During her tenure as India’s External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj had wielded Twitter like a weapon. Through the service, she helped people with their passport applications, she had helped travelers who were stranded abroad, and she even managed to bring human trafficking victims back to India. Ever since her death on 6th August this year, her Twitter account has been lying silent, and her 13.2 million followers haven’t heard from her. But her memories are being brought back to Twitter by someone who was perhaps the closest to her — her husband, Swaraj Kaushal.
Swaraj Kaushal has been active on Twitter for the last few months, and has been sharing anecdotes from the life of Sushma Swaraj. Swaraj Kaushal is pretty accomplished in his own right — he became India’s youngest senior Advocate in the Supreme Court at the age of 34, and then became India’s youngest Governor when he was appointed the Governor of Mizoram at the age of 37. Kaushal is now a practicing criminal lawyer in Delhi, but he’s taking time out to share memories of his wife of 44 years.
He shared an account of how his wife had once playfully ribbed him in Parliament. “Sushma, Shabana Azmi and I were together in Rajya Sabha. Sushma was Minister for Parliamentary affairs,” he recently recounted. “The day Shabana was retiring from the House Sushma said : “Aaj Shabana ji ke jaane se unki kami hum sab ko khalegi. Magar unki sab se zyada kami to mere Pati ko khalegi. Jab bhi unhein dhoondhti hun, Shabana ke saath milte hain. (We’ll all miss Shabana ji. But my husband might miss her the most. Whenever I’m looking for him, I always find him with her)”
“The House was in splits,” he recalled. “I was stunned. I rose in my seat and said : “Adhyaksh ji, jis baat ki itni charcha ghar pr ho chuki thi, Mantri ji ko use sadan mein uthane ki kya awashyakta thi? (Mr. Speaker, this issue has been raised enough times at my house, why does the Minister (Sushma Swaraj) need to raise it in the house?”
He also offered some glimpses into their personal equation. “One day I had to catch early morning flight. It was pitch dark around 4 am. Sushma was fast asleep. I was ready to leave for airport. I announced from the door : “Devi ! Main Satya ki khoj mein ja raha hun(I’m off in the search of truth)” There came her reply : “Satya yahin hai Priye! (The truth is right here love)” I had no answer,” he remembers.
His Twitter is also offering insights into how Sushma Swaraj as a person. “She read two Shlokas of Gita every day. She remembered over a hundred of them by heart. She was never afraid of death. She never asked God or human being for any favour,” Kaushal Sawaraj tweeted.
Sushma Sawaj had also once refused to go abroad for medical treatment, because she felt it would hurt India’s national pride. “AIIMS doctors were not ready for her kidney transplant surgery in India. She said it was a matter of national pride and refused to go abroad. She fixed the date of her surgery and asked Dr Mukut Minz ‘Doc Sab – aap sirf instruments pakadaiye, Krishna meri surgery aap karenge. (Doctor, you only wield the instruments, Lord Krishna will perform my surgery,” he remembers. Luckily, the surgery went well. “Just a day later, she was smiling in an easy chair. She said ‘if we go abroad, people will lose faith in our Doctors and hospitals,” tweeted Swaraj Kaushal.
Swaraj Kaushal has also been answering questions from Sushma Swaraj fans who’ve been interacting with him on Twitter. When asked how he’d proposed to her, he quipped, ” I managed to convince her that I was different from those who remember their appointments and forget their engagements.” When asked how he’d met her, he says that he “stole her from heaven.” And perhaps most poignantly, when told that she’s probably following his Twitter account wherever she is, and blushing, he says, ” That’s the reason I follow her twitter account, hoping that a DM was coming.”
They don’t make couples like this any more.