-old was brought to the AIIMS hospital in the capital around 9:30 pm on Tuesday after suffering from a massive cardiac arrest. She was cremated at the Lodhi road’s electronic crematorium with full state honours on Wednesday. Hundreds of people, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and veteran party leader Lal Krishna Advani were present at her funeral.
Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in a letter to her husband Kuashal Swaraj, wrote, “I offer my prayers and my condolences to you and your family at this difficult time. Shrimati Swaraj enjoyed immense respect for her compassionate concern for people and her friendly demeanour. In devoting herself to the service of others, she led a very meaningful life.”
Tibetan President Dr. Lobsang Sangay said that the veteran stateswoman personally advised him on leadership, oratory and on how to protect my throat to give booming speeches when he met her in 2011. “She expressed her sympathy for the Tibetan people and respect for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. During her address at the Rajya Sabha in 2017, Sushma Ji assured that India would not be a “mute spectator” to the atrocities in Tibet and that there will not be a quid pro quo with China when it comes to the “sufferings” of the Tibetan people,” Dr. Sangay said.
Fellow Tibetan leader and Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile Pema Jugney expressed similar sentiments and said her death was not only a loss to India but also to the Tibetan movement. He said, “She was a staunch supporter of the Tibet cause. We are truly grateful to Sushma Ji for raising the Tibet issue in the parliament and for her strong statement on India not sitting as a mute spectator on atrocities in Tibet.”
Sushma Swaraj whose political career spanned over three decades served in various capacities; notably as the Minister of External Affairs, the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, and briefly as the Chief Minister of Delhi. The cabinet member of PM Modi’s first term in office did not stand for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections citing health concerns.
Ironically, standing just 4 feet 11 inches, she was remembered as being a “tall leader” and being a “people’s minister” often at the rescue of Indians who are troubled overseas. Indian leader across party lines and diplomats from around the world mourned her death and was once hailed “best loved global politician” by the international media.