Sushma Swaraj is dead. Glowing tributes are being paid to the departed soul. Death has a sanitising effect. Even third-rate politicians become statesmen once the Grim Reaper claims their lives. Once I was criticising a dead politician. Someone protested: It is against the Hindu culture to speak ill of the dead. I retorted: Then why do Hindus burn Ravan’s effigy every year on Dussehra? According to the Hindu mythology, Ravan died thousands of years ago! The gentleman who was sermonising me on the Hindu sanskriti had no answer. Like the ten-headed demon, Sushma Swaraj will also be attacked after her demise. Her close links with the infamous Reddy Brothers of Bellary (now Ballary) will not be forgotten, even if the Sangh spin doctors put thousands of spins.
Sushma Swaraj styled herself as a true Bhartiya Nari, or a Hindu Nari to put it more simply. She sported a big bindi. So big bindis that a child could have played ludo with them! She put a lot of sindoor in her parting. I often joked that Sushma Swaraj used half of the total sindoor produced in India! And her well-draped saris. Sushma observed “Karwa Chauth” in front of TV cameras! She kept fast for her pati-parmeshwar and waited for the moon to rise. Hindu fanatics dislike the moon as long as it is on the flags of Islam. But the Karwa Chauth moon is so dear to them. Chand-chand ka farq hai bhai!
And Sushma Swaraj was India’s biggest dramebaaz! Remember her when she threatened to tonsure her head if Sonia Gandhi became the PM of India? Brave men and women get their heads cut for their principles. But Sushma Swaraj was prepared to shave her head. A very short cut to martyrdom! She also threatened to sleep on the floor and eat only chana (black gram). What is a big deal about eating chana? Millions of Indians eat chana dal day in and day out. And sleeping on floor. It cures you of backache. Ask any good doctor. But the middle-class Indians (read upper caste Hindus) were bowled over. What a brave lady, they gushed. Sushma’s voice was shrill. One of my friends said that whenever he heard Sushma shouting, he recalled quarrelsome characters from Ekta Kapoor’s saas-bahu soap operas!
But Sushma Swaraj’s fondness for the Reddy Brothers of Bellary was her biggest sin. Their relationship went back to 1999 when Sushma fought against Sonia Gandhi from Bellary, a sleepy town in Karnataka. Reddy Brothers are the mining mafia of Bellary, a town rich in iron ore. Sushma Swaraj soon became their friend, philosopher and guide!
Some people said that she was like their mother. Some maintained that Sushma was their didi (elder sister). Some said more scandalous things about their relationship. Reddy Brothers allegedly became Sushma Swaraj’s ATM. Her own piggy bank. Her “gullak“. She used their helicopter freely. A Hindu Nari in the grip of the mafia. Gods would not have approved!
And Sushma Swaraj believed in pariwarwad (dynastic rule). She got her husband Swaraj Kaushal sent to Mizoram as the Governor. If a Congress leader had done the same, Sushma would have attacked pariwarwad. But for Sushma, her every act was rashtrawaad (nationalism). Making her husband a Laat Saheb was the highest act of patriotism.
And this motormouth leader maintained deafening silence over rapes and gang-rapes. When the Unnao rape made international headlines, Sushma Swaraj slipped into “maun-vrat” because the rapist Kuldeep Sengar was a fellow Ram Bhakt. After the heart-rending Kathua gangrape, Sushma Swaraj put Aligarh locks on her lips because the victim was a Muslim girl. So, let the Narendra Modi Govt cremate Sushma with full state honours. I am not going go shed tears.
Aaj sirf Reddy bandhuon ke ghar, choolha nahi jalega!
(Mr.Amitabh Kumar Das is a 1994 batch IPS Officer. His views are personal.)