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Saturday, Nov 16, 2019

Brother remembers Sushma’s visits on Rakhi

Grief-stricken Raj Singh said he chose not to rely on TV news and hoped against hope that she was alive.

india Updated: Aug 07, 2019 21:37 IST
Sunil Rahar
Sunil Rahar
Hindustan Times, Rohtak
BJP leader and former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj passed away at the age of 67 on Tuesday after suffering from a cardiac arrest.
BJP leader and former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj passed away at the age of 67 on Tuesday after suffering from a cardiac arrest.(PTI File Photo)
         

It was around 11pm on Tuesday when the news of former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s demise reached her brother Gulshan Rai Sharma. Shocked and in denial, he switched on his TV, wishing it was not true.

After official confirmation, Gulshan, who still lives in their ancestral house in Ambala’s BC Bazaar, wasted no time in rushing to Delhi along with his wife and Raj Singh, whom Swaraj regarded as her brother.

Swaraj’s death sent shockwaves across the country, while a pall of gloom descended on Ambala Cantonment.

Grief-stricken Raj Singh said he chose not to rely on TV news and hoped against hope that she was alive.

“In 42 years, there wasn’t a single instance when she missed tying rakhi on my hand on Raksha Bandhan. I was her first personal assistant and retained the position for almost four decades. Memories of her first election campaign are still fresh in my mind,” he said.

Talking about Swaraj’s helping nature, Raj said she was the one who built a housing colony and assisted people in getting loan of ₹300, a substantial amount back then. “She last visited Ambala Cantonment on December 18 while on her tour to Kurukshetra,” he added.

Swaraj’s classmate from school, Kamlesh Sharma, said she was brilliant in academics and cultural activities. “She had a dream of joining the Indian Army, but some norms prevalent at that time restricted her from doing so. She thrice won the award of best debater during her days at SD College in Ambala Cantonment,” she recalled.

Chander Kanta, wife of BJP stalwart’s guru Lila Dhar, said she frequently visited their home during her college days. “Sushma used to learn from my husband how to prepare for debates and discussions. After winning any award, she would ask me to get gulab jamuns for her,” she added.