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Sushma Swaraj, the world needed to hear more of you, more from you

Back in the September of 2016, the then external affairs minister, at the United Nations General Assembly, warned Pakistan of dire consequences if it kept on resorting to terror activities in and outside its territory -- and in a totally cliched Bollywood style.

Sonal Gera Sonal Gera @SoNull_NVoid
New Delhi Published on: August 07, 2019 2:00 IST
Of the many facets that Late Sushma Swaraj will be
Image Source : FILE/AP

Of the many facets that Late Sushma Swaraj will be remembered for, her oratory skills stand out -- more so, her knack of outwitting her opponents by sheer grace, and well, presence of mind.

Jinke ghar sheeshey ke hotey hain, unhein doosron par patthar nahin phenkne chahiye -- nobody could imagine these famous lines from an equally popular movie 'Waqt' making its way to the corridors of international diplomacy.

But there was Sushma Swaraj and there was the entire world paying heed to the pint-sized, but fierce and fiery, politician from India.

Back in the September of 2016, the then external affairs minister, at the United Nations General Assembly, warned Pakistan of dire consequences if it kept on resorting to terror activities in and outside its territory -- and in a totally cliched Bollywood style.

The consequences -- a complete isolation.

And the world did take notice. She trended on Twitter for more than a week -- worldwide.

Of the many facets that Late Sushma Swaraj will be remembered for, her oratory skills stand out -- more so, her knack of outwitting her opponents by sheer grace, and well, presence of mind.

The exemplar of what I claim here is another speech of hers at the same venue -- two years later.

"I had described terrorism as the second existential threat to humanity. We imagined that the arrival of the 21st Century would bring with it an age of common good, defined by cooperation in the quest for peace and prosperity. But here in New York, the horrific tragedy of 9/11, and in Mumbai the catastrophe of 26/11 became the nightmares that shattered our dreams. The demon of terrorism now stalks the world, at a faster pace somewhere, a slower pace elsewhere, but life-threatening everywhere," she began.

And well begun is half done, they say.

She continued: "In our case, terrorism is not bred in some faraway land, but from across our border. Who can be a greater transgressor of human rights than a terrorist? Those who take innocent human lives in pursuit of war by other means are defenders of inhuman behaviour, not of human rights."

She was referring to a report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which had called for an international probe into the numerous violations in Kashmir.

Sushma Swaraj was never known to mince words.

She said: "The most startling evidence of this duplicity was the fact that Osama Bin Laden, the architect and ideologue of 9/11 was given safe haven in Pakistan. America had declared Osama bin Laden it’s most dangerous enemy, and launched an exhaustive, worldwide search to bring him to justice. What America perhaps could not comprehend was that Osama would get sanctuary in a country that claimed to be America’s friend and ally: Pakistan. 

"Eventually, America’s intelligence services discovered the truth of this hypocrisy, and its special forces delivered justice. But Pakistan continued to behave as if nothing had happened. Pakistan’s commitment to terrorism as an instrument of official policy has not abated one bit. Neither has its belief in hypocrisy. The killers of 9/11 met their fate; but the mastermind of 26/11 Hafiz Saeed still roams the streets of Pakistan with impunity."

And what followed was the final nail in the coffin.

"What is heartening is that the world is no longer ready to believe Islamabad. FATF, for instance, has put Pakistan on notice over terror funding."

She went on. And on. And bit-by-bit, word-by-word and line-by-line, tore Pakistan apart.

"Time and again, Pakistan accuses India of human rights violations. Who can be a greater transgressor of human rights than a terrorist? Those who take innocent human lives in pursuit of war by other means are defenders of inhuman behavior, not of human rights. Pakistan glorifies killers; it refuses to see the blood of innocents," she said.

She added: "It has become something of a habit with Pakistan to throw the dust of deceit and deception against India in order to provide some thin cover for its own guilt. The United Nations has seen this before. Last year, Pakistan’s representative, using her right to reply, displayed some photographs as 'proof' of 'human rights violations' by India. The photographs turned out to be from another country. Similar false accusations have become a part of its standard rhetoric."

At one point, there was a direct queston: "PM Nawaz Sharif said India has set pre-conditions for talks. I ask what pre-conditions? Did we impose any pre-condition before extending an invitation for the oath-taking ceremony of our government?"

And the dialogue: "On September 21, the PM of Pakistan used this podium to make baseless allegations against my country. I can only say that those accusing others of violation must introspect on what is happening in their own country like the brutalities against Baloch people. Jinkey ghar sheeshey ke hotey hain, unhein doosron par patthar nahin phenkne chahiye."

"Madam President! We have to make this assembly into a platform of understanding, assistance and true justice. We have to understand the pain of other nations, and work with developed nations to ease and eliminate this pain. Arrogance has no place in our scheme of things; arrogance is counter-productive and self-defeating. 

"Let us work for the benefit of the less fortunate. Let us work for a world where there is peace, serenity and shared prosperity; a world that is free from terrorism, tension and violence. It is with this wish in mind that I end with a shloka from our Sanskrit scriptures:

"May all experience well being; May all experience peace; May all move towards perfection; May all enjoy prosperity; May all achieve serenity. Thank you, Madam President," she concluded.

Sushma Swaraj ma'am, the world needed to hear more of you, more from you.

Gone too soon!

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